I believe that the concept of trust is like a blanket in many ways. I am writing this article on a very cold morning deep in December. A major cold wave gripping the country, makes the thought of a comforting blanket help me feel warmer.
Let’s examine some of the characteristics of a blanket and draw analogies to the concepts of trust to see where this goes. Ever since we climbed out of the womb, the ambient conditions made us uncomfortable. Our mothers would wrap us up in a blanket so we felt safe and warm.
Just like Linus’ blanket
Linus, the character from the Peanuts Cartoon Series, always had his blanket in hand to protect him whenever he needed it. Over the years we associate safety and comfort with a blanket. We can say the same for trust. The world can be a scary place at times. The warmth and comfort of a trusting relationship with another person makes it OK.
Blankets provide insulation
The chief function of a blanket is to insulate our skin from cool temperatures. Our bodies generate heat all the time, but that heat dissipates without some insulation. Similarly, the trust and affection of another person insulate us from some of the harsh realities that exist in our world.
Blankets give shelter
When we need it, a blanket can provide shelter. That is true whether you are sitting in a football bleacher or trying to sleep on the ground as a homeless person. Trust also provides shelter from emotional challenges. We can fall back on the love and affection of people we trust during dangerous or difficult times. As a blanket is a physical safety net, trust is an emotional safety net. We have support when we need it most.
Blankets can be cleaned
If a blanket becomes soiled, you can have it cleaned and restored to its original utility. We can also recover damaged trust. I have written several articles on how to heal damaged trust. Here is a recent example of how to Restore Damaged Trust.
Blankets last a long time
It is not uncommon to have a cherished blanket passed down from one generation to another. I have several blankets that I inherited from my mother when she passed away. Likewise, trust has an intrinsic value that we can pass from one relationship to another with ease. That property gives rise to the culture of trust that exists in several organizations.
A culture of trust becomes viral
When there is a bond between people in an organization or family, it can easily spread to others and become a viral phenomenon. That is one way trust is not like a blanket. A blanket is a finite piece of material. Sure, you can sew two blankets together but that does not enhance the intrinsic value the blanket represents. Actually, you would end up tripping on it. With trust, the more you have the more you can generate and enjoy more benefits.
Many of the characteristics of trust are shared with those of a blanket. One area where they are different is the ability to expand in scope. The ability to grow more trust in any organization is priceless.
Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust. He is the author of The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations