I cannot remember a time when people I knew betrayed my trust.
I had relationship fallouts. I had work partnerships that ended up not being a good fit. And I have been a victim of petty crime from strangers.
But I go through life with the assumption that the vast majority of people are good.
And that has been my experience.
I was thinking about trust as I flew to Costa Rica this Sunday.
I will spend this year in a country I have never been before.
Here is what I wrote while on the plane (which went kind of viral on LinkedIn):
“I am on a plane to Costa Rica, feeling excited and a bit nervous.
In a few short minutes, we will receive the car we bought without ever driving it.
We will see the house we rented without ever stepping into it.
We will walk to our new neighbourhood, which we have never visited.
Making so many commitments from afar required trust.
It required us to trust that people were not going to scam us.
It required us to trust that we would figure it out if things went wrong.
We left what we knew for the unknown.
Because that is the only way to grow.
See you on the other side!”
When you have a big vision, you cannot do it alone. You have to get support from other people.
Trust is the cornerstone of every relationship. If there is no trust, there is nothing. No collaboration. No transaction.
That said, I understand why trust is hard for many people. Our fear of loss is bigger than our desire for gain.
Maybe we have been betrayed in the past.
The media is scaremongering us, and Netflix is full of shows with scams.
Our Western societies raised us to be individualistic, self-sufficient and trusting no one.
Then, we wonder why loneliness and depression are at an all-time high.
Here are my core beliefs about trust. I am sharing them here, and I hope they serve you.
1. When I treat people as if they are good, they tend to rise to the occasion.
There have been documented experiments proving that the teachers’ expectations influence the students’ performance.
It is called the Pygmalion effect. Pygmalion is a myth about a sculptor who fell in love with his sculpture, and his love brought it to life.
For example, having a great boss or mentor believing in you will motivate you to show up at your best. You won’t want to disappoint them.
I have found that people will rise or fall to meet my expectations. If my expectations are low, they will usually create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So, I keep my expectations high and treat people as if they were who I want them to be.
That means I aim to treat my kids as competent and compassionate, my husband as loyal, and the people I do business with as decent human beings.
I trust people, and they rise to the occasion. Pygmalion effect;-)
2. I trust myself to do my due diligence and make an informed decision
Before we moved to Costa Rica, we hired someone to find a used car for us and arrange all the paperwork. His name was Vini, and he had no website.
Initially, I was reluctant to wire a big amount of money for a car we had never seen.
We asked to speak to previous clients.
We found and spoke directly to the car’s owner.
We spoke to the lawyer who would do the paperwork.
We saw videos of the car.
We also chatted extensively with Vini to make sure everything made sense.
Then, we wired the money to the owner.
Vini took the car from the owner and hosted it in his place for a couple of months. He drove it once a week to keep the engine working.
Before he delivered it to us, he took it for disinfection and waxing. He even went and bought car seats for our kids.
On Sunday, when we landed, Vini, the lawyer and the car were waiting for us at the airport. The paperwork was done in ten minutes, and we could drive our cool new car home.
Vini was also our first friend in Costa Rica.
Why am I telling you this story?
Because you do not have to trust unquestioningly, you can do your reasonable due diligence.
Trusting Vini made the car buying process so effortless and fun. It also saved us money by not having to rent in the beginning. But we did not do it mindlessly. Here is Vini’s post on Facebook after we completed the car handover.
3. I trust myself to be OK even if things do not go as expected
I trust myself to figure it out no matter what happens. This belief helped me as I was planning the move to Central America.
I reinforced this belief when I paid $5,000 for a public speaking course a few years ago.
It felt like a scary investment for a new business owner, and I was expecting to be blown away by the quality.
The course was underwhelming. It was a patch-up of videos from other courses and free podcasts. The coach kept asking us for extra money for things I thought were included in the program.
I could have gone down the road of blame, resentment and regret, but I didn’t.
Also, just after graduating, I launched my own group coaching program for the first time. It became my flagship program, VisionPath.
That speaking course was one of my highest ROI investments. It helped me build confidence in what I could offer my clients.
