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Finding Success Through the 4Cs

Smiling Black woman in striped shirt in front of window.

For years, I’ve seen myself fail at a goal or a project. I then ask myself: What’s stopping me from finding success? What’s my obstacle?

Only a short time ago, I self-diagnosed this problem. Next, I started a familiar dialog in my head. 

I heard myself saying, “Oh, NOW I know my trouble! I don’t start a project or get cracking on a goal because I don’t have the confidence; I’m afraid I’m not capable of doing it!”

“No problem,” says I! “This is fixable.”

The conversation in my head continued.

“I just need to get smarter. Read some articles. Get a new book. Get another new book. Shoot, grab more books while I’m at it. Watch some videos. Get help from a colleague. If I can gain the capability or the skill, I’ll be set.”

Okay, I had some of it right.

Trouble is, I got it all in the wrong order.

In his book The 4 C’s Formula, legendary business coach Dan Sullivan makes a point to address the order of how we achieve success.

1. Commitment

Sullivan says the first step is commitment.

None of us should be surprised by this. Consider some of the biggest turning points in our lives. First, we had to make a commitment.

  • When we signed up to go to college, we made a commitment. Few of us knew all it would entail, but we signed up anyway. Most of us made it through. But signing up for the 4-year program — or even for an individual course — was step one.
  • When we said “I do” at our wedding ceremony, none of us knew exactly what was ahead of us. Yet, we made the commitment. For many of us, it’s decades later and we’ve been successful and blissfully happy.
  • Having children? Now that’s a whole other level of commitment! Unlike the college you can drop out of or the spouse you can divorce, you can’t un-parent. And to be honest, none of us are “qualified” for the most complicated job we’ll ever undertake.

All these endeavors started with the commitment.

2. Courage

Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup and other books, raised this question:

What would you do if you knew you would not fail?

I was greatly disturbed by that question. Deep down inside, I knew that I had passed up many opportunities because I was afraid I would fail. I didn’t have the courage to pursue an action.   

Much later, I reflected on this quote from Hungarian novelist Arthur Koestler:

Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears.

And what about you?

What are you about to embark on? Are you waiting to get the courage before you make the commitment or take the action? Be honest with yourself. 

3. Capability

 “Capability” is probably the easiest of these four cornerstones.

In almost all cases, the “how-to” is a road that has already been paved.  Whatever it is, with a little education, any of us can figure out how to make the journey from Point A to Point B.

4. Confidence

Be honest with yourself. Are you wishing for the confidence to do that next big thing in your life? The confidence to:

  • pursue that certification exam that everyone says is so hairy and so scary?
  • get that new job you don’t feel “qualified” for? 
  • start you own business?

If you’re waiting for the confidence to magically appear, that isn’t likely to happen. Trust me on this.

Ask for help by hiring a coach to help guide you.

In his book, Dan Sullivan says these 4 Cs are cyclical.

“Commitment leads to Courage. Courage leads to Capability. Capability leads to Confidence. Confidence leads to Commitment. Apply, lather, rinse, repeat.”

In short, the order is always the same. But being propelled forward is dependent on the number of cycles we go through.

How are you using the 4Cs to gain success? Do you get stuck on a particular step? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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