• Annette Nilsson

Trance or Trust?

While living in the UK, many times I was asked this question by kind strangers the moment I was consulting a map or an A-Z street atlas in the middle of London.


In Dutch, and probably in all other languages, this question can have two meanings, and I love the Dutch version: "de weg kwijt zijn". Next to the literal meaning, it also means, are you quite ok, are you on track, are you a bit lost in your life?

Well, I guess we are all lost in our lives at some point. This feeling of being lost can take on many forms, from being disorientated, disillusioned, depressed, or just feeling out of control, life is happening to you, but you are not living it.

The lack of perspective, of not being able to plan ahead, be it for your work or leisure makes us feeling lost, being in limbo.


What can we count on, what is still certain, and how will life be after this pandemic? There are no easy answers to those questions.


As the outer world is beyond our control, we have to resort to our inner world, our thoughts, emotions, and actions, and here, we need to find the trust that we can handle whatever the outer world throws at us.


I sometimes think we veer between trance and trust. Trance being the state in which we function, we perform our duties, we solve the problems, but there is not much else happening. Estranged from our feeling, trance is a form of self-protection.


However, as appropriate this state of being can be for a while, we need to step out of this trance. The most important ingredient to get out of this trance is to trust - to trust yourself, and that you have the resources and capacities to face the challenges of the world.


Trust is also the key ingredient, the glue which keeps our relationships, our social and professional network together. Without the ability to trust each other, we cannot live and work together.

If we are responsible for a team, we need to make sure that our colleagues trust that their contribution is valued, that their work is necessary, useful, purposeful, they need to trust that they are appreciated.


To create and maintain an atmosphere of trust in a remote setting is the essential leadership skill of the day.


Some ideas to nourish trust in remote settings:

be authentic

don’t only show your perfect image, showing imperfection makes you relatable and real


be congruent

don’t say what you do not mean, let your actions and intentions be the same, we feel if something is faked


be flexible

let your team make suggestions, let them determine the pace, trust that they will deliver


be fun

why not play together online? Play is one of the most basic ways to create trust, quizzes, sharades - pick one moment in a day per week where you all go a little bit crazy, online.


Let’s get out of the trance, let’s trust that we get through this difficult time, together!

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