Have you thought about the principles, people, and things you value most – your “core values”? Do those change with the wind, or do they remain pretty constant? People need to know that they can count on you – not only to be there for them when they need you, but to be who you say you are and who they believe you to be. Part of gaining trust is keeping promises and being a person others can count on. Imagine the trapeze artist whose partner doesn’t reach out to catch them, every time. When you’re loyal to the people who matter, and live by your core values, there’s no room for doubt – they can close their eyes, reach out, and know you’ll be there.
That’s loyalty. If you say, “Your secret will go with me to the grave,” then honesty and loyalty demand that their secret had better go with you – still secret – to the grave.
That doesn’t mean you should be close-minded about ideas and unwilling to change the way you do things, when confronted with sound logic. But if you want to be taken seriously, you remain steadfast and faithful to your core values and to the people who count on you: family, friends, business partners, colleagues, and customers.
People want to know they’ve got you in their corner, even when you’re giving them bad news or constructive criticism. Kindness doesn’t mean “nicey-nice”; kindness is a sincere and gentle concern for other living creatures, including the ones that get on your last nerve some days. Next time someone irritates you, try responding with genuine kindness. Not mere civility, but the sincere kindness that comes from knowing that maybe they’re having a rough day – maybe they’re dealing with stress or illness or the death of a loved one. Maybe they just haven’t had enough coffee to jump-start their own kindness.
Smile: it won’t kill you, and it confuses the grumpy people.
Be helpful. Volunteer to lighten someone else’s load. Help your spouse with housework or yard work. Help your kids with their homework. Help a coworker learn a new skill or get a job done on a tight deadline. Mentor a less experienced employee. Don’t do it expecting something in return; just do it because it’s how you’d like to be treated if you were standing in their shoes. One day, you’ll be carrying a heavy load, yourself. Maybe someone you’ve helped along the way will notice, and lift some of your burden off your shoulders. Often, the person who helps you isn’t someone you’ve helped directly, but rather someone who does so because they’ve noticed your loyalty, kindness, and willingness to help others.