Today, we’ve got the founder of Chai Latte Consulting, author of Skyrocket Your Career, and Tech Career coach himself, Raj Subrameyer. He has helped countless individuals discover their zone of genius and leverage it to live a life that they love.
Raj’s story is a story of consistency, beginning early in his career before becoming an entrepreneur after submitting over 1000 job applications. In this episode, he talks about the difficulties of women in IT and how he’s worked with clients to overcome the industry’s old beliefs. And finally, he talks about why you should work on your mind dump exercise. Check it out!
23:00 – 24:00 – 60mins
10:45 – 11:15 – 30mins
12:06 – 12:26 – 20mins
14:10 – 15:43 – 93mins
16:15 – 18:50 – 155mins
Today, we’ve got the founder of Chai Latte Consulting, author of Skyrocket Your Career, and Tech Career coach himself, Raj Subrameyer. His is a story of consistency beginning early in his career before becoming an entrepreneur after submitting over 1000 job applications. Raj talks about the difficulties of women in it and how he’s worked with clients to overcome the industry’s old beliefs. And finally, he talks about why you should work on your mind dump exercise.
[02:37 – 17:44] Raj’s learning journey, Masterminds, MIND DUMP Exercise
The Mastermind Effect: 02:37
Let’s dive into it. Please talk to me about how your learning had changed over the last 5-10 years. When you were younger, it was textbooks, teachers, friends, family, coworkers, and people around you. You were in corporate America, and you’ve shifted out of that. How has your learning changed from your early years versus today?
Raj Subrameyer 02:57
In the past ten years, the way we interact with people, the way we do business, and how we learn things have drastically changed. To set some context, I grew up in Chennai, India, and the education system there is different from where I am right now in the United States. There, it’s more about how good you are at memorizing things. When you have exams, you have to remember things you memorize, and then you put that on paper. Once the course completes, you forget what you learn within a month or two because the focus is on how well you memorize and then whether you get good grades.
When I came to the United States, I noticed a lot of focus on group learning. You have group projects. They make assignments more abstract to permit people to think creatively. Being in the United States and doing a master’s in software engineering, I could see that in the past ten years, the focus of learning has shifted from memorizing grades to how we will implement those learnings in real life. Now, universities are radically changing their educational system and courses to reflect that. Because when people graduate and set foot in the corporate environment, they need to apply these things they learned in real-life work experiences. The trends have shifted in learning from the past ten years to where we are right now.
The Mastermind Effect: 05:12
It’s interesting. I might have been a rock star back in your hometown because memorizing was the only way I could just get through stuff. The method you talked about sounded a little more like what Montessori is. My son is in Montessori, which is definitely hands-on group activity and then learning at your own pace and using your creativity.
Raj Subrameyer 05:36
That’s a great point. Sometimes people get the wrong notion when they say abstract learning creates creativity. It doesn’t mean that it’s not structured. They think that when you are creative, things are open-ended, and then you could do whatever you want. In Montessori and other educational systems and learning styles, things are more creative and more open. They have some structure, some guardrails, but they increase the creativity of kids or even adults. That is structured learning but increasing creativity at the same time.
The Mastermind Effect: 06:32
Absolutely. You’re talking about learning structure and what we’re able to take in. There are more ways to take in information than ever before. It can be confusing with the amount of information we have at our fingertips. Some people learn from mentors, coaches, masterminds, accountability partners, online courses, and many ways to learn. Who are you currently learning from? And more importantly, how did you connect with them?
Raj Subrameyer 06:59
We have a good problem right now, where there are many options for you to consume information. We have many ways to do, a lot of things to choose from, and focus on things that we can relate to. The problem here is our life is not like a Netflix movie. How many of you have decided to watch a movie on Netflix, but spent 45 minutes just browsing through different movie options? By the time you select the movie, it’s already an hour and a half, and you’re all tired. That is what is happening in terms of having multiple options right now. You need to be careful of that. There will be many options, but you have to pick the top three things you can relate to and then go with it and see whether it works for you. If it doesn’t work, then take out one item from the list and then add another item to your list. That’s a good way to approach learning.
