The Trust Factor and Paying It Forward

Become Your DreamWhen Marcus Sheridan wrote a recent blog post and “casually” mentioned a lady named Diana Baur, encouraging his readers to check her out, I was intrigued.  I wandered over to her site, and became an instant fan.

Why did this happen?  How did this happen?

First and foremost, the reference and referral came from my trust in Marcus.  I’d been following his blog long enough, reading and posting comments, and developing a level of confidence and trust in who he was, and what he had to say.  The Trust Factor had to come first: without it, I wouldn’t have followed through and followed up.

And The Trust Factor is really the underpinning of why we do business with people, and why we interact with them.

Next: paying it forward. It’s like dropping a stone in water and watching the ripples flow out.  The first ripple was Marcus’ hat tip to Diana...and it continued from there.

Today, I add my ripple.  With Diana’s permission, I share with you a few bits of her story, because it inspired me and resonated with me. I hope it will do the same for you.

“I moved to Europe in 1994 after a busy career as a marketing specialist in the commercial interior design industry. My husband had gotten the job offer of a lifetime in Germany and I was burned out, freshly laid off and happy to go. I redefined myself, became an English language consultant for business executives, learned German and completed a ceramics apprenticehip. In 2003, we left our comfortable life in Hamburg to come to Italy. We restored an ancient farmhouse on a hill in the wine region of Piemonte, and opened a small bed and breakfast.

It seemed like such a cool thing to do. Italy. La dolce vita and all that.

I suppose we never thought that with this move, every assumption we ever made, every paradigm we ever held, every thought we ever had about how life is would be twisted, bent, exploded, melted and smashed like rocks rolling down a mountain in a landslide. Never gave it a thought, really. But that’s what happened.

Giving up everything to make this project happen has given me a whole new perspective on life.  I can honestly say that my priorities have shifted seismically.  For example…

I have become more vulnerable and less egotistical.

I have become much more creative as a result of change.

Our health is everything. We have to take care of ourselves.

Italy is a fertile ground for learning about life. It’s not always easy here. But it is amazing.

Money does somehow take care of itself, but needs to be treated with care and caution.”

Now my questions to you, that were prompted by Diana’s story:

Do you allow yourself to check your ego at the door and let people see your vulnerability and “human-ness”?

Many people say they’re not creative, but we all are.  What creative urges or activities are beckoning you?  What creative muscle can you exercise today?

Are you taking care of your health; mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and financial?

Are you growing where you’re planted?

Have you experienced a seismic event that shifted your priorities significantly, and changed your life?

I’d love for you to share your thoughts on the importance of trust (in business and in life), how paying it forward has impacted or affected your life, and how sharing stories has made a difference in what you do, or how you view the world.





  • Marcus Sheridan,The Sales Lion

    Ahhh Kaarina, it’s articles like these that so make me smile. I’m grateful for the mention, and your trust as well. Diana is such a treasure, and I love her writing style to pieces.

    Way to pay it forward and may the ripple continue!! :-)


    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Happy to add a smile to your day.  Trust is earned, and you do so much to earn and keep peoples’ trust.  Lovin’ the lively exchange @MarcusSheridan:disqus “bloggate”.  You keep it real, genuine and high integrity.  Keep rippling!  Cheers!  Kaarina

  • Srinivas Rao


    First let me comment on the trust factor. It was that trust factor that turned me into a reader of your blog because @Markharai:twitter  told me you were a very special lady. Immediately I decide to come and check out what you were all about.  These days with so much noise on the web the way I find new cool blogs to read is the trust factor you talk about here.

    I’ve realized the more vulnerable, raw and real I become in my content, the more my audience seems to respond. What makes us human is our flaws. That’s what makes us unique and interesting. As far as growth I think this year has been one of tremendous growth and self exploration for me. It’s been filled with days that test my patience and build my character. As far as big events, considering I sold off what few things I owned in order to chase waves, I’d say it’s been a shift unlike any other in my life. Fortunately that allows me to handle my physical, emotional, and spiritual health all in one activity.  But what started it all was getting to the end of graduate school and realizing that I was headed nowhere or down a path that was not going to provide any sort of long term fulfillment. Very thought provoking post.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Thanks, @twitter-67692728:disqus for your kind comment.  I’m so thankful to @mark_harai:disqus  for putting his trust in me, and paying it forward.  I think trust is essential as we navigate through this fast-paced, ever-changing world we live in.  I’m glad it brought you here:-)

      I agree that the more “vulnerable, raw and real” someone’s content is, the more people seem to respond.  I think it’s due to the fact that, by sharing one’s personal (and sometimes difficult) stories, it connects us on a deep level. When we learn that someone we admire is human, approachable, fallible and willing to share their wounds and warts, it endears us to them.  It’s a true connection.

