LIFE LESSONS OF A HEADHUNTER: The 3 Irrefutable Laws of Trusting Relationships

Trusting Relationships

Our greatest good in life can only be realized when we are in trusting relationships.

I recently had an acquaintance respond to a favour I had asked of him about a month ago. He’s a brilliant business man who I have watched and respect very much for his razor sharp mind, and even more for his natural affinity for connecting and building meaningful relationships with people.

And he’s not the only one to step forward . In fact many people have helped me in my business and personal life, yet asking has never come easily for me.

“I don’t see these things as risks — I see them as trust. … But the perfect tools can’t help us if we can’t face each other, and give and receive fearlessly — but, more importantly, to ask without shame.”
– Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk, The Art of Asking

Asking makes you vulnerable.

Trusting relationships is front and centre to my realizing my greatest good, then my allegiance to self-reliance must be the opposite to trust, or at the very least a bad habit that gets in the way. More than a habit, self-reliance is a much needed survival skill that I learned at a very early age. One that has also served me well as an entrepreneur, but offers little value when crossing over to becoming the servant leader that I aspire to be.

Regardless of why I do or don’t have an issue with trust in others, or elsewhere for that matter, what I do know is that if I don’t learn to walk the walk, i.e., change my perceptions on the inside about what is going on in the outside, then my world will continue to revolve around my self interest…a very small world indeed.

If relationships are built on trust, what is trust built on? 

Here are My 3 Irrefutable Laws on Building Trust:

1. When we do what we say we’re going to do, show up when we say we are going to show up, and stand accountable for when we can’t, we reinforce to those we are in a relationship with that we can be relied upon.  That builds trust.

2. When our actions are consistently in alignment with our values, we tell others that we are who we say we are.  That builds trust.

3. When we care enough to actively listen and to respond in love and truth, we are assuring those we are in relationship with that we deeply care about their greater good. That builds ultimate trust.

Trusting relationships are built on truth in communicating, articulating our needs and wants, being who we say we are and more importantly, actively listening to the needs of others and acting in the best interest of all parties.

Where to begin?

I have an amazing business coach in my life, Lorraine Richmond, who affirms with me regularly: “It all starts with knowing who you are, and what your Why is, Barbara.“

That’s was my homework from Lorraine last week, to find the words to articulate My Why to dig down and to really get at what is most important to me when I rise in the morning to go to work. My goal? To stand back with absolute certainty and say “Yep, that’s exactly who I am, as a person, a friend, a lover, a daughter, a headhunter.

Here is My Why:

I love connecting people and opportunities so that real potential can be actualized, where values, motives, and purpose are rightly aligned between two people, the sweet spot, where businesses and careers flourish.

This is most assuredly a work in progress, yet a a solid foundation for the guiding principles at work in support of My Stand.

What does this have to do with your workplace? 

David Williams says it best in his Forbes article, The Most Valuable Business Commodity: Trust, “Employees who remain in one place (physically and emotionally) will grow weary.” He adds, “A healthy organization is full of people who:

  • Are loyal to one another. They keep their word and honor their journey.
  • Never judge — seek first to understand.
  • Laugh with (not at) others.
  • Take issues directly to the source. They don’t talk behind others’ backs.
  • Express genuine appreciation up, down, and across their organizational structure.
  • Help others with critical tasks. You don’t hear, “That’s not my job” in a successful organization. You hear, “We’re in this together.”
  • Recognize that people aren’t problems—problems are problems. People who have been hurt sometimes turn around and hurt other people. They need to see beyond the hurt and help others instead.
  • Smile frequently. People should leave work better and happier than when they arrived.
  • Don’t start sentences or thoughts with, “What’s in it for me?” but with, “How can I serve you?”

Speaking of trust, that fellow I asked the favor from?

Over lunch I asked him if he would be interested in helping with my new business plan. I then perceived,  and chose to let myself hear, that he wasn’t interested. So I didn’t push it. Thankfully he did.

The other day he called and said he’d like to meet up to get the ball rolling – to help me put a fantastic new business plan together for my headhunter service. What I find truly amazing? I had completely forgotten about it, but he remembered and is truly interested.

Is he actively building  trusting relationships? See my law #3 above.

Now comes more homework from Lorraine this week, to write down my guiding principles. Not to be cast in concrete but to shore up my My Why, principles that will ensure Ashton & Associates Recruiting upholds the values that are essential for my team to deliver on Our Collective Why.

What about you? I would love to have you share your stand, your comments and your feedback.

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Additional resources you might want to explore in finding Your Why:

Workbook:  Be a Stand compliments of Peter Comrie and the team at Full Spectrum Leadership

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

A Return to Love: Reflections on A Course in Miracles by Marianne Williamson

The Values Blueprint – For Values Driven Leaders


On Business and Executive Coaching

In today’s world, everyone needs as much help as they can get. If you haven’t done so already, you may want to start building that trusting relationship with a coach right now. Here are two of my mentors, coaches, business associates, and alliance partners at Ashton Associates Recruiting: Lorraine RichmondPeter Comrie and Janice Otremba


Learn more about us and what’s behind hiring right people.

Barbara Ashton is the President and Founder of Ashton & Associates Recruiting.

Ashton & Associates Recruiting… Kamloops Headhunter, Kelowna Headhunter
Placing Powerful People. Every Time.


Ashton & Associates Recruiting leads the social recruiting and executive search industry. We also have an expert team of human resource associates available to meet all your day to day HR needs:

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This post has been approved for public release by Barbara Ashton. All certified posts carry this Google Authorship link to Google.