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“To live anywhere in the world today and be against equality because of race or color is like living in Alaska and being against snow.”
~William Faulkner 

Warning: I was all warm and mushy when I began this blog. It turned into a bit of a rant, at least as I re-read it. Conviction can come off that way. Just saying…

Only an hour ago I wrapped up a five-day retreat. It’s entitled simply, The Trust Program. (Finding fancy course names was, and still isn’t, my forte.) Waved goodbye to a bunch of happy people loaded into a water taxi, headed back into their lives.

I sit by a fire and ponder the experience.

This is the program that launched my company eighteen years ago, one I only conduct once or twice a year these days, one written in response to this question: “How do you teach people to really trust themselves?”

People are still attending. There’s a reason why: Most people don’t trust themselves.

Most people only trust themselves with what they know or can do. Not with who they are.

That’s a big difference.

The folks that trust that who they are is good enough, even if they fail at something, even if they do a face plant in front of their boss, or hurt someone, and then can go back and apologize and move on, that’s the kind of trust I’m talking about.

It’s the kind of trust that blooms in the presence of authenticity. When people get real with each other. And it shows up in conversation, which is the way we connect with other members of our species. Gorillas groom each other; people talk.

You see, I have this radical idea. I think that if people understood themselves—their real fears, motivations, or desires—and forgave themselves for being human (for all the crap we hold and hurl at ourselves—and others), we’d have a lot less shame, a lot less anger, and a lot less posturing and positioning.

And a lot less crap flying around. (Oh, I don’t know…like political punditry and religious radicalism.) Less name-calling, less bullying, less resentment, less guilt, less anger, less fear. You get the picture.

Understanding breeds trust. With trust comes empowerment and effectiveness. You can build a lot of powerful, productive things with trust. You can lead a lot of people with trust.

It’s starts when you get real, tell the truth, and take a risk to show up in your life for the person who is a good person, not the person who did a bad thing.

This is effective parenting 101, folks: Criticize the behaviour, not the child.

Trouble is, we all grow up, and forget what we knew as small children, and somewhere along the line we begin believing the great lie: That our worth is based on our doing, not our being.

Here’s the thing: It’s impossible to give away what you don’t own. You cannot trust or accept someone else—your spouse, friend, co-worker or child—to a greater degree than you trust and accept yourself.

When you trust you, others will trust you, and they will tell you the truth. This propels different kinds of leaders and different kinds of conversations, the kinds that seek connection and similarities, not suspicion and separation.

Love may make the world go ’round, but trust keeps it on its axis.

It’s time for acceptance and equality and forgiveness and peace.

If you’re a leader (and we all are to varying degrees), it’s time to step up and model it. BE it, not DO it.

Because it’s all snow, man, and we better get our acts together before it melts.

“Trust in human relationships is the beginning place, the foundation upon which more can be built. Where trust is, love can flourish.” ~Barbara Smith, American Activist

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