Summary: It is impossible to live a successful life without establishing a foundation of credibility.

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Open: Today I want to talk about something that every one of us has in varying degrees & every one of us need more of. I want to talk today about credibility.

What is Credibility? Webster's says that it's, the quality or power of inspiring belief. capacity for belief -- Credibility is the quality of bring believable or trustworthy. Credibility is the reasonable grounds for being believed. One who is credible is trustworthy. We have confidence in a person's character and competence. You might use the word believability as a synonym. Whether we like or not we have to earn the right to be heard in this world. The more credible you are the more likely you will be able to influence others.

Credibility has a lot to do with reliability -- whether or not we can actually count on someone. It's trustworthiness. Let's say you have a friend that calls you and says "I really need to talk to you -- Can you meet me Friday morning?" Now Friday morning isn't all that convenient for you but there seems to be some sense of importance attached to this as you listen to the tone of their voice. So you agree. You make the effort to rearrange your Friday morning schedule and go to the designated meeting place and you wait. And you wait. And you wait. And your friend doesn't show. All right, things happen. You figure something must have come up and you go about the rest of your day. Three weeks later the same friend agrees to work with you on a community project. You're going to pick up discarded trash in town's public park. You agree to meet Thursday afternoon at 3:00 PM to get the task done. You show up and again you wait and you wait and wait. No show. No call. Later when you ask them about it they just blow it off and say, "Hey something else came up." What are you going to think the next time that same person says they'd like to get together with you? You're not going to believe them, right? Why? -- Because their actions show that their words are not reliable.

It is impossible to live a successful life without establishing a foundation of credibility.

Ill of going to get a car loan for the first time. My first car was a 1963 Ford Fairlane. I wasn't saved when I bought it -- but it was a holy car. By that I mean it had lots of holes in it every where you looked. I remember the day when I first went to the bank to get a loan for the car. I think the loan was for the amazing amount of $500.00. I filled out the application and gave it to the banker. He looked it over for a few moments and then said, "I'm sorry but I'm afraid we will not be able to loan you the five hundred dollars for your car." I asked why. He said, "You have not established financial credibility. In other words you have no credit history. Once you have a good credit history it will show us that you are a credible risk for us." "OK so how do I establish a credit history?" "You have to get a loan." How do I get a loan?" "You have to have a credible payment history on a loan." That was a little confusing to me at that time. But it was clear to me that having credibility was a fairly important issue for me. Credibility is not something you start with. No one starts out in life with credibility. It is something that you have to establish.

Not only can it take a long to establish -- but you have to fight to keep it. You don't realize the value of credibility until you don't have any. Success or failure in a person's life is determined by the issue of credibility. When there are discrepancies between words and action there is a credibility gap. When a person loses credibility -- what they've lost is the ability of others to trust them. Credibility is fragile quality in our lives. We are all familiar with the term "credibility gap." Originally it was coined in the 1960's to describe the discrepancy between a politician's public statements and the reality of what they actually did. The distance between spoken words and observable action is the credibility gap. So we can see that credibility is closely tied to honesty -- but it not just about telling the truth. Truthfulness is a big part of credibility but we can probably add another word that will help us to understand it real meaning: Dependability. In other word, am I a person that others can count on? If I say something, can other people count on me to follow through with what I say? Am I dependable? or do others always have that lingering thought "Is this really going to happen or not?"

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