trust, love life, worth, forgive, Authentic, Lifelessons

It’s no secret that trust is one of the most important elements in a relationship. It gives it its foundation, making sure everything else can fall into place and stay there. Without trust, relationships don’t stand much chance for success – infidelity or poor communication can lead to disputes which often cause hurt feelings on both sides involved. So if you’re looking for advice on building trustworthy bonds with those around you then come join us as we explore all aspects related to creating such an environment!

Building Trust: The Foundation of Strong Relationships

Trust is one of the most important elements in a relationship. It gives it its foundation, making sure everything else can fall into place and stay there. Without trust, relationships don’t stand much chance for success – infidelity or poor communication can lead to disputes which often cause hurt feelings on both sides involved.

According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, trust can be defined as an “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something.” Trust is so important in relationships that it ought not to be taken lightly. In regards to couples, having confidence in each other helps cultivate a deep connection between them while granting both partners peace knowing they won’t face harsh judgement or treachery for expressing what’s on their minds; allowing honest conversations about expectations without worrying about being vulnerable or inferior.

Trust is key when it comes to maintaining a healthy relationship. It’s not only emotionally secure, but provides couples with an effective way of communicating with each other without fear or hesitation that can arise from mistrust in the partnership. When partners don’t feel safe enough to be vulnerable and open up about their wants and needs – conversations are often strained or become difficult leading to potential misunderstandings which then leads us onto arguments that will become increasingly harder for both parties involved to resolve if there’s already been issues regarding trust between them.

Trusting someone is important for every kind of relationship, not just romantic ones. It allows us to be able to recognize when boundaries have been crossed so they can be addressed right away and we don’t let grievances or a lack of respect fester into resentments over time. We all want our feelings and opinions respected – having trust makes that possible!

There are so many worries with trust in relationships: Can I trust you not to make jokes when I’m upset? Can I trust you to do your fair share of chores? Can I trust you to stand up for me with your parents? Can I trust you not to relapse? Can I trust that when we disagree you are still concerned about my point of view?

One way to begin building trust is confronting problems, by speaking straight and sincerely about them without fear; even though, this might feel uneasy at first since we are still to used being evasive when hard conversations come up right? But facing our narrative honestly then taking meaningful action will help us understand what really lies beneath those issues inside our relationship which eventually could lead us both towards better understanding one another aiming for something more rewarding down the road! Creating an open atmosphere of trust is vital for any relationship – both sides need to feel confident discussing their feelings without worrying over being judged or blamed.

Trusting a person does not mean that they will never betray or hurt you, it is just faith in the thought that they won’t, which I think is foolish. We tend to hurt the people we love, not the stranger on the street. I believe it is more realistic to accept hurt & betrayal are a part of all relationships and to have faith in the ability to talk about it & have your hurt understood. That’s what keeps relationships working.

The illusion of personal invulnerability has demonstrated that we think we’re not very likely to experience some of life’s misfortunes, even though we realize objectively that such risk exists. I really am addicted to both salt & reality so I believe that this illusion creates a false comfort & it’s important to understand we are not immune to difficulty & hardship.

We also suffer from the illusion of unrealistic optimism. Studies have shown that people often overestimate the likelihood that good things will happen to them—that they will marry well, have a successful career, live a long life, and so on. I think part of greater trust involves being more honest with ourselves that life is about both joy & suffering & embracing both is true wisdom. False expectations are the perfect fuel for depression.

Lack of trust has also been associated with lower emotional and physical sacrifice that may be needed for a successful relationship (Righetti, Balliet, & Visserman, 2015). Sacrifice is a part of every relationship that values fairness.

New Data Reveals Relationships Lack Trust as a Result of the Digital Age, Reported in 2019. -Seven out of ten admit to looking at a partner’s phone when they were out of the room

-Over 60% admitted suspicions their partner snooped on their social media profiles

-Over 25% have been caught cheating as a result of technology

In 2012 research it was determined that some of the motivations behind cell phone snooping in relationships may include lack of trust and low self-esteem (Derby et al., 2012).

Research has also found that we’re far more likely to trust people who are similar to us in some dimension. Yet relationships always involve differences because we don’t hook up with clones.