I knew I could deliver something way better for a better price than I had experienced.
James Wedmore says: “You either get what you want or the lesson you need.” Always.
That course did not give me what I wanted – a great learning experience. But it gave me what I needed: the confidence to start doing group programs. Highest ROI ever.
Mismatched expectations happen all the time. This does not mean you should not make big moves.
You can trust yourself to figure it out and be OK, no matter what happens. You either get what you want or the lesson you need. So, make your move.
4. Do not believe everything you think, we tend to overestimate risks
We found our condo in Costa Rica on VRBO.
Our landlord has a dry communication style and no sense of humour – or at least he does not get our jokes.
The reviews of the place were mostly good. But, a couple were attacking the landlord personally.
I saw myself being turned off by that. What if our landlord was not nice?
I realised a lot of the lack of trust can come from other people’s opinions.
Or from making up stories from limited data. We tend not to trust people who behave differently than us. Social niceties go a long way in establishing trust.
It is hard to know whether your intuition is warning you to stay away from someone.
Or is it your prejudiced mind making you fearful?
We decided to rent the condo anyway, but I admit, I was anxious to see the house.
To our delight, the condo is stunning, better than we thought it would be.
Also, the landlord has been great so far despite his brief, dry responses.
Trust your intuition but not your mind. Your mind will see dangers everywhere and often jump to conclusions with limited data.
We tend to overestimate risks and underestimate the rewards.
Our mind wants to keep us safe but does not care about our happiness. Learning not to believe everything you think will have you taking a leap of faith more often.
Here is the view from our condo:
5. I never lose because I always have more than enough
Yesterday, we went to the shops in a town here in Costa Rica to buy necessities.
I found glass Tupperware in a shop and bought them. In the next shop, we also found glass Tupperware, one-fifth of the price.
It was tempting to feel regret, anger towards the first business owner for overpricing or anger towards ourselves for making a wrong choice.
The first thing I told my husband was that it is normal to pay a tax for not knowing yet the country. We need to find our bearings and get to know where to shop.
But then, another thought came to mind. What if the first business owner needed the extra money way more than we did?
What if us buying the containers from there was the universe’s answer to this man’s prayers? Maybe he had a sick parent or a hungry child at home.
I often say I can be the path of least resistance to other peoples’ manifestations.
Whenever I “lose” money, I say to myself that my money went somewhere it was needed more.
This thinking also benefits me as it puts me in an abundance state.
If you are upset about the money you lost, you signal to your subconscious that there is insufficient money. You operate from a state of scarcity and lack.
If you are in an abundance mindset, you know there is always more money coming your way; you know there is more than enough for everybody.
Course in miracles says: “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.”
Eckhart Tolle said, “You can only lose something that you have but not something that you are. “
If you go through life with an “I can’t lose” mindset, you can take more risks and trust your decisions to be OK in the big scheme of things.
6. People are inherently good and care for one another
Socrates said that nobody is voluntarily evil. People do what they consider good with their current thoughts, beliefs and premises.
And while some people have seriously twisted premises, the vast majority are good people.
“There is only one of us in the room,” said Andrea Morningstar.
We are all connected. We have mirror neurons and 99.9% identical DNA. Or, as spiritual teachers say, we are all waves of the same ocean.
We are all the same at our core. We want to be happy and experience love. When we see someone in pain, we get distressed. When we help someone, it feels good!
If we are all the same and inherently good, your trust in people will be rewarded more often than not.
My journey to Costa Rica has reconfirmed my belief that the vast majority of people rise to the occasion when trusted. And that I can trust myself to be OK no matter what.
My principles around trust are not born out of ignorance of the potential for betrayal but out of a conviction in the human capacity for goodness, resilience and rising to the occasion.
As I am writing these lines from Costa Rica, listening to the sound of the waves, I can’t help but feel grateful for the transformative power of trust.
Trust propels us into the unknown, into adventures, relationships and experiences that enrich our lives before our wildest imagination.
Thank you for joining me in this exploration of what trust truly means. Here’s to more growth, more courage, and more trust in the days ahead. See you on the other side!