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My intention with each of these posts is that you’re challenged to interrupt the noise and routine in your life, just for a moment, to think more deeply about what really matters in life… your relationship with yourself and with others in your professional and personal life.

Welcome to this month’s Tap Into Trust topic.

Each month through 2021, I’ve made a commitment to Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO of Trust Across America-Trust Around The World (TAA-TAW) to research and explore a specific topic that focuses on how trust impacts almost every measure of success in our professional and personal life.

I will be using the acronym TAP INTO TRUST which is an initiative from TAA-TAW.

Each letter in the acronym TAP INTO TRUST represents a one-word topic. Here’s the video for Episode 7 on Openness. (If you’d rather read than watch, the transcript is below).

This month’s topic is on Openness

Here’s an aspirational action-based statement for you to use this month as you think about and apply this information and strategies on the topic of Openness:

I am open and receptive to new ideas and innovation. I can be vulnerable and not have all the answers.

Lessons from Brené Brown

Highly acclaimed author and researcher Brené Brown says this about vulnerability:

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. and she goes on to say this – It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.”

I’d like to add that vulnerability as well as an openness and readiness to learn are also the birthplace for trust.

Brown goes on to say this:

“If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

What Is Vulnerability?

That’s all fine, but what is vulnerability, and more specifically how can it impact trust in our professional and personal lives.

Like so many things in our lives, context matters – without context there is little, if any, meaning.

In a psychological context, to be vulnerable means to be susceptible to cultivating a disorder, condition, or illness whenever exposed to particular substances or conditions.

Good grief … I’m not sure about you, but that does my head in and it’s not the type of vulnerability that Brown is talking about, and certainly not the vulnerability I want to focus on here.

Brown defines vulnerability as being able to embrace ‘uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure’.

When we explore new possibilities, new ideas and innovation, whether in our professional and personal lives, it goes hand in hand with embracing uncertainty, risk and the potential to experience a range of emotions.

If we decide NOT to be open to new ideas, innovation and possibilities, we block ourselves from the future and lock ourselves in the past.

Three Lenses of Trust

Let’s consider these two alternatives, to be open or to be closed when it comes to new ideas and innovation, and how our choice might impact trust and success.

Looking first through the lens of Self-trust, when we are open to new ideas and innovation, we are building on our sense of self-trust and self-determination by being ready to embrace whatever new idea or innovation might come our way and impact our lives.

Research by Deci and Ryan on self-determination shows when we have a strong sense of autonomy, a sense that we are able to take control of and handle whatever comes our way, is one of the keys to releasing intrinsic motivation.

When we are intrinsically motivated, we are more likely to get things done and to achieve.

So, if we are closed to new ideas and innovation, when we are confronted by change, we are less self-determined, and our sense of self-trust is significantly and negatively impacted … we become less motivated and are less likely to get things done and less likely to achieve.

Through the lens of Trust Others, when we are open to new ideas and innovation, especially when these new ideas and innovation are expressed by others, we are more likely to adopt a collaborative approach to managing our way through whatever life throws at us.

If we are closed to the new ideas or innovation expressed by others, we put our professional or personal relationships at risk because we will have less propensity to trust others, miss opportunities, be less likely to collaborate and have others help us manage whatever life throws at us.

Finally, through the lens of Earn Others’ Trust, when we are open to new ideas and innovation, we will increase our capacity to be trusted by others, because they will see a willingness in us to explore possibilities, rather than be locked into the past.

So, for this next month and beyond, focus wherever and whenever you can on being open and receptive to new ideas and innovation. As you do, remember that being open and receptive to new ideas and innovation will require for you to be vulnerable … to be able to embrace uncertainty, risk and to be ready to experience a range of emotions and to be willing to allow others observe these emotions in you.

That’s it for this month’s topic on Openness.

Next month’s topic is Transparency … and being transparent in our actions and in our progress towards achieving expected results, is essential – especially to those with whom we are trying to earn, build and maintain trust.

Until next month, my very best to you.

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