Teach people at an early age to search for fulfillment and happiness. Our education system tells kids from an early age “If you don’t get good grades you are not good enough, If you don’t get into a good college you’re not good enough, if you don’t get a good job you’re not good enough.” This creates a vicious cycle of people settling and being unhappy just to fit in. Like an assembly line. We need to break this system and bring it into the 21st century. Teach kids mindfulness, personal development, financial literacy, and real life business skills.
As a part of my series about about how leaders can create a “fantastic work culture”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christian Chasmer. Christian empowers entrepreneurs and young adults to live their best life so that they can impact the world. At 26 years old, this young entrepreneur has already built two successful companies. Starting in college, he built a franchise from $0 to $1.2 million in annual revenue. He then co-founded the real estate development company CC Solutions and grew it to $6 million in revenue in under 2 years. He’s also the author of the #1 best selling book Lose the Limits: Break your limiting beliefs, become a more productive you, achieve everything you want in life. The secret to his success lies in the systems he uses for both his personal life and his businesses.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I grew up in a small town in New Jersey, where I never heard of entrepreneurship or personal development. I thought personal development was going to the gym. I didn’t even know an adult that read for leisure. But I did have a mom that pushed me to work hard and keep pushing a life that I wanted. So that got me to college. But I was on a pre-law track (because the only two ways to get out of my small town was to become a lawyer or a banker). It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I found a piece of paper on my desk that said “Make $10,000 running your own business this summer.” I had $30 in my bank account at the time so I said “sign me up!” So that summer I ran my own exterior painting company, went door to door selling paint jobs, hired my own painters, and produced all the work I sold. It was by far the hardest summer of my life and the most transformative. I realized two things, 1. I love entrepreneurship and 2. I suck at entrepreneurship. I burnt myself and my team out making that $10,000. So I came back the next year with a different strategy, something I called systematic leadership. I wound up 5xing my revenue and 3xing my profit. The following year I moved up to Boston to start a division of the same company and built that up to $1.2 million in 10 months. From there my partner and I left that company to start our own real estate company, which through a ton of hard work we were able to build up to $6,000,000 in 2 years. From there I moved out to San Diego and wound up selling my equity in my real estate development company to start a company that I was way more passionate about, which is what I am working on now, Elevate.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The time I went into what I thought was an educational talk to a group of businessmen that actually turned out to be a pitch.
It went really really poorly but I made some great connections from it!
Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
My new program, Elevate NEXT. It is a 12 week executive training system for emerging leaders (25–35 year olds). Not only is this program helping people save more money than ever before, execute better in their work and life, and become better leaders, but for every person we enroll we scholarship one foster youth to go through a similar training program.
Our mission is to empower people to live an extraordinary life, no matter their circumstance. And by helping both groups, we feel we are going to be able to have ripple effects through this entire generation.
Ok, lets jump to the main part of our interview. According to this study cited in Forbes, more than half of the US workforce is unhappy. Why do you think that number is so high?
Two things. 1.Because people are afflicted with the mindset I call “Conditional Happiness.” As a society, we rely on external things to make us happy. “I’ll be happy when I’m rich.” “I’ll be happy when I have that new car.” We keep delaying happiness and making our happiness dependent on the external. Instead, we should be happy now. Being happy in the present and not relying on things to make you happy.
2. Because people don’t do things that they feel fulfilled doing. They are working jobs they hate or dealing with bosses they hate because “That’s the way it is.” Company’s don’t help either. They’re not investing in growing their staff and caring about their staff in a deep, personal way. The company’s that have loyal teams talk to their employees about personal goals, life goals. What does the employee ACTUALLY want in life? How is this job getting them closer to that? When someone feels connected to a larger vision, and sees how what they are doing now plays into that, they feel fulfilled.
Based on your experience or research, how do you think an unhappy workforce will impact a) company productivity b) company profitability c) and employee health and wellbeing?
I was talking to a successful venture capitalist the other day and he mentioned that the 2 most important factors when determining a company’s value is 1. Their customer base and 2. Their team. If you workforce is unengaged and unhappy, your company is not going to go very far. Science has proven that people work better, learn faster, and make better decisions when they are happy. Sales people close 37% more when happy!
Can you share 5 things that managers and executives should be doing to improve their company work culture? Can you give a personal story or example for each?
1. Invest in the personal growth of their teams. Each month I set personal goals with my direct reports and support them on these goals. It shows I care (because I do) and it develops them.
2. Team bonding events (more than just happy hour) that bring the team closer together. Maybe that is a conference on personal development or bringing in a speaker on wellness.
3. Team meetings that are not just reporting meetings, but intense issue processing meetings. Through my work as a consultant, I work with a lot of leadership teams and nothing creates a better culture then a consistent weekly meeting that is about coming together to solve the biggest issues in the company.
4. Transparency — The book, The Great Game of Business talks about open book management and the positive effects it has on a company. When a company is transparent with it’s plans, issues, and events it makes the team feel more involved and bought in.
5. Hiring the right people. I have seen one bad seed bring down an entire 7 figure company. If you have a bad apple, you must remove them. And the most important job of the CEO is making sure the right people are in the right seats.
It’s very nice to suggest ideas, but it seems like we have to “change the culture regarding work culture”. What can we do as a society to make a broader change in the US workforce’s work culture?
Teach people at an early age to search for fulfillment and happiness. Our education system tells kids from an early age “If you don’t get good grades you are not good enough, If you don’t get into a good college you’re not good enough, if you don’t get a good job you’re not good enough.” This creates a vicious cycle of people settling and being unhappy just to fit in. Like an assembly line.
We need to break this system and bring it into the 21st century. Teach kids mindfulness, personal development, financial literacy, and real life business skills.
How would you describe your leadership or management style? Can you give us a few examples?
I call it systematic leadership.
I always ask three questions:
– How do I keep team members focused on the important?
– How do I keep team members accountable?
– How do I get them a system to self govern?
If I can create the right systems for them to strive in, and am continuously tying the company’s vision with theirs, then I can coach and not manage.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My mother is the biggest reason I am where I am. My father passed away when I was young, so she was a single mother. On top of that, she brought in and raised 3 of my cousins. She was the leader and foundation of our entire family. Even in our tough situations she always stayed positive and kind. If we were struggling to pay bills, but a family member needed help, she would help them. But she wasn’t just positive and kind. She was strong, fiercely strong. She instilled in me the belief that I can do anything I want to do, that I controlled my destiny. That we aren’t victims, if you want things to change, then you can change it. Those lessons; positivity, kindness, and the belief that I control my world are all key beliefs that led to where I am today.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Yes, with my Elevate NEXT program we give scholarships to foster youths to learn life skills that empower them to live an extraordinary life. On top of that I try to volunteer with high schoolers teaching personal development, mindfulness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy.
For me, success and adding goodness to the world are not mutually exclusive. If you are not helping the greater good, you are not successful.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
. Know your values and your non-negotiables
For me, dinner with my wife and working out every day are non-negotiable. My clients, teammates, and friends all know this. Family and my personal health are 2 of my biggest values, so I create non-negotiables to ensure I grow in those areas.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
My movement would be to teach mindfulness, personal development, and entrepreneurship in our school system. Kids are taught that if you don’t get an A you are not good enough, if you don’t get into college, you are not good enough. If you don’t get a fancy job, you are not good enough.
Instead, I’d love to teach them how to be fulfilled and happy, and how to live a life of meaning. This is exactly the movement we are creating with Elevate — for high schoolers and adults alike 😉
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you continued success!