Startup You

A simple career development framework to make you even more awesome.

Reinventing yourself, from a career perspective, takes about 3-5 years. This in itself seems like a daunting, insurmountable goal.

Since I’m nearing the end of my own successful 5 year journey, I want to provide you with my simple & effective personal change framework to help you make it happen as well.

It’s my way of giving back to you.

This is also what I use in my personal advising for folks who feel like they cannot see a way forward in their careers.

The Startup You framework consists of 3 major parts:

  1. Empathy Mapping

2. Change Strategy Mapping

3. Personal Kanban

Empathy Mapping

Starting with Current You, use stickies to fill out:

  • What do you think & feel?
  • What do you hear?
  • What do you see?
  • What do you say & do?
  • What are your pains & gains?

Now map out Future You, use stickies to envision who you’ll be in 3–5 years.

  • What would you think & feel?
  • What would you hear?
  • What would you see?
  • What would you say & do?
  • What would be your pains & gains?

Your personal goal is to move from Current You to Future You.

Change Strategy Mapping

Write down your Personal Goal and draw a circle around it. This should be an very ambitious and yet very achievable goal that you estimate would take 3–5 years to obtain.

Write down 3–5 Abilities you would need to achieve your Personal Goal.

Draw circles around each of these and then draw lines connecting them to your personal goal.

Write down the Tasks you’ll need to complete to create your Abilities. There will likely be several tasks for each ability. Don’t worry about the size of the tasks at this point.

Draw circles around each of your tasks and then draw lines connecting them to your abilities.

Your map may take up a page or an entire wall, either way you cannot do it all at once. Next you’ll need to pick a few tasks to start your journey. Use dots to identify the tasks you want to focus on at first.

These can all be related to one ability or spread across multiple. There is no right or wrong way to begin.

Personal Kanban

You’ve sketched out your personal change strategy, however you’ll need a way to break down the work to help you focus.

I’ve found that Personal Kanban is a simple and effective tool to help.

Flowing from left to right, sketch out the following columns:

  • To Do
  • Decompose
  • In Progress
  • Done
  • Validate

On the left side, add in the labels for each ability you created in your map.

Draw horizontal swim lanes for each ability to help you visualize the different types of work across your board.

Write down, one task per sticky note, the tasks that you chose to begin with from your change strategy map.

Place them in the To Do column.

Break down your task into smaller sub- tasks. This will help you make meaningful progress that you can see each and every day.

Write each sub-task on a sticky note and place it in the Decompose column.

As you begin to work on a task, pull it from the Decompose column into the In Progress column. I strongly suggest limiting the number of tasks you work on.

We want to make progress towards our personal goal and multi-tasking will only slow that progress down to a crawl.

Once you complete a task, give yourself a fist bump and move it to the Done column.

Finally move your task over to the Validate column.

This is where you reflect on the task and measure any qualitative or quantitative data to help inform your strategy map.

Personal Career Development is Iterative

Your tasks should inform your strategy. Revisit your strategy every week to see if you need to revise it based on what you’ve learned. Refer back to your empathy maps to see where you started and to update where you are going.

This framework has several different levels of usage. For some it helps them connect their daily improvement to their abilities and their long term personal goal.

A more advanced usage of this framework is to learn how to “spin change” and combine tasks from multiple abilities into exponential personal change.

Find the right level for you.

Good luck!


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