I watched a YouTube video recently. It was Brene Brown speaking on the anatomy of trust. (You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewngFnXcqao).
As usual the presentation is clear and thought provoking. She has broken trust down into seven different elements. The one that stopped me in my tracks was ‘reliability’. She goes on to say ‘Reliability means that we must be very clear about our limitations so we don’t take on too much and come up short and fail to deliver on our commitments’.
Essentially this means we must know when to say no. Or when we can’t say no, we must learn to let go of things we have held precious.
But as I reflect on this I realise that there is something more to this too. My limitations aren’t constant. They fluctuate. I am perhaps most aware of the times I have failed to deliver because of some personal upheaval.
I think for me there is a twofold message – firstly, I do need to be more aware of my own limitations. Secondly, when I know that my capacity has changed temporarily in a way which is affecting my reliability I need to communicate.
Another of the elements she mentions is being able to ask for help. I think these two things are inextricably related. I can only be reliable at a reasonably high level, if I am going to be willing to ask for help. In any long term endeavour there will be times when I need help precisely because life happens and curve balls come along. The only way to be consistently reliable without asking for help is to underfunction.
So I think I’m holding two things today – know when to say no or let go, and know when to ask for help. I feel there may be learning opportunities in my future!