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Trusting Again: A Missing Key to Your Future

By Nan S. Russell

From sophisticated Ponzi schemes to broken promises made by company leaders cashing multimillion dollar bonuses while jobs are slashed, it’s hard not to join the cynics, skeptics, and doubters when you’re unemployed through no fault of your own. Broken trust can break your spirit, impale your emotional well-being, and scar your heart.

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No one wants to be that naïve again; to fall for the sham or believe the false promises. Yet, harboring mistrust and anger over job loss limits your future as simply as a three foot wall traps an impala. This animal can jump nearly ten feet, covering distances of more than thirty, but it doesn’t jump unless it can see where its feet will land.

Are you doing the workplace equivalent? If you won’t trust again unless you know your trust won’t be betrayed; won’t risk unless you know it’s risk-proof; won’t step out to offer your talents unless you’re sure it’s safe, you’re creating a self-limiting enclosure and dimming your job prospects and your future.

Certainly trusting again can be difficult after job loss. However, trust is an essential key to rebuilding the career prosperity you seek. Below are four tips to get you started:

#1: Shed the anger.

How will holding onto anger and broken trust bring you closer to the future you want? How does blaming the company or its leaders help you?

It doesn’t. As long as you allow anger to weigh you down, your past blocks your future.

As Elizabeth Kenney said, "He who angers you, conquers you." Don’t give away your power to those who laid you off; don’t waste time or emotional well-being on the blame-game. In order to move forward you must shed your anger. It’s as simple and as complex as that.

A helpful resource is Dr. Fred Luskin’s book, Forgive for Good.

#2: Leverage your currency.

There’s lots of hype out there – find a job quick, buy this resume kit, sign up for that career coaching, or take these webinars on social media job search tactics. Use caution. Some are good; some not.

Remember the majority of positions are found through personal referrals and networking. People hire people they know and trust, or who someone they trust knows and trusts. Leverage that currency. Who trusts you? Who do they trust?

In today’s workplaces full of distrust, people want to hire those they can trust.

#3: Build self-trust.

It’s hard to trust others if you don’t trust yourself. Lack of self-trust or damaged self-trust from a life-happens event like losing your job, can be a precursor to distrusting others. Has your self-trust been shaken by this experience? Can you still trust your commitments, motives, intentions, and judgment?

The most important relationship you have is with yourself. Start there. Strengthen that relationship by doing the inner work needed to build back the self-trust that was lost. As Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds, "Self-trust is the first secret to success." Once you can trust yourself again, you can begin to trust others.

#4: Give to get.

Trusting again doesn’t happen because you want it to happen. It doesn’t happen when others are "good enough," "dependable enough," or "trustworthy enough" for them to earn back your trust.

Despite common thinking, people don’t earn your trust. Trust begins by trusting. It’s given, not earned.

You get trust because you give it. Giving trust is a choice, a decision, or a judgment you make when you put confidence in or rely on someone else. Trust begins by giving trust, just like love begins by loving, respect by respecting others, and communication by sharing information.

The Brave Act of Giving Trust

While giving trust always comes with the possibility of being broken, just like love comes with the possibility of heartbreak, not loving or not trusting diminishes relationships, results, and life experiences. Don’t let this job loss and the resulting distrust it brings hijack your future well-being, or hinder you from building the trusting work relationships you need for your career.

Despite discouraging statistics, surveys, and sounds bites heralding distrust in these challenging times, hope comes from science. Scientists at Emory University have discovered that, "the small, brave act of cooperating with another person, of choosing trust over cynicism, generosity over selfishness, makes the brain light up with quiet joy."

Bottom Line

Light up your brain and your career by taking steps back toward trust. Trusting again is an important key in creating the future you seek. In the words of Napoleon Hill, “For the wise know the truth; in helping others we help ourselves; in hurting others we hurt ourselves. Character overshadows money, and trust rises above fame.”


About this author...

Job Loss Recovery Expert Nan S. Russell discovered a Stanford degree didn’t protect her from being fired from her first professional job. From minimum wage to Vice President of a multi-billion dollar company, she learned the hard way. Now she helps others with what does and doesn’t work at work. The author of three career books including, The Titleless Leader, Hitting Your Stride, and Nibble Your Way to Success, Nan is a national speaker and work issues consultant. More at NanRussell.com; and her job loss seminar: Rebooting After Job Loss.