It takes trust to build a shared reality. A shared reality is not shared agreement. Respect is the grease that allows there to be breathing room for the differences. I believe relationships that succeed have greater respect for the differences….Every couple struggles with the differences in between them.

It’s safe to say that in our culture trust in government & all our institutions including religion is at an all time low. Even the military as the most trusted institution has suffered a decline in trust. So how do we navigate the waters when we are swimming in toxic levels of distrust? Today’s guest is going to help us figure that out.

Darryl Stickel is one of the world’s leading experts on trust. His interest in Trust began with his Ph.D thesis from Duke University. He has worked with senior executives from a broad range of industries. He recently published his book Building Trust: Exceptional Leadership in an uncertain world.

#1. Let’s begin with you sharing your perspective on how trust is at the root of so many of the world’s problems today?

Darryl (04:04.054)
Well, research is pretty clear that higher trust levels lead to all kinds of positive benefits. They make us more resilient in our relationships. They allow us to manage the bumps in the road that are inevitable. Research for organizations show that there’s higher levels of productivity, performance, employee engagement. The list goes on and on.

Yet trust levels are at some of the lowest we’ve seen. And we see some really big hairy problems in the world right now. Things like climate change, things like race relations, things like international conflict, differences between genders, red states and blue states, you know, political divides. These things all require us to actually pull together. They require us to have collective collaborative action to resolve them. We’re not getting a lot of that right now.

I just saw a recent dust-up in Congress in the US over what they were going to wear to work. It would be nice if they just did their jobs. I don’t care if they show up in Speedos. So we seem to, as trust levels decline, we seem to find more and more reasons to disagree and fight, we misunderstand each other more and more often.

I talk about having a relentlessly positive story about them. And it means that new information I get, I interpret through a positive lens. And I have their interests at heart all the time. And so if somebody comes to me with something or something comes up, rather than getting angry I start to get curious. What happened? What caused that? What were you thinking when this event occurred? Do you think?

you messed up, if you did, then how do we avoid that in the future? What do we learn from that? And the overwhelming focuses on their best interest, not in life being easier, not in me looking good or any of those kinds of things. It’s really about what’s best for them. And I think if we could have, you know, I, I’m legally blind. I’ve got a guide dog named Drake and he’s got a positive story about everyone we meet.

And so if we could have a little more of that, a little more of that positive narrative about one another, I think we’d get along a lot better.

Rhoda Sommer (06:35.153)
On my last podcast episode, the one previous to this, I talk about exchanging criticism for curiosity. It was about arguing. And I think you just fit in so beautifully with that whole way of looking at things. I really appreciate it. So what sets you apart from others in teaching us more about trust?

Darryl (07:01.29)
So I have a combination. So I wrote my doctoral thesis on building trust in hostile environments at Duke. And when I was there, there were some of the world’s leading experts on the topic from an academic perspective. And there are aspects of my model that aren’t included in most models, most research around trust. But I think the thing that really sets me apart is I spent the last 20 years helping people actually solve problems.

And there’s a lot of people talking about how important trust is, how little we have of it, but they’re not really talking about what to do about it.

Rhoda Sommer (07:39.281)
That’s right.

Darryl (07:40.658)
And I’ve been helping people build better relationships for over 20 years now. And so I have a very practical applied focus. You know, there’s a couple places that the trust literature has gaps. One of which is it doesn’t often talk about vulnerability. And in your intro, you were talking about the fact that we need to sacrifice. We need to make ourselves vulnerable to one another.

for relationships to really have meaning. And most of the trust literature treats trust like a dichotomous variable, like we either trust people or we don’t, like an old time light switch, right? Reality is, Rhoda, we trust some people more than others. And even with our partners and with our kids, we are closer or more distant at different times. And a lot of times what people don’t understand is that we can be intentional.

about building stronger relationships. We can actually take proactive steps to have a stronger experience or a stronger relationship with the people we care about most. It’s worth investing in. And so that inclusion of vulnerability allows us to talk about depth of relationship. I also talk about perceived outcomes. We interpret the world through stories.

And many times our sources of miscommunication and conflict are because I’ve interpreted this situation differently than you have. And unless we can develop a shared narrative, it’s hard for us to move forward from there with a similar understanding of one another’s perspective. And in the middle of all this, 99% of the trust research treats people like they’re rational actors. You’ve met people, right, Rhoda?

