5 Ways for Ambitious People to Build Trust

June 16, 2022

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader, a solopreneur, or a volunteer organizer, trust is foundational to success. Businesses are built on trust. Initiatives are started through trust. Trust is an absolute necessity for making progress—for reaching higher and going farther.

Part of the reason trust is so integral to success is because we can’t do everything on our own. As a purposeful hustler, you’re ambitious and probably inclined to take on too much work on your own. But the fact is, you can’t grow a business or start a volunteer initiative if you’re the only one behind the wheel. You can’t expand your influence if you only trust yourself to do the heavy lifting. As the saying goes, “It takes a village.”

Trust is not only necessary for building a team, but also for boosting morale and increasing productivity. Harvard Business Review found that people working in “high-trust companies” reported 50 percent higher productivity, 76 percent more engagement, and an incredible 106 percent more energy at work. And what about consumer trust? A recent study found that 49 percent of consumers began making purchases at a company because they felt they could trust it.

It's clear that trust is essential on many levels. It’s also true that trust can’t be developed over night, but needs to be built brick by brick. How can you begin to earn others’ trust? Try these 5 methods:

1. Let Go

If you’re like many purposeful hustlers, you’re probably a perfectionist. You have a certain vision for how you want something done, and you work your you-know-what off to get there. But sometimes you have to let others take the reins. Frankly, you can’t do everything yourself and, at times, you’ll need to relinquish control.

When you ask an individual or team to undertake a task, do your best to step back and not micromanage. Trust others to deliver. It’s possible they’ll approach the project differently than you would have, but that’s okay! It’s possible they’ll introduce you to a new avenue of thinking that you may not have previously considered.

2. Listen

It’s tough to develop trust if you are not fully present for others. Make sure you’re not drifting off, absorbed in your phone/laptop, or talking over others when they’re trying to speak. Instead, remove your main distractors and turn your attention to whoever is speaking. One great way to practice active listening is to ask thoughtful questions. Asking questions can help clarify communication, start a dialogue, and demonstrate you’re interested in what is being said.

3. Welcome Honest Feedback

Receiving feedback can be difficult at times (especially if you’re a perfectionist!). It’s tough to hear that the current way of doing things could be improved, or that you could be using a different approach. Feedback might entail opening yourself to a new perspective or entertaining the idea of flipping “business as usual” on its head.

Difficult as it may be, it is absolutely critical to be open to honest feedback. When you hear a suggestion, do not dismiss it outright, even if you don’t agree. Instead, understand that you might not have the same perspective as someone else, and attempt to see things from their point of view. Welcoming feedback is a great way to build trust.

4. Follow Through

This suggestion needs little explanation. In essence: do what you say you will do, be reliable, and you will develop trust.

5. Include Others on the Journey 

When you’re working to start a nonprofit, build a business, develop an exciting new initiative, or any other major project, others will inevitably be along for the ride. Instead of being passive passengers, invite your collaborators to be part of the journey. Ask for their input and ideas, include them in brainstorming sessions, let them know your goals—the big picture—and how you’re planning on getting there. Including others in your journey shows a deep level of trust. You’re daring to be transparent about your plans and aspirations, and you’re entrusting others to deliver the work you need to get there.

And once you reach a major milestone (opening a business, finishing your book, starting a community garden), don’t forget to extend your gratitude to those who accompanied you on the journey. In all likelihood, you’ll need their services again down the road.


Trust is intrinsically linked with success, and takes time and concerted effort to develop. When working with others, make sure you’re open to their perspectives, listening to their ideas, and including them on the journey. Do your best to honor commitments, admit any mistakes you make, and practice clear and candid communication. Your efforts will absolutely be worth it.

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