February 26, 2020

From 2012 to 2020 — A Look at Leaps

Every so often, you try something that works.

Maybe it works better than expected or it works just enough, but it works.

That’s sorta how Leap Year feels for me.

At first, a leap year was just...whatever. I thought the extra day was interesting, but I didn’t give the quirky calendar year much thought.

Then, eight years ago, I was at a crossroads. I wanted to learn more about business and social impact, but an MBA didn’t quite fit. After dozens of shared coffees, meals, and late nights with friends, I decided to design my own Masters — 12 projects in 12 months that would take me around the world.

I was 25 years old and more scared that anyone could have known. It was 2012, a Leap Year, so I called it The Leap Year Project and encouraged others (many of you) to take leaps of their own.

It worked! (And it's working!)

Shortly after that incredible year, some friends and I founded the Experience Institute. The first thing we launched was a year-long program that enrolled 5 fellows in 2013. Those brave individuals became family. Since then, we’ve grown into a full-fledged education studio with a small but mighty team of educators, designers, and strategists that’s reached thousands of people. Together, we’re poking at the universe of education and workforce development — helping students navigate their careers or helping professionals grow throughout their lives — all by employing relevant curriculum, memorable experiences, and thoughtful reflection.

2020 is another Leap Year

So we're teaming up with friends on a number of small acts of goodness to continue sharing the idea that solving our world's most complex challenges begins with leaping out of our comfort zones. Here's what's happening:

50,000 Stickers!

We printed 50,000 stickers with our friend and artist Matthew Hoffman and sent them to anyone who’s given us their mailing address (that’s why we asked for your mailing address last month :). They just started landing in your mailboxes and people are placing them as reminders in all of their favorite places. If you’d like to receive yours, click here and leave your mailing address. We'll ship more again next month.

10 Dinners. 10 Cities.

We’ve teamed up with friends in Philly, Seattle, SF, LA, New York, Springfield (Missouri), El Paso, Phoenix, Portland, and Boston to bring people together around good food and discussion this Saturday (Leap Day). We’ve never tried anything like this, but so far it’s been a blast organizing it with a group of remarkable people and we’re excited to see where it goes.

300 High School Students

We worked with a high school in Norfolk Virginia (Norfolk Collegiate) who wanted to use Leap Kit to challenge their students to create experiential learning projects that were meaningful to them. THIS WEEK the Freshmen and Sophomores are presenting their Leaps back to their teachers. (I'm not crying, you're crying!)

2,500 Decks of Cards

In just under a month, our new deck of cards, What’s Worth Doing, will begin shipping. It’s our newest tool for helping you consider what experience you need to design next in life or work. And it’s wildly easy to share with friends, teams, and classrooms. Here’s a recent video update I recorded with the full prototype in hand!

We’re also continuing our usual work — building experiential programs for college students (Experience Lab) and creating learning programs for teams & managers (Workplace Learning).

How about you?

Is there something that you need to change? Create? Attempt? What leap might you take this year?

If you’re not sure yet, we’ve got your back. Reply to this note or stop by our site for a dose of inspiration. It’s just me and the Ei team, and we love being a small part of your world.

Have a great Wednesday,


PS: For the next 30 days, I’m selling the final copies of the Leap Year Project book for 50% off. The book chronicles the journey of my self-designed Master's in 2012, as well as stories of dozens of people I met along the way who were taking leaps of their own. Winning two awards for it’s design, it’s a timeless piece that offers inspiring examples for what a leap could like in your life. I’m still immensely proud of it 8 years after publishing it and hope you’ll snag a copy of your own. Just use the code 2020 at checkout.

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