Podcasts are my jam as the mastermind effect. I have many podcasts, and I listen to them while running and cleaning my kitchen. That is one of the most important ways I consume information, learn and connect with people.
Another aspect is social media. It is based on what you do in life. For example, I’m a Tech Career coach. And I specifically help people in the tech industry find their dream job and become successful leaders in the tech industry. The place where all the tech folks hang out is LinkedIn. It is the place for professionals where they hang out and connect. LinkedIn is a rich social media platform for connections. And there, you can find a lot of like-minded people, influencers, entrepreneurs, and coaches like me. People connect with me, and then I connect with other coaches. You also have Instagram and Facebook, where people are more focused on other areas like photography.
Podcasts and social media are the two main ways I’m consuming information. I read about 25 to 30 books per year, primarily biographies and motivational books. If people are looking to connect, grow their network, and consume information, podcast, social media, and books are the way to go.
The Mastermind Effect: 10:40
Absolutely. I love how you explained how you’re utilizing the different platforms, and depending on the industry, why it’s important to be on there.
Let’s go into people you work with because many people get stuck, and they don’t know how to execute what’s in their heads. We’re still going through a pandemic. I feel it’s causing a reset and how we’re able to accomplish things. How have masterminds or coaching helped you when you’re looking to reset and get unstuck?
Raj Subrameyer 11:11
People need to understand that even coaches need coaches. I coach a lot of people in the tech industry, but I have a business coach. I have a writing coach because I just published a book. Then, I have a speaking coach because I am training to give TEDx and TED Talks in the future. Everyone has someone to help them get unstuck. There are different ways of approaching the situation, me as a coach and even people who are not coaches.
Let’s first talk about me as a coach, how am I approaching this pandemic situation and trying to get unstuck. No matter where you are in life, you need to figure out what you want to focus on. I do a simple exercise called the Mind Dump exercise. I recommend this to everyone. It gives good visibility on where you want to focus on. It is like a GPS or Google Maps; without putting the destination address, you cannot expect to reach a destination. In the same way, if you feel that you are stuck and this pandemic has taken control of your life, you need to do something about it. That’s what I’ve done during this pandemic, and I do it regularly to focus and refocus.
Take a paper and pen, put a line horizontally right through the middle of the paper. On the left side, you’re going to write down things you love to do or you want to do. On the right side, you’re going to write down things you hate to do or you never want to do in life. By doing that exercise honestly and uninterruptedly for an hour, you’re going to uncover so many things about yourself. All the things you want to do are already stuck in your head, and you just have to make it visible by putting it on paper. By doing this mind dump exercise, you can start finding different patterns in your interests and the things you don’t like. Then you can start inspecting your current state of life. Are you doing things based on your strengths? Or are you doing things that are not related to what you want to do in life? That’s the first step in getting unstuck.
The next step is to decide whether you can do it on your own through the resources like podcasts, blog posts, and articles, or you can find someone who can help you out. For me, there’s a lot of things I could find online and do, but then I also run a business, and I have clients to support in the best way possible. I choose different things which I want to get help on. The way you pick any coach is by looking at their social media profile. Look at what they’re posting, see where they can relate to them. Check out their content, video, and podcasts. See whether you can relate to the experiences they share and what they’re going through. Then set up a call to connect with them. You can then filter people you can relate to and then hire coaches. That is the first aspect of how you get unstuck as a coach. Do mind dump exercise, start connecting and see what other help you can get from other people, and then hire the coaches you want.
The second part is if you’re not a coach, but you’re just stuck, and you want to do something in your life. If you’re stuck no matter where you are in your life or whatever career you are in, you start with the mind dump exercise. Then figure out things you need help with and see if you can get help through other resources, like blog posts and articles. If not, hire someone who has gone through the same journey. You don’t have to struggle for 15 years to build a company. Instead, if someone has already built a company, you can have them as your mentor and then do it fast track by using their golden nuggets. That’s what you pay for.