      You are a shining example of following your bliss, perhaps feeling the fear and doing it anyway, and living the life we’re all intended to live: the one that fulfills us, and makes us the best we can be: to ourselves and to others.

      Keep on the wave and enjoy the ride!  Cheers!  Kaarina

  • Bill Dorman

    Hey Kaarina, you know I’m at the beach, right?

    Trust is something earned and hopefully treasured. Some people take it for granted and do the silliest things at time to throw it all out the door. Once burned it’s hard to restore the level of trust maybe you once had.

    You sure had a lot of questions……just sayin’…….yes, I take care the important things and fully know if you don’t have your health pretty much everything else becomes insignificant.

    The birth of my two sons and the passing of my father were big events, but not necessarily seismic. I think the passing of my father helped me to quit sweating the small stuff and put in perspective what is important in life.

    Good to see you ma’am.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Ahhh, the beach.  We’ve gone from frigid weather to a supposed high of 41 degrees (that’s Canadian Celsius, my friend) today: crazy!

      Re: trust.  Our family position on this is: I trust you implicitly until given reason to mistrust.  If the latter happens, regaining that trust is a difficult thing (and I usually add the caveat…”and you’ll rue the day you were born” 😉  Trust is a sacred and special thing.  Too bad when people take it for granted and throw it away.

      Yes, I’m a woman of many questions.  Coulda’ probably saved each for a different blog post, but I was on a roll!

      Health is number one indeed, and something else lots of people take for granted.  Glad to hear you don’t sweat the small stuff:-)

      Thanks for dropping in: enjoy the sand and surf and sun, my friend.  Cheers!  Kaarina

  • Anonymous

    Hey Kaarina, thought I’d stop by your site and say hi. How you doing?

    I highly agree with the idea of paying it forward, it’s like a fantastic chain that starts out at one end. You follow it along, soon it starts to branch out and link up with another chain, so you can follow two chains. These link up with others, some new chains, some combination of chains which you haven’t seen before, and before you know it, a whole network is before your eyes!

    Marcus has an amazing, thriving, passionate community at this site, one of the very best I’ve seen. I’ve come across a few bloggers who I follow through his site, such as Danny Brown, Mark Harai, and Paul Wolfe. If you want to meet someone new, I suggest his site as a networking conference 😉

    I must head over to Diana’s site when I get the chance, heard lots of great things about her!

    Take care :-)

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Thanks for dropping by: you’re always welcome in this neighbourhood:-)

      Love the image of the chain…it can certainly be a wonderful never-ending story of connections as one delves deep into the blogs, posts and comments.  Communities and neighbourhoods emerge organically.

      I’ve met lots of people through @MarcusSheridan:disqus @ginideitrich:twitter @Mark_Harai:twitter @DannyBrown:twitter sites, and so many more.  It’s sometimes overwhelming to consume the content and comment in so many places, but also oh-so-much fun!

      Skype’s all set up, so I’ll be in touch soon:-)  Cheers!  Kaarina

  • Diana Strinati Baur

    Buon Giorno Kaarina!  Thank you so much for this post.  It warmed my heart.  We do get much further in every area of life with the support of trusted friends and colleagues.  It’s critical.  I know what a roll reviews play in our bookings, and  it’s confirmed to me every time I ask a guest how they learned about us.  Reviews. Word of mouth.  My blog.  These are things that spread the honest truth.  

    Marcus is the real deal and I perceived in him the thing I think he also saw in me – the sense that I knew he wants to do good.  That’s what you have.  And that’s what will bring us further on our individual and common paths.

    The fact is that I have, with the amount of tumultuous change I have gone through, to rely upon my sense of trust in people much more than ever, as I am much more vulnerable than I ever was.  I think this is a good thing.  Attaching to vulnerability means staying close to my truth.  

    I have many things I need to pay forward, having been the recipient of so many gifts in this lifetime.  I am a believer that timing is everything and when the chance to pay forward presents itself, I try to stay open enough to jump on it.

    Blessings, Kaarina, have a beautiful day. 

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      What a lovely comment Diana.  I believe in the “what goes around comes around/ pay it forward” attitude in life:  and word of mouth, solid trusted referrals and good friendships are not just the spice of life: they’re the food of life.

      I look forward to following your blog, and to getting to know you even better.  Keep relying on your sense of trust in people, and always trust your gut.  Cheers!  Kaarina

  • The JackB

    Kaarina, you listed far too many questions to answer in a simple comment. That is not to say that they aren’t important because they are- critical in my mind.

