Published DateAuthorDan Sullivan of Strategic Coach and Gord Vickman
Every new thing you learn to do is scary at first. That includes starting a podcast, filming a video, writing a blog, or performing for a crowd. Dan Sullivan and Gord Vickman discuss The 4 C’s Formula® and how it captures every performer’s experience in starting a podcast and growing it.
In This Episode:
First-time performers tend to focus on their fears, but the audience never even notices.
It’s hard to sound natural and have fun when you’re too focused on yourself.
Wrap your message in a narrative or story for better engagement.
The best entrepreneurial companies effectively combine Simplifier and Multiplier teamwork.
The 4 C’s Formula involves:
First, commitment to a new effort.
Then, courage to follow through despite the fear.
Gradually, you develop new capabilities as you learn and grow from the experience.
Eventually, you feel confidence in those capabilities.
“The difference between courage and confidence is that confidence feels good.” —Dan
Early in his radio career, Gord said a four-letter word live on air, and it changed everything.
Dan believes consistency of delivery and of message are two things that hold your audience.
You’re not competing with other similar podcasts; you’re competing with all the other things your audience could be doing with that time.
“Hang out with people who love the thing that you’re doing.” —Dan
“If you want one guarantee that your event’s going to be enjoyable for all the guests, the first thing you have to do is guarantee that the host has a good time.” —Dan, learned from Emily Post
Be proud of the first podcast you made because you did it solely on commitment and courage, without yet having the capability and confidence.
Gord Vickman: Welcome to Podcast Payoffs. Thank you so much for joining us. My name's Gord Vickman here, as always with Dan Sullivan.
Dan Sullivan: How are you, Gord? Are you feeling chilled today?
Gord Vickman: I'm feeling great. I had a chat with a Coach client this week and we were talking about podcast performance. He was just talking about performance. He's getting a podcast off the ground himself. And he was saying, “One of the things that I'm really struggling with when I listen back to it is just,” he said, “it's cringy to me because I don't feel like I sound natural. It doesn't feel like the show is fun.” So he said, "How do you inject fun and excitement and a natural sounding flow to it?" And there's two things that are interesting about that.
Number one, you're trying to have a natural sounding conversation in a very unnatural circumstance. It's not normal to have a giant mic in front of your face. It's not normal to have the self-awareness that you're being recorded. A lot of people, it freaks them out a little bit and they feel like they have to perform or they have to change their voice or they have to do something different other than just having a conversation.
So obviously the requisite 10,000 hours will certainly help, but one of the things that came up in our conversation was the 4 C's Formula. So it's a Strategic Coach concept. You have Commitment, Courage, Capability, and Confidence. So before we explain how you can work that into your performance, Dan, can you just talk a little bit about that concept and where it comes from and how you've integrated that even into things that you had maybe not done before, but now you're doing and excelling in?
Dan Sullivan: Well, I mean right off the bat, nobody really cares how you feel. I mean, if you're nervous, you're doing it on your own time. I mean, this is 100% yours. So that's one of the big things that I have adjusted to because I was very stiff when I first… Joe Polish, my great friend Joe Polish, got me started with podcasting quite a long time ago, a decade ago. I was stiff and my throat would seize up after a while and I'd have to cough and in the editing session we'd have to redo things.
And what I realized that all the nervousness and all my fears that I was going through was strictly my business. Nobody could care less. And the other thing is, everybody sounds different than how they hear themselves. And the reason is that you're getting a vibration coming from your throat, your mouth, through your bone structure of your head, and you're hearing yourself in one way, but that's not how other people are hearing you. But when you listen to a recording of yourself, you say, "I sound really weird," but to other people, you just sound normal.
Gord Vickman: Yeah, that's how you actually sound.
Dan Sullivan: That's how you actually sound to them and that's how you look, I mean, if you're being videoed. But I can remember when I first started recording back in those days, we were doing cassette tapes. It was 1995, and Willard Bond, who's our sound engineer in our main studio in Toronto, was my first sound technician. So Willard and I go back 25 years with this, and it would take us two hours to do a 40 minute recording and he would say, “Okay, let's go over that again.” And he'd splice it all together at the end and it would sound okay. And if I listened to them right now, I said, "Boy, there was uptight dude, if you ever wanted to do that."