One more thing you mentioned was the power of masterminds. I am a part of a mastermind as well. I wrote my book as part of a mastermind group. Masterminds is a group of like-minded people, and it could be entrepreneurs or anyone who have a similar vision to make an impact. You have one person who helps facilitate, guide and share their experiences with the group. Each one has its path, but they share and support each other. You choose whether you want coaches, masterminds, podcasts, and online resources, but it all starts with being clear on what you want to do with life.
[17:45 – 34:48] Self-Education and Raj’s reality
The Mastermind Effect: 17:28
One of the reasons we’re building the Success Finder is to help people and funnel them through their journey. They don’t have to go to all these different resources because it can be confusing.
Since we’re on the subject of masterminds, they’ve been around for a while. Probably the first mastermind was the apostles. Then Benjamin Franklin creates the Judo Club or the Leather Apron Club. Then Napoleon Hill writes a book and lays out what you described as a mastermind. There’s been a large boom of self-education over the last ten-plus years; where do you see the paradigm shifting between traditional education versus self-education going forward?
Raj Subrameyer 18:20
That’s a very controversial question. Everyone is thinking about whether school education makes sense these days. Learning has evolved in the past ten years; there’s still a lot of work to do. I feel that school education for our kids has a lot of scope for improvement because they’re still using old material. They make the students just learn one or two things they prescribe. Kids get a false understanding that’s how the world works, which is not true. I feel that all the kids have that entrepreneurial mind. We need to nurture that entrepreneurial mind of young kids.
I’ve seen this many school systems where, apart from the regular courses offered for the past 10 to 15 years, they’re starting to have new kinds of initiatives like having people like us back to school. They’re encouraging more programs like this to expose kids to things other than what they’ve always been learning. I can see the past trends in entrepreneurial reforms and activities combined with their old traditional books system start to help kids.
We cannot just rely on the school system. That’s why as parents, we have to encourage our kids to learn different things. Parents must invest in their kids and start exposing them to different activities. It could be coding or art. It’s a combination of traditional school systems, entrepreneurial reforms, and parents encouraging their kids to learn and expose them to more opportunities. That’s where I see the trend going. If you don’t do that, the kids will suffer because what they perceive as reality at school, as we know, is not the reality when they step into the corporate environment. It’s a whole new world, and they shouldn’t be taken by surprise. We should nurture them from a young age so that they’re at least decently prepared for it. When they come to a level of maturity to think on their own, those things which we did are going to help them out as well.
The Mastermind Effect: 22:07
When someone invests in their future, they have a better than a vague idea of what they will get out of it. They have some expectation if they follow the steps that you’re teaching them and they’re working with you on, what the outcome could be. What should people expect when they enter Raj’s reality?
Raj Subrameyer 22:46
The first thing I do when people come to me is to analyze how bad they want to change. There are two types of people in this world, people who think they want to change, but there’s no action, and people who want to change and have tried so many different things, but they haven’t succeeded. I help the second category of people. When people talk to me, I first analyze how bad they want it and whether they’re ready to invest in themselves because you need to be ready to invest in yourself to make a change. You need to remember that people come to coaches like us because we have dedicated 15 to 20 years of our life, going through all these failures, and we are going to give you the golden nuggets to succeed, like literally two or three months. For that, you have to be ready to invest in yourself in terms of paying me a certain amount of money for you to grow. A lot of people say, “I don’t know whether I’m ready for it,” and that’s an indicator that people may not be ready just yet, due to multiple reasons.
In 2011, I was a new college grad, and I just started working. I just finished repaying my student loans and didn’t have money. One of my biggest fears in life was public speaking fear from a young age. And it was haunting me till 2011. Then I saw this marketing promo email saying there’s a conference going on. Then I started looking at the email and thought to myself, maybe I should attend this conference because of my fear of public speaking. Then another fear was fear of rejection. But if I go to a conference, there will be many people I don’t know, and it’d be more comfortable to get out of my comfort zone.
