BRAVING: The Anatomy of Trust by Brené Brown

Use this checklist to evaluate how trust is showing up in a relationship, whether at work or in a personal relationship.

BRAVING

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What does it mean to trust someone? What does it mean to trust yourself?

Brené Brown explains how trust is a lot like a marble jar, which was a discipline and reward system her daughter’s teacher used in the classroom. If the class did positive things, marbles went in the jar and there’s a party when the jar is full. If the class did something negative, then marbles are taken out of the jar.

When her daughter came home from school hurt and afraid to trust again because some friends broke her trust, Brown said to her,

“Trust is like a marble jar. You share those hard stories and those hard things that are happening to you with friends who over time you’ve filled up their marble jar. They’ve done thing after thing after thing where you know you can trust this person.”

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We often think trust is built by grand gestures at crucial moments in our lives, but trust is typically built with simple actions and in very small moments. In friendships or any type of relationship, we have opportunities to build trust or to betray the trust of another. To choose not to connect when the opportunity is there is a moment of betrayal.

We trust those friends and loved ones whose jars are full. These are the people who have built up a store of trust moments with us. Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else. Distrust is realizing that what I’ve shared with you that is important to me is not safe with you. When we trust, we are braving connection with someone.

So what is trust? BRAVING is the anatomy of trust:

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BOUNDARIES
(“THERE IS NOT TRUST WITHOUT BOUNDARIES.”)

RELIABILITY
(“I CAN ONLY TRUST YOU IF YOU DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’LL DO” AGAIN AND AGAIN.)

 ACCOUNTABILITY
(“I CAN ONLY TRUST YOU IF WHEN YOU MAKE A MISTAKE, YOU’RE WILLING TO OWN IT, APOLOGIZE FOR IT AND MAKE AMENDS. I CAN ONLY TRUST YOU IF WHEN I MAKE A MISTAKE, I AM ALLOWED TO OWN IT, APOLOGIZE AND MAKE AMENDS.”)

VAULT
(KEEPING A CONFIDENCE SAFE)

INTEGRITY
(BROWN’S DEFINITION OF INTEGRITY: “CHOOSING COURAGE OVER COMFORT, CHOOSING WHAT’S RIGHT OVER WHAT’S FUN, FAST OR EASY, AND PRACTICING YOUR VALUES NOT JUST PROFESSING YOUR VALUES.”)

NON-JUDGMENT
(YOU AND I BOTH CAN STRUGGLE AND ASK FOR HELP)

GENEROSITY
(“OUR RELATIONSHIP IS ONLY A TRUSTING RELATIONSHIP IF YOU CAN ASSUME THE MOST GENEROUS THING ABOUT MY WORDS, INTENTIONS AND BEHAVIORS. AND THEN CHECK IN WITH ME.”)

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But first we must trust ourselves. “Because if BRAVING relationships with other people is BRAVING connection, self-trust is BRAVING self-love; self-respect, the wildest adventure we’ll ever take in our whole lives.”

Do you trust yourself? Sometimes we’re the hardest person to trust, but that’s where trust starts. Our own marble jar must be full. We can’t give to others what we don’t have, and others can’t give to us what we don’t have.

Brown said, “If you struggle with trust, the thing to examine first is your own marble jar. Because we can’t ask people to give to us something that we do not believe we’re worthy of receiving. And you will know you are worthy of receiving it when you trust yourself above everyone else.”

And when you do, you can use BRAVING as a checklist to evaluate how trust is showing up in your relationship with yourself. And then, you can also use it to evaluate how trust is showing up in other relationships, whether at work or in a personal relationship.

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Author: Nicole Coyle

I am a Sr. Agile Coach and Change Agent. I've been Agile ever since 1997 when I was a Programmer on an XP (Extreme Programming) team doing pair programming, test-driven development, etc. I am very passionate about Agile and coaching. I even have a Kanban board at home for my kids and their chores as well as the Agile Kids Manifesto posted! They just think I'm crazy, but hey, it works!!

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