Trust versus Proof

I was talking to friend of mine the other day about possibly doing some work with his organization. We both got very excited about the positive impact this work could have on his team. In the final moments of the conversation he then asked that I send him some concrete measurable positive outcomes of my work from other clients. In a flash I could feel my heart race, my anxiety level go up and some good old anger erupt (not outwardly however.) I said due to confidentiality agreements I would not be able to be too specific but would offer some overall thoughts as well as testimonials. He said it would be best to have concrete defined outcomes from other organizations so that his boss would be able to sign off on this work. I said I would do my best.

Since that call I have pondered what my anger and anxiety was about. I am sure there are many levels and much complexity to my response and yet I now have one major insight as to what this was about. We have lost the ability in our world to trust in things that are not measurable – not seen. The work I do is about creating fulfilling lives for people, creating better working relationships, and creating positive motivating energy for individuals, teams and organizations. This is NOT measurable stuff. This is about changing the energy.

The energy of people and teams is not measurable. It is experienced in our hearts and souls. You may know this as EQ work – Emotional Intelligence. Now, I so understand the necessity of needing good references and data sometimes to minimize risk – totally get this! This guys boss has no idea who I am or what I do. And yet, why have we lost the ability to lean into trusting and intending that something will work rather then needing proof that it will work?  We have a world that is so focused on guaranteed outcomes and is less willing to trust intuition and gut reactions. (I know this comes from fear.) Back to my call –  my own internal response was somewhere in the land of “this must work or else.” No wonder my heart rate went crazy. Well, I gotta say, I cannot do my life this way anymore.  I have no idea if it is going to work. My track record is pretty good – hundreds of workshops – thousands of participants over a period of 20 years, but definitive measurable “proof” I do not have. I do have thousands of stories and thank you notes (I save every one by the way) which touch my heart way deeper than any spread sheet could ever measure. I say if we trusted a bit more in the “unseen” world and needed a bit less proof from the “seen” world, it would go way better. Apple has NEVER EVER done a focus group for ANY of its products. The largest company in the world created all of its success from intuition and imagination. Talk about trust and intention! Meanwhile I am now putting together my “data” for my friend, because I am wildly invested in doing good work for he and his team. I deeply trust and intend that whatever I provide will be enough!

(If you are interested in going deep within the realm of what I am talking about here, please go check out the work of Leza Danly and Jeanine Mancusi called “Lucid Living” -truly transformative!


  • Kathy Reply

    Feeling into the energy of what you wrote about, Rick, I could feel the tightening down of the having to have proof cycle, like putting a screw into the center of a bit of fabric and twisting it so that the fabric gets all bunched up around itself. That’s us – in our see and prove world – all bunched up around ourselves.

    Then there’s the image of allowing – trusting and listening to our inner voice. No more screw, free floating. I read a quote recently that said something like nothing comes into being without first being imagined. (sorry I don’t remember the source off hand). We make what we imagine real by manifesting it into form and this often takes a time of trial and error. Few inventions would have ever been made if they’d had the screws put to them right out the gate. (so to speak)

    At the same time, it’s a balance, the middle way. It’s all information, both the seen and the unseen, the familiar and the unfamiliar. It’s not comfortable for most people because it is being with the unknown, uncertainty and it’s being with what is here now, which is sometimes too painful to face. We want a guarantee that we are going through it all for a good reason. We want to land, to have resolution and we want to know the resolution will please us. Unfortunately, what can be known by our consciousness now is not always a reliable marker for where our consciousness is headed.

    Maybe the biggest issue is the collapse in our culture of “creativity, imagination and intuition” with “artsy, flakey, new age, airy fairy” and the polarization of creativity, imagination and intuition with practical, information, proven. It’s a false assumption; one that needs untangling.

    Thanks Rick!

  • Cynthia Morris Reply

    I love you Rick! I source you in my coaching and conversations all the time. You bring the energy like nobody’s business!

    Thank you for speaking so eloquently about this. It’s a big issue for coaches.

    • Rick Reply

      Thanks Cynthia–great to hear from you and great to hear that coaching is in your heart alive and well!

  • Rick Reply

    Beautifully said Kathy. I needed to hear this from you today–Thank you!

  • Andy Reply

    Really like these thoughts, Rick, and know them all too well, having had similar experiences in the business world over many years past. What would your friend or his boss say if he came to realize that even IF you had hard data that proves the most stunning success, it would not necessarily mean that your work with his team will succeed. Simply because his team is a differnt social system, with unique individuals acting, with its own unique dynamics and issues, needs, goals, dreams… that it will require you to approach it with a unique rendition of your “approach”. Unless he trusts you in an case, even the (apparently) most solid data wouldn’t mean anything in the first place. Unless he trusts you, that is, and he trusts his team’s and his own ability to “deliver”. Unfortunately most people underestimate the art and individual craftsmanship inherent in the work we are doing in this space. You are right feeling tight, as he may not be ready and open yet himself. a

    • Andy Reply

      …knowing you and your work, of course, I DO know how fantastic and profound it is. And that it really delivers! This is just for the records, in case anyone needs it 😉 a

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