The Fine Line Between Threat and Trust

In any given moment, we’re either in a state of THREAT or TRUST.

In this now moment, where are you? Really check in before you keep reading.




Where are you?1

If you are truly in TRUST, in THIS now moment, you feel there is enough of everything: time, money, safety, control, approval, and love.  When you are in TRUST, you HAVE enough and you ARE enough.

Check again…still in TRUST? Or did my prompts make you a little nervous or wobbly?

Maybe you slipped into THREAT? You feel a little confronted. You’re realizing that you do feel tight for time while you scan this post, or worried whether your team will embrace your new short-term incentive program or scared that your wife is going to be pissed when you tell her you’re going skiing with the guys for 5 days instead of 3.

Welcome to the (human) club!  Most of us are in some form of THREAT 98% of the time. From our cave man days, we are hard wired to continually scan our environment for threats.  These days we aren’t running from woolly mammoths. Instead we (our egos) worry: Does this client like me? Do my partners think I am smart? Will I have enough time? Is my daughter going to fight me this morning? Will my cash flow support a kitchen reno? Is something bad going to happen if I ‘take my foot off the gas’?

And like the TRUST bottom-line, it comes down to whether we have enough security, control and approval to feel ok.

The leaders I coach tell me they would like to be in TRUST all the time. After all, it feels great. But it’s an unattainable expectation.

Here’s the rub: Wanting to be in TRUST and being willing to shift into it are two different things.  

The first step is knowing where you are.  

In this now moment, are you in TRUST or THREAT?

The second step is acceptance.

Can you accept yourself for being exactly where you are? Can you appreciate, with the compassion you’d have for a small child, that in this moment you might feel scared, uncertain, and maybe even unloved?  And how human is that? After all, we cannot shift what we cannot accept. And you may not be ready to stop blaming yourself or someone else for your current state of THREAT. And that is ok.

The very cool thing is that we can learn and grow from either TRUST or THREAT.

Simply ask yourself: From this place of TRUST or THREAT, what am I noticing? What am I feeling? What do I want? What can I learn?

And for goodness sake, wherever you are, give yourself a little hug and smile at how very human you are.

For other posts on this topic, check out:
The Four Questions Conscious Leaders Ask Themselves
Blame or Shift
Location, Location, Location
If you really knew me…

1 For those of you who follow this work: TRUST=Above the line and THREAT=Below the line.

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