The Question of Trust


During my interview with Dan Sullivan for the May issue of SUCCESS he suggested there was a question you could ask that would immediately determine if you were trusted by someone, and it would engender deeper trust with those who do trust you. I decided to test it.

The Question
Whether with a prospect, existing client, vendor, colleague or family member, this is the question to ask:
“If we were to sit down together 3 years from now, what would have to happen to make you feel happy with your success or progress?”

Then be quiet and listen.

If they don’t answer you (refuse to answer, change topic, say something sarcastic), they don’t trust you.

If they do answer they will probably reveal some of their innermost
desires, hopes and motivations.

I tried this with eight people over the last week…
I was dismayed (and enlightened) by a few I hadn’t realized didn’t trust me (enough to share their inner feelings, hopes and dreams). This became very informative on how I have showed up to them or might have treated them.

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Changes will be made.

With the other five I had some of the most meaningful and intimate conversations I have had with almost anyone, ever. There is no question, after discussing

this question,

that our trust connection is now significantly deeper. I plan to continue to ask this question in as many circumstances as possible—it is very telling, quickly.

Listen to other exclusive excerpts from this interview not heard anywhere else: HERE

Using this question yourself will not only be useful in helping you figure out how you can help other people, but it will also build great intimacy between you. Most people don’t ask that deep of a question and then listen fully while someone reveals the answer.

Practice by asking this question to your children, members of your family, your employees and members of your team. Then ask potential clients, customers and prospects.

So my challenge for you is to ask this one question to five people before the week is out. Do it and the come back and share your experience with the rest of us.

Offer your thoughts, ideas and insights in the comments below. Use the ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons below too.




14 responses to “The Question of Trust”

  1. @Darren Hardy,

    I love this very much and tried it this several times, and i’m very much surprised the way they answered me. The version that I used is written by Bruce Etheringthon with his book “From Acorn to Oaktress”..

  2. Well, maybe I made the mistake of putting the question up on facebook. One new friend got really excited and we engaged with an exciting dream. An old friend got sarcastic….it was quite hurtful from my end.

    What changes will I make?? I suppose either rebuild trust or recognise that it hasn’t been there for some time and move on.

    This has unsettled me rather than dismayed me…..

    Confused in Oz.

  3. Hello darren sir. Very interesting and very tough practical concept i must admit. Thanks for sharing your insights with us. I’m keen to know your morning protocol. I mean what do you do personally in the morning to stay fit and motivated. Plz do reply. Plzzzzzzzzzz

  4. Quite honestly, I would have a hard time asking this question to anyone I didn’t know well. Customers, prospects, employers are all people I hope would have some level of trust in me but I really wouldn’t expect them to trust me enough to share their deepest aspirations.

    It’s true that people are often surprising with what they will reveal to even the most casual contact but, many times, it could be too much information.

    Just my $.02

  5. I can’t help but think about how the question, or at least the principle behind it that makes it work, could be used to build connection with an audience when speaking. I guess the idea is to tap into their deepest hopes and dreams and then plant the image of still being with them years down the road to assess the ride together. I can think of some interesting ways to frame this in the context of a presentation. It would be somewhat different than one-on-one but the main purpose of the question could still be engaged.

  6. I am definitely taking the challenge! That is such a great way to engage people! Please don’t feel as if it’s mistrust-so many people don’t know what it would take or are afraid to feel successful-I didn’t really know what I wanted before Success Magazine.

    Also, I think I would like to rephrase this question for my upcoming 90-day review as related to my company’s success. Thanks for such a thought provoking question.

  7. @Joseph Lalonde, it’s an opportunity to encourage, inspire and empower then. You will definitely make a memorable impression. Most people don’t ask meaningful questions to inquire about other people’s interests.

  8. Darren,

    I listened to your interview a few weeks ago when the CD came out with the magazine. I’ve asked at least a dozen people (both personal & business relationships) this question and had some of the most intimate and insightful conversations in our relationship. What I love most about the the context of the conversations is the insight I’ve gain into how I can help the person.


  9. THANKS FOR THE INSIGHTS SIR!! I honestly thought the interview with Mr Sullivan was among the best in Success Magazine history! I really liked how the two of you complemented each other. Establishing trust is key and it is vital that we constantly work towards intimacy in our relationships. Many people shy away from the big I but it is what makes life worth living and friends worth having!!

    Here’s to you my friend!! Have a magical day!!

    p.s. If it helps~I TRUST YOU (implicitly)!!

  10. An interesting question, but I’m more curious by why you assume the 3 who failed to answer did so because they didn’t trust you? For the vast majority of people, i.e. those not using coaches, they couldn’t answer that question for a variety of reasons…perhaps they don’t know. Perhaps they’ve never thought of it. Perhaps they have vague idea but don’t know how to articulate it. Or, perhaps, even if they do know, they are afraid to articulate it — not for fear of trusting YOU, but for fear of trusting themselves. I know, myself, that I have had a vision of certain things at certain times — dreams that dare not speak their name. And if someone asked me, even my most intimate of friends, I probably would have hedged rather than speak it. In one case, it would put me on the line to make large changes in my life that I wasn’t ready to commit to yet — and so I would never have “revealed” that dream to anyone, because I couldn’t really admit it to myself yet.

    How do you know that none of those five factors above were in play, rather than #6, failure to trust you?


  11. Great idea Darren. I know answering that question can be so difficult. Though I see one pitfall. So many people refuse to think that far ahead. They don’t even know where they want to be and what it would take to make them happy. Any suggestions on dealing with that scenario?