The secret of financial and career confidence
Question: My children seem to have little initiative to set out and build a career as I did. We feel as if we have given them every advantage. Any hints on how to incentivize my children to succeed?
Answer: A father once told me he was driven to succeed financially because of all the hardships he had to endure as a child. He didn’t want his children to have to face the same difficulties he had.
But the problem now was that his children seemed to not appreciate the good life he had given to them. They took his generosity for granted and actually saw it as an entitlement.
“I don’t know,” he said. “There’s just something about this generation of kids. They have so much and they appreciate so little!”
“Well you know what the problem is, don’t you?” I asked him. He looked at me, waiting for my response.
“It’s you. You didn’t give them the same opportunities you had to learn and grow. You withheld those opportunities from them and their character muscles had no opportunity to grow. If you had never let them walk when they were young, but instead carried them everywhere in your arms, they would be handicapped today because their muscles could not even support them walking. You just did the same thing to them, but in character development.”
What we want for ourselves and for our children is to be confident and capable people. And I would throw in compassionate. These are just some of the hallmarks of good character.
Yet confidence and capabilities only come through the door labeled “hard things.” Learning to walk, read, learn, cooperate, forgive, plan, organize and lead are all hard to do. Almost no one does them well (or at all) without lots of instruction and practice. The whole process is hard.
Dan Sullivan says that the path to a breakthrough in your life has to come in four steps.
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, so it requires…
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. Practicing courage almost always feels bad. That’s one reason so few sign up for it. But without it, you’ll never gain…
Capability Think back to one of your accomplishments. 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 as well as…
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.
Sullivan believes that anyone who continually grows has mastered the four-step process of commitment, courage, capability and confidence. I think he’s right.
But he also points out even when someone follows the Four C’s process, they still will often 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, goals, habits or actions will result in new capabilities and new breakthroughs.
One of the single biggest mistakes I see people make in their lives is failing to commit with courage to developing new capabilities in life, which would have helped them grow in their confidence throughout life.
If you have rescued your children from doing hard things, you have actually harmed them. You have kept from them the secret of growing, both in capability and confidence.
Well, you can’t do anything about the past. But this is one new trick that even an old dog needs to learn if he wants to see real change take place.
Exactly how you wean your entitled children off the dole is up to you. But if you want them to change, you’re going to have to go first. And it’s going to take…
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