Amy Rees Anderson

Why It’s So Hard To Trust

“People ask me why it’s so hard to trust people, and I ask them why it is so hard to keep a promise.”

Nothing is as frustrating as putting your trust in people who then let you down. Trusting people in the first place is always scary.  But then after you take that leap and put your faith in them, and then they let you down….well that is the worst.

I have been dealing with that a lot on the building of this new house.  It has turned into a series of trusting people to do a good job, paying a ton of money for them to do it right, and being let down time and time again as people finger point, place blame, and side step all accountability as the project falls further and further behind.  It has been a very disheartening experience so far.

Perhaps a little background will help you understand my frustration:  I have literally spent years and years designing every inch of my future dream house.  And I literally mean years.  I spent years planning the exact layout that would facilitate hosting my large family and my husband’s large family (there are 10 kids in my family and I think around 70 of us with my mom and dad, my siblings and their spouses and our children.  My husband comes from a family of 11 kids and I don’t even know the total number with their spouses and kids. )  I wanted a home where we could host all of them for holidays and weddings and reunions.  We also wanted a house that would work well to have events for the many boards I serve on and the parties we host allowing friends and neighbors to hold weddings and events there as well.  I thought through each little detail of how to lay every room out so it would be the best experience possible for my guests.  I spent years collecting pictures of what each room should look like.   I even gathered pictures of exactly the cabinets, and baseboards and the moldings and doors and ceiling designs for every single room. I even went so far as to put all of the images into an organized PowerPoint presentation that the building team could use to see exactly what the finished product of this home should look like.  You would think that with all that prep work I did and all that planning of all those details that I so carefully thought through that I could trust that it would get done that way, but up to now that has not been the case at all.  It seems every day we find yet another thing that isn’t at all like the design I had put together and we end back at the drawing board having to redesign things to what was built rather than building to what was once my design.

So you can see why the topic of trust is weighing heavily on my mind today.  How do you know who to trust?  Especially when you have been let down by people you did trust.  And how do you know the next person you hire to do it won’t let you down just as much as the last person?  The more people let you down the harder it becomes to trust the next person that says “trust me”.

Sometimes we even get caught in the trap of allowing someone we know we can’t trust to be around us because we start to tell ourselves that “the next person will be just as bad so why not stick with the devil you know rather than risking the devil you don’t know.“ I have allowed myself to get caught in that trap these last few months, but no more.  It’s time for me to surround myself with people I trust.  So how do I make that happen?

I have decided that the only way to know if you can trust a new person is to actually put your trust in them one time.  You have to give them that one chance to prove that they are trustworthy. Is it scary to do that?  Heck yes!  Especially when you have been burned before!  But taking that leap of faith and allowing them that one chance to prove themselves is the only way you will ever know for sure.  Is there a chance you will get let down again?…Of course there is….that’s why it’s so freaking scary…but what you can’t do is give up on finding the right people out there….the trustworthy people who do what they say and say what they do….they are out there… I know they are out there because in my years as a CEO of a large company I was able to hire and surround myself with the most amazing people ever.  Over the years I was able to assemble a team that was 100% trustworthy, and having that team I could count on is what allowed us to achieve amazing success in our business.  So never forget that finding the right people in life is worth every the effort!



  • sue says:

    Amy, Hope you’re feeling better and I hope your family gets you a hardhat:)

    You have a great point that putting your trust in people can be difficult when you have been let down many times. Just remember to have faith there are people you can trust and I think your idea to surrounding yourself with them is a great idea.

    I believe the most important attribute any business owner or employee can have is owning their mistakes and do whatever it takes to correct them. When someone plays the blame game it is a sure sign they can’t be trusted and probably will throw you under the bus when times get tough.

    Everyone makes mistakes and probably lets someone down from time-to-time but it shows great character when they can take responsibilities for their mistakes and failures instead of blaming others.

  • Ron says:

    I have learned the hard way that trust is something that is earned not given.

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