We’ve previously introduced you to Brene Brown’s BRAVING acronym, which define her Seven Elements of Trust. In August, our gregarious little (ok she’s actually taller than me) copywriter, Gabi, wrote a blog post called “B is for Boundaries.” And in it, she shared some of the elasticities we find in our own boundaries and learning how far they can stretch before they snap to point of no return. For this week’s blog post, I decided to take on R, for Reliability.

Reliability, according Brene is: “You do what you say you’ll do. At work, this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so you don’t over promise and are to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities.”

This is critical. Let it sink in.

Because, of course, this all sounds straightforward, but many times life gets in the way and we just can’t keep up. The reality is that we tend to over commit ourselves or leave everything to the last minute and end up running out of time – or worse, just becoming downright lazy. Since reliability is such a strong precondition and component of trust, we need to be hyper-aware of our actions so that we stay seen as dependable and therefore trustworthy. When we become unreliable, when we don’t fulfill our promises, or when trust is broken, it takes even more work to earn it back. And sometimes, depending on the situation, it only takes one or two slip-ups to shake another person’s confidence in you.

I know there have been times I have utterly let someone down; I forgot something important, dropped the ball at work with too many competing priorities, or got so consumed in my own life and wasn’t immediately there for someone when they really needed me. I can assure you though that no matter what, it was never my intention to let them down.

But that’s the thing, we judge ourselves based on our intentions. Others, however, judge us based on our actions.

We’ve all let someone down at some point or another, and definitely have been let down by someone else ourselves.

Ideally, you do everything in your power to avoid being the culprit, because you already know what it’s like to be the victim. We’ve all been there – covering work for someone else or making excuses for someone when we wished we weren’t even put in that position.

So how can we become and/or stay more reliable?

Think about your priorities, abilities, and timelines.

Priorities

Is what is being asked of you a priority for you, your business, or someone you prioritize? This can help shape where it fits in your list. If it’s being asked by a person you value, then it may be more of a priority to see through.

Abilities

Is what is being asked of you something you can do? Can you do it well or have enough time to learn to do it well? To make a fair determination on this, make sure you also understand the expectations. I’ve seen reliable people work hard on something and turn it in on time, only to find out it’s not done correctly, which could’ve been solved with setting the right expectations upfront.

Timeline

It’s important to not only think about when something is due, but to consider how long it will take you, and what else you have going on at the time. We all tend to underestimate how long it will take us to do something. I’ve been guilty of this. I say “yes” first and figure out how later, when really I should pause and assess before I commit. Something I know I could do easily may still take time, and if I haven’t budgeted my time correctly with all the other things I have going on, then it’s likely I’ll fail at this otherwise simple task. So it’s better to under-promise and over-deliver.

If we all kept our word and our promises, and were honest about our capabilities and priorities, the world would run pretty damn smoothly and there’d be a lot more happy people out there. So let’s all do our part!!

Confusious said “A (wo)man who lacks reliability is utterly useless.”

author

lisa val verde

COO/CMO

Singapore

During her 10+ years marketing everything from concept to commercialization on a global landscape, Lisa has found that her greatest opportunity is to empower and encourage any woman with a burning passion and a desire for change to pursue whatever lights her spirit on fire. With Wildernest, Lisa is able to help other women break down their own walls to achieve their full potential, and enable a community of passionate women to create thriving businesses and become catalysts for change.

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