It’s a Matter of Trust

She knew the woman for years, they shared dreams, consoled each other and celebrated together. She explained that while she still had affection for the woman she could no longer be in relationship with the woman because she could no longer trust the woman.
Her reaction and her pledge to abandon years of friendship, made me pause in deep reflection and ask myself, “Do I trust others? Do I need to be trusted?”

Do I trust others?

I release you from the expectation that you have to live up to my trust. My trust is not a badge of honour for you to wear. I remove from you the burden of being trusted. You do not have to jump through hoops to earn my trust, you do not have to keep proving that you deserve my trust. I lighten your burden, as I do mine. I no longer have to decide whom to trust or whom not to trust. I free myself from searching for evidence of whether or not you should be trusted. I am unfettered by the ramifications of broken trust.
You are free to be who you want, do what you want and say what you want in relation to me. Your words and actions will have consequences.

Do I need to be trusted?

I have released myself from needing your blessing of being trusted. I no longer genuflect at the altar of your trust, waiting for you to bestow the magic words, “I trust you.” I am unfettered, I am free.  I free you from judging my actions, looking keenly to see if I meet the trust standard. You now have one less task. I do not need or want you to trust me. I want you to relate to me. I am free to be who I want, do what I want and say what I want in relation to you. My words and actions will have consequences.

What about trust?

I trust myself. The trust that I place in myself is universal – it is  vested in all of us. This trust is in you too. You do not have to trust me, you need to trust yourself. And as you trust you and as I trust me our interconnected-ness grows and our humanity expands.

Trusting others

When we place our trust in others, we are putting our internal on the external. We weaken our connection to  self. We ask others to care for something that only holds true value to us. When we make demands to trust others we are also asking them to give up valuable bits of themselves.

Broken Trust

When our trust is broken, the hurt is deep, because we suffer an internal wound. When our trust is broken it takes a long time to heal, because it is an internal wound. When our trust is broken we feel unsure and it takes a while to recover because we have betrayed ourselves.


I believe that we are all interconnected as human beings. My trust is for me, as yours is for you. When I trust myself and you trust yourself, all the rest will fall in place.

Tell me, whom do you trust?

Maxine Attong is an Organisational Development Consultant, author and coach. If you enjoyed this post, please share with you colleagues, friends and network

(Featured image by Good Morning Quotes)

God in the work I do

Feedback from KF  “I enjoyed reading your ten tips and am very happy to see the commitment to ensuring that your spirituality is not separate . Very inspirational.”

This comment resonated deeply with me. When I’m speaking in general terms I replace the word God with Higher Power or the Universe to be inclusive and acknowledge that readers have different points of reference and beliefs.  When I speak of myself and my belief, then I use the word God, because that’s what I believe.
A few years ago, I would not have used the word God. It has taken a whole lot of bravery and some self talk to write the word, and in doing so make the declaration. It is not that I am by any means religious. I know a handful of prayers, even fewer biblical quotes and I don’t regularly attend church services. Yet I truly believe in God.
There was a time I thought that to talk about God while talking business was taboo, a bit bush and plain unscientific. As an accountant, I worked with numbers – numbers have no mystery, they are not fickle, the answer is always certain without any doubt. They are tangible evidence of decisions made and actions taken, and I could control the bottom line.  I would discourage any God talk, reject all chain letters and quickly exit the room when vocal religious or bible quoting persons entered the room.
As I developed my life’s vision and my orientation shifted to people, I saw a change in my belief system.

How can I enhance the lives of others if I do not believe in something bigger, more powerful than I?

How can I help people achieve their dreams if I don’t trust that there is an endless supply for all of us?

How can I assist others to trust their innate intelligence and creativity if I don’t have faith in love?

In working with people I have learnt a deep appreciation for the good and intangible being that provides the energy and wisdom for me to do the work that I do – and that for me is God.
And so with this new belief, I’ve learnt to listen to clients with my heart, to feel in my body what they feel, to follow their spirits as they soar and as they dip and to be honest and kind when giving feedback. This is not magic, this comes from me knowing and acknowledging  that I am not in control, that there is more to life than what I can see and feel, that there is a power that loves me, fuels me and gives me all that I need.

How do you see God/ Higher Power/ Universe in the work that you do? #Godworks

P.S. I still reject chain letters, avoid bible quoters and don’t enter into God talks that don’t celebrate the humanity of and in others

Maxine Attong is the author of two business books – Change or Die – The Business Process Improvement Manual and Lead your Team to Win. She is a speaker, coach, Organisational Development consultant and of course an accountant.


