Defining Trust

What defines who you can trust?

Certain medication for a pre-existing medical condition didn’t seem to be a concern—until I went for a check-up with my doctor.  She has been practicing medicine for over 40 years and is a workhorse for finding answers.  After the exam, her prognosis was direct and to the point.  She told me the medication was counterproductive to the condition and I could quit taking it. 

The next morning, I reached for the pill bottle with the medication she told me to let go of.  I was unscrewing the lid to take the medication when I reflected upon our conversation. 

It would be a leap of faith to up and quit a medication I had taken as part of my daily routine.  Questions circled in my mind:  Is she right?  Will I feel better?  Can I trust her?  I sat there for several minutes pondering the situation as I stared at the medication.  I screwed the cap back on put the medication aside.  Yes, I trust her judgement.  Let’s give it a shot, I told myself.

Within a week, I felt ‘alive’ again and my energy level was better than before.  This made me think of the attributes of what made for such a positive outcome with my doctor.  From that one exam, I noted 5 characteristics that made a difference for me:

  • Seasoned:  The doctor had been working with patients long enough to know the difference in medications and the chemical effects that play out
  • Experience:  She has been doing her passion for a long time and her quest for finding solutions were demonstrated in my office visit
  • Asking Questions:  She can ask the right question to understand the circumstances I was dealing with. 
  • Accessible:  After the exam, the doctor followed up with me on the weekend (a pleasant surprise) to ensure my health wasn’t compromised
  • Caring:  Her actions demonstrated she wanted my best interest taken care of. 

What defines trust?  Based on my doctor’s visit, trust was established because of the 5 characteristics my doctor displayed.  These characteristics were woven into her being.  I had to let go of my own perceptions and trust someone else with my well-being.  It was not an easy decision; I am accountable for my well-being.

In today’s world of uncertainty and unknowns, trust is critical in smartly deciding for one’s future.  Trust is taking a calculated risk to ensure a positive outcome.  These characteristics are the foundation, or cornerstone of trust-building.  As you look at those around you who you rely on, what characteristics do they demonstrate that result in positive outcomes?  In a future blog I will expand this concept of a trusted advisor–representatives in your life you can count on.