I was 17 years old and when I first started volunteering they had me assigned as a big sister to bp’s (stands for baby prostitutes) with the hope that they would open up more to someone closer to their own age. Imagine, I was naïve teenager, had never had a serious boyfriend, and they asked me to volunteer in a home with 13 year olds who had been working the streets with their hooker moms.
I remember during training asking the head psychologist, “What am I supposed to say when they tell me their stories? How can I help them?”
I thought I was supposed to have some words of wisdom, or try to convince them not to sell themselves. Would they even listen to me? What could I possibly say to convince them not to go back on the streets? I wanted to know what to say and do.
I came from a home where I had a mother and father who were still ready to ground me and take away privileges if I stayed out too late. The worse thing I had to deal with was fighting with my siblings and getting caught skipping school. Ok, and the ‘no boyfriend’ thing seemed like a big deal to me at the time.
Some of these girls didn’t know who their father was, and for some their mother was their pimp.
The counselor said, “Lea, we absolutely don’t want you to give them any advice. That is what we’re here for. They need someone to trust. Do that. Be that person for them. Just listen. Don’t judge. And let them know you care.”
There were times when I felt overwhelmed and would sit there in shocked silence when they told their stories. But I did listen. I grew to love them without judgment. I learned to understand them. And they learned to trust me.
It was a big lesson in how powerful trust is. How trust can help turn around a life.
If trusting made such a big difference in their situation, imagine what you can do in your life.
More trust can turn around a business. More trust can turn around a relationship. Trust can turn around a life.
I’ve been speaking and presenting for 10 years now. I love speaking. No, you don’t understand. I don’t love speaking, I LOVE speaking. Giant letters. My goal is to help bring more trust to the world. I want to help the world be like an 80’s Coke commercial where people join hands and sing and trust each other. Seriously. That’s my goal.
I took a good hard look at my last audience and what I wasn’t seeing was people jumping up and yelling, “Hallelujah, I’ve found more ways to trust and be trusted.” Heck they weren’t yelling anything. The reviews were average. Not bad. Not great. Just average. Average isn’t going to get ‘Kumbaya change the world’ moments.
So, I’ve looked at what I teach others. I’m ready to implement what I teach others to what I do myself. Awesome concept. Walk the talk. Next year I’m going to trust myself more. Take more risks. I’m going to remember the young girls from the youth home.
How about you? What do you want accomplish and how will trust make the difference?