This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

I am not a golfer. To me, the only logical way to get that tiny little ball to travel hundreds of yards off the first tee towards that tiny little cup is to hit it as hard as possible.

If you’re a golfer, you just shook your head in dismay because you know what my strategy will yield: a nice left hook into a thick forest of trees.

Trust is like golf: neither makes sense. They’re both rife with paradox, and the more we try to insist on bringing logic to the game, the less effective we’ll be.

Off the green, the thing you’re most afraid to say or do is precisely what will build the most trust. The best way to gain credibility is to admit what you do not know. The best way to close more deals is to stop trying to close more deals.

In other words, play it safe or hype your expertise or Always Be Closing and you slice the ball; take risks, be honest, relax … and land it square on the green.

Trust is vexing in this way. It’s also fascinating (at least to me) because of its seeming trickery.

Bottom line: it’s ridiculously simple to build more trust: embrace its paradoxical nature by making a point to do the opposite of what your baser instincts tell you to do.

Make It Real

This week, notice when your baser instincts get triggered: fight or flight, self-preservation, the instinct to win. If you can shift the dynamic in the moment, great. If not, that’s OK; self-awareness is nine-tenths of the battle. Are there patterns in your own reactions and behavior? What sparks a less trustworthy reaction for you?

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Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).