Rhoda Sommer (09:31.514)
Yes, that made me laugh.

Darryl (09:32.49)
Yeah, we’re not always rational, right? And the more emotional we become, the less rational we are. Both love and hate are blind. And so, in large part, when I started talking about building trust in hostile environments, I was talking about these situations that are fraught with emotion and conflict, where these cognitive, rational approaches we talk about just don’t gain any traction for us.

Instead, we need to figure out how to reset those emotional states a little bit. Get people to talk through what their challenges are, what their story is. And so, you know, one of the downsides of writing a doctoral thesis on building trust in hostile environments is you end up in a lot of hostile environments. And so, you know, when I, when I work with people who are in conflict, I’ll actually sit down with each of them separately and I’ll say,

What’s your story? What’s happened? How did we get here? And after I’ve heard from both of them, I’ll bring them together and I’ll say, person one, tell me person two’s story. What do you think their narrative is? And it forces them to be more empathetic, to think about how might this person have interpreted that? And it allows, you know, if you’re telling my story, Rhoda, I can…

I can intervene and say, oh, that’s not quite how I think about that. Or, oh, there’s a misperception there. And it allows us to start creating a shared narrative that allows us to move forward together. And so I’m not like the other trust people because I really talk about, here’s how we’re going to change behavior. And here’s how we’re going to make things better.

Rhoda Sommer (11:26.445)
I really like that about shared reality. One of the things I say when people are arguing is I say go cool off for 15 minutes. Write down what’s important to the other person because I want them thinking about, because basically that’s what I’m doing when I’m sitting in the room with a couple. I’m putting the pieces of the puzzle together with a shared narrative like you’re saying. And I can do it. It’s not hard. I really like it.

I love that about couples work. There is more honesty in the room. It’s more interesting. And being able to have people think about that other perception, that other story. So I think you’re totally right.

Darryl (12:14.478)
Yeah, yeah, and we’ve seen some really profound impacts. You know, I, so what I do, because, you know, I started off as, okay, so I’ve developed this theory and I have a model for how trust works. And then I went out in the world. And, you know, first I worked at McKinsey & Company, and they would send me to the worst possible places. They said, you’ve got really good client hands, let’s send you to the worst places we can find.

So places where there had been strikes, there were labor problems, where there had been a hostile takeover, where people didn’t want us to be there. And, you know, they said, we send you in and everyone talks to you and it’s like magic. And so I was getting a chance to apply the concepts. And then in 2001, I was involved in a car accident. I ended up with post-concussion syndrome. And I, you know, McKinsey was a…

grind. It was 80 hours a week on average for me and I just couldn’t pull those kinds of hours anymore. And so I started working in my own little company, Trust Unlimited. I founded it in 2003 and I started working with a mutual fund company and it went remarkably well. Since then I’ve been working with families and

the Canadian military, helping them try to figure out how to build trust with the locals in Afghanistan. I’ve worked with private sector, public sector, and with companies all over the world. Well, I’m only human.

Rhoda Sommer (13:44.586)
hasn’t decided to hire you yet.

Rhoda Sommer (13:54.037)
I think maybe we should take up donations. I don’t know.

Darryl (13:58.138)
Yeah, get a… Yes, exactly. Get a Kickstarter going or some kind of… Yes, they need help. And part of the challenge that we experience when it comes to politicians is we actually expect them to have our best interest at heart.

Rhoda Sommer (14:14.374)
Ha ha!

Darryl (14:16.202)
Right? Well, I think that’s the source of the disappointment. Right? They’re supposed to look out for us. And they don’t. No. And in fact, when I work with leaders, I’ll say to them, would you want to be a politician? And overwhelmingly, they say, why would I put my family through that?

And so the people that we actually get there are people who don’t give a crap about their family. Or anyone else.

Rhoda Sommer (14:46.056)
It’s power.

Darryl (14:47.734)
we get this overwhelming number of narcissists who are really focused on themselves. And so that’s a that’s a destructive structure. There’s an incentive structure that’s just out of whack there somehow. And

Rhoda Sommer (15:02.745)
It’s an interesting way to think about it. Yeah.

