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Career Self-Assessment with C.C. Chapman16:26 with C.C. Chapman
Guest speaker and author C.C. Chapman provides helpful tips on how to perform self-assessment, including taking a look at your personal needs and obligations and setting your course. C.C. explains how you can find some focus in your career by completing some activities from his book, Amazing Things Will Happen.
[treehouse workshops] 0:00 [Dan Gorgone] Hey everyone, I'm Dan Gorgone, 0:02 marketing and business teacher here at treehouse. 0:04 And I'm joined by a special guest today 0:07 for a careers workshop. 0:10 Our special gust is C.C. Chapman, author of "Amazing Things Will Happen." 0:12 C.C., thanks for coming, man. 0:16 [C.C. Chapman] I'm psyched to be here. 0:18 [Dan Gorgone] What can you tell us about the book "Amazing Things Will Happen"— 0:20 and how it can help anyone out there, especially designers and developers, 0:22 with their careers? 0:27 [C.C. Chapman] I wrote "Amazing Things Will Happen" to focus on the fact that 0:29 we're not given a guidebook on how to live our lives, 0:32 especially on the job front. 0:35 I've been someone who hass kind of shaped my own career from day 1. 0:37 And I believe anyone can do that. 0:40 Once you know what you want to achieve, 0:42 one you realize that this is the path I want to go down— 0:44 this is my end result. 0:46 I want to start a business or I want to freelance 0:48 as a designer or a developer for a while. 0:50 Once you know where you're trying to go 0:52 then you can make it happen. 0:53 And the book lays out step-by-step instructions 0:55 on how you can go from figuring out exactly what it is you want to do 0:58 then actually making that happen. 1:02 Then once you're there—once you've reached some of those career goals, 1:04 how to enjoy it and give back to the world 1:06 and maintain a lifelong love of what you're doing. 1:09 [Dan Gorgone] Well I know there's plenty of our members out there 1:12 who are just getting started. 1:15 They're just getting started learning about different kinds of technology 1:18 here at treehouse. 1:20 And some of them are more advanced—some of them have already started 1:22 looking for freelance opportunities and consulting. 1:24 And some of them are actually involved with day-to day business— 1:27 be it their own or someone that they work with. 1:30 Now how can they take some of the activites and lessons 1:32 that are in this book and apply them 1:37 to their job, their career, their business? 1:39 [C.C. Chapman] So I wanted to write a business book or a motivational book, 1:42 depending on what you want to call it, that anybody could use. 1:45 So the advice in it is very practical, very straightforward. 1:48 We walk through some exercises that will help them define 1:52 what it is they really want to do for a career, 1:56 and how they can take it to the next level and maintain it going forward. 1:58 It's very straightforward, it's not focused on any 1 industry. 2:02 Because I didn't want to write a book that 2:05 was for only creatives or only executives. 2:07 I want it so that whether you're a mom or a college student 2:10 or someone who is already running a successful business 2:13 but wants to take it to the next level— 2:15 that they could read it and get something out of it. 2:17 [Dan Gorgone] Gotcha. So 1 of the activites in the book, 2:19 is called Simplify, Focus, and Attack. 2:21 And it may sound self-explanatory at first, 2:25 but to be able to focus on what it is you want to do 2:29 whether it's a career path, or whether it's a project 2:35 or whether it's a business goal—it seems like 2:38 there's a lot that you can do with this activity. 2:40 What can we learn from this? 2:42 [C.C. Chapman] I'm 1 of those guys that always has a million things going on. 2:44 So the Simplify, Focus, Attack approach has always been something that I 2:46 try to do and try to live. 2:49 What it means is that if you have a million things on your plate, 2:51 you're never going to get them all done, something is going to suffer. 2:55 So you simplify, get it down to a couple. 2:58 Let's focus on the career side. 3:02 If you're looking to take your job to the next level 3:04 or even get a new job, right? 3:06 Simplify down to exactly what it is that you want. 3:08 Do you want to keep doing the same thing that you're doing now? 3:11 Is it to step up into a new realm of designing or developing? 3:13 Maybe it's starting your own business? 3:16 Really simplify it down to a couple key objectives of things you want. 3:18 Because then you can focus on them. 3:22 Because the shorter the list—I don't know about you're To Do list, 3:24 my To Do list on any given day is way too long. 3:26 So simplify it down to the ones you can focus on. 3:29 The last step is the most crucial, it's the one people skimp on. 3:31 They actually don't attack. 3:33 They don't do the work, they don't make it happen. 3:35 Making a list is easy. 3:37 Puttingi n the time to make those things happen—not so easy. 3:39 So that's why you simplify it down, you focus on what you're trying to do, 3:42 then you attack and get it done. 3:44 [Dan Gorgone] Now part of that focus means taking a good, hard, honest look 3:46 at personal needs and personal obligations. 