Trust is probably the most important attribute necessary for good relationships. Whether life partners, family, friends, co-workers, customers, or, given the Brian Williams debacle, even TV news anchors, trust is the linchpin in relationships.
Think about it, Brian Williams, a fine news anchor who was arguably in line with the historic greats like Cronkite, Rather, and Brokaw, has been knocked off his perch and had his entire reputation and trustworthiness virtually destroyed because he couldn’t help himself to just a little more limelight. His customers, the viewers, cannot trust what he says, and what he says is his product.
What caused this lapse? What caused Williams to lie? I will submit that it was something we all fall foul of, immaturity. Now you might be thinking, “What do you mean immaturity, Williams is a 55 year old man?” I believe maturity has nothing to do with age, rather, it has everything to do with thinking; it’s a frame of mind that says you are willing to do for others before doing for self. In Williams’ case, he was more interested in being thought of alongside real heroes than simply being a reporter, see, self-serving instead of serving others…immaturity.
We all do it from time to time, we all think how we can put ourselves in the best light, we all are a little immature at times and I am as guilty as anyone, I’m not debating that; what I am trying to point out is that this immaturity, this continued obsession with self that is prevalent today, is eroding trust all around us and creating broken relationships everywhere.
As a ray of hope though, I do believe that we can begin to change this problem, and we can do it right now by committing to asking ourselves a key question every day, several times a day – am I serving others or am I serving myself? Think about that, how many times do we do things that really are about putting ourselves first at the expense of others? Tough stuff for sure, and, as I said earlier, I fall foul of it regularly. I literally have to remind myself to stop thinking of myself, and act with maturity. It’s a very humbling experience but a necessary one if we want to better our relationships.
In Brian Williams’ case, all of us onlookers should act with the maturity of forgiveness, and, at the same time, learn the lesson, immaturity (self before others) erodes trust and that erosion can destroy relationships leaving repellant workplaces, confrontational customers, broken families, and contentious communities in its wake. This lesson that life does not revolve around us is a humbling lifelong pursuit, and it’s one we must move on if we want to build trusting relationships that, in contrast to what was described above, leave a wake of great workplaces, loyal customers, loving families, and peaceful communities.