Darryl (15:06.334)
And so, you know, when I work with organizations and I work with couples and I work with families, I actually start talking to them about how does trust work so that they have a better sense. And we all have the ability to build trust. Some are just better than others. And those who aren’t very good have a lever that they pull. Usually it’s the ability lever, right? Like I have these kinds of credentials, this much experience, this kind of background.

And if I was gonna pull that lever here, I’d say, oh, I’ve spoken at Harvard and, you know, have a PhD from Duke and blah, blah. And most of your listeners would go, oh my God, could you just stop? Because frankly, they wanna hear a little bit about the fact that I’m good at what I do, but they wanna hear about, does my work align with the values that I express? Am I actually able to help them figure it out?

And a lot of times when we try to pull that ability lever, we miss because we haven’t included the other person. Your listeners want to know if I can help them with their struggles. Build stronger relationships. That’s what they care about.

Rhoda Sommer (16:18.053)
You’re the first person to mention my audience before I did. And I’ve been doing this for eight years. You are the very first person to bring up my audience.

Darryl (16:25.803)

Darryl (16:30.698)
Well, and so for me, when I start thinking about trust and how it works, trust is a willingness to be vulnerable when you can’t completely predict how someone else is going to behave. And so there’s elements of uncertainty and vulnerability in that definition. And so for me, trust is a combination of, you know, when we ask ourselves two fundamental questions, it’s how likely they might be harmed, which is perceived uncertainty, and if I’m harmed, how bad is it going to hurt?

which is perceived vulnerability. Those things multiply together to give us a level of perceived risk. And we each have a threshold of risk that we’re comfortable with. And if we go beyond it, we don’t trust. If we’re beneath it, then we do. And so building trust is actually fairly simple. It’s where does uncertainty come from and how do I take steps to reduce that? And where does that vulnerability come from and how do I take steps to help the other person manage it?

And so uncertainty comes at us from two different places. It comes from us as individuals and it comes from the context that we’re embedded in. And so, you know, one of the pieces where there’s a gap, most of the trust literature focuses on that individual piece, right? It’s what are the elements that I bring to the table that make you more or less likely to trust me?

It doesn’t include this notion of context, which is, you know, we, we trust some people without knowing anything about them as people. I go to a doctor’s office, the doctor says, take off your clothes. And I do. Right. I’ve tried that in other places, Rhoda. It doesn’t work. Right. And, and if we took, if we took two people and showed a clip of them in the doctor’s office and that happening, we’d go, yeah, okay, sure.

If we took the same two people dressed the same way and moved the situation to a gas station restroom, it goes from credible to creepy in a heartbeat. Right? And so one of the things we need to understand is that context plays a huge role. You know, if you’re a woman you may trust your spouse in most places, but if he’s hanging out at a strip club, you’ve got concerns.

And so the context has shifted. You’ve got more uncertainty.

Rhoda Sommer (19:00.753)
That’s right.

Darryl (19:02.45)
And so partly what I do is I help people understand I think there are 10 different levers that we can pull. And as I said, those who aren’t very good at building trust have a lever. Those who are a bit better have multiple levers. Those who are really good have multiple levers and they know when to pull which one.

And so when I start talking about your audience, I’m trying to show benevolence. I’m trying to show that I care about you and them and your success and their success. And so I suspect that if I had asked you at the start of this, what makes a great guest, you would have said, I need someone who’s actually gonna be practical and applied, who’s gonna tell an interesting story, but who’s gonna really have impact on my audience.

Rhoda Sommer (19:52.441)
Yes, that’s right.

Darryl (19:53.506)
That’s what success looks like. Now I took a guess, and there may be other things that you define as success, but I start trying to pull that lever. And from us as individuals, there’s three levers we can pull. There’s benevolence, integrity, and ability. Benevolence is the belief you’ve got my best interest at heart. Integrity is do I follow through on my commitments and do my actions line up with the values that I express?

and the ability is, do I have the competence to do what I say I’m gonna do?

And so often, as a parent, as a partner, as a leader, we assume we’re doing those things. But Rhoda, if I think I’m benevolent and have integrity and ability, it doesn’t matter if you don’t think that. It has to land for you.