3:52 And no matter what it is that you want to do, 3:56 there's always things that are getting in the way— 3:59 whether it's short term things like "I've got to take my kids to soccer practice," 4:01 or longer term concerns like financial. 4:06 Things like, "I have to pay back student loans," 4:10 or how am I supposed to do this if I've got this in the way? 4:12 How can you take your Simplify, Focus, and Attack approach 4:15 and be able to put those concerns, needs, and obligations 4:20 in the right context to move forward? 4:24 [C.C. Chapman] So one of the episodes I talk about stepping through 4:27 and figuring out what it is in your life that you really have to take care of. 4:30 Me having 2 kids and a wife and mortgage— 4:33 I've got a lot more responsibilities than maybe a college student. 4:36 But they've got students loans, they've got rent, they've got other things. 4:39 Let's face it, I hate these people that give advice and just say, 4:42 "Just jump off the cliff, jump into whatever you want to do." 4:45 That's dangerous and stupid, 4:47 because that might work out in the long run, 4:49 but you could also be throwing yourself to the sharks. 4:52 So really take an honest look. 4:54 Write down all the things you have to take care of. 4:56 Get really specific: Here's my budget I have to cover 4:59 on a month-to-month basis. 5:02 Because you don't want to end up on the street. 5:04 But then again, maybe 1 of the options is 5:06 get roommates, there's always alternatives. 5:08 But if you don't actually take the time to look at those things and 5:10 write them out and really focus on them, 5:12 You're never going to know, you're going to see, 5:14 "Oh, maybe you can do it,"it's never going to be the right time. 5:16 It's like having kids, it's never the right time. 5:18 You never have enough money in time. 5:20 But you'll make time for the things you believe in. 5:22 [Dan Gorgone] So from a project point of view, 5:24 I think we can also take Simplify, Focus, and Attack 5:26 and apply it towards projects as well. 5:29 Sort of a project management type of methodology. 5:31 Let's say for example that the designers and developers out there 5:33 this is probably a common issue that comes up is 5:39 you have someone come to you 5:42 with aproject that they want built, a website, say a portfolio project, for example. 5:44 How can we take Simplify, Focus, and Attack 5:49 and apply it to a project like this? 5:52 What's a good way that we can apply this methodology? 5:55 [C.C. Chapman] As you're sitting there talking to your clients, 5:57 clients want everything right—they want it all. 6:00 And they can't pay for it all. 6:02 Sitting down with them and actually saying, 6:04 "What are the top 5 things? Let's simplify it." 6:07 "Let's narrow down to the 5 things you must have in this site." 6:09 What I like to do is talk about the nice to have things? 6:12 You know, that second tier. 6:15 Because then you can focus on the things that really matter. 6:17 And it focuses them. 6:19 It's 1 of those exercises that it doesn't matter what 6:21 sort of project you're working on with a client. 6:23 If you get them to actually talk about what it is that they really, really need— 6:25 it will let them focus. 6:29 Then it allows you to attack the things that they want the most. 6:31 [Dan Gorgone] So in terms of applying a degree 6:33 of focus to a career— 6:37 one of those things that can really help put a lot of things in focus 6:40 is self-assessment, right? 6:44 Now self-assessment is so important, 6:46 it's not something that you just do at the beginning 6:50 of a career like when you're going into high school and— 6:52 I know plenty of people have probably taken these self-assessment tests 6:57 in high school or maybe at some point in college, 6:59 but self-assessment is important throughout your career, isn't it? 7:03 [C.C. Chapman] Without a doubt, if you're not looking at where you are 7:06 and what you're doing on a regular basis, 7:09 You're never going ot be happy and you're never going to get anywhere. 7:11 A lot of companies will do it, if you're working for somebody 7:14 it's the year end review, that's when someone looks at you and judges you. 7:18 But honestly, don't wait for other people to assess your career. 7:21 Look at it yourself, figure out, "Am I on the right track?" 7:24 "Am I getting where I need? Should I take more classes 7:27 "to learn a new language? Should I take more here on treehouse 7:31 "to take my skills to a new level?" 7:34 The more you do that self assessment and don't just wait— 7:36 Don't do it on a calendar. 7:38 Everybody does it in December for the new year. 7:40 Figure out what works for you and be looking at it on a constant basis. 7:42 [Dan Gorgone] One of the activities in "Amazing Things Will Happen" 7:46 is the 3 word exercise. 7:48 I know that you talked about this exercise sort of being 7:52 inspired by the New Years resolutions. 7:55 that you saw online. 7:58 Can you explain how that activity sort of came about? 8:00 [C.C. Chapman] So the 3 word exercise is something 8:02 that I learned from another writer. 