Read an Excerpt
Introduction I Wouldn't Trust That Person for a Minute!
You have probably had this feeling before. It's that little mental nudge you get when you really don't expect it. It might even seem somewhat irrational at the time. Try to put yourself in the following situation: You have been invited to have lunch with a respected business consultant who is interested in hiring you as a contractor. "Kate" has a solid reputation and an established consulting business. She wants you to consider joining her as a consulting partner to work with some of her best clients, and this could mean wonderful earning potential for you! The lunch is going wellbut you cannot shake this odd feeling that something just isn't right. That little voice will not go away that is saying, "Don't trust! Eat your lunch and let it go at that. This just doesn't feel right!"
Or perhaps the opposite has happened to youwhich might be equally confounding. Have you ever been challenged with hiring contractors to help you with projects around your house? Most of us have learned that hiring someone for odd jobs, such as small building projects or fixing a clogged drain, can be downright infuriating. Perhaps you have experienced the frustration of having a contractor who won't return your phone calls. Or, maybe you can identify with the challenges of having appointments made to estimate pricing, but no one shows up. Then, when you call to find out what happenedyour call isn't returned. Unfortunately, you begin to believe that you will never be able to find someone to do the work.
Then, amazingly, someone walks into your life that is dramatically different. If you are fortunate enough, you meet someone like "Dan." Even though you are a little cynical about hiring contractors, you believe that Dan will keep his appointments, follow through on commitments, and do a great job with anything he agrees to do. And,
THE PERSONAL CREDIBILITY FACTOR
he won't agree to do something that he doesn't believe he can do effectively. When you look back on it, you can remember being certain that Dan could be trusted from the first time you talked with him.
So, what does this mean? Does it mean that most of us have internal voices that can predict whether someone is trustworthy and credible? Does this mean that personal credibility is just something we instinctively sense in others? And, what about you? Do others instinctively believe and trust in youor is there some reason that others are naturally skeptical of you?
Our "instincts" about people can be helpful, but, obviously, it is so much more than that.
It isn't particularly complicated either. Everyone can have strong personal credibilitybut it does require that we understand it, desire it, and make a decision to seek it for our lives.
What Is the Personal Credibility Factor?
When others believe, trust, and have confidence in you, you naturally receive their respectyou are someone with personal credibility. When you are respected, your self-worth and confidence increases. When you receive respectfrom both yourself and othersyou are more self-accepting. Self-acceptance allows you to just be yourself, which increases authenticity. When you are authentic, others instinctively believe and trust in you more.
But wait...Is personal credibility based on the type of person that you are, or is it based on the types of things that you do?
If you really think about it, the only way we can assess people is from our observations of what they do.
It is what people do that forms our opinions, relationships, and ultimate decisions of whether to trust and respect them. Our impressions, thoughts, and opinions are constantly being formed and reformed, most often in our subconscious. Although we might be unaware of it, we stay in constant "observer" mode with those around us, and they stay in that same mode observing us! We might not always have all the facts, and our observations might change over time, but, regardless, it is still the only information on which we have to base our thoughts and opinions of others. For this reason, it is what people do that determines our belief, respect, and trust in themit is what we all do that determines personal credibility.
Why would this matter? It's really pretty simple. At our very core, we want to know who we can trust and respectand we want to receive that same trust and respect from others. However, we are living in a world where it is becoming more and more difficult to discern who deserves our trust and respect. Headlines and TV news are filled regularly with stories of troubled organizations such as WorldCom and Enron, fallen TV evangelists, government leaders, and others taking the spotlight for misleading the public. Consequently, we find ourselves wondering if personal credibility with public figures is only something of the past. On a more personal level, family, friends, or coworkers violate our trust and lose credibility as a result. Most peopleregardless of whether they are in the public spotlightdon't intentionally choose a life of being disbelieved, mistrusted, and disrespected.
The reality is that personal credibility either occurs or is damaged due to ongoing decisions we make and behaviors we demonstrate.
For most of us, there is an inherent need to be valued and respected by others, while at the same time, to be comfortable and confident in being who we authentically are. We want to live a life that causes others to say: "(Your name)now that is someone with personal credibility!" We all don't experience that type of life though. The great news is this: We can experience greater personal credibilityif we are willing to honestly evaluate ourselves, look at our own actions and behaviors, and build some new habits.
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