Issue Of Trust
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by Peter Block
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Trust With The Greatest Of Ease
A Trapeze Artist's Spin on Trust
For Stephan Gaudreau trust involves ropes, harnesses, some
chalk and a safety net. Gaudreau has been flying on the trapeze for twelve
years in many different roles. As a professional trapeze artist, he has
performed with Club Meds Circus Guild, served as the lead flyer for
the Flying Angels Troupe at Circus Circus in Reno, Nev., as well as several
acts throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and the United States.
As a trapeze instructor, Gaudreau has worked with the San Francisco School
of Circus Arts (Flying Trapeze program). Gaudreau is currently the president
of Trapeze Arts, Inc. (firstname.lastname@example.org) where he teaches beginning and
advanced trapeze courses and workshops.
What is your definition of trust?
I would define trust, as far as trapeze goes, as when somebody gives trust
to yougives you all their power and you take over their power.
And they say, OK, well do this thing. I know this is safe. I
know this could be dangerous but Im going to trust you, Im going
to give all my power to you.
What role does trust play in your profession?
Blind faith. Somebody will come to me and theyve never touched a trapeze
in their life. My role is to introduce them to something that is totally
different. They have to just let go of their fears, their backgrounds and
their geneticstheir shape and size and age. It can be difficult when
you have to do a lot of convincing. Some people see the height and say,
Oh my God I dont think so, I dont think I can deal with
the height. Getting them to accept blind faith will get them past
Without trust, what consequences would you face?
Some people take to it like a fish to water and other people you have to
deal with their fears. In some situations you have people going halfway
up the ladder and stopping. They dont believe they can do this. Its
mostly the ladder and standing on the platform, for what seems like forever,
that people cant handle. We get a lot of sweaty palms.
How do you build trust?
Well, first we give them a speech where we say, When you do this you
have to listen. Everything is controlled; we control the situation. Even
if you make a mistake or do something silly well catch you with the
harness and safety lines and youll fall in the net as safely as possible.
Some people are really tough to get to. Youve got to talk them into
it. You just give them more information and instruction. You tell them exactly
what is going to happen in a very soft voice. You have to have a soft voice.
Ive had people say to me, You have such a soft voice. It helped
me so much. You make them feel like its absolutely nothing.
Then most people can do it.
Can trust be repaired? If so, how?
Yeah, you certainly can repair the trust, but its a slow process.
If somebody has lost total faith in themselves, youve got to go back
to square one and start from scratch. You have to go deeper into their soul,
their psyche, to reach them and try to get them to try againto get
back on the horse if you fall off. Rebuilding that trust is more of a psychological
session. Trying to figure out deep down what the underlying problem islike