In today’s world, where technology dominates our lives, what power does your word have?
The answer: everything.
In my studies I once heard the following statement, “All things considered equal, people like to do business with people they like.”
While I agree with this statement, I think a better way to state it would be to replace “like” with “trust.”
I have learned over the years that there is a big difference between liking someone and being able to trust them.
I had a friend who couldn’t understand why he kept running into trouble at work time and time again.
It was the company, the boss, his coworkers, the salary…his list went on and on but from an outsider’s perspective it was quite simple: it was him. He was the one element that never changed…yet he couldn’t see it.
Why did he have so much trouble?
Simple: he didn’t keep his word. And as such people couldn’t trust him.
I learned this lesson early on in life.
Back in high school I used to lie.
I used to tell people I would keep their secret…but I didn’t.
I figured, “Hey, people told me so it mustn’t be that important.” And it cost me.
Within 6 months people had labeled me a big mouth.
I wasn’t to be trusted.
No one trusted me with their secrets.
And who could blame them? They were right.
At the time I figured there were secrets, and then there were “secrets.”
“Secrets” were something people really cared about but secrets, big deal.
I found out I was wrong.
Our word does mean something.
In fact, it means much more than we know.
Since learning my lesson back in high school I have guarded people’s secrets like the CIA guards national secrets.
Even from friends who I felt should know…I kept my mouth shut.
Even in the worst situations…I kept my mouth shut.
Is it the right call?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no…but one thing’s for sure, people can’t say I’m untrustworthy.
They know if they tell me something it’s privileged, and I won’t share their secrets with anyone unless they give me permission to.
In business and in the house treating your word as your bond is a powerful.
When things go wrong, and they always do, it’s not just nice to know that you have people around you that you can count on, it’s critical.
The worst thing is when someone gives you their word that they will get a job done…then not do it.
It’s one thing for a person to say, “Yeah, I’ll try and get that done,” and “I give you my word I’ll get it done.”
One makes you nervous.
The other a great sense of relief. That is, if you are someone who can be trusted.
Over the years I have come to know who I can, and cannot, trust. And slowly I have distanced myself from those in the latter group.
I may enjoy chatting with them about sports or computers but not being able to trust them makes me nervous.
Maybe I’m just getting old and have less time to mess around, or maybe I’ve just been stung too many times in the past to want to go through it again. Whatever the reason about two years ago I made the decision to distance myself from people I couldn’t trust and spend more time with those I could.
In doing so, I have a lot LESS stress in my life.
Regardless of what line of work you find yourself in, your financial status, your educational background, the country you live in…people like to be around people they can trust.
And the best way to become someone who can be trusted, by keeping your promise.
It’s a small thing that pays off big.