But as you say, and I think you're so right and you've witnessed hundreds of people doing this in your career, that if you can just always make it about the audience. So my whole point, just be real clear what value you want to create for the audience, then make it easy for them to hear what you're saying. So I have two things that I work on all the time. Don't talk about things the audience isn't interested in. And the other thing is don't make it hard for them to hear what you're saying or hard to take in. What you're seeing if I've become more relaxed is because it's more important to think about your audience than it is to think about yourself.
Gord Vickman: I think of the performance too, if you can always wrap it around a narrative or some story. We could have started off the show and said, "We're going to tell you five ways to sound better on a podcast," but no, there's a reason why we're doing this. It's because these things have come up and it's questions that we've been asked about. How do I go about that? But you were committed.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. I was very committed. Yeah, we have a concept in Coach, Simplifier Multiplier, and I've found that all entrepreneurs are either simplifiers or they're multipliers. And that the best entrepreneurial companies is where you have a combination of teamwork between a simplifier and a multiplier. You're a multiplier, Gord, I'm a simplifier. So I don't know all the things that you do to get our podcasts out in the world, but I know we've got three podcast series that are in the top 2% in the world, and it didn't happen when I was in charge. It happened when we teamed up. So there's something about our teamwork that's doing it.
And I think the other thing is you're more comfortable if you realize that it's a team effort that gets us out there. I just don't want to let my team members down. When I'm doing anything, whether it's a workshop, whether I'm doing a new book and everything else, I have a team consciousness that I've developed that I want everybody to be proud of what we just did. I've got my part to do about the project and I just wanted to get it out there.
But I have to tell you, anything new you do in life, it's scary. If you haven't done it before, you've heard other people do it and it really strikes you that you're doing it well, then you're very, very scared that you're not going to match up. You're going to look like a fool. People are going to think, this is weird what you're doing. It isn't going to work. Nobody's going to listen. But that's called fear. If you haven't done it before, you don't know what it is that you're getting yourself into. So you have to commit to yourself. And I wouldn't commit to doing my first podcast. I'd commit to doing my first 50 podcasts and every five I'm going to take a jump in capability. I mean, the first one, first of all, nobody cares. I mean, I just have to tell you, nobody cares. The only thing they care about your podcast is, "Hey, that was interesting. That was useful." That's the only thing they care about.
Gord Vickman: And that you mentioned the second C there was courage.
Dan Sullivan: Courage, yeah. Courage is when you're not feeling confident, you have to have a replacement. And replacement’s called courage. And the difference between courage and confidence is that confidence feels good.
Gord Vickman: I remember early on in my radio career, so I would've been 24, 25 I guess, and I had just started on the morning show down in London, Ontario, not London, England. So I was the technical producer and I was just in charge of operating the digital audio console with skill and precision to make sure I didn't play something that shouldn't have been played. And as a goof, they, two hosts used to send me out sometimes to do little contests and whatnot, and I remember being so nervous to go on because I knew there were between, depending on what quarter hour we were in, 65, 75, 85, maybe 100,000 people would be listening. And they sent me out one day to do some contest to give away tickets, and then they called me back to tease me a bit, but I was on air and I didn't realize it.
So I let a little four letter word slip and I thought that was the end of my career. It turned out that was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to me because the emails and the calls started flooding in saying, "Who is this guy?" And they were actually mad at my cohost for pulling this young fella onto the radio and not telling him that he was on air and then having me be completely mortified. And I think we got one complaint from someone who said that that was just unconscionable and how dare we do that? But everyone else was like, "That was the funniest thing I've heard on the radio in a really long time. You got to tell people when they're on air."
So anyway, that's where a little bit of my courage as far as broadcasting came was just knowing that people don't really care and they're very forgiving with what you're doing and the things that you're doing. As long as you're providing value in the show, at least has some benefit to them and you're not wasting their time.