    I’ll answer a few. 2011 is by far the most difficult year of my life. There are more ongoing challenges and bumps in the road than I have ever seen. Every time I think that I have found a way to overcome the hurdles more crop up. It feels a bit “hydraish’

    I have identified most of the things that are creating the issues and some are simply beyond my control and simply have to be “waited out.” That is frustrating because I would much prefer to attack them head on.

    When I get through all this (and I will) life will be different in a multitude of ways. I expect that this might be one of those seismic moments. But I am doing my best to look at this as a series of opportunities because not everything has been bad.

    It is just more evidence that when you think you know what life will give you…well you really don’t, at least not always.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Yeah, I know I got carried away on the questions: just couldn’t stop myself:)

      I’m so sorry to hear that 2011 has been so difficult for you.  Is there anything I can do to help?  I don’t know you but from our recent exchanges, but I know how tough it can be when the challenges/problems just keep getting piled on.  I just came through 2 1/2 years of agony with my business, but I won’t go into that here…I hate it when someone shares their story and the listener then jumps in with a faster-longer-stronger-worse-oh-you-think -that’s-bad version of their own.  I won’t do that.  I just want you to know I empathize.

      You will indeed get through it, and I hope that now is this time in your life when that seismic moment  turns things around for you.

      If there’s anything I can do (I’m not trying to be presumptuous or too forward or prying or anything), I’d be happy to lend a hand in whatever way might help.  Thanks for sharing…and I’ll cut down on the questions next time:-)  Cheers!  Kaarina

      • The JackB

        @kaarinadillabough:disqus I don’t mind the questions at all because they help me identify the areas of concern.  Without that identification there is no easy way to develop a plan to fix things.

        I appreciate the offer but I am not sure if there is anything that can be done. If I can come up with anything I will let you know.

        In some ways the best that anyone can do is just be a part of the blogging community. Sometimes just knowing that people are out there is enough.

        • Kaarina Dillabough

          I’ll make a toast to that Jack.  Knowing that our blogging friends truly care and support one another is often the “safe harbour” we all can turn to in times of difficulty.  The welcome mat’s always out for you:-)  Cheers!  Kaarina

  • Mark Harai

    Hi Kaarina – how are you? 

    I’m going to have echo @a76049f6a32a1e633a732b81bafb98c9:disqus here. Trust is vital for business success and it’s something that is earned over time by your words and actions.  It’s maintained by as well by your words and actions. It’s something I treasure very much as trusting people who remain true to the word and actions are hard to come by in life.  

    Did I mention your words and actions are vital to establishing trust? 😛

    BTW – I can’t subscribe to your blog via email RSS, therefore I’m not subscribed to your blog! A SIN! 

    An email RSS is easy to add via Feedburner and I believe there are many other folks like me who prefer to receive blog posts via email. I just don’t miss anything that way and readers don’t work for me.

    Let me know when you install an email RSS (HOPEFULLY : )

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Mark, if you click on the RSS icon, you’ll see an option to sign up via email.  I think I’ll probably have to have my tech guy add an email button right on the page, because I’m pretty sure many people are like you: they don’t want to subscribe via RSS feed, and since the email option is “buried” in that RSS button, probably don’t subscribe.

      Thanks for letting me know.  So just go to RSS button, and you can subscribe via email.

      Re: words and action…words without action are empty…we gotta walk our talk, earn someone’s trust, and treasure it by staying true to our word.  You’ve got my trust, friendship, respect and love, my friend!  P.S.  Let me know if the RSS button email works!  Cheers!  Kaarina

      • Mark Harai

        That is the craziest thing Kaarina… I thought I did click on your RSS earlier, but I didn’t see the email option… duh!

        I’m getting blind in my old age : )

        All sub’d up now, feel much better 😛

        See you soon Kaarina – thank you!

        • Bill Dorman

          I had to pay a dollar for my sub………..just sayin’…….

          • Kaarina Dillabough

            You are a bright spot in my day Bill!

        • Kaarina Dillabough

          Great to have you on board Mark!

  • Kim Davies

    Hi, Kaarina.

    How is your week so far? Your act of paying it forward is at work. I went over to Diana’s blog, liked what I saw even at a glance and subscribed to her RSS feed. Because I trust you, I know I will have a wonderful time learning there.

    I do believe that trust is essential in both life and business. Without it, there would be an endless stream of doubt which would eventually ruin everything. So, earning trust and giving trust are parts of existence that we can’t live without. And, for me, paying forward is one of the ways to earn and give trust and the impact this act of kindness brings always create ripples that will probably last somebody’s lifetime.

    Now, on to your other questions. :) I do not mind showing my vulnerabilities because I believe that it is in our weaknesses that we find the will to become stronger. I am a firm believer in exercising creativity and I usually do that by writing and sketching, although now that I am blogging, it’s more writing than sketching. 

