By Dan Sullivan
When I talk to entrepreneurs about what’s exciting for them right now, what they’re excited about going after, the conversation generally comes down to: “When are you going to take action to actually get it done?” And they say, “Well, I’ll do it when I feel confident it’s the right thing.” Or, “I don’t have the capabilities in place yet.”
Here’s the thing: You only get the capabilities and the confidence once you achieve the breakthrough. The confidence is your reward for getting it done.
A pattern to every breakthrough.
In 40 years of coaching over 6,000 successful entrepreneurs, I’ve noticed that when entrepreneurs experience a breakthrough in results—any type of entrepreneur, any kind of breakthrough—they go through a four-step thinking, deciding, and action process. Every time.
My thinking is that if breakthroughs are created by going through a process, then that means it’s entirely possible to use that process again and again to create continual breakthroughs—and confidence—for the rest of your entrepreneurial career.
The Four C’s breakthrough process.
Here are the four steps I’ve observed to create breakthrough results. I call them The Four C’s:
- Commitment First, you have to take a leap of faith and really commit to what you want to achieve—commit before you have every “t” crossed and every “i” dotted. There’s no doubt that it’s scary.
- Courage Most people admire courage in others but don’t like the experience themselves. In fact, this crucial step feels awful. You’ve committed yourself without having any proof that what you’re going after is going to pay off.
- Capability Think back to one of your breakthroughs. Wasn’t it the combination of making a commitment and going through a period requiring a lot of courage that created both the new capability and the new confidence?
- Confidence The new level of confidence you experience after a breakthrough is what gives you the ability to commit to an even bigger breakthrough and an even greater sense of confidence. And the process repeats itself.
No courage, no breakthroughs, diminished confidence.
Every successful entrepreneur—that is, one who continually multiplies his or her growth—has mastered the four-step process of commitment, courage, capability, and confidence. Yet, in every case, when they made a new commitment, they still had to go through that dreaded period of courage.
It’s interesting that with very successful entrepreneurs, even when they look back and agree that every breakthrough followed the Four C’s process, they still will try to design a future filled with breakthroughs, where courage is not going to be part of the equation.
And that’s just not going to happen. It doesn’t matter how organized you are, how experienced you are, how successful you are. Only the courage to commit to new ideas and goals that carry no promise of success will result in new capabilities and new breakthroughs.
Any entrepreneur committed to exponential 10x growth, which requires breakthrough after breakthrough has to have that willingness to go through periods of courage again and again. That acceptance is what makes the difference.
Getting ready to get ready to get ready.
Often entrepreneurs get stuck in the “getting ready” process. They lay it all out, they plan, they change the plan, and they try to figure out every angle before they take that leap of faith. It’s like being up on the high diving board at a swimming pool and walking back and forth and back and forth, but never actually jumping off.
Committing to making the dive—the moment of getting unstuck and started—requires courage, but courage is the key to always increasing your confidence.