Dan Sullivan: I mean, if you divided you're getting used to that into stages, and I'm asking to create something right on air here, but if you could take where you were when you walked into a radio station one day and then having a meeting with me to talk about the future of podcasting at Strategic Coach, if you could look at five growth stages you had in terms of commitment and courage, turning into capability and confidence, what would you say one of those would be? And then we can find a second one to follow.
Gord Vickman: I mean, the 4 C's is obviously a great formula. It is the formula to do anything. First, you have to be committed in your desire to do something and to improve. And your courage comes from not screwing it up or at least doing things competently until you gain the capability. And when things start feeling easy for you, your confidence just grows and grows and grows. And I think that can happen with anything in terms of whether it's making money and an entrepreneurial adventure or whether it's broadcasting, whether it's doing anything. But you need to just decide, "Okay. I'm going to do this." If you're building something, any media product you're putting out there, you do have to just recycling what you said.
And going back to that, it's like you can't be all that concerned whether people are going to enjoy it or not. It's none of your business, whether they like it or not. It's your business to actually go and make that and be a little bit bold and don't really listen to that internal monologue. Like most creative people, there's an internal monologue telling you that you're wasting your time, it's not going to work, but you've just got to do it anyway.
Some of the jumps that we've had at Coach, obviously realizing that our shows were getting big enough that they were going to be featured on Apple Podcasts and iTunes. They don't tell you when this is going to happen. You just have to come across them. They don't send you an email. Steve Jobs doesn't rise from the grave to send you a telegram. You just have to notice that it's there. And I remember when I noticed that we had four featured, and they're cyclical, so some of them show up and disappear, but I remember thinking, "Wow, of the 900,000 shows that are floating around out there, they have four of yours." Obviously, the one with Peter Diamandis, the one with Joe Polish, 10x Talk, Exponential Wisdom with Peter, 10x talks with Joe, and then your Multiplier Mindset, your solo show with our Coach clients and inside Strategic Coach, Ms. Shannon Waller.
I don't know if there had been any network at any point, like our Strategic Podcast Network, that had four shows featured at the same time. And that was the day I realized, I think we're getting somewhere with this faster than I thought we would. I knew we would get there, but it happened a lot quicker than I thought we would. And I think that's when I realized that we're really onto something here, so we're going to keep doing it.
Dan Sullivan: I guess it's a competitive world that people only have so much time every day to listen or watch anything, but my sense is that you're not really competing with other podcasts. My sense is that you can secure the audience you want and you can keep supplying that audience with things that are really interesting to them, and you can get a closed loop between what they're really interested in and how you talk about it and everything like that. If we have 40, 50,000 now, it's reasonable to say that if we keep feeding it and using the various techniques that you can to multiply the reach of podcasts and stories, it could be 100,000, it could be a half a million as you go along. I think consistency of delivery and consistency of message are two things for holding your audience.
Gord Vickman: One of the things you said that I loved as well was we were talking about the Free Zone Frontier. So we have three levels at Coach, the Free Zone Frontier is the highest level program. And you said, "I'm not judging the experience of the Free Zone with other coaching programs that may be available. I'm going to base the experience of the Free Zone Frontier Program on any other experience that these clients could have with that investment that they're making." So it has to be on that level, and it actually has to exceed that.
So you can take that into the podcast realm here. And you can say, "We're not competing against other entrepreneurially minded podcasts or technology focused podcasts. We're competing against television. We're competing against Netflix, I guess radio to a certain extent, social media." There's 100 things people could be doing with their 25 minutes today rather than listening to this podcast. So we have to make it worth their time to go about doing that.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. We have the advantage that we have an audience, a client base for our Strategic Coach company that lends itself to what we talk about on our podcast. It's this feedback loop. We get this feedback. So really, I'm a one trick pony. I'm only interested in entrepreneurs and I only like talking about things that entrepreneurs do. I'm not really interested in talking about too much else. And even if I go into the political realm, which I do with American Checklist, I see things American and my interest in America is insofar as America seems to be probably the most entrepreneurially encouraging culture on the planet. I think if you're going to be an entrepreneur, being connected with America and American entrepreneurs is a good way to make it in the world. Hang out with people who love the thing that you're doing. It's a social wisdom. It's not necessarily any great profound wisdom. So if you took all of the podcasts that I do, they're all related to each other. They have a family resemblance.
