“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
— Stephen Covey
I am presently building trust in the new guide dog partnership Swirl and I are forming. In fairness to his own significant efforts, he is doing likewise with me in this relationship. I have been down this path with other guide dogs and of course to some extent countless times in my many personal and professional interactions with people. The most meaningful of these and the more involved any of these become, the more reliant I find the connection becomes on building trust.
“Trust starts with truth and ends with truth.”
— Santosh Kalwar
In this mindset, I’ve built an acronym which helps me consider the word trust in some valuable component parts I find helpful. T.R.U.S.T. – Truth, Reliability, Understanding, Studying, and Testing.
Having honesty and candor with ourselves and each other helps set the framework for everything which follows and also helps to fine tune it smoothly throughout.
Consistent predictability is a confidence enhancer ensuring the growth of trust in the individual and any intended points of interaction.
The honesty must be supported by effective intentional efforts to understand each other. Misconception can disrupt truth and trust all too quickly.
Being attentive and aware as we observe ourselves and those with whom we are building trust is a fundamental method to catch possible misunderstandings or unexpected aspects which require using the tools of communication to keep the framework of expectations in alignment.
While there is an initial aspect of some faith in starting down a path of trust, it grows steadily with every opportunity to practice and progress into demonstrable confidence. Trust grows stronger when the relationship allows for healthy testing through the natural course of interactions and often may decrease when left stagnant.
I’ve always thought it ironic that they call the trust building exercise “trust fall” when ideally it’s a “trust catch.” Sure, the trust is in the choice to allow ourselves to fall, but the important part is that the trust is built through the demonstration of the catch. Swirl and I grow our trust in each other with each route working in the world and more so in each of the more challenging environments. Even when there is a setback, that trust continues to grow as long as there is understanding and the reliability in how we approach resolution based on the truth of our partnership in coming together as a team.