There is an unwritten rule that you have to have credibility in business before customers will give you their money.
Business coaches will tell you that if a client likes you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.
A lack of credibility has the opposite effect, which is why businesses spend a fortune on advertising and marketing, and why they also invest in training their staff, so that customers and clients can get to know them, like them, and trust them.
The same is true in any relationship, business or social. People with high credibility have strong, trusting, meaningful relationships. Those with low credibility have fleeting, untrustworthy, and meaningless relationships.
Think of credibility as your personal ‘credit rating’.
In finances, when you have a high credit rating, banks and other lending institutions consider you a low risk of default on your repayments and are more likely to lend you money.
On the contrary, if you have a low credit rating, you are considered a higher risk of default on your repayments and so banks and lending institutions are less likely to lend you money. Or if they do, at a higher interest rate.
Your personal credibility is linked to your personal ‘credit rating’. When others see you as credible, they lend you credit. Not necessarily in monetary or financial terms, but in relationship terms.
They want to be with you. They want to do things with you. They want to spend time with you.
Because that’s the most valuable thing anyone can do, give you their time.
If you’re not credible in another’s eyes, you will not be ‘worth their time’.
So the question is: Are you worth your time?
Do you have enough internal credibility to lend more time to yourself? Do you have enough ‘personal credit’ to pay more attention to who you are and what you want to become?
In other words, are you credible in your own eyes?
One way to boost your internal credibility and improve your ‘personal credit’ is to borrow the credibility formula from the world of business, which goes like this:
K + L + T = C
K is ‘know’, L is ‘like’, T is ‘trust’, and C is ‘credibility’.
This is how businesses raise their credibility in the marketplace. They advertise so that customers know who they are and what they sell. They focus on excellence of service and quality of product. They build trust by offering services and products that are reliable, timely, and fairly priced.
Putting all three together—know, like, trust—and credibility is the result. Credibility is just good business.
Likewise, when you put all three of these factors together, your credibility is raised in the eyes of others. When people know, like, and trust you, your personal credit rating is boosted. It’s just good business.
Even better, your self-approval skyrockets when you know, like, and trust yourself. Because when you give yourself credibility, you tap into an endless credit of joy, confidence, and well-being.
Let’s now discuss these three essential factors of personal credibility:
- Know Thyself.
- Like Thyself.
- Trust Thyself.
K: Know Thyself
The Ancient Greeks emphasised the importance of ‘knowing thyself’.
In fact, so great was this belief in self-knowledge that Socrates, the father of Greek philosophy, famously opined:
The unexamined life is not worth living.
Self-knowledge is the core of personal growth and self-development. Growth and development—evolution—is life’s essential nature, which in a nutshell is ‘change’.
When you grow and develop—evolve—you are aligned with, and in harmony with, your natural state, which is change.
Personal evolution is personal transformation. It’s becoming that which you intend to be.
But for that to happen you must embrace your true nature and deliberately and intentionally grow, expand, change.
You must evolve.
You must embrace who you are, not deny who you are. You must be like water and ‘go with the flow’, not resist who you are and become stationary. You must know yourself, not ignore yourself.
That which stagnates invariably ages, decays, and dies before its time.
- Your awareness.
- Your behaviours.
- Your fears and needs.
- Your strengths.
These are just some of the aspects of yourself you can begin to investigate and get to know, get to ‘realise’, who you really are—the self behind your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.
For that’s precisely what ‘knowing thyself’ is, self-realisation:
The realisation of your true self, the self that has hitherto been hidden and unknown and is now being made aware and known.
- Your higher intelligence.
- Your ‘I am’.
- Your beliefs.
- Your unconditional love.
- Your limitless and eternal soul.
For instance, you have many family and relationship roles in which you are a son/daughter, mother/father, brother/sister, cousin, friend, mentor, husband/wife/partner, aunty/uncle, grandmother/grandfather, and so forth.
But these relationship roles are what you do within the context of family, they are not the ‘who’ behind what you do. They are only a label describing your current experience, not the ‘you’ that is experiencing this current role.
As we mentioned before, you can’t do without being, but you can be without doing.
As such, our labels are self-limiting—they limit the definition of who you are to a designation.
But you are more than a designation. Your labels change when circumstances change, so they are only temporary and therefore cannot define who you really are, because you are not temporary.
You are the permanent experiencer of all your experiences.
When you were a child you had a label of son or daughter, sister or brother. You were not labelled as a mother or father, wife or husband.
Those labels came later in life, added on to your definition of you and what you now do.
But the ‘you’ experiencing these new labels didn’t change. The essence of who you are remained the same and still remains the same, no matter what new labels you pin to your chest.
When you focus on who you are being, you will notice that you are the same ‘you’ in each and every role that you play in life.
Let’s use my current roles as an example:
-> Family & Relationships: son, brother, grandson, father, husband, cousin, friend.
-> Career & Work: transformational coach, writer, publisher, author, speaker, mentor, volunteer, workshop presenter, business owner, entrepreneur, employer.
-> Money & Finances: wage earner, investor, homeowner, car owner, budget keeper, ‘Daddy bank’.
-> Health & Wellbeing: 50’s, regular gym attendee, no major health issues, omnivore, non-smoker.
-> Learning & Education: university-educated, post-graduate certificates, digital marketing, business development, editing and proofreading.
-> Fun & Adventure: traveller, golfer, cricket lover, football fan, beachgoer.
