Being reliable is such a simple thing and yet so many people aren’t. Why is this? I think it’s because being reliable requires so much consistency. There are lots of little things that we can do to be perceived as reliable and each little thing, alone, may seem insignificant and therefore easy to skip. But, when you’re consistent with lots of little things (that are so simple), you can build, maintain or repair a reputation of being reliable.
Why care about this:
✔ People will TRUST you!
✔ You’ll be given more access to the things that you want
✔ You’ll feel more gratified and generally better about yourself
✔ You’ll be more well-received by peers, colleagues and superiors
✔ You’ll have better, stronger personal relationships (especially with your significant other)
✔ You’ll be less expendable in the workplace, and more likely promoted
✔ You’ll have a better chance of controlling your destiny
My aunt calls it being ‘fastidious’, something she always thought I was. I didn’t realize exactly what this meant for the longest time, but it was the reason, for years, she let me use her holiday home and car any time I wanted, regardless of whether she was there. In fact, she gave me my own copies of the keys to her home and car. She 100% trusted me and, for that, I gained a ton of tangible advantages. And, interestingly, because I was viewed as reliable (and rewarded for it), I wanted to be certain that I continued to behave in a way that reinforced my reliability. The use of the car and home was positive reinforcement that made we want to continue to be reliable. Having access to my aunt’s home was an immediate tangible benefit that I gained because my aunt knew I was reliable. But, please know that being reliable and trustworthy generates much greater benefits and rewards, both immediate and longer term. Obviously, there are much more important benefits than being able to use a home or borrow a car. But, it all works the same way. Try it and see what sort of rewards that you get.
Think of the application of this in your life, for big and small things. Are you behaving in a way, consistently, that makes people think you’re reliable? Think of your behavior in the workplace, at home, school, whatever… Being viewed as reliable is important in any and all capacities and relationships. To best convey the importance of being reliable or trustworthy, think about the opposite. If you are not viewed as reliable or trustworthy, your intrinsic and perceived value diminishes. People who are unreliable are, frankly, less desirable in the workplace, in school, on teams, in relationships… the list goes on. At work, people who are not consistently reliable are less likely to be promoted and are often the first ones ‘let go’ in bad times. Your behavior sets expectations for others – in a good or bad way. When you are normally late or sloppy, people expect you to continue that. On the other hand, when you’re always on time and well-organized, people expect that to continue. The more reliable you are, the more value you tacitly and otherwise create in all your relationships and the more benefits you gain. And, furthermore, when you do things that make people feel you’re not reliable or trustworthy, it’s very hard to reverse that. Once you’re unreliable, regaining or winning trust again is really hard and you will have to really work hard to attain it.
Webster defines Fastidious as being very attentive to and concerned about accuracy and detail. Be as fastidious as you can. Back to the example of using my Aunt’s holiday home and car. When I’m in the house, I tread extremely lightly, keeping it clean and being careful not to ever damage anything. I behave in the exact same way I would if she was home, knowing how she would expect and hope me to behave. When I leave the house, I essentially go through a careful checklist to ensure it’s exactly the way I found it because of the fact that I’m using another person’s home and it’s a privilege. This is just an example… we should apply the exact same principles in whatever scenario presents itself (with peers, family, significant others, employers, etc.).
Demonstrate that you’re reliable by focusing on the following simple acts:
- Be punctual or early: When you say you’re going to be somewhere at a certain time, be there OR be sure to let the other person know if you’re running late
- Honor what you say you’re going to do: If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you can’t do it, don’t say you’re doing to do it.
- Make Lists and Reminders: Use your phone’s calendar or another App to make lists and create reminders. Add items to your lists the moment you think of them so you don’t forget.