And so, you know, I’ll be standing in front of a group of parents and I’ll say, how many of you here have your kids best interest at heart? Every hand goes up, right? Because of course it does. When I flip that question and say, how many of your kids would say that? It’s about a third and it’s somewhat hesitant.

And so when we start to dig a little deeper into that around, you know, why doesn’t benevolence land for our kids? Well, we have a different mindset around them than we do around ourselves. We have a different timeline. If I’m thinking about my sons, who mean more to me than anything, my sons Thomas and Alexander are 22 and 19 now, they’re the center of my world. I’m never more vulnerable than when it comes to them. I can’t tolerate a lot of uncertainty.

And I’m thinking about today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, 10 years down the road. And I want them to engage in behaviors now that are good for them 10 years from now. Right? Do you think I hold myself to that standard? Right? I mean, this body doesn’t just happen, Rhoda. There’s years of neglect involved. You know, there’s a history of some really poor decisions.

So we have to actually include them in the conversation because they’re thinking about right now. And I have to get it across to them that I’m willing to help them be successful right now so that I can earn the right to talk about tomorrow.

And it’s the same with our partner. We make assumptions about what benevolence would look like for them. But we almost never have that conversation. And I wanna arm your listeners with a conversation because I always try to leave people some practical things that they can actually apply and try and give a shot to. And I can tell you that this has met with great success in the past. So you start by saying, I heard this Yahoo named Darrell.

Rhoda Sommer (22:49.501)
That’s true.

Darryl (23:09.014)
He was talking about trust. And he said, benevolence is really important. It’s one of the levers that we can pull. And it means showing someone that you have their best interest at heart. I think I do that, but it doesn’t always seem to land that way. Have you ever experienced that? And the other person’s gonna go, oh God, yes. And so you start to ask them about times that they’ve tried to do something in someone’s best interest. Maybe it’s their kids, maybe it’s their spouse, maybe it’s a friend at work or something like that.

and it’s gone awry. And then you start to narrow the funnel and you say, have you ever had somebody really have your back? What did that look like? How did it feel? What did they do? And now we’re starting to get hints. We’re starting to prime them to think about what benevolence looks like for them. And we have conversations about that.

Rhoda Sommer (24:03.125)
interesting conversations.

Darryl (24:04.898)
interesting conversations, right? And then we start to narrow the funnel a little further and we say, what does success look like for you? How do I help you get there? What would it look like if I was benevolent to you? Now we’ve created a moment for transparency. Because once you’ve shared something like that with me, I can refer back to it. I can say, you remember when you told me this is what success looked like for you? This is me trying to help you get there.

And so your listeners can give that a try. They can try it with their partners or they can try it with somebody else at work, someplace that’s safe. Um, because it’s adding a tool to your toolkit. It’s adding a set of conversations that you can have that allows you to be intentional. And I gotta tell you, one of my students I used to teach in Luxembourg and one of my students, you know, I was sitting with him and a group of others and

I said, what relationship would you like to talk about? Tell me something, someone that matters to you. And he said, my girlfriend. I said, okay, so tonight you’re gonna go home, you’re gonna talk to your girlfriend, you’re gonna say, I was in class today and my professor asked me to think about a relationship that really mattered. And I said, you. So that’s step one. We’re showing the other person that we’re thinking about them. And I said, then you’re gonna ask her about what matters most to her.

I said, so what do you think matters most to her? And he said, family. I think her family is really important to her. I said, okay. So the next line for you is, he asked me what mattered most to you and I said, family. Is that right? Now you’re inviting her into the conversation. You’re allowing her to agree or disagree. But you’re probably right, because you know her fairly well. So when she says, yeah, my family really matters to me, it’s really important. You follow by saying,

I suspect then that it matters that I get along well with your family to you. I’m going to start investing more time and energy in strengthening that relationship. I’m going to call them, I’m going to go for lunches with them, I’m going to try to include them in my life more because it matters to you.

Darryl (26:13.586)
Now you’ve pulled that lever. You’ve shown her that she matters, the relationship matters, you’re thinking about her and what her best interests are, and you’re actually willing to invest time and energy against it.

Rhoda Sommer (26:24.569)
and you’re paying attention to her priorities.

