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Let me say right off the bat that the biggest barrier to prosperous self-employment is rampant suspicion.
Suspicion about people’s motives, integrity, intentions, ability, understanding, reliability, and more can leave the self employed person isolated, frustrated, and resource-less.
And everything we suspect about others we suspect about ourselves, sometimes to a greater degree. Which, since we’re our own bosses, can make work hellish.
In one fashion or another all the work I do could fall under the umbrella of “healing suspicion.”
Still, I say that if you aren’t suspicious you aren’t paying attention. And you really should pay attention, at least some of the time.
To reconcile all this, let’s look at what suspicion is and what it’s for.
Suspicion Is a Messenger
According to the Oxford American Dictionary, suspicion is:
1. a feeling or thought that something is possible, likely, or true.
2. a very slight trace of something.
Now, you wouldn’t get very far, you might not even get out of bed, without the “feeling or thought that something is possible, likely, or true.” And if you didn’t pay attention to very slight traces of something, you’d miss out on all kinds of good stuff.
The Difference Between the Messenger and the Message
The function of suspicion is to alert us to a possibility. Suspicion becomes a problem when we experience possibility as fact.
It’s perfectly reasonable to suspect that the stranger at the door is a solicitor. What’s not reasonable (and what can seriously impair your relationships with the neighbors) is to bark “We don’t want any” at the new neighbor who dropped by to introduce himself and drop off some cookies.
Suspicion is a signal that we should pay attention. Which is why I say, “If you aren’t suspicious, you aren’t paying attention.”
Two Kinds of Attention
When suspicion strikes, it’s natural to become vigilant, and vigilance is one way to pay attention.
But when the signal has been received, we need to decode the message. To do that, we need to shift from vigilance to inquiry.
Prolonged vigilance burns out our adrenals, produces chronic anxiety, and distorts perception. Oh, and it makes it very difficult to decode and evaluate the message.
What to Do?
The simplest way to shift from vigilance to inquiry is to ask a question: “Is this (person, organization, offer) trust-worthy?”
Of course, asking this question puts the burden of investigation and evaluation on you. It takes away the psychic barriers that protect us from action (and possible failure). It asks us to shift from being vigilant (this could be dangerous) to being responsible (response-able).
This week, when you sense suspicion, give yourself a moment to really notice it. (Greet the messenger.) Define what is up for examination, and ask “Is this (person, organization, offer) trust-worthy?
Let me know what you notice in the comments section of The Accidental Entrepreneurs Blog. http://www.mollygordon.com/blog
And check out the free teleclass described below. It’s all about how to get from suspicion to trust without losing your shirt. This information could have saved Bernie Madoff’s investors a lot of grief.
Free Trust Teleclass
Learn how to go from chronic suspicion to informed trust in this week’s free preview event for The Self Employment Telesummit. The class is called Authentic Trust:
How to Rely on Others Without Being Taken for a Ride, and it will be at noon Pacific time, 3pm Eastern time on Friday, June 5.
If you’re interested register even if you cannot attend. I’ll send you a link to the recording.