Trust is a delicate, invaluable part of the human experience. It guides our decision making process and fuels hope in the face of challenges. It lies at the heart of authentic and healthy relationships, and tends to be reserved for those closest to us. That said, ultimately, the most important person you can give trust to is yourself.
Somewhere along the journey from childhood into adulthood, the trust we are naturally born with becomes diminished by the demands of others. We become vulnerable to shifts in our internal compass and change our behavior in order to fit in and please others. Peer pressure as teenagers and then the stresses of young adulthood dilute our sense of self, and when moments arise where we must rely on our instincts, they become difficult to find.
Growing into your role as a leader means rediscovering such instincts, if lost, and sharpening them, if dull. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Self trust is the first secret to success.” You are your own constant companion, so be sure to cultivate the kind of person you enjoy being around and want to see more of in the world.
Here are two tips to cultivate greater trust in yourself:
Regularly make the space to reflect.
Begin each day with an inward look at yourself.
Where is your self-trust today? Are you confident in the decisions you are making, or doubtful? Why?
Tap into your emotional, mental, and physical state.
How are you feeling today? Is your mind cluttered or clear? What physical signs is your body sending to you?
Try a breathing exercise to center your mind, a short meditation, some physical exercise, or journaling to become grounded and clear with your internal compass.
Practice kindness toward yourself.
For many this is easier said than done. We extend gratitude and warmth to those around us but so often keep little for ourselves. Regularly affirming our strengths and the decisions we make from a place of our inner knowing and core values will reinforce the process of making that instinct stronger. Take the time each day to reaffirm trust in yourself, and from that place of clarity begin to refine how you are building it outside of yourself. As Stephen M.R. Covey says, “The ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust is the key professional and personal competency of our time.”
Self-trust doesn’t mean inflating your ego and believing every decision you make is a flawless one. It means trusting that no matter the circumstance, you know you have the strength and wisdom to move through the decision making process by listening to your instincts and asking for help when needed. Perfection is overrated in our collective culture. Be sure to invoke progress and perseverance, and say yes to trusting the creation of empowerment within yourself and others. Trust yourself. Show up. Make a difference even simply with your presence. You can shape the kind of person you currently are and will become.