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Jason Fox column

Give Trust

Foxy on Trust

Jason Fox

As Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins continues, Jason Fox writes about the principals of trust (and why the staff are enjoying giving the celebs "a good old pasting").

Trust is key in the military. You can’t be in a million places at once, you have to trust the people around you to do the work. I’ll walk onto the back of a helicopter having not met the pilot. Me and everyone else is entrusting him with our lives. It’s not just the special forces team you’re on, you’re trusting everyone. Trusting that someone has given you’ve got the right information. Trusting your pilot to get you somewhere safely. Trusting your mates around you to be your eyes in the back of your head, and that they should and would act accordingly to what goes on.

In the show we demonstrate the need for trust in the section where they leap off the bridge, with their partner below at the other end of the rope to put the brakes on their descent. We’re simulating that everything has gone wrong on the bridge but there is a fallback, a person at the bottom, and you’re entrusting them to do the right thing in a timely fashion so you don’t plummet to your death.

A lot of people say you’ve got to earn trust but I don’t agree. If you go into relationships or work or anything with that attitude, you’re not going to really enjoy it. In business, don’t think you’ve got to gain the trust of the team, instead why don’t you simply give it? And allow the relationships to be free and open. You’ll get more out of it. OK, people will do things wrong, and not everyone will prove trustworthy, but it’s about giving it to begin with.

We’re all human which means we’re not perfect and things go wrong. Most people generally don’t want to be untrustworthy they just do human things and mess up here and there. But maybe that’s their learning curve. You’re better off trusting everyone and then along the way learning about individuals’ strengths and weaknesses, but still retaining that trust. If people have trust it’s better for their development, because they’re being left alone a lot more. Trust basically means you’re allowing someone to grow and allowing them to do their work. You’ll see they’re developing into better people because of trust. I think it’s quite a key area of work and life in general.

Building Trust Means True Strength

We’ve got Jeff Brazier in the show. In the last episode you saw him giving it big lips and storming off when he was told not to leave his partner, Camilla. He thought it was about being the best, about being strong, and at the front, but it wasn’t, it was about being there for the other person.

Then you look at AJ Odudu – she’s strong. I like the way she bounced back from a bit of a wobble early on. It’s not about being the Adonis who does pull-ups, it’s about character, and what you can do in your head. AJ was paired up with Sam Thompson from Made in Chelsea who’s a bit of a buffoon, but she had to trust him. And he gained a lot from that as well – when he didn’t mess it up she hugged him and made a fuss, and he loved it.

Men can tend to want to be loners, and do it all yourself.  But if you’re not careful you end up hating yourself a bit in that state of aloneness.  I’m still struggling with understanding toxic masculinity but I think I’ve got it: it’s not saying ‘don’t be a bloke’, it’s saying ‘don’t be a dick’. Thinking you can do it all alone does class as a bit of toxic masculinity.

You’re never going to live up to the lone wolf idea. You have to open yourself up. And the thing with opening up is that you become a stronger person for it. You’re not worried about hiding anything then. I’ve talked about suicide and mental health and everyone’s like, ‘Are you worried about what people think of you?’ and I’m like, ‘No, I don’t give a fuck because everyone knows now, I’m not trying to live a lie.’ I think people get worried about people knowing everything about them, when actually it can be quite liberating.

You can worry that people will take the piss out of you, but you’re never going to find out until you do it, which then means you’re trusting people. One of the fundamental building blocks of being a decent person, and also of getting stuff done within teams, is you have got to trust people. In football the person who’s passing the ball to the other person is trusting that they’ll do something right. It isn’t always going to happen but there’s still the trust there.

Trusting Yourself, Trusting Others

The other day I met with the psychotherapist who I used to meet up with in the woods when I was suffering with my mental health. We were chatting about that,  and the advice to give people when they’re feeling down. Basically it’s just understanding that it’s part of life and you have to spin it in a positive way. You’re just on a journey. Understand that. Time doesn’t’ stop which means your journey is continuous. If you choose to be negative about that journey, then that’s the way it’s going to go. Whereas if you say, right, this is just part of my life and I’m going to enjoy it even if it’s not enjoyable; I’m going to enjoy it because it’s part of a journey. Time is moving on, you’re still on a journey and if you trust yourself that you can still move on in life, you can start to enjoy it.

Just think, ‘No matter what goes on I’m going to be a better person for this happening.’  That’s the way to look at it, otherwise you’ll be stuck in that monotonous pattern of thinking everything’s rubbish.

What changed things for me was the psychotherapist who said you’ve got to enjoy things a bit more, and accept these things as part of life, and not continually being in this down phase, because it’s not good for you. There’s a bit of life experience that counts in seeing the bigger picture, but it’s also about advice. People are important. You need people around you and you need to ask them questions, because sometimes they have the answers.

There’s nothing better than knowing you can trust someone. Surely. It’s one of the reasons why a lot of military guys get a bit down when they leave, saying, ‘Oh I used to know the people I could trust, now I can’t trust anyone.’ But it’s no different, you just have to go out there and find those people. They are out there.  I’ve got mates who I know I can call up at any time, and it’s a good feeling to have that. And the people who don’t think they’ve got it are not allowing it most of the time.

Building Trust With New Experiences

You can build up trust in yourself by throwing yourself into new things. That’s one of the building blocks of trust in yourself. To trust yourself is to believe in yourself, and to do that you have to keep throwing yourself into uncomfortable situations, which  you then learn to become comfortable in. You realise you can trust in yourself in that situation. And then you’ll trust yourself, full stop.

In military training you start off doing thing safely. You don’t immediately go into shooting live bullets, you pick one up and look at it and learn how it works, and built it up. And you do that with teamwork in the same way. You start with talking about it, then you look at pictures, then you turn the pictures into reality with models, and then you do it in a safe environment with people and go on from there. It’s how you gain trust in the people around you. They’ve gone through a process of how they go about their business. It’s slightly different for us because when you’ve been through special forces selection you’ve got the luxury of knowing the other people have gone through exactly the same thing as you. You know they’re going to be trustworthy in those situations.

Everyone asks what it’s like working with an unmotivated team, and I always say I’ve never had to do that. It’s harder for people outside the military – because of the nature of our job and the nature of how you get there, its never unmotivated.

But the key thing is, you still have to trust people. Otherwise you’re never going to get anything done.

Celebrity SAS

I think this series is one of the best. It’s instilled confidence in us. People thought that because we were doing a celebrity one, that we’d be going easy on them, but now people have seen that these celebrities are getting a good old pasting, they’re enjoying it! We had a reputation to uphold, and oh it is fun!

We’re doing the series for Stand Up For Cancer. The statistics scare me: 1 in 2 people will get it. For that reason alone it should be something that people support. In one way shape or form, cancer will effect everyone on the planet and its something that needs to be dealt with. They do a good job.


Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins continues on Sunday on C4 at 9pm. 

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