Having a discussion with fellow equestrians, I shared why I stepped away from my horse for a while. Howdy was expressing his distrust despite doing everything I asked him to do so he would show that he was being a ‘good boy.’
Then, one year ago, when OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) became a requirement at work, I had an epiphany. Trust is fragile and trust is the foundation for all communication. What makes a person trustworthy?
According to David Horsager, bestselling author of The Trust Edge and CEO of Trust Edge Leadership Institute, the pillars of trust are (https://davidhorsager.com/the-8-pillars-of-trust-the…/):
👉 𝐂𝐋𝐀𝐑𝐈𝐓𝐘: People trust the clear and mistrust or distrust the ambiguous. Be clear about your mission, purpose, expectations, and daily activities. When we are clear about priorities on a daily basis, we become productive and effective.
👉 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐏𝐀𝐒𝐒𝐈𝐎𝐍: People put faith in those who care beyond themselves. People are often skeptical about whether someone really has their best interests in mind. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not just an old saying. It is a bottom-line truth. Follow it, and you will build trust.
👉 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐑𝐀𝐂𝐓𝐄𝐑: People notice those who do what is right ahead of what is easy. Leaders who have built this pillar consistently do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, whether they feel like doing it or not. It is the work of life to do what is right rather than what is easy.
👉 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐏𝐄𝐓𝐄𝐍𝐂𝐘: People have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable. The humble and teachable person keeps learning new ways of doing things and stays current on ideas and trends. Make a habit of reading, learning, and listening to fresh information.
👉 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐌𝐈𝐓𝐌𝐄𝐍𝐓: People believe in those who stand through adversity. People trusted General Patton, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, Jesus, and George Washington because they saw commitment and sacrifice for the greater good. Commitment builds trust.
👉 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐍𝐄𝐂𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍: People want to follow, buy from, and be around those who are willing to connect and collaborate. Trust is all about relationships, and relationships are best built by establishing genuine connection. Develop the trait of gratitude, and you will be a magnet.
👉 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐓𝐑𝐈𝐁𝐔𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍: Few things build trust quicker than actual results. At the end of the day, people need to see outcomes. You can have compassion and character, but without the results you promised, people won’t trust you. Be a contributor who delivers real results.
👉 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐒𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐄𝐍𝐂𝐘: It’s the little things—done consistently—that make the biggest difference. If I am overweight, it is because I have eaten too many calories over time, not because I ate too much yesterday. It is the same in business. The little things done consistently make for a higher level of trust and better results.
The notable communication from my horse was his lack of feeling attunement with me. Stepping away to work on me was my way of responding with, “heard and understood.”
Professional equestrian Warwick Schiller states, “To change your horse, change yourself.” That’s exactly what I did this last year to work on othering bias, implicit bias, optimism bias, attentional bias, and Nirvana fallacy (perfectionism).
Tackling these biases and working on identifying the emotions that are involved when facing these biases took some intense work this past year. Navigating through the actions and reactions that I have been programmed with through society and generational conditioning has not been easy work and it will never end.
Jeff asked to what end this effort will go. My response to that is, there isn’t an endpoint. This is an infinite process with infinite possibilities and outcomes. There’s no end to this and the moment that I believe I have arrived is the moment I’ve permitted my pride and ego to take over to drive my bus.
The fellow equestrian stated that he believes I’m too hard on myself. My stance is, no. This isn’t being too hard on myself. This is listening and responding to a communication that has been heard and understood.
This is also an effort to be the kind of leader that my horse really needs and it isn’t about trusting my horse. It’s about my horse being able to trust me enough to lead him whenever and wherever we go.
It is also my argument that certain personalities will completely miss the point because this is not easy work and we prefer to take the easy path to easy answers when trust doesn’t work that way.
We would prefer to avoid the pain of doing the difficult work of changing ourselves because the agony of facing trauma and our woundedness could mean addressing painful realities. It’s okay for people to armor up if they need to. There is a cautionary tale about armoring up for too long because the trauma will surface, eventually.
This is my journey and I’m tackling it in the way I need to and if it makes others uncomfortable, I cannot own that. That ownership does not fall in my wheelhouse of control.
We need to do what we need to do when we are ready to do it. That’s for each of us to own. I will not be derailed by the personalities that desire to placate my ego by creating a buffer that I do not need between my trauma and the effort I need to exert to grow personally.
That’s the part that I believe makes a lot of people uncomfortable and I cannot own that. This is my journey. I can own that wholeheartedly and I’m going to continue to push myself beyond the perceived limits because I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.