“Every day we have the opportunity to build or tear down the trust of others.”
Marion Jones, 2011 MA Conference for Women
While I know there’s been a ton of drama around her and what she’s accomplished, how she’s achieved her goals and the validity of her success, Marion Jones is absolutely fabulously fierce. She is someone who knows the value of a lesson, no matter how hard. More importantly, she doesn’t just sit with the knowledge, she owns it and lives her life purpose in acknowledgement of it. Fierce indeed! I grew up looking up to her and admire her even more so now because of her life experience-based wisdom. When I had the opportunity to hear her speak just a couple years ago, a number of her points tuck with me, but her perspective on trust really resonated most.
Trust is a serious matter for me….it just always has been because I truly, truly, truly believe it is the deepest and preliminary foundation of any relationship. Think about it: What can I talk to you about, how can I be totally be transparent with you, how can I hold your hand, let my guard down, call you my friend, my brother, my sister, my man, my anything, if I cannot trust you? I mean I can interact with you. I can engage in dialogue with you, and can be cordial with you, but without the trust, you will never have all of me and I am open to question any part of you-what you say, what you do, the sincerity of all that you are.
Now, moment of truth and transparency, I know for a fact I have really high standards around this element of trust, more than the norm. I own that! And here’s the reason why: when I give someone my confidence, they’ve got it fully, completely, no question, no doubt! One of my coworkers was actually just recently asked about some news that was made public. The person who asked her said, “I know Farah’s really cool but do you think she may have share x? Didn’t you tell her that it was not to be shared?” To which my coworker responded, “Yea, I definitely told Farah it was confidential for now and to be honest, I know Farah and I could tell her I just killed someone and she couldn’t tell and believe me, it wouldn’t go anywhere even though she would finally get me to confess and then she’d walk to the police station with me, but it just wouldn’t go anywhere.” Yup! So if I’m giving that level of trust (don’t worry, no one has been killed and I haven’t had to walk to the police station with anyone to confess anything) I totally expect it.
Does this position me for disappointment? Uh, can I get a YEAH!!!!!!!!! And I’m always reminded of my friend Monica Cost’s coaching to me early in my career, “Farah, you have to learn like I have, that you can’t have the same expectations of others that you have of yourself. Otherwise, you really are just always going to be disappointed.” She’s right and I totally get it so what have I really learned…and accepted? Well, the only person I can control is me. The only brand I can take ownership for, good, great, fabulous, and however short of perfect, is mine, mine, mine. And with that, I’m always committed to being trustworthy.
I always want folks to know that they can trust me, as they see me, as they experience me, and as they confide in me. What does all of this mean? Well:
To trust me as you see me and experience me has to do with consistency. See this can be really tough sometimes, especially for those of us who don’t really know who we are. Ummm, have you seen Evelyn Lozada’s interview with Iyanla Vanzant.
I’m NOT bashing here, because you all need to know that she is totally on her way to increased self-awareness and ownership of who she is, but her past experiences are a great example of the consequences of inconsistency. What it really boils down to is quite simple: When it comes to who we are, what people see is what they get? Noooooooow, does this mean you never lose your temper, that you’re always happy and never sad, that you’re always showing your pearly whites and never cry. Nope! That would jst be crazy. What it does mean is that anything outside of how you normally show up yields the reaction of “you need a vacation or just a quick break” instead of, for example “I don’t know which Evelyn we’re going to get today. Table top standing throwing wine bottles Evelyn, or family-focused genuine caring daughter, sister, mother Evelyn.”
In terms of confidences, ladies, it’s so simple, we need to be able to trust each other. How many times have you or someone you know started a conversation: “ok, so don’t say anything but Suzy told me she….and that her man…and that blah blah blah.” Suzy told you because she needed to confide in someone. Now’ here’s the reality, in some instances, Suzy shouldn’t have even told you because you know, and she knows, you two are really not cool like that. BUT, let her know before she starts dishing stuff out to you that you know you’re not going to keep to yourself. It might just be as simple as, Are you sure you want to share this with me? or I know we’re cool, but it sounds like you’re about to say something really personal…are you asking me to keep this to myself? And then take responsibility for being trustworthy. And, hey, I’m including myself in this because just like all of you, and don’t roll your eyes at me, we all love a good story. But when it comes to your circle, to your friends, to your sisters, to your aces, c’mon, just commit to doing better. So, I know there’s a girl code. But I’m going to start off the list to the Grown Women’s Code of Living Fabulously Fierce with the first item on the list being 1-Maintain a reputation of being trustworthy by building the trust of others, or risk the consequences of tearing down the trust of others. Essentially, operate so that others know they can count on you.
Soundtrack of the week: A little mushy…ok downright cheesy but enjoy Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans’ Count on Me