-> Spirituality & Ethics: meditator, spiritual pilgrim, Christian, truth seeker, lover of life.
These are just some of the many labels I pin to my chest, but they are not ‘me’ per se. These labels keep changing as I pass through various life stages. They are just what I am currently experiencing in my conscious reality at this moment.
I haven’t always been a father or a husband or a writer. I was once a school student, and later a medical student at university, and then a doctor.
That was then, but this is now, and in the future I hope to wear the label of grandfather and international speaker and bestselling author.
But no matter which label I wear in the past, present, or future, I am still the same ‘me’.
I am that which is aware of the roles I play and the labels I wear.
I am that which is conscious of the conditions in which I am living out this life here on Earth.
I am aware of my thoughts. I am aware of my emotions. I am aware of my body. I am aware of the people, places, things, and events happening ‘outside’ of me.
And I am aware of my awareness of these things.
Awareness is who I am. It’s who you are too. You are in this world but not of it.
You are consciousness itself.
There are no limits to your awareness, the only limits are that which you choose to be aware of. The only limits are the conditions upon which you choose to focus.
When you focus your awareness on things—thoughts, emotions, impulses, beliefs, conditions, events, time—you infuse your sense of self into that thing’s form and it becomes your experience.
But when you focus on your unlimited awareness, that too will be your experience—limitless being.
The focus of your attention, therefore, is the means by which you stop being a flea in the flea circus and start living a life of fulfilled potential. It’s how you go beyond your limits.
It’s how you get to truly know thyself.
L: Like Thyself
The next part of the credibility equation is to like yourself.
Do you like yourself? Do you like who you’ve become? If you could somehow go to a party and meet yourself for the first time, would you like this person you’ve just met?
Frances Scovel Shinn, author of the bestselling book, The Game of Life and How to Play It, said this about the importance of liking yourself in a compilation of her works, The Power of the Spoken Word: Teachings of Frances Scovel Shinn:
The first start toward success is to be glad you are yourself. So many people are bored by themselves. They have no self-reliance, and they are always wishing they were somebody else.
So many people trip themselves up on the road to success because they don’t like who they are. They are not glad they are themselves. They are not happy in their own skin.
We all know or have heard of so-called successful millionaires who are miserly and miserable. Despite their outward success, they are deeply unhappy.
No matter how many houses and cars they own, no matter how much money they have, no matter how much others think they are ‘worth’, they still feel incomplete and of little or no inner value.
This is because they are trying to do the impossible—they are trying to create inside what they have created on the outside.
This is the real ‘mission impossible’ they have tasked themselves, to achieve happiness through external possession.
They are trying to be happy through ‘getting stuff’ or ‘doing stuff’. The more stuff they get or do, they reason, the more they’ll be happy.
They are trying to control their inner world and sense of worth through the control of external conditions and events.
This they keep striving to achieve for years, even decades. Even a whole lifetime. But it’s all to no avail because no-one and no-thing can make you feel happy about yourself, only you can.
Only you can reveal yourself to yourself. External events, people, places, things, money, can certainly act as a mirror to reflect what’s going on inside you.
But you can’t experience yourself through a reflection in a mirror. The reflection is not you. The image, any image, is not you. It can’t be.
You are that which experiences the reflection, and to lose your sense of self in the mirror is to forget who it is that is creating the reflection.
It is to forget who you truly are. It is to forget your natural state of joy, peace, and freedom—to forget your abundant self.
There are, of course, happy millionaires, but they aren’t happy because of the value of their assets, they are happy because they are happy with who they are.
They know they are not the reflection in the mirror. They know their money and possessions do not define them.
They know that circumstances and conditions do not make them who they are, but instead reveal who they are.
Success and happiness, contrary to what society will tell you, has more to do with who you are being than what you have or what you are doing. Abundance is internal, not external.
The experience of abundance is simply an expression of being happy and feeling successful irrespective of your external conditions and circumstances.
Any material abundance—money, possessions, social status, positions of power—that you may attain are secondary to how glad you are being yourself, of how rich your life feels internally.
Successful people aren’t happy because of what they have, they are happy because of who they are.
Therefore, in order to like yourself more, to be glad you are yourself and to give yourself the best start toward success, you must endeavour to know thyself and to become your best friend.
You must treat yourself exactly as you would treat your best friend, with kindness, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, humour, assistance, non-judgement, generosity, love.
T: Trust Thyself
Now that you have gotten to know yourself better and to like yourself more, the remaining part of the credibility equation is to trust yourself.
For many people, however, distrust is more often the norm. Not just the distrust of others, but the distrust of themselves.
In fact, the underlying reason why people distrust others is because they actually don’t trust themselves. They project their own misgivings about themselves onto others. They think everyone else is just like them, untrustworthy.
When we find it hard to trust ourselves, it’s only natural that extending trust to others is an even greater hurdle. The seeds of doubt we sow within ourselves tend to grow into weeds of mistrust when dealing with external relationships.
But if you can’t rely on your own judgement, how can you possibly trust the judgements of those around you?
If you can’t trust yourself, how on Earth are you going to trust somebody else?
- When you give yourself credibility, you tap into an endless credit of joy, confidence, and well-being.
- Self-knowledge is the catalyst for personal evolution.
- The first start toward success is to be glad you are yourself.
- Successful people aren’t happy because of what they have, they are happy because of who they are.