I just spent the day at TEDxWindyCity. The best part of today was watching my good friend Victor graduate.
He didn’t graduate from a university or some other formal program. He graduated from his own MBA program. His own MBA program, you guys!
You see, in 2011, Victor came up with the idea for The Leapyear Project. Part of this project was his designing and going through a self-designed MBA program to perfectly fit what he wanted to learn more about: business, design, and social change. So, he set off for a year taking on 12 new experiences around the world in 12 months.
But that’s not all.
He also built an online platform to create an entire community of people around the world who wanted to take leaps in their own lives. Some leaps were big, others were small. The leaps came in all different colors and shapes. One leaper met (and became friends with) his biological father. Another organized a formal 5k race in Chicago to raise money to help the homeless. In fact, this blog you’re reading right now is a product of The Leapyear Project. My leap was to blog every single day in 2013—and so far, I’m 54 for 54.
So, not only did my friend take some huge leaps of his own in 2012—he encouraged tons of other people around the world to do the same. To take their own leaps. To change the world, even in seemingly small ways.
After getting to know Victor this past year, I learned that this guy gets the importance of community better than just about anyone I know. He gets how to love people well better than just about anyone I know. No matter how busy Victor gets, he still finds the time to write beautiful handwritten letters, go on adventures, and connect people to one another. He doesn’t just talk about making the world better—he actually makes the world better.
What I love about my friend is his total humility. You say something nice to him, and he’s sure to come back with something like, “I’m just an average guy,” or, “I’m no different than anyone else!” And it’s sweet. Mostly because the guy doesn’t see how truly extraordinary he is. Something about that makes him even more extraordinary.
And so, today’s post is dedicated to my inspiring buddy, Victor. Thank you for your outpouring of love onto the world. Thank you for letting us follow along as you took your own incredible leaps. And thanks for taking the time to ask so many of us…
“What risk would you take to change your world?”
While you were asking that question to other people, you were teaching us the importance of thinking about the answer—and then acting on the answer. Then you went a step further—in true Saad style—and you gave so many people the space to make those leaps real.
You embody what it means to live a great story—and to help others do the same. The world is a better place because you’re in it.
So happy graduation to such an extraordinary ordinary guy!
And here’s to all of us living lives full of leaps.