“Self-trust is the first secret of success.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you hear the word “trustworthy”, what is the first thing you think of? My guess was it was something along the lines of someone not lying, someone always telling the truth, and someone, well, worth trusting! But gauging “truth” is something that varies from person to person, and what I want to challenge you to do today is to think about the deeper meaning of truth, and what it means to be able to trust someone.
Be careful with your words and be careful with your “word”. Giving your word that you will do something within specific parameters, and then failing to execute, can be forgiven once or twice, but as a pattern it negates ability to build trust with you. Simply stated, don’t make promises you can’t keep, even if you feel pressured to do so. In the long run, everyone is better off for it.
If you don’t know the answer to a question someone asks, don’t let them think you do. Just saying “sorry, I dunno” probably won’t cut it, but if you say “I’m not sure, but I think I know where I can find out or the people I should talk to in order to get the answer, so let me get back with you next week”, you should be in great shape.
A great benefit of setting expectations at a realistic or even underestimated level, is that it provides a bigger opportunity to overdeliver and really shine. If someone asks you to get a task done by Friday of next week, you say you can deliver it by Monday of next week, and you give it to them Wednesday, you just delivered two days late instead of two days early in their mind. What a waste of an opportunity!
Have you ever been asked to do something you weren’t sure you could complete within the constraints they laid out, but you agreed to it anyway? Maybe you were able to deliver it and maybe you weren’t, but regardless of the outcome, you didn’t communicate with complete honesty to that person about what you felt your capabilities were. Setting expectations accurately as soon as possible in any project or relationship is critical to its health and success, and it gives you the freedom to work within what you know to be your own constraints. Everyone expects the same thing, and it doesn’t exceed what you think you are capable of. See how the truth really can set you free?