Jack: Greg, nice work with the cat today.
Greg: Aw, thanks, Jack. I’m just glad I could help out. Listen, we never did get to finish that little “convo” back at the den. So, when you have a minute, there is still something I’d like to talk to you about.
Jack: We’ll get right to it as soon as we get back. You have my word.
Greg: I’m gonna hold you to that. Circle of trust.
Jack: Guess who’s back in the circle of trust?

The only thing harder than getting into the Byrnes family Circle of Trust was staying in it. One minute, Greg is in Jack’s good graces, the next he’s on the outs. It doesn’t have to be that way.

In this article, I’ll share steps for gathering your Circle of Trust. It starts with two matters of mindset, followed by three simple steps you can do here and now.

Mindset #1: Adjust Your Expectations 

When our trust has been broken, it’s natural to build walls of protection around us. These walls can take the form of excessively high expectations of our loved ones. Jack Byrnes demanded perfection of his friends and family. That’s a lot of pressure. Our Circle of Trust DOES NOT NEED to: 

  • …fix everything for us
  • …be available around the clock
  • …agree with us 100% of the time
  • …be free of human flaws

Jesus was let down by his disciples many times. Remember the night the Romans came looking for him? His homeboys ran like roaches in every direction. It deeply disappointed him, but he knew he didn’t have perfect friends. Either do we. Every Circle of Trust is composed of imperfect people but if we right-size our expectations, we’ll love, appreciate, and show them mercy. And they’ll do the same for us.

Mindset #2: Cultivate Your Community

My wife and I have a vegetable garden In our backyard. It gives us cucumbers for our salads, berries for our smoothies, and mint for our mojitos. Do you know why we have this wonderful organic garden? Because Bonnie takes the time to plant, water, weed, and feed it.

Like a gardener, we must cultivate our Circle of Trust. This takes intentionality, sacrifice, and hard work. Fail to realize this and you’ll experience deep disappointment in people. Don’t sit back and hope that safe, supportive relationships will just happen. That’s like hoping cucumbers will just sprout in your backyard. Gardens don’t just happen; weeds just happen.

You can’t make trustworthy people magically appear in your life. But you can plant and water the seeds. With these two mindsets in place, you’re ready for a three-step strategy for gathering your Circle of Trust. Here goes…

1. Make a List of Names.

Stop and name people who know you, love you, and are in your corner. They’re there, but easily overlooked. Think of relatives. Think of old friends. Don’t overlook the obvious. Reach for a slip of paper, your journal, or your phone. Call the list something like,  “My Circle of Trust”, or “People in My Corner”. You can always revise your list, but you can’t revise what you don’t start. Take one minute to start now.

2. Pray a Quick Prayer.

As you gaze at your list of people who know, love, and support you, you will feel some things. One is gratitude. So stop and thank God for these folks. Ask him to bless and provide for them. Who knows what they’re up against as we speak? Ask God to send his angels to guide and protect them. This might be the best thing you do all day. Do it now.

3. Send a Brief Text.

This is my favorite part. Reach for your phone and send a text to one or more folks on your list. You might say something like:

“Hi, Grandma.

An article I’m reading challenged me to make a list of people who love me, people I really trust…and you came to mind. I just wanted to thank you for always being in my corner. I hope I can return your kindness somehow.

with love, me.”

These steps are just a start…

But don’t be surprised at how people respond. You’re bound to get replies from a text like that. When you do, savor the connection and follow your heart. If nothing else, you’ve affirmed and appreciated some people, making life richer for them and for you. 

In times of trouble, I have people I can call upon. You can too. Let me know how it goes.

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