I decided to spend $3,000 on my own money because I really wanted to make a change. I went there and saw other speakers give talks. Then I got this epiphany that the best way to get rid of my fear of public speaking is by becoming a speaker. I came back from the conference in 2011 after taking notes and talking to people and other speakers. In 2012, I started speaking in smartphone meetup groups. In 2013, after seven months and 23 trial runs, I gave my first conference talk, and it was a huge hit. Right now, I’m an international keynote speaker and speaking in front of 1000s of people. Why am I sharing this story? That is because change doesn’t happen unless you decide to invest in yourself.
When they come to me, I first do this analysis; then, I do a profile analysis when I decide that they need help and I could help them. Profile analysis analyzes their current state and where they’re now from their LinkedIn profile, whether their current job matches their strengths. Once we do that, we start getting different items to work on. For example, a person comes to me and says he wants to be a tech manager. We started analyzing whether that’s what they want to do. Sometimes, you may find out that it is not what they want to do. We identify what strengths and interest areas they have to focus on; then, we develop a three-month or six-month action plan to reach those goals. Then we proceed on a weekly basis. We have calls and tasks. That’s how we proceed further. If you work with me, that’s what you can expect.
I can guarantee that your mindset and belief system are 100% going to shift if you work with me. You will be in a better state than you were before you came to me. I can also guarantee that you’ll have confidence, and we will identify your strengths. I guarantee that you will focus your vision, goals, and tasks based on your strengths. You also have to do the work. That’s what happened.
I’ve helped about 30 clients, and my clients are usually people in their mid to senior-level stage of their careers who want to get into leadership. One final thing before I finish this monologue, everything is mindset and consistency—no matter where you are in life. It’s mindset and belief system that we need to work on first, and then all other things follow. That’s pretty much the whole Raj experience if you come to me.
The Mastermind Effect: 29:31
I love the Raj experience. And speaking of that experience, I feel that people have a way of surprising us from time to time, whether it’s their willingness to learn, the grit, and the grind. Give us a success story of someone who has been through the Raj experience and the outcome because they worked with you.
Raj Subrameyer 29:49
There are many success stories, but one that immediately comes to my mind is this woman I’m working with right now, and she’s still my client. She has been my client for over two years. She came to me in early 2018. She was a tech lead. A Tech lead is someone in a leadership role in the tech industry. That’s the starting stage. Once you do our tech lead job, you can become manager, VP and keep growing. She said that being a tech woman has been hard on her because she is getting overlooked for promotions and not getting the salary she deserves. She wants to get into a manager role, but she feels she doesn’t have the right skill sets. That’s what she told me when we first started talking.
Usually, what happens is, even before the person back to me, I asked for their LinkedIn profile because I want to see their work experiences. She had 21 years of experience working in the Tech industry. And she felt that she didn’t have the right skill set to be a manager. I had to give her a taste of reality. Her name is Sri. I told Sri that, do you know that you have 21 years of experience in Tech. It just blew her mind. She said, “I didn’t even realize that I have 21 years of experience.” The reality I was telling her is, even CEOs and CTOs of startup companies do not have 21 years of Tech experience. And you think about whether you can be a manager. I said you could even be a CTO or CEO if you want to. You have these limiting beliefs, which are holding you down. We started analyzing her different strength areas. Her experience was her strength, and she had this knack for solving problems creatively in teams because we uncovered some of her stories. Then, we figured out her ideal leadership style and what our role would be. Once she uncovered those things, we started looking for different jobs to meet her strengths. I not only helped her get a manager role at a company, but she became the director of quality engineering. That was our next jump, literally, from Tech lead to director of quality engineering. That’s like two-step progress in terms of her job. She’s doing amazingly well and works in a real-life company.
Here, the moral of the story is we have all these limiting beliefs that we cannot do this or do that because society has labeled us that way. Once you start realizing that you shouldn’t let other people’s opinions become your reality, that’s when the real transformation happens. For Sri, I had to tell her that you need to believe in yourself. Shut up the noise and the negativity coming. You have to focus, and you have the strength to do and then she became a director.
