In my ongoing series of blogs about the importance of having trust as a cornerstone of your organization, I’ve talked about how to encourage workers to trust each other, how to encourage them to trust you, and how to build trust with workers who are not physically present. Today I want to talk about something that can sometimes be a bit more difficult: how to trust yourself.
I can hear what some of you may be thinking now. Trust myself? Of all people, I am the first person I would trust. Indeed, it may feel like admitting some sort of major personal flaw to consider that your trust in yourself might be inadequate. I want to suggest that self-trust is often more nuanced and more requiring of attention than that. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine if your self-trust is where you’d like it to be.
How comfortable are you considering second opinions or admitting when you are wrong? Do you bristle at the thought of having your decisions or work scrutinized or are you genuinely looking for the best solution, regardless of where it comes from? People who have a deep-seated trust in themselves know that “being wrong” in a certain situation is not a knock on their character.
How confident are you in your daily decisions? Where does that confidence come from? Are you consistently doubting choices that you make, down to trivial items like socks and lunch? Or are you so confident that alternatives to your first impulse rarely cross your mind, or you dismiss them as foolish? You want to make sure your confidence does not manifest itself as hubris.
How often do others seek you out as a mentor or sounding board for personal problems? As I indicated above, people who truly know and trust themselves exude a quiet confidence. Other people can sense that and often seek them out as confidantes. Are you a person that friends and family gravitate towards for these reasons?
Ultimately, self-trust is the bedrock for productive and stable relationships, both personal and professional. If you don’t have real, natural confidence in yourself, others will sense that and be resistant to place their trust in you. It also makes decision-making that much more taxing because of the sheer amount of energy it takes to overcome doubt.