8:06 And what he always did instead of New Year's resolutions— 8:08 which I'm not a fan of either— 8:11 he would figure out 3 words for the year, 3 themes to focus on. 8:13 And what the exercise is 8:17 really simply, you lay out all the words, you kind of do a brainstorm— 8:19 a mind map of all the terms you're focusing on 8:23 that you want to achieve in the new year. 8:26 Then you start looking for themes. 8:28 You narrow it down, simplify it, you focus on it. 8:30 Then you get down to 3 words that you're going to focus on for the year. 8:32 And you attack, you make it happen. 8:35 [Dan Gorgone] That seems like something that would be especially 8:38 helpful for personal philosophy and personal and professional direction. 8:41 I bet you could even apply it towards the types of projects, the types of clients 8:46 that you want to seek out. 8:52 When it comes to careers 8:54 how can we take the 3 word exercise 8:56 and apply it towards the career search? 8:58 Sort of directing our career path, so to speak. 9:01 [C.C. Chapman] Sure, so let's step through the exercise 9:06 as if we were looking for a new job, 9:08 as a designer or developer looking for a new job. 9:10 One of the things where we would start is of course you want to make more money, 9:12 you want more flexible hours, you want to work shift, 9:16 all those things—those are things we all want. 9:19 Those are not the things to focus on, because we know we need those. 9:21 So what you would do first is you would actually 9:24 write down all the things that you really want out of this new job. 9:25 Maybe it's more challenging, maybe it's more responsibility. 9:28 You want to start managing people. 9:31 You want to learn a new programming language. 9:33 You want to expand your portfolio. 9:35 Write all those things down and do not be held back. 9:37 Just write them down, take time, take a notebook, a whiteboard, whatever it is. 9:41 Write everything that comes down. 9:44 Take a week, take some time to really focus on it, 9:46 because this is your master list you're going to work from. 9:48 Once you've got those, what you should start doing 9:51 is actually, on a whiteboard what I do is grab different colored markers 9:54 and start circling if there's any themes. 9:58 LIke, "Oh, this focuses on responsibilities I want." 10:00 And over here is maybe the locations, maybe I want to move. 10:03 I want to uproot my family and do something new. 10:06 [Dab Gorgone] Or creativity? 10:08 [C.C. Chapman] Or creativity—there's so many different things. 10:10 It's up to you to figure out if there are any themes 10:12 that are grouping them together. 10:14 The next step is to actually take it and start 10:16 chopping them down, because the goal is 10:18 to get down to 3 phrases or words. 10:20 In this case when we're doing acareer search, maybe it won't be 10:23 indivisual words, maybe it will be phrases. 10:25 Like "Managerial Responsibility" or "Stronger Creativity." 10:27 You want to narrow it down so that way at the end of it, 10:30 what you're hoping for is that you've got these 3 really important things 10:33 for what you want out of the next job. 10:37 And where that becomes important is when you start interviewing with people. 10:39 If you're not asking questions in an interview, 10:42 you're not going to get the job. 10:44 That's 1 of the rules of interviewing for jobs. 10:46 When you've got these 3 things that you know these are the really important things. 10:48 You can sit down and ask those specifically, 10:51 say, "Hey, is there a chance for me to do this here?" 10:54 Because that's going to show that you've focused on what you really wanted. 10:56 This isn't just another job, this is actually something you want. 10:59 And it sets you up for that career path. 11:02 And if you go in and you've taken the time to go through this exercise, 11:04 And you go in and you get "no's" on those 3 things, 11:08 that's not the right job for you. 11:12 Too many people jump based on the salary, 11:14 or based on something that shortk-term is great. 11:16 But long-term eventually you're not going to get what you need out of it 11:19 and you'll look back at these words again. 11:23 [Dan Gorgone] So I bet you could take these 3 words that you 11:25 come up with through the activity, 11:27 and if you've really been honest with yourself and you really focus 11:29 on what it is that you want, 11:32 You could apply it not just towards the interviews 11:34 but take it a step back, you can look at the companies. 11:37 You want to do research anyway 11:40 before you go out and even submit a cover letter or a resume, 11:42 but when you're looking at job opportunities and you see what's out there— 11:46 This is almost like doing personal keyword research on yourself 11:49 on what you want, right? 11:53 [C.C. Chapman] Yeah, and you should be investigating companies. 11:55 If you're not looking at the companies, if you're not going out 11:57 to both their websites, their social media profiles, their LinkedIn company pages, 11:59 which now companies have, 12:04 if you're not taking time to actually research the companies, 12:06 you're going to find out that the culture doesn't mix. 12:08 Granted you can only find out so much before you're actually there onsite. 12:10 But when you know what you want, 12:13 it makes researching these companies a lot better. 