That is one of my great success stories because not only because I helped her, I also learned a lot from her. Because being a woman in Tech, they have to go through a lot of hardships. I could feel the problem she had to go through, and for everything a man does, the woman has to work double to reach that goal. That’s the unfortunate situation currently, at least in the tech industry.
The Mastermind Effect: 34:25
I appreciate you sharing that story. It’s an amazing success story. Talking about her success. On the solo shows, we talk about success and the ingredients or the pillars of success, like hanging out with the right people or willingness to invest in yourself. You’ve talked about that one a little bit today. Then, as I say, action through experimentation because if you expect something’s to happen, it’s not unless you choose to take some action.
[34:49 – 48:56] Creating Success
The Mastermind Effect:
I feel that there’s a lot of different ingredients in there. It’s mentorship, coaching, experimentation, partnerships, and willingness to fail. What do you feel is a key thing if you were to center it out and become successful?
Raj Subrameyer 35:27
As you said, there are multiple facets of your life that make you successful. One key thing, which has worked for me, and I remind my client about is consistency. You can come up with all these audacious plans to make a transformation, a 30 bullet point list of five different goals, or two years plan to figure out where you want to go to. But the problem is, everyone starts with this motivation, and then within three weeks, they start falling off the bandwagon because they are not consistent. We all believe in getting results immediately. No one believes in the concept of delayed gratification, where you put in the work consistently over a period of time, then you get the results. That’s the way life works.
Consistency is the key. Say you identify three things you want to do. 2021 is coming up, and say you want to lose weight. What you are going to do is be consistent and select three things you want to do to lose weight. Don’t select 200 things. When you select multiple things, you get confused. Then it goes back to the Netflix movie experience because you get so confused. Click three things exactly. Start simple, think small, and be consistent. Based on research, if you do anything consistently for about 30 to 45 days, it becomes a habit. If we are consistent in whatever we do, we can start achieving our goals one by one. The key here is delayed gratification. It’s easy to expect results immediately but just put in the effort, and then things happen.
The Mastermind Effect: 38:22
Think of it this way. Life happens every day. So you have to be concise. That’s why I’m making a new year’s resolution is once a year. Life happens every day. Have that resolution every day.
I feel that new ideas are brewing in times of prosperity. It’s easy to be successful when everybody’s winning. But ingenuity and creativity come when we feel the squeeze and the world’s feeling the squeeze. What are you working on right now that’s going to take place over the next 12 months that excites you?
Raj Subrameyer 39:00
The first thing is I launched my new book in mid-November called Skyrocket Your Career: The No Bullsh*t Approach to Find Your Dream Job, Be Successful in It, and Transform into a Rockstar. There’s been a great reception. I hit rank 70 on the bestseller list in the jobs careers category, which is amazing. I want to keep pushing this book to people because it’s going to be super impactful, and it’s going to help them advance their career, get unstuck, be successful, and set them miles apart from the competition. 2021 will be a lot of speaking and then sharing ideas from the book with other people to show how impactful it is. Then help the book reach many people. That’s my goal in 2021, which is exciting.
Talking about more impact and more focused work, there are two things which I’m going to do. First is the online course. The different contents of my book will be put into an online course so that people can digest the content in chunks. If you’re looking for your dream job and looking for strategies, then you’ll have a course for it. If you’re already a leader but you’re looking for strategies to be successful in it, you’ll have a course. If you want to be super productive in your work, manage your time, and manage work-life balance, then there’s going to be a course for it. This book has all of the things in one book. The online course will be in different parts with more exercises and interactive features.
