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Trust Yourself So Others Can Trust You Too

I don’t know about you, but I love the “first idea”. I think a lot of us do.

We have a problem. We arrive at a solution. It’s a good one (or at least we think it is). We're done.

Maybe the first idea came to us right away. Or maybe it arrived only after much banging of heads on walls. It doesn’t matter. It’s time to run with it. Everything is locked down; the road ahead is clear and there’s no more uncertainty. It feels great.


And then the idea fails.

The road ahead is no longer clear. It’s bumpy. And much longer than we thought it would be.

Now what?

Do we give up and go home? Or maybe we dig in our heals, plugging away at the same problem with the same faulty solution, over and over again, never winning, always losing, and then digging in more (you’d be shocked how often I see this pattern in my practice). Or maybe we might lie (to ourselves as much as to others). Or maybe we might cheat or cut a corner or two so it will appear that we’re winning, even when we’re not.

Or, we can do the right thing. We can iterate.

Anyone who’s ever worked in tech, product development, growth marketing, design or other creative job knows that we’re not supposed to cling to the first idea we have.

We’re supposed to iterate. We’re supposed to be curious. We’re supposed to be flexible and innovative.

For almost a decade now, Eric Ries has been telling us to Build, Measure and learn.

In his book Principles, Ray Dalio gives us a “looping process” to help us build experience, develop better insights and make better decisions.

The team at Strategizer teach us the importance of prototyping.

We all agree that iteration makes sense. And yet, very few of us ever actually do it.

And that’s a damn shame because in addition to creating better solutions, there’s another benefit to iteration that doesn’t get talked about much.

Iteration builds trust.

First, it requires us to learn to trust ourselves. Instead of beating ourselves up because something didn’t work, we must learn to accept it, get curious about it and forge a path forward. And that requires us to trust that we’re not stupid or incompetent. That we will improve. That failure is okay because it is in fact the path to success.

Trusting ourselves means making friends with fear and wrangling our egos to the ground. It means learning. It means improving. It means letting go of what’s not working so we can co-create something better. It means saying yes to iteration as a practice.

And if we do begin to trust ourselves and allow the iteration to happen, something else happens. Others begin to trust us more as well. When our colleagues, bosses and employees see us take a measured, evidence-based, non-emotional, non-egoic, clear-eyed approach to our work, they know they can trust us to be honest, diligent and results focused.

So, when the first idea fails, they trust you to keep going, keep building and keep growing.

Cool huh?

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