The habit of trust

The Coaching Minute

I've known a few people in my life who seem to think there's nothing worse than looking like a fool because they trusted someone who let them down. It's made me reflect on that attitude.
I know that some situations don't make it easy to trust and that some people are not trustworthy some of the time. Yet I believe most people do their best to deliver as promised.

Feeling better
One day, I came to the conclusion that I would rather look like a sucker than never trust anyone. When it comes down to it, my own gut feels better if I take the higher ground and give people the benefit of the doubt.
Recognizing that this attitude is a choice has empowered me to see opportunities where I might not have looked before, and that feels good.

Trust helps others deliver
Expecting the best of people brings out their best; expecting the worst in people seems to bring out the worst. One of my favorite quotes has become an inspiration from Goethe: "Treat people as if they were already what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of becoming."

Delivering the goods
It seems to work that way in reverse, too: When I'm with people who expect my best, I want to deliver; when I'm with people who don't believe in me, I'm likely to have a more difficult time staying on course.
My brain's autopilot asks, "What is expected of me in this situation?" Then it looks for easy answers and dutifully goes to work replicating what it believes is expected.
If I'm feeling down on myself or if I'm with negative people, I need to work my brain overtime to keep my autopilot from manifesting negative expectations.

What if I'm proven wrong?
And what if I'm proven wrong and my trust is betrayed? I store that information in the back of my brain in a department called "Life Lessons."
It doesn't mean that cultivating an impulse to act on trust is foolhardy. Being proven wrong has just become a learning about a specific moment in time, with a specific person and with a specific set of circumstances.

Practicing trust
At the very least, being proven wrong gives me a good opportunity to practice choosing to trust again - it's a challenge to my brain to file that information in a file called "The Jury is Still Out" in the Life Lessons Department.
It's a spiritual discipline not to set up new patterns of negative expectation. So if I want success, I challenge myself to trust my ability to deliver - and to trust others. Then I discipline myself, unless proven otherwise, to act as if it's already "real."
I know that I can pay attention to what's positive and discount negativity. I feel more powerful when I make this choice, and I'm amazed at the positive and happy results.
Laura Worth, MSW, is a life and business coach. She is also the publisher and editor of community-based web directories for local health and wellness arts, including, and more at Or visit[[In-content Ad]]