Gord Vickman: They do. We've mentioned that before even, we were saying picture a family around a Thanksgiving table, all the siblings will have different things about them. But if you look at our family of podcasts here, strategicpodcasts.com, there's a way that they all relate in certain shows, deal with certain topics. This one and Peter’s are more so about technology. This episode itself has been a lot about performance and whatnot, but then Joe is marketing, and then with Mark Young, there's a lot of politics. And with Shannon, it's a lot of concepts and fleshing things out for Inside Strategic Coach.
Dan Sullivan: Dean Jackson, one that I have is really about technology and the difference between what we call the mainland and Cloudlandia, but it's all interesting. I'm going to go back and bring something in that I always believed was true. I'm a great party guy. I love having parties. So over the years, I've read articles on giving great parties, and the Bible for Party Giving was established by a woman by the name of Emily Post back in the 1940s, '50s. This was any social occasion, proper etiquette, and you know how to plan and everything else. And I found most of it boring because I wouldn't do any of it.
But right at the end of the book, she just had a one pager and she said, "Look, I've covered just about every social event, social situation that I could possibly research over the last 40 or 50 years, but if you want one guarantee that your event's going to be enjoyable for all the guests, the first thing you have to do is guarantee that the host has a good time. And all the parties I've hated in my life and all the events I've hated as an uptight host, there's nothing worse than an uptight host. You get out of there as fast as you can, because if the host isn't having a good time, we're all in for trouble here." So I treat a podcast, I treat a workshop, I treat that I'm the host, and I want to have a good time.
Gord Vickman: Well, you seem to be having a good time and we're having a good time on Podcast Payoffs, and that seems like a great spot to wrap up this one. Anything to add before we say goodbye for this occasion?
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. The one thing is, I try not to experiment with things that I wouldn't be committed to doing for the rest of my life. Okay. So if you're thinking about going into podcasting, if you haven't done it a year from now, is that okay with you? And you say, "No, I have to do it before a year." Okay. If you haven't done it six months from now, is that okay with you? No, I have to have some experience. Six months. What about three months? If it's three months and you haven't started yet, is that okay? Well, I'll start at three months. I said, "Well, good, now you've got a deadline." See, the big thing is that you just give yourself a deadline to get started. Then how long are you willing to stay with it before you start judging yourself, whether you're any good or not. See, when I started coaching, I said, "Well, I'm going to do it for the rest of my life." So 10 years, 20 years, I'm going to be doing it. So since you're going to do it for 20 years, how soon would you like to enjoy it?
Gord Vickman: Start right now, I guess,
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. Why don't you just enjoy every step? Why don't you just enjoy the journey and not worry too much about the destination?
Gord Vickman: Yeah. You hear that a lot is, enjoy the process because that's all you really have, continuous evolution, and that's what we try to do on this show here and all the shows on Strategic Podcast Network.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. I just want to say that with reference to what people will say that they cringe when they listen to their first attempts. And don’t. I go back and I say, "I'm proud of that individual." That individual was scared. That individual that did that first podcast was doing it on sheer commitment and courage. The capability and confidence wasn't there, and I'm really proud of that individual.
Gord Vickman: And that's the way to go about it. The 4 C's formula, courtesy of Dan Sullivan and Strategic Coach. If you want to learn more about 4 C's, you can go to strategiccoach.com, click store, and the little book there covers 4 C's and you can find out everything you want to know about that concept. So thank you so much for joining us today on Podcast Payoffs. Always having fun as the two hosts here, because if we're not having fun, no one's having fun. So we got to continue having fun. I hope you're having fun too. If you like this episode, tell one entrepreneur or anyone interested in technology podcasting, if you think that could help them get a little bit better on their own and increase their capability and confidence too. Thanks so much, Dan.