Protect your vision

Feedback from CK – Protecting your vision resonated with me,

Ever watch something grow? Think of a foetus in its mother’s womb, or a caterpillar in its cocoon, or a seed that is buried below the warm earth.  These things take shape in the dark, with no light, away from prying eyes.  In the dark they feed and receive the care they need to grow until they are ready – the baby is born, the butterfly emerges and the first seedling sprouts above the ground.

This miraculous process of creation is repeated daily for us to learn from it.

Your vision is your baby, crafted in your heart, brought to fruition in your mind and it needs nurturing and darkness to grow. The first trimester of a pregnancy is fragile, the cocoon hangs precariously from the bottom of a leaf, and many planted seeds never grow. Give your vision a chance to grow in the dark.  Let it roll around the recesses of your mind, let it resonate in your heart and check that it makes your heart sing. Give it the love it needs to grow and when it is ready to emerge it will.

Just as a baby who emerges before its full term can be in a precarious position, so too with your unformed Vision.  Putting it out there before you are fully confident about it, may leave it gasping for breath and you may never be able to resuscitate it.

Figuring out your vision is an exciting moment. When I knew that my Vision was to “enhance the lives of others” I felt energised and I wanted to tell everyone. After the first barrage of questions, I froze because I had no idea how to bring my vision to fruition. That made me feel like a fraud because while the words sounded good I had no action to back it up. I had to listen to my heart, dig deep to reboot my confidence that this vision was for me.  I then spent time understanding how to translate my vision to action … and that took some doing.

Your vision is important, its what you were put here to do, protect it, grow it, nurture it until you are confident that it can face the elements around you.

You know the people around you – the ones who can care a small baby, the ones who will not tamper with the cocoon and the ones who would wet and fertilise the planted seed..  These are the people who you can risk sharing the vision with before it is fully formed – and it is a risk.

The job of protecting your vision is not done when it is fully formed, or when it is  shared with those around you. The seedling and the baby both need care to come to fruition. Your vision will be challenged through out the course of your life.  Events, self doubt, priorities, finances, children. relationships, health and other issues  may threaten your vision at any point in time.  Your job – protect it at all costs.

How would you protect your vision?

Maxine Attong is the author of two business books – Change or Die – The Business Process Improvement Manual and Lead your Team to Win. She is a Keynote Speaker,  Executive Coach, Organisational Development consultant and of course an Accountant.

Kathleen Driscoll writes about the safe space

Employees won’t offer new ideas without feeling safe
Managers at Work
Rochester Business Journal
August 7, 2015
“Our team is under great pressure to ‘innovate’ these days but I’m having some difficulty getting the team engaged. Many of them have no regard for senior management and feel their ideas will be ignored or ridiculed. I think we have good rapport on this team, but it’s been obvious from our meetings that our team members don’t trust senior managers at all. What can I do to help generate new ideas and get them past this?”

Yes, innovation has become the big ubiquitous buzzword. “As professionals, we’re continually reminded that we live in an innovation economy requiring self-styled careers of the sort trumpeted in executive education programs, TED talks and self-help best sellers,” wrote Matthew Wisnioski in the January edition of Spectrum, the online journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

“No mere buzzword, ‘innovation’ generates excitement about working on the front lines of the future—as well as suspicion about the motives of those uttering this management speak,” he wrote.

It is one thing to embrace a buzzword, but it’s quite another to develop the culture, the resources and the strategy to make innovation a reality. “Leaders hoping to boost their ability to drive growth through innovation need to simultaneously direct it strategically, pursue it rigorously, resource it intensively, monitor it methodically and nurture it carefully,” wrote the authors of a June Harvard Business Review article called “The Six Most Common Innovation Mistakes Companies Make.”

But innovation requires taking risks—and if employees believe they can’t take the risk that goes with proposing new ideas, then you have a big challenge on your hands. “Anyone who has ever been in a classroom or company meeting knows the potential risk of making an out-of-the-box statement which could be seen as silly, frivolous or ignorant—or a groundbreaking insight,” says Maxine Attong, a consultant and author of a new book called “Lead Your Team to Win: Achieve Optimal Performance by Providing a Safe Space for Employees.”

What they don’t have is a sense of safety, she says, and that is what you might want to work on. Think about how you can set up a boundary between your team and senior management to help these employees become more engaged in their work and help them feel safe enough to propose new ideas.

“They (the team members) are caught in a dichotomy between ‘what I want and how I am being treated’ vs. what the organization wants, Attong says. “They need to move out of that dichotomy and take personal responsibility for their career, their work and their options.

“If the team is in a position where they don’t trust senior management, then quite possibly they don’t trust you either,” Attong says.

As a leader, you can’t control their feelings about senior management, she says. But you can give them a “safe space” to vent about the issues. “They need to get it off their chests. The only way to get rid of it is to vent it,” she says.

