I love Monty Python’s Parrot Sketch – but not when I feel like I’m IN it.
Me to client: “Your payment for some reason, was returned to us by our bank.”
Client: “WHAT? Bank returned the payment?”
Me: “Yes, it’s stone dead.”
Client: “Are you sure it’s been returned?”
Me: “Yes, it’s expired, stiff, it’s an EX-CHEQUE.”
Client: “Maybe it’s just stunned….”
SCORE – Trust, 0. Suspicion, 100.
We build trust over time – a lesson we learn as kids. (Some of us, the HARD WAY.)
Parents + Saturday Night Date Nights – for my younger sister & I, these were prime time. There were 2 key attractions – 1) getting to choose our own dinner, (KD, in all its neon-orangey-cheesey-glory) and 2) staying up late to watch tv (with a military dad, bedtime was PRECISELY 9 pm).
As background – We owned one television, and well, that was Dad’s sports and news in the evening. And dinner, my Mom’s domain, was often experimental. (like the time she said “open up” and when I obediently did, she popped a snail in my mouth because she was trying out a new French cookbook. Viva la France.)
We were STOKED! Saturday night, The Loveboat (and secretly in love with Gopher). Jumping on the furniture cheering for Gopher and Julie, we started the mother of all pillow fights. We ransacked sofas and chairs and were really heaving them around when…………
We knew we were dead. The television was on the floor. Screen facing up – the cruise ship and crew merrily sailing along in a snow storm. We gaped at it, then each other.
We had busted the tv!
The TV weighed a ton. It took us an hour to heave it back onto the tv stand. The back was badly cracked. We couldn’t do anything about the snowstorm (on all channels).
My dad called us downstairs the next day (shaking in our fuzzy pink slippers). He looked at both of us, and said “I’m going to leave you here for a few minutes. When I return, I want to know what happened to the TV”.
We knew the gig was up. We sweated through that 5 minutes trying to agree on a story. When he came sloowwly back downstairs, we had defaulted to denial. “We don’t know Dad”. Dad: “Sigh”. He must have known – the big eyes and sweaty palms were dead giveaways.
Our punishment for not ‘fessing up – GROUNDED. Lost privileges (goodbye Gopher). Extra chores for a month. But the worst was that we weren’t trusted to stay alone, next time. We had broken the faith. Eventually, we earned a night alone again. (But no TV)
If someone has broken faith with you, I share your pain. You can’t control what others do (but you can decide whether you will let them do it again). If you’re the culprit….read on. Whether it’s your finances, or your ability to deliver what you have promised, the trust that you break is the business you let crash to the ground.
Five simple ways to keep the faith:
- CONFESSION IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL(And for the relationship.) When you tell the truth, you earn respect from your clients and colleagues. A little honesty goes a long way.
- MAKING AMENDS MAKES FRIENDSEating humble pie might seem like a SURPRISE SNAIL to you, (yuck) but you might be pleasantly suprised at how it turns out. (I really like escargots now!).
- TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE2 of us had trouble lifting that TV. If you’re having trouble making $1 and $1 pay for $2 of supplies – get help – a mentor can help things make sense.
- MEMBERSHIP HAS ITS PRIVILEGESWhen you’re accountable, you’re part of a club. A chain of mutually accountable business connections makes you pretty powerful.
- FOOL ME TWICE, SHAME ON MEEarned trust can make you invincible – having resources & connections has always made the difference between the brass ring and the DIAMOND ring. Abuse someone’s trust – you may lose it forever.
As for us, we outgrew the LOVEBOAT (And Gopher). My sister became a chef (go figure.) And my dad started to trust us again. At least, until I drove the car through the back of the carport. (sigh, another story, another day).
So, friends – my sister and I double dog dare you to FESS up, make AMENDS, and become the POWERFUL and ACCOUNTABLE person we know you are.
Even when you are shaking in your fuzzy pink slippers.