After watching Lance with Oprah this past week, it made me consider not just the value of being able to trust other people, but, more importantly, the value of other people being able to trust me.

Now that the anticipation is over and the interview has aired, the virtually unanimous decision from everyone — viewers, pundits, bloggers, friends and neighbours — is that Lance Armstrong can’t be trusted. Period. It appeared that the first time Lance had even considered this reality was during the interview. And only when Oprah brought up his kids.

In that moment, Lance seemed to realize that he had profoundly disappointed his kids. He talked about telling his son that he had to stop defending him to others because the rumours were true. He told his kids how to handle other kids taunting them about their dad in the school hallways. After two hours of almost emotionless detachment, Lance actually got choked up. Perhaps it was in that moment that Lance thought to himself, “My kids now know that I can’t be trusted.”

Trust is an essential value of being a parent simply because it’s an essential value for living a successful life. Our individual success depends on other people being able to trust us. We need to be trusted to deliver on our promises, to be dependable in both thought and action, to respect confidences and be the person that we’ve led other people to believe we are.

If people don’t have trust in us, be it our spouses and families or co-workers, teammates, bosses, clients and friends, then our lives will be greatly limited. People who can’t be trusted lose out on opportunities and relationships that could otherwise contribute to a spectacular life.

Like most of us, I live a life that relies on being trusted. As a communications and engagement consultant, clients trust me to deliver on my promises and trust my experience, advice and recommendations. My kids trust me to deliver on my commitments to them, which allow them to enjoy healthy, secure childhoods that hopefully result in healthy, secure adulthoods. My spouse, my friends and my family trust me with their secrets and their successes, knowing that I’ll respect whatever confidences they share. They trust that I can be trusted.

The trust placed in me by others has resulted in some of the most profoundly wonderful experiences of my life. And that has value — immense value. Lance Armstrong still has something close to $125 million in the way of personal wealth. I wonder what value he places on that now in comparison to what he’s lost.

We can’t buy trust. We must earn it, foster it and protect it as a thing of priceless value. I can’t imagine my life without it. How about you?

~ Maureen Douglas, CPF-IAF

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