    When it comes to health, let me just say that I gave up my journalism career in 2006 so I can take better care of myself. Although I don’t want to go into details here (maybe when can talk or chat personally), that change in the course of my life altered a lot of things for me. Then, I thought I would give up on writing entirely. But, maybe because writing is really what moves me, I eventually discovered web content writing and now, blogging.

    Happy to have shared my thoughts with you. :)

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Wow Kim, what a thoughtful and inspiring response.  I’m so glad you went over to check out Diana’s blog, and I’m honoured by the trust you put in me to do so.  Your actions and paying forward will keep the trust ripple rolling:)

      I love your answer about vulnerabilities.  Many people feel that showing vulnerability is a sign of weakness.  I think it shows strength.  When people are willing to show their “real” selves, and not put up mock walls of bravado, I find that both endearing and engaging.

      I, too, love to write and paint.  I got back to watercolour painting after finding Adam on Facebook at   He’s a really interesting fellow who, for a year, painted a watercolor, then offered it up for free to anyone who might like it.  Really interesting concept: great guy.  I received one of his paintings, and it inspired me to get back at my own painting. 

      I’m interested in your health/previous journalism career story.  Let’s Skype sometime soon!

      Always a pleasure to connect with you Kim.  Cheers!  Kaarina

  • John Falchetto

    Hi Kaarina,

    Love this post, it brings up some of my favorite topics, our humanity.

    I always write that I have failed and fallen flat on my face many times in my life and my different businesses. 
    To answer your questions, I train, a lot. I run and bike, but I also look after my mental health by taking times out with my family. Spending time with my 1 year old daughter forces me to cut off completly from the non-essential ‘stuff’. It keeps me sane.

    Now seismic events, yes a few. Probably the two biggest ones were meeting my now wife Ameena and starting a business together, and the birth of my daughter. You don’t get more seismic than having a child enter your life, priorities, visions, everything changes drastically :)

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      John, you live such a rich and well-rounded life.  Thanks for your comment, and I hope you’ll keep dropping by this neighbourhood…the welcome mat’s always out.

      My boys are 26 and 20 now, but I’ll never forget the seismic event of their births, and the glorious years of their growing up.  Although the eldest has been gone 6 years, and the youngest 2, I still miss them every day…besides my husband, they are my very best friends.  Treasure each moment.  Cheers!  Kaarina

  • Nancy Davis

    Hi Kaarina,

    I allow everyone to see my vulnerability. I laugh at myself pretty often, because often I do funny stuff just in the course of a regular day.

    Am I creative? Yes. I write daily. Sometimes I even manage to write well.

    I take better care of my health now than I did. I needed my gallbladder out last April and that was a real wake up call for me. My diet has totally changed.

    Emotionally I have grown tremendously over the years. I once was a screaming angry lunatic. No more. I have calmed down considerably and have found new ways to cope.

    Am I growing what I planted? Well my son is growing! He is going to be nine in November.

    I have had those kinds of events – the most recent was the death of my beloved Father. It made me become more independent. Dad always said he thought I would write a book – who knows, maybe I will. 

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Nancy, so nice to see you here.  I’ve been following your comments on other blogs for some time, and admire how you’re able to demonstrate your strength through your honesty, vulnerability and candor: something very much to be admired.

      Vulnerable, creative, taking care of your health and that of your child and learning and growing from those seismic events…I would say you’re a very healthy person Nancy!  I look forward to getting to know you even better.  Cheers!  Kaarina

  • T. Shakirah Dawud

    You know, there’s always that knife-edge we professionals balance on: we want to look bullet-proof, but we know we have to connect with people. But opening a window into our lives doesn’t have to be soul-baring–although for some it really is. You saw my post today that was a kind of relieved chuckle at myself. I like to be personable on my blog, so people can be reassured that I’m not just spouting information, and hopefully come to trust my advice. 

    Most of the blogs that pull me back time and again are the ones whose writers aren’t afraid to allow people into their lives and minds in a more personal way than we’d expect.  The act of opening up to people takes a whole lot of trust in itself, and it makes me–and other readers–feel special. 

    Thanks for sharing Diana Baur with us.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      I think that opening up to the degree we feel comfortable, letting people know who we “really” are is key to good connections, good relationships and lasting friendships.  Your post today was great: very honest, very personable, very engaging.

      It does indeed take a level of trust to both open up, and respond with candor and honesty.  To trust!  Cheers!  Kaarina

      • T. Shakirah Dawud

        Wrote a post somewhat inspired by this one on Friday, about revealing the innermost layer of our business, that thing that makes up its drive. Has a lot to do with trust, I think, of ourselves and our market, to truly make a brand stand out.