And that would be the first step you could take to help them create a space where the team does not feel judged. The leader, then, becomes a kind of buffer and safety net. “People will take risks if they know there’s a net there,” Attong says.

It will take some one-on-one discussions with each team member to build it out further. “These one-on-ones would give you an understanding of what their passions are and what drives them,” Attong says.

Sometimes these conversations involve asking team members what they really want out of their jobs and careers and how they want others to think about them. If you can in some way connect their interests and passions to something they do at work, then you’ll see more engagement, she says.

In some cases, you might learn that a team member is not engaged at all and won’t be engaged no matter what you do. In that case, they should be encouraged to go elsewhere. “I prefer that rather than motivating someone whose heart is not there,” she says.

Many will respond, however. If they feel really safe around you—and know that you’re behind them—then you’ll begin to see some new ideas. “Trust is essential,” Attong says. “No one is coming into that room unless they trust you.”

So, when ideas are brought to senior management, then you stand with your team in receiving the praise or the criticism. “This is about shared responsibility, not throwing team members under the bus,” she says, noting that you’re sharing responsibility, not leadership.

In this role, you will need to be a good listener—without judging—and someone who protects team members’ confidentiality. “You must be positive toward people so they feel you are really interested in them,” Attong says.

When you have a truly safe space, team members actually look forward to work. They are more likely to keep their egos in check and are open to exploring ideas. “Innovation is fun. It doesn’t have to be scary,” she says.

All this is a big commitment, but when the team embraces the ‘safe space’ concept, you will find that your team will be more engaged and your work will become more manageable. “Trust can be built if you have made a commitment to build it,” Attong says.

Managers at Work is a monthly column exploring the issues and challenges facing managers. Contact Kathleen Driscoll with questions or comments by phone at (585)249-9295 or by e-mail at

Maxine Attong is the author of two business books – Change or Die – The Business Process Improvement Manual and Lead your Team to Win. She is a Keynote Speaker,  Executive Coach, Organisational Development consultant and of course an Accountant.

Saying No

She wanted to get it done right then and right there. I was hesitant,“This does not feel right.” I saw the annoyance flash across her face, “What happened to Just Do It? This is what we were waiting for. Why are you changing your mind?” I knew that it made no sense explaining, and I was unsure that I could. The decision felt forced, unnatural and nothing felt right. I got off the chair and exited her office, with fear nipping at my ankles.
A few weeks later, the timing was right and I agreed to the same decision. The outcome was perfect. I did not gloat “I told you so” I was too busy basking in the success.
Later she came to me, “Now I understand what you meant. I thought that you were going against all that you preached about taking chances and being proactive. I realize now how different the results would have been if we did it back then.” I was happy that she understood and we were finally back on the same page.
I said “No” because it did not feel right. It was a tough No because I knew that it would seem that I had chickened out or that I was changing my tune. I knew that the No would result in a loss of confidence in me and some questioning of my character. No could be a signal of weakness, an inability to act or make a decision or worse – it could mean that I am an absolute fake.
Yet I said it. I trusted myself and accepted that I may stand alone in that trust. I took a huge risk and was lucky that it worked out.
Trusting in myself is terrifying since in the moment there seems to be so much to lose. The gain is in the long term as every No makes it easier to say another No. People begin to trust my No and I don’t have to justify or defend it. Saying No does not subvert my optimistic nature, in fact, it protects it.
Saying No is only about me. It’s me trusting myself, standing up and speaking up by myself, for myself. It is a testimony of how much I believe in me.

What does your No mean?


I stopped making resolutions years ago, so I made none this year. Instead of making promises that I don’t keep I have been focussing on themes each year. This year, thus far I have had no thoughts on what to work on. As a result, I have not been writing since I wanted no surprises when I started writing.
Tonight, my friend who shares the same birthday as me ( Jan 4) sent me five questions
1) What worked in 2014 that’s worth bringing into 2015?
2) What would you like to experiment with to get you to the next level in 2015?
3) What changes need to be made for you to see what you want to see happen in 2015?
4) What does a successful 2015 look like?
5) In other words… what would you like to say you are most proud of at the end of 2015?

My answers
1) I want to bring connecting with people into 2015
2) I would like to experiment with meditation, getting still and listening to the Universe. I want to be led and not take control.
3)I need to take more risk, be more honest with myself and stay in awareness
4) A successful 2015 sees me connected with men and women. I am not in control and I trust and surrender to the Universe
5) I will be most proud of my meditation practice and my ability to surrender and the awe that I feel about the abundance of the Universe.

What are your answers to the five questions? Please share them with me.