12:16 You have to get beyond the name. 12:18 "Oh, that's a great company, that sounds awesome." 12:20 It may not be a great fit for you. 12:22 [Dan Gorgone] So aside from the activities that we just talked about, 12:24 "Amazing Things Will Happen" has all kinds of different lessons. 12:29 And different things that you've collected along your own personal journey 12:32 and from many defferent people. 12:37 What are some of the other things that people can learn from the book 12:39 that can have a real benefit ont heir career path? 12:41 [C.C. Chapman] Well, there's a lot of things. 12:45 One of the chapters is called "Rules are like Rubberbands." 12:48 The fact that sometimes there are rules that are 12:50 just put in place that no one's ever changed for any reason. 12:53 And figuring out a way to bend them without breaking them. 12:55 It gets you ahead in the world a little bit. 12:59 I also talk about something that I have to give credit to Derrick Sivers, 13:01 a great entrepreneur and musician, 13:04 he does what he calls the "Hell Yeah" test. 13:07 Where if you're thinking about should I take this freelance gig 13:09 or should I take this job— 13:13 You kind of feel like maybe, 13:15 he says if you can't say, "Hell yeah, I want to take that." 13:17 Then maybe you shouldn't take it. 13:20 That's tough when you're looking for a paycheck, 13:22 or you've got other committments. 13:25 But if you get to a point in your career, and you will have those decisions 13:27 where it's not a life or death decision, it's just you need to make a call, 13:29 I think that test is something more people need to do. 13:32 Because, trust me, if you pass on that opportunity 13:35 that you're not that excited about, 13:38 there's probably another opportunity coming along 13:40 And there's nothing worse than saying "yes" to something you're not excited about 13:42 and then that excitin 1 comes, and you have to pass on it 13:45 because you're committed to the other one. 13:48 Pick your battles, do something you love. 13:50 [Dan Gorgone] It's also difficult to get your energy up 13:53 for projects that are kind of "meh." 13:54 It's hard regardless of whether the money is there or not. 13:59 [C.C. Chapman] And we all have to take them from time to time. 14:03 Don't get me wrong, if it was all unicorns and rainbows 14:06 life would be a lot better, but it's not. 14:09 Sometimes you have to take the project and you have to do it. 14:11 And you slug through, but when you get to that point where 14:14 you have the opportunity to have a little bit more control and a little bit more decision, 14:17 if you're doing work that you actually love 14:20 it's a lot easier. 14:22 [Dan Gorgone] So final words of advice. 14:24 Advice for the first-timers out there. 14:26 Or if you could go back in time and tell yourself 14:30 you're going to start your career path. 14:32 Here's eomthing that you need to consider 14:35 that's going to point you in the right direction. 14:38 What would you tell yourself? 14:42 [C.C. Chapman] Wow, if I was to go back and tell me? 14:44 I talk to a lot of college students. 14:46 I do a lot of speaking to students. 14:48 What I always tell them is—especially right out of college 14:50 everybody jumps at that first job that sounds great, 14:54 Take the time, that's the time you usually don't have 14:56 as many committments as you're going to have later in life. 15:01 Take the time, the extra couple of weeks, 15:03 the extra couple of months to get that first job to be right. 15:06 But also realize that no matter what you're first job is, 15:09 you're not going to be there forever. 15:12 It's not like the old days. 15:14 I thought the company I started working for right out of college— 15:16 I thought I was going to be there 10 years., I ended up being there 4. 15:18 It's not going to happen. 15:21 So take the time to find something that you really like. 15:23 And realize what it is you like, just because 15:26 your parents, just because your teachers, or society tells you 15:27 you should be going down this path. 15:31 If that's not the path you want to be on, 15:33 you're eventually going to get discouraged and leave. 15:36 It's a lot easier to start down the path in the beginning. 15:39 So don't be scared—it is scary, it's a lot of hard work, 15:42 but do it, just do it. 15:45 Nike had it right, just do it. 15:47 [Dan Gorgone] So where can people find this book 15:49 and where can people find mor information about you? 15:51 [C.C. Chapman] Sure, so I'm easy, I'm all over the web. 15:54 cc-chapman.com is my site where you can find everything I do. 15:57 "Amazing Things Will Happen" is available everywhere books, e-books, 16:00 and audio books are sold. 16:04 Go down to your local bookstore and buy it. 16:06 Not the big chain, support indie bookstores. 16:09 That's a pet peeve of mine, support them. 16:11 They need the business. 16:13 And if you read it, let me know, I'd love to know what you think. 16:15 [Dan Gorgone] Cool, thanks for coming C.C. 16:17 C.C. Chapman, I'm Dan Gorgone, thanks for watching this workshop. 16:19 We'll see you next time. 16:22 [treehouse workshops] 16:24
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