July 15

The Trust Balloon

You’ve probably heard people talk about trust like a bank account. You can put a little trust in and occasionally make a little withdrawal, and as long as you maintain a positive trust balance, you’re fine. However, in creative work that’s not how trust works. Because doing risky work— projects where your efforts might not pan out in the end—requires you to spend time, energy, and focus now for a potential later payoff, it’s important that you are able to trust the character, competence, and intentions of the person who is leading the charge and of those you are collaborating with.

Because of this, I often say that trust is more like a water balloon. You can fill it as full as it can go, but if you puncture it once, even in a tiny way, you are likely to lose it in other areas as well.

The problem is many of us are unaware of places where we might breach the trust of our team or our peers. It’s small things we do that cause us to forfeit our relationships with them, like showing up late to a meeting consistently or forgetting to get them something by the deadline we committed to. Over time, these small acts of trust breaking can make it difficult to depend on one another when it matters most.

Most people don’t breach trust in the big ways. It’s the small things that trip us up. Commit to getting the small things right, and you’ll have the trust you need to take creative risks together.

You must earn trust every day.


is there a small place where you might be breaching trust with your team, your peers, or your friends? How can you remedy it?

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