Thursday, September 11, 2008


Ready for bed on a Service Project in a back-woodsy location, I remember lifting up the zippered flap of my sleeping bag and seeing a few cockroaches go scurrying for cover. There was no way I was now going to slip into that sleeping bag and get any sleep. I unzipped the whole thing and started flapping it to empty it from the cockroaches. I set it down again and found a few more, flapped it again, vigorously, and this time it passed inspection. Yet doubt lingered like those cockroaches lingered for me to simply fall asleep so they could invade the dark covers again. I didn’t sleep much that night.

“Hey, let me do that! I’ll make sure it gets done!” is a scary phrase for people in leadership. On one hand it is your job as a leader to make sure your people are competent and trained as well as giving them new opportunities to succeed. On the other hand it would go so much better if you just did it yourself and/or gave the job to the people who have done it before. When untried and untested requests taking on a job there is small cockroach of doubt that creeps into the covers. You suddenly just are NOT comfortable.

The key is to change that doubt into trust. We learn to trust certain people because of their history: what they have done for us in the past; because of their relationship to you: are they a friend or family; because of necessity: you have no other option. Schwartz says in “The Magic of Thinking Big” that “doubt attracts reasons for not succeeding.” When we doubt someone we have the equivalent of that creepy cockroach in our bed.

If you find that people don’t trust you, then you must ask yourself: “Am I trustworthy?” Have I done something that would signal to them that I am not to be trusted? What can I change to show I can be trusted?

If you find that you don’t trust people, then you must ask yourself: “WHY don’t I trust them?” Is it because they have had no opportunity before or is it because they have already proven themselves untrustworthy. Even if their past was untrustworthy, have they learned from their mistakes so that it is time to trust them again?

Doubt can destroy any company, church or family. Doubt is that nagging cockroach that gives you sleepless nights and paranoid exaggerations. I swear there was a 20 pound cockroach in my bed that night. Each night afterwards I would fully inspect my sleeping bag because I didn’t quite trust it until it proved itself again to me. I laugh at it now but after a few sleepless nights with huge cockroaches it begins to impact your life.

Remove the cockroaches from your life! Trust more and become more trustworthy! Only then can you sleep the good sleep.

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