The next thing is starting a group accountability program. We were talking about goal setting and being consistent, and 80% of the people did not achieve their goals. I’ve achieved over 90% of my goals for the past four years. The reason I’m able to do that is I have a system. We start with the mind dump exercise. Then, figure out different goals under different buckets like personal health, wealth, family, and careers. Under each one, you start and find goals, and then once you identify the goals, you identify different tasks for each goal. Once you identify the task, you put that on your Google Calendar, literally to work on it every week for three months or six months, right. Then it’s a slow, gradual progress towards your goal. I thought this was common knowledge. But when I started doing workshops this year and talking about goal-setting mindset, I saw that many people are struggling with it. I think I can help them out as well.
This group accountability program will be me and a really small group of people like a mastermind. I’m going to share my actual goals, revenue goals, and everything personal to this group. All those folks in the group will share personal information because they will map out the goals. We’re going to have a close-knit community where we’re going to help each other out and achieve our goals in 2021. It’s going to be super awesome, and I’m so looking forward to it. I’m planning to start it in mid-January. I haven’t publicized it yet, because I want to create a structure. It’s going to be super informal, but I’m going to help people out with my strategy to achieve goals.
The book, online course, and the group accountability program are some things that I’m super excited about. And of course, I always do my regular business on the side, coaching one on one clients, doing the speaking, and writing for companies.
The Mastermind Effect: 43:08
What is one last tip, tactic, actual item that if someone listening today, something really simple, implemented that over the next 30, 60, or 90 days, they would see a real impact in their personal and business lives?
Raj Subrameyer 43:34
The answer is to build your personal brand. Your personal brand is everything. Your personal brand is the multiple facets of you, which makes people come to you, recognize you, and notice you. For the next 30 or 60 days, if you want to do something impactful in your life, start building your personal brand. The quickest way to do that is to go to your LinkedIn profile or Facebook. Update your LinkedIn profile. Ensure it reflects everything you do to let people know what you’re capable of. Because everything you put on LinkedIn is SEO information. Google uses LinkedIn and uses the keywords to find you out in the search results. Make sure you populate all the data in LinkedIn.
Grow your network and attend online conference meetup groups. You will never know who you’re going to meet. There are a lot of free online courses and even paid courses for a fraction of the cost of what you will have to pay. All these extra courses and proactiveness you will reflect as part of your personal brand. Build your personal brand. I talk more about this in my book. The point is, a personal brand is everything. That’s why it’s going to get you noticed. That’s where it’s going to make you extraordinary compared to other folks who are in the same boat as you.
The Mastermind Effect: 46:11
That’s great advice. It’s simple. It’s easy, and it’s digestible. Your book is digestible.
Raj Subrameyer 46:19
It’s only 99 pages. The book subtitle is the no bullsh*t approach because that’s how I live my life. I wanted to give people real experiences, which I had to go through, like applying for 4293 jobs in 2008. That was one of my experiences. I give actionable strategies and weave that into the experiences so that people can realize how do I apply them in my real life. This book is a quick read because of the pandemic; people do not have time to consume 400-page books. It’s super digestible.
The Mastermind Effect: 47:30
Absolutely. I appreciate it. We have got the founder of Chai Latte Consulting. He is a Tech Career coach, and he’s got a book that just launched. You can go to his website, skyrocketyourcareerbook.com. We’ve got Raj Subrameyer. Raj, thank you so much for your time today.
Raj Subrameyer 47:49
Thank you so much for having me. It’s such a pleasure to come to these kinds of podcasts and then share my story and my thoughts. I also wanted to acknowledge what you have been doing quickly. I think you’ve been impacting the community at a really big level. You’ve been consistent in getting great people on your podcast and making it impactful. I want to acknowledge you for your effort. Thanks for everything you’ve been doing, and people are definitely impacted by it.
The Mastermind Effect: 48:25
That means a lot to me. Thank you so much, Raj. Thank you again.
Raj Subrameyer 48:28
You’re welcome. Keep doing what you’re doing.
“No matter where you are in life, you need to figure out what you want to focus on.” – Raj Subrameyer
“You need to be ready to invest in yourself, for you to make a change.” – Raj Subrameyer
“You put in the work, consistently over a period of time, then you get the results. That’s the way life works.” – Raj Subrameyer
You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at email@example.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.