Truth be told, I am so done with winter. It just does not want to let go of its hold on us. As I sit and think about that and some of the work I am doing with farm families I think there is a correlation we can draw here. This cold weather at the end of February could be likened to conflict. You hope it doesn’t last. It doesn’t feel right. It’s uncomfortable. And it should have been over a long time ago.
The difference of course is that with winter we depend on Mother Nature to make the ultimate decision on when spring will arrive. It is totally outside of our control. However, with conflict we have choices. We can choose, as best possible, to ignore it and hope it goes away or we can be proactive and deal with it. Often conflict within working families develops over time and has the potential to eat away at relationships. When that happens families suffer and businesses suffer.
What is it that we, as a society, want? What are we looking for? Trust. Plain and simple. We want to trust others. Our spouses, our partners, our kids, our colleagues, people we do business with, and those that are in power, such as politicians. And equally so others want to trust us.
I like one of the definitions of trust that the Encarta Dictionary has. Trust means to “rely on somebody or something”. It goes further and states that it means “to place confidence in somebody or in somebody's good qualities, especially fairness, truth, honor, or ability. . . to allow somebody to do something, having confidence that the person will behave responsibly or properly”. It does not sound complicated but, unfortunately, can be.
Patrick Lencioni, a management consultant specializing in organizational health, talks about trust being at the very foundation of a team. In his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, he outlines a compelling case for trust being that foundation. As he puts it, “members of great teams trust one another on a fundamental, emotional level, and they are comfortable being vulnerable with each other about their weaknesses, mistakes, fears, and behaviors”. He goes on to explain why this is essential for teams to be effective and efficient.
That same concept can be applied in most any, if not all, relationships we have. How can any relationship thrive with the absence of trust? A lack of trust leads to break downs, break ups, conflict, and lack of commitment. It destroys relationships. It destroys teams. It destroys individuals. Like the Irish saying goes, “when mistrust comes in, love goes out.”
Being involved with others, being able to trust others, requires us to be authentic. And to be authentic requires us to become vulnerable. Open ourselves up. That in itself is a scary thought. We have a tendency to hide behind walls. We are frightened at the thought of others finding out who we really are. But when we practice this we see ourselves and others in a different light. It opens up a whole new world. Yes, at times uncomfortable, but overtime it builds that trust. Trust in yourself. Trust in others. It works. Trust me. Make it a good one.
You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens.” Mandy Hale