Habits To Help You 4C Your Future by Leslie Juvin-Acker
I’ve been coaching professionals for seven years now and, after the first four, I started to see the four common habits my clients developed that took them from surviving to thriving in their careers: The 4Cs.
The 4Cs aren’t about waking up early or eating Wheaties for breakfast because, having clients from all over the world with different beliefs, cultures, interests, and professional backgrounds, I’ve learned that what works for one person can be counterintuitive for another. What I’ve come to call the 4Cs, they are consciousness, creativity, confidence, and connectivity. And, no matter who you are or where you are on your professional path, these habits can be employed individually and incorporated for maximum career potential.
Consciousness, possessing an awareness of oneself and one's surroundings, is a habit of successful people because understanding how we relate to the world around us sets the tone of all professional relationships and business outcomes.
Let’s consider our habitual thoughts, feelings, and attitudes towards our work and the message they convey. Are our thoughts and discussions colored with sarcasm, judgement, or negativity? Or, are they generally positive? How we consistently perceive our work can either positively or negatively affect our career choices and relationships.
Consciousness also includes an awareness of what matters to us and those around us. When we’re conscious of what’s important, we’re predisposed to keep our minds open to different possibilities instead of one singular solution to get what we want. In other words, more win-win situations.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What thoughts and beliefs about my work and
professional relationships consistently get the spotlight?
- How (through words and actions) can I make my values and beliefs known on a daily basis at work?
- What is it that I really want to accomplish at work? What do I have to offer to achieve my goals?
Creativity is a habit that goes beyond artistic talent and having all of the answers. Creativity is a way of looking at the world with continually fresh and non-judgemental eyes.
Sometimes, our work life can seem a lot like the film Groundhog Day. It’s human nature to get stuck in routines without carefully considering why. By employing creativity, we push ourselves to play with the behaviors and paradigms we’ve unconsciously created for ourselves in order to challenge our own status quo.
Creativity is also a space where preconceived judgements are pushed aside to make way for experimentation. In coaching sessions, I challenge my clients to put aside their normal way of thinking to test new ways of doing things by asking, “We’ve already walked down this road and found that it ends here - what if we tried a different path? What would it look like?”
Questions to ask yourself:
- I know how I would historically deal with this
issue, so what kind of questions would the new me ask to see the problem
- Am I reacting or am I responding to problems? How can I consciously respond instead of emotionally react?
- What are the typical options I give myself or others? What different choices can we make?
When we’re aware of and clear about what we want (higher salary, better working conditions, or work-life balance), we’re likely to ask for it during negotiations. When we know what values we believe in, we're likely to stand up for them and choose professional relationships with individuals who appreciate them. When we allow ourselves freedom to create without judgement, we’re likely to test our normal boundaries.
One way I get my clients to develop their confidence is through exposure. It’s a technique that gets my clients to face their fears by taking on small, manageable challenges on the path towards their goals. Afterall, confidence isn’t a result, it’s a means to an ends, and it is a habit employed through practice because it’s one thing to know what we want and it’s another to face our fears and be confident enough to get it.
Questions To Ask Yourself:
- What are my present work-related insecurities? How
can I start small and expose myself to situations that demand I overcome them?
- What are the top 3 reasons why I should believe in myself?
- Who do I know that confidently does what I wish I could? What advice can they give me?
Successful people see connections everywhere: between their attitudes and their interactions, their choices and the consequences, and between themselves and others. Connectivity is a habit that challenges us to reach outside of ourselves to find inspiration through different perspectives and share our talents to serve the world.
Consciousness is something that we can spread during our connection with others. Do our networking partners, colleagues, and clients know our goals and intentions? When I coach job seekers and those looking for promotions, I ask them to clarify their goals on a consistent basis so that others can be aware of opportunities for them. This way, we’re allowing our network to help make connections for what we didn’t even know existed.
Questions To Ask Yourself:
- Who are the people in my network who can help me
find the answers to my (specific) question?
- Am I clearly communicating with others? How can I make my ideas clearer and more specific?
- What are my most important relationships? What new ways can I demonstrate how I value them each day?
Connecting the 4Cs
Habitually employing the 4Cs takes work. It means stepping out of our comfort zones, challenging our present ways of thinking, and making connections that we’d never before imagined.
Consequently, when we develop clarity of mind, we’re open to new ways of thinking and creating. When we’re open minded, we’re putting trust in ourselves and that life will meet us halfway. And, when we’re confident (even in the face of our greatest fears), we’re ready to connect deeper with others in more meaningful ways.
The four Cs work no matter the professional goal. I’ve coached many people over the years and I’ve never seen two people take the same route of success. So, drink tea or coffee, wake up early or late, and do what works for you - just be sure you are confident and clear on why you’re doing them every step of the way. However you wish to create your career and for whatever reason personal to you, let the 4Cs get to work. The only way to know your future is to 4C it.