Building Self-Trust: A Critical Reflection

"If you need somebody you can trust, trust yourself." - Bob Dylan

TRUST…the one thing we can’t live without – the one thing that changes everything.

The one thing that if removed destroys families, relationships, organizations, and governments!

When your organization is challenged by:

  • Ineffective Communication
  • Unclear Direction
  • Lack of Recognition
  • Withheld Information
  • Decision Avoidance
  • Misuse of Responsibility
  • Lack of Clear Direction

TRUST is broken and your organization doesn't function well.


“I had a sneaking suspicion that he was lying to me,” said Carol. “I just didn’t want to admit it to myself. I thought I was being paranoid.”

Carol had asked her boss repeatedly if she was in line for promotion, and he had said she was. But then when promotion time came around, she found out that Greg, the head-down, don’t rock the boat guy had been given the position.

Carol was disappointed and angry, and knew she should have trusted her gut when she asked Chris about the position, and he dismissed her with a curt, “I’ve got it under control. Don’t worry.”

Frustrated, she swore she would never do that again, and if she wasn’t being recognized for her talents, and given the promotion she deserved, she was leaving.

But there was a small voice inside of Carol that whispered, “the reason you didn’t get the job is you’re not good enough,” and she stayed.

Five years later, she’s still there, resentful about her lack of movement, and wishes she had trusted herself enough to leave.


When we don’t trust ourselves, we fear others, we fear outcomes, we fear motives, we fear our ability to change, and we make up all kinds of stories to justify why we feel this fear.

In my book, The Fearless Factor @ Work, I state that most fears are imagination based.

It’s the stories we tell ourselves that are frequently untrue.

It is our focus on the negative that stirs up the reactions. We fear the worst, and have no evidence that it will be so.

We fear someone’s reaction, without having had the conversation.

We don’t feel we have control of a situation, but do nothing to understand how to do it better.

We make stuff up so we can justify how uncomfortable a situation, decision or circumstance makes us feel, and we call it fear.

Fear is our inability to trust that we can handle whatever comes our way. - Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.


A client who recently completed my Leading with Trust program said, "Many of my issues that led to others having a lack of trust was due to me not trusting my own skills and abilities, which led to procrastinations and missed inability to respect my own boundaries around time/commitments meant I was taking on too many things that simply did not have enough time in the day to do - which then led into a lack of trust from my teammates."


Is it at work? In relationships? In your sense of self?

How do you feel about trusting others?

We learn to trust at an early age and if we are raised in circumstances that are not optimum for building trust it can become a lifetime habit.

Your ability to trust is about learning how to overcome your fears and how you approach the discomfort of change in your life.

You can run, hide, defend, deny, blame, control or you can stand your ground, look it square in the face, and ask yourself, “what is it that I'm afraid of?"

That takes courage, but that’s how ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ works.

Fear is fundamentally based on two simple beliefs.

You are not good enough, and you will never be loved.

This feeling of inadequacy is insidious, and destructive to your success.

Here’s the sad news.

When you live in fear, you attract the very elements that you don’t want.

These include relationships that you either try to control, or they control you.

Blaming people and circumstances for the parts of your life that are not working is useless.

Abusing drugs or alcohol, or emotional outbursts that destroy those in your life, including your children, can be a significant factor for generations.

The negative aspects of fear are destructive.


Stepping away from self-defeating behavior, and claiming your strength and power is part of having the courage to trust yourself.

Cindy Solomon, in her book The Courage Challenge says, “at some point in our lives we have all wished we had the courage… to do something different.”

Courage is the antidote to fear.

It is the feeling you get when you want to ask someone to stop what they are doing because you don’t like the outcome.

The feeling you get when you need to step up and make a presentation and find a voice that can be heard above the noise in your head.

The feeling you get when you have to fire someone but don’t have the courage to tell them because you desperately want to be liked.


Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where do I get caught influencing the future by dwelling in the experience of the past?
  • Where do I get catch myself communicating my fears instead of listening to the other person?
  • Where do I give my power to others?
  • What would it look like if I trusted my instincts and intellect more, and made decisions that were right for me?

Many people spend time thinking they should make some changes and avoid taking the actions to do so.

Perhaps you don’t feel confident enough to make it happen, or don’t feel like you’re prepared for the pain of making meaningful changes.

Yes, there is always some discomfort in making changes, but as Jane Fonda used to say, “no pain, no gain!”.

When you are courageous enough to face the truth of who you are in the world, and the kind of life you want to live, it’s amazing the changes that take place that will totally transform your world.

Building trust with yourself and the people you surround yourself is a process of matching your intention with your actions.

You show that you are reliable, that you are living life in integrity, and you are willing to accept your strengths and weaknesses without judgment or blame and do the same for others.

Above all, trust demands that you be open and transparent with yourself, and with others.

When you can share the good, the bad, and the ugly we have more understanding, compassion and respect for ourselves, and for others.

Trust is the foundation of all relationships and begins with you.

Related: Unleash The Power of Fear