Terry Ann weighs in on Lead Your Team To Win – 5 stars

A new review of my book – Lead Your Team To Win – was posted on Amazon today. See below Terry Ann Wilson gives Lead Your Team To Win – 5 Stars

I purchased this book as I was intrigued by the questions posed to readers in the synopsis. I was keen to find out the author’s approach on bringing out the best of your team, not to mention I was curious about the Safe Space approach. I wanted to find out more about it and how it worked.

I have been going through the book slowly in order to make my notes and fully extract the points from each chapter.

It has been easy to read and easy to follow from chapter to chapter. The author has been able to capture her ideas and experiences and transfer these so that the reader is able to extract them. The author provides a conclusion at the end of each chapter so as to summarise the thoughts discussed throughout which helps to crystalise the learnings from it.

It is clear that the author is genuinely interested in the development of people and provides clear guidance on how to do this through the various experiences related with her team. She does not advocate micro managing people but states the value of follow up to bringing about success.

I particularly enjoyed reading the chapter on Decision Making as it highlighted that we as leaders are the reason why our team members are incapable of making decisions

The author carefully articulates people need “to feel safe so that they can speak, question, state concerns and challenge the status quo”, in order to give off their best; they should be treated with respect. As leaders we need to provide that environment of trust and communication

Whilst there are some aspects of the author’s approach you may not agree with, overall it is an excellent book and one which will have you examining yourself, the way you do things and how you can make changes for improvement.

There are parts of the book which left me shaking my head in agreement or reflecting on some action I had taken in the past and how I can improve for the future.

I would recommend this book not only to anyone who leads teams and is seeking to bring out the best in their team but to anyone who has to manage or work with people.

I have since purchased two additional books to share with my teams leaders
As posted on Amazon by Terry Ann Wilson.

Did you read the book yet? If so can you post a review on Amazon. Thanks!

Smokes and Mirrors – Blog 99

Life is all mirrors and smokes. I thought that redecorating the house was about my ability to manage money and being precise in budgeting.  It so was not.

This has been about relationships.  Everyone who walked through my doors for the last week was a complete stranger.  The decorators recommended them and because I trusted the decorators I extended my trust to their contractors.  The relationship that I built with the decorators manifested in the relationships I developed with all the people who walked through the door.  Connections beget connections.  Now I have access to contractors that I did not have before.

It also was about asking for help.  Sometimes I could not leave work to meet a contractor so I had to ask others for help.  I had to rely on others and work with their schedules.  At times this meant that I made no decisions about the times that contractors could access to the house.  It did not hurt but it is something that I never considered since I am a do it myself type of person.

All of this meant that I had to trust people.  Trust that they would do as they say, show up when they say and give me a job that I would be happy with.  I was blind and had to be lead through the process.

I had to surrender.  The schedule was off, life happened and things did not go as planned.  I had no control over anything that happened.  When the painters were late I could not make them come early, when the delivery guy showed up an hour later I still had to pay him for the service.  I learnt something more about money.  I am an accountant so I thought that I could budget this thing to the last dollar.  My budget was completely off and the cost kept growing, yet the money kept showing up for the payments.

Tonight I am happy with the work that was done.  Still one or two things left to do which will be completed by the weekend.

The rest of the work is deferred to 2015, since at this time of year workmen are all booked up in advance for the Christmas season.  So I am also marveling at how lucky I am to have gotten the services without much delays or fuss.

I will reboot the work in the new year with a few changes.  I am not doing a budget, I have a general idea how much it will cost and that is it.  I will accept that I have no control and let things happen as they happen and  I will get some help so that someone else can open the house for the contractors.  New year, new attitude.

Looking forward to see how that works out.

As I Am Created – Blog 90

I spent the last hour of yesterday watching the sun set. It was just me standing on Grand Anse beach, hearing the waves, the occasional bird call, spending the last of the day with the sky as it displayed its color.
As I watched, I wondered, “Where was all that fuss coming from yesterday? What did I really want to control?” As I stood on the beach marveling at the sunset, I relented, I am human and I crave control. I want to matter, I want to make a splash like the last wave that rolled in, I want to flash brilliant colour across the sky so that everyone can be amazed by my splendor. I want to show up everyday as magnificent. I want to be like the amazing Universe, and sadly at times when i struggle to control I am really competing with it.

As soon as I said it I knew the truth. I was not created to control, hence the reason that notion increases my anxiety. I was created to be as I am. I am graced with a purpose. There is no need to wonder if I matter, because I already do. I don’t have to flash color, I enhance whatever I touch. I don’t need to astonish anyone I was created amazing. There is nothing that I can do that will make me more than I am.
As I stood before the wonder of the sunset on the vastness of the beach I knew it all.
No need to be in control, I am all that I need, I have all that I need and the universe has provided everything just for me.
The trick is to remember.

What were you created to be?