Self-Trust: How to Build and Maintain It

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Dare to Lead" by Brené Brown. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is self-trust? How do you build trust in yourself?

Self-trust is the belief in your ability to face and overcome difficult situations without fixating on perfection. Trusting yourself requires the recollection of past moments where you proved yourself capable of tackling challenging obstacles.

Read on about how to build self-trust.

How to Cultivate Self-Trust

At the base of building trust with others is your trust in yourself—you can’t give to others what you don’t have. It’s important to continually assess and work on building trust in yourself, because it’s not static.

Self-trust often wavers following failures or mistakes, when it’s natural to call your capabilities into question. In these hard moments, you can maintain your trust in yourself  by reflecting on the seven trustworthy behaviors and identifying moments where you acted in a trustworthy manner. For example, do you usually take responsibility for your mistakes and make them right? Are you great at setting boundaries? Recognizing the ways that you regularly demonstrate trustworthiness goes a long way toward proving to yourself that you’re capable. 

It’s possible, in this reflection, that you’ll discover that there are trustworthy behaviors you’re falling short on. You can reestablish trust in these areas by working on them in a way that builds trust naturally, through small moments.

For example, if you are coming up short on reliability, you can create and complete small, doable tasks. Eventually, you’ll work your way up through bigger and bigger tasks, until you can trust that you’ll be able to consistently deliver on anything you say you’ll do. 

To Cultivate Self-Trust, Take Note of Small Moments

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Here's what you'll find in our full Dare to Lead summary :

  • A breakdown of the four courage-building skills that make up brave leadership
  • The three reasons why most people avoid vulnerability
  • How to recover and move on quickly from failure

Joseph Adebisi

Joseph has had a lifelong obsession with reading and acquiring new knowledge. He reads and writes for a living, and reads some more when he is supposedly taking a break from work. The first literature he read as a kid were Shakespeare's plays. Not surprisingly, he barely understood any of it. His favorite fiction authors are Tom Clancy, Ted Bell, and John Grisham. His preferred non-fiction genres are history, philosophy, business & economics, and instructional guides.

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