Building Trust By Doing The Little Things Great

“I promise, this will never happen again.”

I heard those words from my father so many times I lost count. From the time I was 6 years old, his repeated sexual abuse taught me that promises were meant to be broken. I couldn’t trust anyone. And as I grew up, no one could trust me.

18-years-old and addicted to drugs, my job as a receptionist at Fantastic Sams was a test of my character. I failed miserably.

At first, my infractions were little things like showing up 5 minutes late every few days and not restocking products when I should. When no one said anything, 5 minutes every few days turned into being 5 minutes late every day. Then 10 minutes. And, I was accountable for product inventory yet, I let the paperwork slip such that some weeks there was excess products and other weeks not enough.

Day-after-day, the weight of all of those little things finally accumulated into something big. I couldn’t be trusted with the little things. And I definitely couldn’t be trusted with the big things.

As I nervously looked around from the front entrance check-in desk, my eyes darted from the front door to the back break room. My hands hovered over the register’s cash drawer. I knew there was exactly $453.75 from the day’s business activity. My job after closing up shop was to take the cash and deposit the money into the business’ bank account.

As my hand slowly started to open the drawer, I thought I heard someone coming so I quickly pretended I dropped something and bent down to cover my nervousness. Turns out it was just a piece of trash shifting in the small waste basket in the back of the room. I took a deep breath, thinking about how I needed the money to buy my next fix. I NEEDED my next fix – and soon. $403.75 – that’s how much I put into the leather envelope to transfer the cash to the bank. Discreetly, I put $50 in my purse.

“It’s not really stealing if you put it back in a few days”, I told myself. One instance turned into another and another. Eventually, I was taking all of the money and not depositing it until I could get the money back a few days later, by selling drugs to others.

Of course, I was eventually caught by my boss – the owner of the franchise – and immediately fired. But she did not press charges.

“I hope that one day, you earn someone’s trust. But that is up to you.”

I lost her trust completely, but there was a beat of hope that I didn’t recognize until much later. Instead of calling the cops, she gave me a second chance to build trust… with someone else.

The Problem With Lacking Trust

Building trust with someone else took awhile. From the time I was six-years-old to well into my adult years, trust manifested itself in three ways:

  1. I couldn’t trust anyone.
  2. No one could trust me.
  3. I couldn’t trust myself.

I’ve lived a life that lacks trust, and it wasn’t pretty. I’ve crawled out of the pit of despair and climbed to the peak of success. I couldn’t have done it without choosing to trust others, trust myself, and become a trustworthy person.

Here’s why:

Not trusting others leads to shallow relationships. Shallow relationships lack love. Whether in friendships, romantic relationships, family bonds, or in the workplace, not trusting those you are with chokes out the abounding benefits of love that can transform your personal and professional life and build a community that helps you thrive.

Do you ever wonder why you have a lot of “friends” but still feel lonely? Like you can’t share your most intimate thoughts and feelings with anyone? Why no one ever opens up to you with personal matters? The reality is that it may not be them, it might be you. Do you trust others?

When others can’t trust you, your opportunities are limited. I did not move up in the company at Fantastic Sams because I could not be trusted, and therefore the opportunity to advance was not extended my way. I was fired. If you can’t be trusted, why would your team lean on you to make progress? Why would you earn that new client? Blow enough opportunities that come your way, and you’ll never see another one.

Not trusting yourself stunts your growth and keeps your goals out of reach. You cannot earn the trust of others if you don’t first trust yourself. Just like my father, I kept telling lies to myself: “This is the last time I will get high.” “This is the last time I steal to get drugs.” “I will never let myself get mixed up in this situation again.” Even when I was clean and sober the broken self-promises kept coming: “I will start working out tomorrow.” “I will tell her how I feel.” “I will find a group to join.” It took me a long time to pull myself out of the cyclical battle of making promises and breaking them, sinking further into the pit.

Your cyclical battle might look something more like this:
“I won’t eat dessert until I lose 10 pounds” and 2 days later you sneak a cupcake.
“I’m going to the gym 3 times a week this year” and you haven’t been in 2 weeks.
“I will be patient and won’t yell at my kids today.” and you lose it before even getting them on the bus.

Those goals will get you to the success you long for, but you don’t trust yourself enough to achieve them. And so you don’t. Then what CAN you do?

3 Ways To Build Trust

Building trust is in the little things. And that is great news for those of us with trust issues.

Deciding to build trust with others, in yourself, and to become a trustworthy person can be overwhelming. But if you chunk it down and make good, small decisions each day, you will build that trust. Trust me. I did. And you can too!

I encourage you to start with these three little things:

  1. Find Accountability. Verbally tell someone the small goal you’ve set for yourself. Getting to work 15 minutes early, not eating dessert every night, working out twice a week – whatever it is. Telling someone is a great step towards trusting others.
  2. Do the little things great. Set those big goals, but make good, small decisions each day (little goals) that get you one step closer. If you want to lose 15 pounds this year, focus on losing 2 pounds this month. You can do 2 pounds! And choose one small action that supports this – for me, it was not buying coffee creamer at the store! If you want to exercise 3 days a week, do 15 minutes a day to start. You can do 15 minutes! And choose one small action that supports this – for me, it was walking our dog Wes each day after I eat lunch. Do the little things great, and great things happen.
  3. Show up. Just being present and being you is a great way to start building a community built on trust. Coworkers, friends, and family will all notice when you aren’t distracted and when you are really listening. You don’t need to be the center of attention, just a small part of the community. Being there will help you – and them.

Do the little things great, and great things happen! These three small steps might just be the first on your climb to the peak of success.

Inspiring and Building Trust Among Your Team

When individuals find trust at work, they achieve 50% higher productivity, have 106% more energy at work, and take 13% fewer sick days. Book Trish Kendall to inspire trust among your team and achieve enduring success.

“I am so moved by your words. We all know that this year has had its many challenges and have presented both physical and mental tolls on my team and me. I needed to hear your story more than you’ll know. I have a whole new outlook on what success means to me and how doing the little things great can change so much in my life and in the lives of others around me. Thank you for sharing your light with us.”

About Trish Kendall

As an expert on achieving enduring success and transforming the audience to see themselves in a different light, inspirational speaker, Trish Kendall brings candid stories, humor in the face of true hardship, simple lessons, compassion and love to all her speaking engagements. Follow her on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook and sign up for her newsletter for regular inspiration and wisdom regarding community building, belonging, choosing love, and enduring success.

If you’re ready to book Trish as your next keynote speaker or if you want to learn more about her story and her message, please reach out.


  1. Jode Lemmon on May 12, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    Trish, Thank you for sharing some of what you’ve been through. Although I’ve reflected on how things have influenced me, I had not specifically considered how my past relationships and experiences impact how I trust, or don’t, and am trustworthy, or not. But now that you mention it, it’s at the core of everything, isn’t it?

  2. Jode Lemmon on May 12, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    Trish, Thank you for sharing about this and how you’ve overcome. I hadn’t thought before about how trust, and specifically our past experiences with trust, is so integral in everything we do and the relationships we have.

    • Trish Kendall on May 16, 2022 at 11:32 am

      Thank you, Jode! I think about this with our clients or potential clients . . . that they have experiences which impact their ability and willingness to trust. That helps me stay grounded in doing the little things to earn their trust.

      I am so glad that our mutual friend and colleague, Vic, brought us together!

Leave a Comment