Darryl (26:27.686)
Yeah. So he comes back to class the next day. He’s got this huge grin on his face. And he says to me, man, that went well. And he said, my girlfriend says, I’m allowed to talk to you whenever I want. And so we start kind of working through systematically, hey, there’s 10 lovers. How do we pull them? And that’s why I wrote the book was to try to scale some of this, right? To give people a sense of here’s how the model works.

Here’s what the levers are, here’s how we pull them, here’s how we try to create stronger relationships, how we be intentional about those things.

Rhoda Sommer (27:06.205)
So the three levers are benevolence, integrity, and I’ve lost the third. Ability, competence. OK.

Darryl (27:12.766)
It’s ability, it’s the competence. Yeah. And so I’ll ask my kids, you know, what’s a good dad?

Rhoda Sommer (27:20.333)
Yes, I send people home to say, how can I be a better mom or a better dad? Yeah, because I think it’s an important conversation and people don’t think like that. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, it’s uncertainty. Yeah, in sp- yeah. Yeah.

Darryl (27:26.731)

Darryl (27:31.126)
Well, it makes your stomach churn, right? Right? Lots of uncertainty and you feel incredibly vulnerable. It’s like, what if they say not you? Right? And, you know, and I’ve got flaws, you know, and there’s lots of things that my kids can complain about. I mean, I’m legally blind. You can see that I’m sort of follicly challenged. I’ve got, you know, I’m forgetful. Like, there’s just all kinds of things that they could complain about.

And instead they said, you know what, this is what’s really powerful for us. This is what matters to us. And when we’re engaged in something, you pay attention and it’s clear that you put us first. You know, when my oldest was 12, he looked at me one day and he said, dad, even when you’re upset with me, I know it’s what it’s about. What’s best for me. And once you’ve got that narrative going, you get all kinds of grace. Right.

You can make all kinds of mistakes and be able to own up to it and say, I didn’t handle it the way I would have liked to. And they’re defending you. Right? I have such an incredible relationship with my sons and I use this model all the time with them and I’m really transparent about it. And it future proofs them because it teaches them how to build strong relationships with people around them.

And, you know, at the pace of technological change, there’s so much uncertainty in the world. And we could be just paralyzed with fear for our kids. But my sons are navigating the world beautifully. They’ve experienced some challenging environments and come and thrived. And, you know, they attribute a lot of that to growing up with a guy who talks about trust all the time.

Rhoda Sommer (29:26.813)
Could you mention two other lovers? You don’t have to go into them, because I think people should get the book, but there’s ten. So I’m wondering if you could mention two others.

Darryl: So context is another lever that we can pull.

Rhoda Sommer (29:39.382)
I thought so. Context, okay.

Darryl (29:41.49)
Right? And we do that by explaining how we’re constrained. So what we can and can’t do. And, you know, for me, I’m visually impaired, so I’m not going to paint your house or drive to pick you up somewhere. Right? And there’s going to be certain things that I can do and certain things I can’t do. And so once I start to explain that, I start to explain how I’m limited. And it allows people a much better chance to

to predict my behavior if they know what constrains me. And we can actually take steps within the context. So we can make public commitments, we can sign peace bonds, we can sign contracts. There’s all kinds of things we can do within the context, create rules that will constrain our behavior.

trust, betrayal, Truth, worth, trustworthy, life

Darryl (30:35.43)
Vulnerability is another place where there’s a couple of levers that we can pull. Because we feel vulnerable and it’s a subjective experience. And it focuses around scarcity and around how we value things. And so, like I said, I’m never more vulnerable than when it comes to my kids. And if we think about relationships, you know, usually there’s, there’s high uncertainty early on.

which means we can only tolerate a small range of vulnerability. And then as that uncertainty declines and our relationship gets deeper, the range of vulnerability we can tolerate starts to grow.

Rhoda Sommer (31:17.021)
That’s right. I tell people when they’re dating, it’s a dance in the not knowing and the uncertainty. And I think that’s why people have to take breaks away from dancing, because it’s really hard to keep facing that level of uncertainty. Yeah.

Darryl (31:34.974)
Yeah, yeah, and we have to make ourselves appropriately vulnerable.

Rhoda Sommer (31:39.717)
Yes, yeah, you can’t just… Use your first date to talk about your ex-wife for the whole time. I’ve heard that story so many times, you know?

