Commentary: Change happens at the speed of trust Part I

Bernie Linnartz

I first heard the statement "change happens at the speed of trust" during one of the videos as a part of the nine days of Climate Reality Project Training in July of 2020. It struck me as profound. I have used the thought in various conversations since that time and finally decided to share why I find it profound and worth exploring.

In this time of transformation where there is no normal and we are increasingly needing to find ways to communicate and interact with extra attention to intention, the element of trust is extra critical. Our mind and body frequently are in a haze of semi-consciousness and instability. The pressures of stress beyond our full awareness leave us with diminished abilities to pay attention and think. The impact of change upon change requires us to stay awake and pay attention to what we are saying, what is being said and be vigilant regarding trust. Especially as we are inviting and encouraging others to change a mindset or behavior, the existing level of trust makes a difference regarding:

• The time given to be present;

• The level of interest;

• The amount of active listening;

• The possibility of consideration of new and different ideas;

• Making a change in behavior and lifestyle.

Most of all, in these days of COVID and polarizations, our many confrontations of isolation on many levels, hits us with haunting thoughts, fears and questions:

• How long is this going to last?

• How much of this can I/we take?

• Can't we have a break of a bit of "normal?"

• How can I/we change things?

Change is always happening. It is the order and structure of all of life. For a person or a group to change a behavior does not come easily or quickly. One of the most important reasons for resistance to change is our level of trust in our self and our trust in others. Trust can be an elusive word or feeling to understand because the usage of the word is so personal and complex. I'll explain what I mean.

Over the years, I have come to understand a useful, basic criteria for trust as a combination of competence, confidence and consistency. (I don't know the origin.) The combination needs to be in that order and all three elements must exist. However simple or complex an adequate level of competence must be in place. It can be as simple as the ability to make a decision or recite the a, b, c's or as complex as brain surgery. From competence, confidence can arise. Typically, confidence is known and felt within both parties for trust to move forward. Then the "closer" of the trio combination is consistency. A person can be very competent and confident, yet if they are not consistent, trust does not happen. Here each person may have a different level or number of times that consistency must happen to have reached a level of trust. Also, with trust, each person can have endless other necessary elements or dynamics before trust is established. Each person will have their own unique ways that trust can be diminished or broken.

Trust is an extremely complex feeling, emotion or requirement before we will be able to adequately:

• Listen;

• Share;

• Believe;

• Give;

• Receive;

• Accept;

• Join;

• Move;

• Look;

• Be vulnerable and open ourselves to others

or ... change.

Bernie Linnartz, of Empowerment Experts, is a consultant, coach and facilitator of individuals, teams, families and organizations. He is a former regular columnist for the Taos News. This is the first of two parts regarding trust.

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