Finding your way back to confident decision making

One thing I’ve learned about trying to build or grow something of your own—something that has meaning, something you want to make a difference and help people—is that you can put so much pressure on yourself to do well that when things don’t go as planned, it becomes really easy to not only beat yourself up about it, but to begin to lose trust in your ability to make things happen. 

We know we hold ourselves to much higher standards than others and give others a lot more grace than we give ourselves when things don’t go well. Even the smallest setback feels huge and it doesn’t take too many of them to start to question our abilities in a way we wouldn’t with others.

Over the summer, I had this startling revelation when I couldn’t decide what new offer I should be working on or if I should be doing anything new at all: I didn’t trust myself to make the right call. 

I had tried new things before and they had not done as well as I hoped and I was holding onto those failures (as I saw them). It was more than just the thought that I had made mistakes. The word trust kept coming up for me. “You can’t trust yourself to make these decisions” was the voice inside my head.

It was harsh. So I talked to my therapist about it, obviously. She told me about Brene Brown’s work on trust and sent me the link to her SuperSoul Session talk. As she does, Brene masterfully breaks down what trust really means. 

Trust is such a big concept, when we say we don’t trust someone, it can mean a lot of different things, so when you break it down into the different aspects, you can start to uncover the true reason that trust isn’t there.

She uses the acronym BRAVING to describe the 7 aspects of trust:

Boundaries—You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay, you ask. You’re willing to say no.

Reliability—You do what you say you’ll do. You don’t overpromise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities.

Accountability—You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends.

Vault—You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share. I need to know that my confidences are kept, and that you’re not sharing with me any information about other people that should be confidential.

Integrity—You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.

Nonjudgment—I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment.

Generosity—You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.

The video is a must watch. She talks mostly about our trust in others, but at the end she touches on trusting ourselves. It was such an ah-ha moment for me to look at each of the aspects of trust in terms of how I was feeling. I could see that boundaries, reliability and nonjudgment were areas that I struggled with for myself and it gave me a path forward to start to build them back up. 

If you are feeling like maybe you don’t trust yourself right now, this is a great place to start digging into why that might be and how you can start to work through it.