Darryl (31:48.618)
Right. Yeah. Or first date, hey, I’m looking to get married. What do you think? Right? Because if I make myself a little bit vulnerable, I initiate a norm of reciprocity. I make you comfortable being a little bit vulnerable in return. If I go too big, I scare you. Right? And you’re like, I can’t respond that at that level yet.
And so you’re right, it’s a dance, and it’s this dance of us reducing uncertainty for each other to increase the amount of vulnerability we’re willing to experience together.

Rhoda Sommer (32:24.505)
And when I think about…
relationships growing stale from listening to you. I’m thinking about the lack of these kinds of conversations. It’s almost as if people make assumptions, they short circuit, we have frantic lifestyles, there’s not enough time for stories, and people don’t spend enough time with these deeper kinds of conversations. And just listening to you and even your pace,

Darryl (32:45.151)

Rhoda Sommer (32:56.251)
you’re talking it really draws me in because it’s very thoughtful and there’s just a generosity of spirit around you and I feel really comfortable with not rushing through all my questions.

Darryl (33:07.359)

Darryl (33:14.646)
Well, and partly we’re here to serve your listeners. And so we can’t overwhelm them with so much information that they feel flooded. We need to give them a few pieces that they go away with and go, wow, that was powerful. If I have that conversation, it’s gonna change my life.

Rhoda Sommer (33:19.333)
Yeah, absolutely. That’s what it’s about.

Rhoda Sommer (33:37.265)
The depth, it’s the depth, and that is missing in so many relationships, I believe. So I’m going to ask you one more question, and that is, what do you think contributes to the breakdown of trust, and do you have any tips about that?

Darryl (33:55.702)
So I think we’re seeing the lowest trust levels we’ve ever seen. If we think about the model that I proposed, which is uncertainty times vulnerability equals risk, our vulnerability certainly hasn’t gone down, but our uncertainty is bouncing all over the place. And so it makes it harder and harder for us to be vulnerable with anyone.
And right now, it’s really hard for us to be vulnerable, even with the people we care about most.

Rhoda Sommer (34:28.241)
That’s true.

Darryl (34:29.394)
And so the breakdown here is in us not communicating effectively to reduce uncertainty. So talking about how our context is shifting and changing, what our concerns are. Talking about benevolence, integrity and ability. So, you know, sharing the stories with our, with our partners or with our children. Um, being okay, making mistakes.

You know, this notion of perfection that you were talking about early on, right? One of the things that I talk to leaders is lead with imperfection. Because it makes you a bit vulnerable. It allows other people to feel safe being vulnerable in return. It sends a signal that we’re all still learning and growing and developing, and the world’s moving pretty fast. And so, for me, when people say, how do I start?

Rhoda Sommer (35:03.93)

Darryl (35:23.778)
How do I start building a stronger relationship? A little bit of vulnerability and some benevolence. So we have to have the courage to go first.

Rhoda Sommer (35:37.657)
Yes. Yeah, I completely agree with that. What a rich context to think about trust. It’s really wonderful. Darryl, would you remind my audience of the name of your book and anything else you’d like them to know?

Darryl (35:39.351)

Darryl (35:57.398)
Sure. So if people want to, and I’ve written an article about trust and parenting that people can find on my website. It’s at It’s in the blog section. If you wanted to see my guide dog, Drake, he’s the director of goodness for my company, the DOG. He’s in the about section. And you can find my book there. It’s called Building Trust, Exceptional Leadership in an Uncertain World.

It focuses on leadership, but it has a lot of, the model stays the same. So if people wanted to read it just in terms of having a shared vocabulary, a shared language to talk to their partner about, or their kids about, really powerful for that, because we find that shared vocabulary really helps. There’s also a master class that’s on the website. It’s three hours of content.

in sort of five minute increments that includes exercises you can practice and role plays that you can see to see how these things unfold and play out.

Rhoda Sommer (37:03.227)
Well, a moment of vulnerability. I have complete voice envy of you. My voice is just a little too high a pitch for good podcasting. Yours is really rich and wonderful. So I thought I’d share that with you.

Darryl (37:18.282)
Well, thank you. I appreciate that.

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