There are 171,476 words in the English language. Which one of those words would you say best describes you? What word encapsulates who you are or what you strive to be? Choosing one word that sums up the beautifully complicated human being that you are can be a very daunting task. But there is one word out there just for you. Do you think others think of you with that word?
My word is: Trustworthy
I have always thought of myself as a trustworthy fellow. And my belief is that I am someone whom you could rely on and believe. Telling a lie requires me to remember what I have said in the past and let’s face it, I don’t have a great memory. Memory issues aside, I need to be trusted, my mental and social happiness depends on it. To trust others, I have to be trustworthy. Even though I see myself as trustworthy, I found out that my peers do not see me in the same light.
At my work, we have an app called Tuba that records and calculates various behaviours based on anonymous surveys. Tuba’s purpose is to help enhance company culture by inward reflection and then helping resolve problem areas that otherwise would not have been obvious. Every other day, each employee quickly answers a five-question survey about a random teammate and then one for the company as a whole. Each teammate survey centres around one of six personality traits that when combined are vital parts of healthy and productive company culture. The system is ingenious. And for anyone who welcomes feedback on their relationships and how they can improve, Tuba is a fantastic tool.
Much to my approval, trustworthiness is one of the personality traits that this system tracks. My excitement grew as I waited to see how my peers value my most coveted trait. I figured my trustworthiness would be my top quality, but it wasn’t. To put it gently, the results humbled and sobered me. Of the six characteristics, my trustworthiness score was the lowest; by a lot.
My peers don’t see me as trustworthy
I immediately went into protection mode and felt as though my character was under attack. Therefore, my initial reaction was to dismiss the results and place blame. Obviously, someone on my team does not understand or appreciate my efforts! After reflecting upon on my low trustworthy score, my reaction to it is most likely the reason why I received it. While I may think that I am trustworthy, my actions and communication towards others speak a different story.
Being an honest person is a very valued personal trait of mine, it is only a small piece of the trustworthiness pie. Someone may value my honesty but they may not believe that my morality is in their best interest. They may view my honesty as only benefiting my cause and not theirs. Being trustworthy requires an element of empathy towards others and making others feel comfortable that I am going to act in their best interest and that of the team in general.
Empathy is key to trustworthiness
Like many victims of past abuse, empathy has always been a weakness of mine. My lack of empathy stems from me having been in survival mode for most of my life. This reasoning is not an excuse, it’s just an understanding. Empathy is something I work on every day, and because it is such a pivotal component to trustworthiness, I now understand why I got such a low score from my peers. I am starting from a very low point on the empathetic scale that it will take a lot of effort to move up. Deep down, I do want to help others, and the team succeed; they are my tribe! I have to make empathy a top priority in my life, right up there with honesty if I am ever to be considered genuinely trustworthy.
So, what is your chosen word to describe you? Are you willing to put it out there for examination? Do you have the courage to open up and face the reality that perhaps you aren’t what you thought you were? Or are you in the face of adversity most likely to change your word to something more fitting?
What’s your word?