The Vision Grows: Reflections on Our One-Year Anniversary

4/30/2012 10:45:55 AM


It’s been a little over a year since the release of What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead, and I have to say there’s nothing like the experience of writing and launching a book. You put your heart and soul into it, not knowing how it will be received. Your hopes are high that readers will respond enthusiastically but the fact is, until it’s out there, you just don’t know!
My anticipation was even greater as two accompanying student guides hit the market a few months later. Now, What I Wish I Knew at 18 could be employed for both personal (teens/young adults and the adults who guide them) and institutional use (schools, mentor organizations, the faith community, etc.). Unbelievable opportunities began to open up. Testimonies started to pour in. The ride had begun—and what a ride it’s proving to be!
In fact, I’ve found this past year to be one of the most amazing and transformational of my life. All of a sudden I find myself with:
Without a doubt, though, my most memorable experience of the year was the opportunity to speak at my hometown high school in Kimberly, Wisconsin. The day began with an appearance on Green Bay TV, followed by a talk to 700 juniors and seniors. But, what really impacted me was what happened next.
I visited the classroom of a special program for high schoolers who have already experienced major life struggles. Here was my opportunity to speak life, hope, and practical wisdom to kids who arguably need it most. I’d never been in a context like this before and it was humbling, to say the least. It changed my heart toward kids who, despite some admittedly poor choices, have SO much to offer the world. These students were so engaged and had wonderful, heartfelt questions. I think of them often and hope my visit had as positive an impact on them as it did on me.

As LifeSmart Publishing starts year two, I find myself poised for what may be the most amazing opportunity of all: sharing our book and course throughout Indonesia. This country is actively seeking character-based resources to equip its young people to become leaders of strong character and integrity. To be honest, we didn’t originally envision our work going global, but it’s looking like that’s where we’re headed. Incredible!
I’ve always secretly longed to change the world if I had the opportunity.  Maybe this is my chance. However that plays out, I’m eternally grateful for this new life chapter and look forward to what’s in store in the days ahead. In the meantime, it’s humbling to see the opportunities God has given me to change lives in the course of one short year.
Thanks for helping making this a great year—here’s to many more, and to a growing vision of changing the world through empowering a new generation of honorable leaders!