Building connections with other people is a fundamental aspect of what it means to be human. Whether you are talking with a friend, parent, sister or brother, or even your grocer at the local market, in order to engage in real conversation, you have to have some kind of mutual trust. Conceptually speaking, getting another person to trust you might seem like an easy feat. But in reality, earning someone’s trust is far more complex. So much of what our team does here at Atlanta Divorce Law Group relies on our ability to develop meaningful relationships with clients that are based on trust, honesty, and respect. In fact, earning our clients’ trust early on helps us understand what success looks like for them — and the sooner we can understand that, the quicker we can help them reach it.
While one could argue that good character is innate and cannot be learned, being a trustworthy and dependable person and exuding those characteristics to others requires attention and effort. For this reason, my team and I made the trek to Sojourn Adventures and spent an entire day focusing on the concept of trust. We spent time discussing our own definitions, deliberating the ways in which trust is earned, and acknowledging the struggle required to gain it back once it has been lost. We talked about ways we build and maintain trust among our team members, a process that, in turn, helps us to develop trust with our clients. In the end, we determined that the two major requirements for trust to exist are having honest conversations and fulfilling promises.
Then, we took a more tangible (and frightening) approach by testing our ability to trust each other and ourselves. With our stomachs turning, we climbed to the top of a 40-foot zip line and prepared ourselves for a huge leap. Even though every single one of us was terrified of heights, we didn’t want to let the rest of the team down. With a little ambition and a lot of encouragement from teammates, all 13 of us were able to face our fears and make the jump.
While the zip line was primarily an exercise in facing fears and building bonds, the experience taught us so more much about the importance of showing vulnerability. I would be lying if I said that being vulnerable with others is easy. And it would certainly be false to claim that being vulnerable with yourself is easy. But when clients come to us during times when they are undergoing serious changes, our ability to be open and honest with them helps us forge authentic and mutually helpful professional relationships. By being vulnerable with them, we can foster a secure environment in which they feel comfortable sharing their priorities, their dreams, and their goals with us.
One example of honest conversation occurs when parents trust us with their feelings regarding custody negotiations. Not every parent feels equipped to handle the responsibility associated with 50/50 custody schedules. Some feel more comfortable with weekend visits. But due to moral or cultural obligations, they might feel compelled to claim that they want more. This doesn’t equate to neglectful parenting, and it definitely doesn’t warrant judgment from us. If our team can show these clients enough support that they feel comfortable admitting their needs, then we can get them closer to what success really looks like for them as a parent.
We understand that being honest about difficult topics is definitely easier said than done. But in the same way that my team and I had to trust ourselves as we climbed to the top of that zip line, we ask that you trust yourself in your ability to make informed decisions for you and your family — and to trust us to help you in that process. Whether you are trembling at the top of a 40-foot drop-off or making life-altering relationship decisions, the only thing you have to worry about is the jump itself. We’ll help you find your wings on the way down.
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