We have slipped into an economy where trust has become a currency. Money is no longer the only payment we exchange in the marketplace. Every day we exchange our trust for a multitude of things.
We trust our phone will work each time we pick it up. We trust the GPS to guide us where we need to go. We trust Google to answer our queries. We trust the grocery store to have food and supplies. We trust the ATM to have cash. We trust the police to answer our call for emergency services. We trust our political and community leaders to make decisions in the best interest of the whole. We trust our employers to take care of us. In this gig economy, we trust our clients to do the right thing. We trust our religions to uphold the values we have learned. We trust our healthcare systems to be there when we need them.
Then COVID-19 arrives. Overnight, all is brought into question.
The dominos have been pushed, and we are now at the infancy of realizing that the very systems into which we have invested our “trust currency” may or may not be there when we need them most.
The institutions and systems we have placed our faith in were not designed for these times of change. And yet we often ignored the warning signs of trouble. Why? Life got in the way. It was not purposeful or malicious. Yet the warning signs have not been hidden. A look at headlines over the past two years have signaled trouble for our healthcare, banking, education, and financial institutions, and many more. The questions become: “Why didn’t we listen?” “Who and what have we been blindly trusting?” and “What do we do now?”
The unfolding global crisis has ignited my thinking about where we invest our trust and why we do not treat it as the currency it is. We spend time planning where to invest our financial assets. We invest years building our educational assets. We have a front row seat to a new understanding of how our physical health is an asset — one that will become more and more valuable as the Coronavirus crisis continues.
In this new normal unfolding at a pace many of us cannot fathom, we are now being offered the opportunity to ‘see’ things differently. Is it time to consider our trust as a currency and become more discerning about where we invest it? Is it time to re-examine where we have placed too much of this currency in people, places, and things outside of our control? Is this an invitation to choose sovereignty over self and stop blindly trusting in systems to save us?
The reality is we are not powerless! There is always H.O.P.E., and in my world of systems thinking, hope stands for Harness Our Power Every day. This is a wake-up for us all and there are three steps we can boldly take on this new journey.
1. Increase Your Awareness
Start by taking an inventory of where you place your trust. List out ten areas of your life that you have counted on to be there — the ones you have almost taken for granted. The ones you have missed during this crisis. List them out and then have an honest conversation with yourself about what responsibility you must take for yourself in that arena. What can you do from this day forward to make sure you are prepared for the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Agile) world that is unfolding?
2. Know Your Why
Go over the list you made above and ask yourself “Why do I trust this system?” Were you taught to trust it as a child? Were you punished if you questioned its authority? Times are changing, and it is imperative that each of us invest more energy in seeing the systems more clearly. The days of blind faith are over. Do your homework! Are the systems you are counting on — and the leaders at the top — worthy of your trust?
3. Learn to Trust Yourself
For so long many of us have been trained to look outside of ourselves for the answers. The hidden treasure within the current global crisis is we can exercise control over where we invest the currency of our trust. Only when we climb up on the mountaintop and take a bigger view of what is happening around us, can we do an honest assessment. We can build muscles of resilience. We can take actions that will build confidence in ourselves and our decisions. As helpful as the systems are that we have come to rely on, the real answer lies within — in our reflection is the answer we seek. You were born with an internal compass that is designed for these times. Take time to remember. Your soul speaks. Dare to listen.
4. Tune into Your Inner Net
The internet is a wonderful resource which can be helpful in answering the questions above; however, don’t forget to list the internet on your list above. We are collectively investing a great deal of trust in the internet when studies show less than 60% of web traffic is human. Artificial intelligence is playing a vital role in what we see and don’t see. Do remember that the internet is only half the story. I am talking about learning to tap into your intuitive Knowing with a capital “K.” It is the deep sense that things are off, but you can’t quite articulate why. It is that awareness we have been taught to ignore because it can’t be officially measured. In all my years of teaching systems thinking, I have learned things are rarely what they appear to be at first glance. Learn to tap into your intuitive intelligence. It will lead you to a greater dependence on your inner net instead of the internet.
This entire journey begins and ends with trust — trust in the system, trust in others, and most importantly, trust in yourself.
Trust is a currency. Invest it wisely.