Who Do You Trust When the Going Gets Tough?

Who Do You Trust When the Going Gets Tough?

By Bob VandePol, MSW

BLOG: Going Gets Tough IClose your eyes. Picture someone you trust.

I truly, truly hope you were able to picture someone. If so, you likely smiled.

Having trusting relationships is rewarding, generates a sense of peace and supports resilience during tough times. Life is enriched when it can be lived “at the speed of trust.”

Trust is easy when all is going well. However, when things get stressful, people get individually competitive or constructive feedback needs to be delivered, things can get tricky. Some bounce back quickly from difficult times. Some most certainly do not.

The 3 C’s of Trustworthy People

Let’s go a bit deeper. We tend to trust people based on three characteristics: Competence, Character and Compassion.


We trust people who are…

  • Smart
  • Accomplished
  • Good at stuff


We trust people who…

  • Are principled and have good morals
  • Have a strong work ethic
  • Will do the right thing


We trust people who…

  • Care about us personally AND specifically

These elements come into play in accelerated fashion when we face a threat. For example, if you were scheduled for a root canal (threat!) …

  • Wouldn’t you want an accomplished dentist with diplomas on the wall from an accredited dental school? (Competence)
  • Wouldn’t you want a dentist who would do his or her very best, do only necessary work and bill you fairly? (Character)
  • And even though you would not be engaging in much of a conversation, wouldn’t you rather sit in that chair as a person rather than Patient #21759? (Compassion)

Are you Trustworthy?

BLOG: Going Gets Tough IINow, let’s flip perspectives. Did you know that people who are engaged in trusting relationships tend to be trustworthy themselves?

What do you bring to the table? On a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is poor and 10 is outstanding), where do you think those around you would rank your trustworthiness in terms of competence, character and compassion?  Ask your Maker, look at the person in the mirror and perhaps it would be helpful to ask trusted people for input and feedback.

Do you have strengths to feature and/or weaknesses to work on? Be intentional. There are exceptions but most of the time you can place greater trust in those who also trust you.

Bob VandePolBob VandePol, MSW serves as Executive Director for the Pine Rest Employee and Church Assistance Programs which provides Critical Incident Response services to business, organizations, schools and universities as well as faith communities. Active as a keynote speaker, Mr. VandePol has published and been quoted in business and clinical journals, co-authored book chapters addressing workplace response to tragedy and has been featured as subject matter expert in numerous video training series. Mr. VandePol can be contacted at 616.258.7548 or bob.vandepol@pinerest.org

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