The 4 Cs of Making Big, Scary Decisions
I recently found myself sitting next to an older, business-like gentleman in a public place. Small talk ensued, and I told him about how I’m an MBA student searching for career opportunities.
“How exciting!” he said.
“And a little scary,” I replied.
Social norms led me to expect him to nod, agree, and maybe say a few words of encouragement. Instead, his eyes lit up with excitement.
“I’d like to share something with you that one of my mentors shared with me many years ago,” he said. “There are four little words that all begin with C that will carry you through every major change in your life. It’s amazing. Every time I’ve had a major upheaval or a big decision to make, the four Cs have been there. Every time. Write these down, because I’m telling you, they’ll be there for you too.”
Here they are, folks:
He explained that every big transition or decision in life starts out with confusion. You don’t know what to decide. You don’t know what the path before you looks like. It’s scary.
Next, gradually, you begin to feel comfortable with one of the options. Things are still scary, but a little less so. You start to think that you’ll find your way, after all.
Next comes a bit of confidence. You start to feel like that one option could actually be the one. You’re almost ready to make a decision. You can finally see the finish line taking shape in the distance, but there’s still a little bit of second-guessing going on.
Finally, you’ll become convinced that the path you’ve chosen is the one for you. You can charge ahead at full steam, and it’s no longer scary at all.
The 4 Cs resonated with me immediately. I can recognize them from periods of major transition in my own past. I’m definitely squarely in the “confusion” stage right now! Big changes can be scary, and I believe that understanding where you are in the 4 Cs is crucial. I
Professionally, if you’re “confused,” it might affect the way you work and the way you interact with others. If you’re “convinced,” you might not be as open to feedback or constructive criticism as usual. As a professional, it’s always important to understand as much about ourselves and our team as possible. I plan to let the 4 Cs broaden my understanding.
And to the man who passed his wisdom on to me: thank you. And may you move through the 4 Cs quickly in every major transition to come.