It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s that time when we reflect on what has transpired throughout the course of the past 11 months, and we look forward to all that lies ahead. When I look back at 2016, my heart swells with memories of the many beautiful events and the deeply touching moments that have shaped this year. I also recognize that this was a turbulent year filled with sadness and chaos. The political climate and the division among humanity has become more prevalent than ever, and so as I reflect on this year and so many of the images I have seen, I can’t help but look forward and think about what part I can play in shifting this state we are all collectively in.
My mission, my chosen role, my obligation is to inspire people to uncover their greatness. My role is to enable them to hold up that proverbial mirror and search deep within themselves with the skills and tools they learn throughout the series of our classes, to unleash the powerhouse that lives within them that perhaps they have yet to meet.
In 2016, we accomplished many great things…
As a company, U & Improved touched hundreds and hundreds more lives with our two-and-a-half-day classes and our onsite corporate trainings. We have shifted the way companies have done business for years, empowering them to create and build on a culture they never knew possible.
This year, we also turned the mirror inward here at U & Improved and examined our own mission, business practices and how others who haven’t taken our classes view us as a company. What we do is challenging to convey, to say the least. But what we know for sure is that our graduates excel and they refuse to settle for mediocre relationships, businesses and lives! While we continue to formulate how to put that into words (stay tuned!), we are breaking barriers every single day by bringing humanity back into the numbers-driven corporate world. And isn’t that what we all want ultimately? Workplaces that care and companies that do the right thing even when nobody’s looking?
One accomplishment so dear to my heart is that we were able to graduate another class of outstanding teenagers. These teens came up against their own walls and knocked them down in such a powerful way, time and again. Awe-inspiring is the only adequate word to describe it! In addition, we formed the U & Improved Leadership Foundation, a 501(c)(3) dedicated solely to finding deserving teens and funding scholarships for them to attend our U the Teen Leader program. At this year’s graduation, one young man stood up in front of nearly 200 guests and said, “This class does one of two things … it saves your life or changes your life. For me, my life has been saved.”
When I hear comments like this from graduates both young and young at heart…
I can’t help but think of the ripple effect these leaders will have in our communities and beyond. Our world has become so divided, yet it is a world that together, we can mend. I look forward to watching these leaders build the bridges that bring us back together. I may be a dreamer, but I truly believe that it must start with one. When 3% of any given population begins to move in like manner, critical mass is attained. We are that wave. We are that momentum. And we are those people who know that to bring heart back into how we lead our businesses and lives, it begins within each of us.
And now, from us to U … a U-inspired holiday jingle:
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