It helps that my podcast guests tell me about their current reads and top it off with a meditation & writing group, and voila! I am nerding out with more books than I know what to do with. Indeed I’m currently looking to purchase a couple of nice bookshelves because my latest online order of 40-plus recommended reads I’d postponed purchasing for a few months, is littering the sofa in my study. Ah, yes, I gave the name of study to the prettiest room in my place. You get the vibe, right? I’m creating a ritual of sorts around what I care about.
Trust has been on my mind for a few weeks. I talked about it with friends. What makes us trust a business, an online retailer, your bank, or your employer? But this week, it’s personal trust that’s been coming up, in my own life and in the life of the clients I am coaching.
Sharing what I am seeing, I notice that most of us are struggling with boundaries of different varieties, though managing work boundaries seems to be the most difficult—for example, putting work first before well-being, working long hours, not taking sufficient breaks, not looking after our vitality, and putting the reward from work, aka revenue, also as a primary value, over our own personal values.
Boundaries is the first B in the acronym BRAVING coined by Brené Brown for her research on the Anatomy of Trust, which is a great 20 min video you can watch right here.
I’ve been in that place where work came first and where I was glued to my desk ten hours a day or more because of the fast and furious succession of meetings in my calendar. The transition to working from home didn’t help this much; on the contrary, I found the commute in the past to be a break between home and office and back.
When we are unaware of another way of being, this can go on for years. And when we are aware of what else is happening outside our door, that there is another life that we could and want to live, that’s when anxiety and trouble sets in. As grey and heavy as stormy clouds: that is burnout looming.
So when I see others suffer from anxiety, I often spot a crisis of self-trust and integrity underneath, making me want to wave a big red flag.
Whether this happens when employees are not putting sufficient boundaries around work, putting the business’ needs or their team’s or even clients’ needs ahead of their own, they are on the verge of slipping into workaholism. For many, it sounds less bad than other other ‘isms’ of addictions, and that is not true.
Someone fittingly recounted to me the other day a big “a-ha” moment for her that happened the day she realised: “You may love the company but the company is never going to love you back.” Ha! Does that ring true to you?
With boundaries being the starting point for trust, that first B of BRAVING, I can’t help but look at where I failed as an entrepreneur, in the last few years, to uphold my own boundaries, namely in letting people get away with giving me less than I need.
In business terms it’s taken the form of delayed payments or people asking for big favours or introductions, while having no intention of actually using my services: an unfavourable exchange.
But the next question to ask is about accountability, the A in BRAVING. Who was I being in these business relationships, where is my responsibility in not getting these needs met?
With businesses suffering with cash flow troubles over the course of the last 15 months, it’s embarrassingly easy to spot. Overstretched because of being over generous, now my boundaries are right up. My time, my well-being and my cash flow deserve love and care.
I wonder if that resonates with any of you?
The thing is, trust is the foundation of everything we do. When we communicate well, it creates flow and encourages easy relationships. When it’s lost, it can feel like it will be lost forever, even if that’s not the case.
Trust is built in the smallest actions. And so are our boundaries. Turtle steps, as coach Martha Beck calls them, are all we need to take, to demonstrate that we can show up.
Whether for ourselves, for our well-being or to repair strained relationships with others. A five minute break. A sincere apology. Self-compassion. A yoga class or a walk outside. Putting things on the schedule (it is shown that calendarising is one of the most effective ways to act on a change we want to make).
Consider where trust is shaky in your life.
Consider where your boundaries are too low.
Where are you maybe not in accordance with your values?
And consider the tiniest steps you can take, real life actions you can make to start making the change you want to see.
Stephen MR Covey in his book the Speed of Trust says it best:
“What you do has far greater impact than anything you say.”