It is the end of another year and the closing of a decade. At CharacterStrong, we make time at the end of the year to reflect on what we’ve done (as individuals and as a team), on where we can improve, and on what comes next.
In 2019, we became a K-12 organization with the launch of PurposeFull People. In its first year, it’s being used by over 270 schools. 450 new schools are using our CharacterStrong Advisory Curriculum to teach SEL and character. 215 new schools are using our CharacterStrong Leadership Class curriculum to work with a smaller group of students to cultivate role models and teach servant-leadership. We have delivered over 200 professional development days around the country and worked with over 3,000 educators through our 1 and 2-Day Educator Trainings. The best part, of course, are the stories of impact from students and staff alike who have taken these tools and done the tough and purposeful work of bringing them to life.
I have to tell you, I can’t wait for what 2020 will bring.
You can expect some books to be published, a new curriculum to make a debut, supportive video content including a Virtual PD option, the expansion of PurposeFull People into Pre-K, and for a laser focus on implementation so that this stuff actually sticks!
Bill Gates famously said, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
We underestimated what was possible this year. And we are shooting for the moon in our New Decade vision.
Our guiding purpose at CharacterStrong is to create a more loving world through transformational trainings and resources. By 2029, we believe that 33,250 schools will be using some kind of CharacterStrong curriculum, over 1 million educators will have been supported, and over 50 million students will have been served.
We won’t arrive at these metrics and milestones on accident! Making time for thoughtful reflection and setting epic, audacious goals is a challenging exercise in creativity, dialogue, patience, and dream-bigginess. But, with the unreal team we’ve assembled and your ongoing support we will get to be a piece of a more kind, emotionally intelligent, purpose-driven world.
While we always have self-reflection available to us, the New Year and New Decade looming provides a particularly poignant opportunity to ask ourselves some meaningful questions. Let’s look back thoughtfully and learn what we can from what we’ve done and look ahead carefully so that we can design a future worth working towards.
Questions for the Past:
- What was the best thing that happened this past year? This past decade?
- What was the most challenging thing that happened this past year? This past decade?
- What was the most important thing you learned this past year? This past decade?
- What was a moment of unexpected happiness this past year? This past decade?
- Where or when did you feel most like yourself this past year? This past decade?
- What is your number one professional victory this past year? This past decade?
- What strategy or tool did you implement in your life that had the most impact on it this past year? This past decade?
- What stopped you from being the best version of yourself professionally this past year? This past decade?
- What stopped you from living your best life this past year? This past decade?
- What was the most important act of Kindness you experienced (or gave) this past year? This past decade?
Questions for the Future:
- What will Courage look like for you in this new year?
- What is one thing you will STOP doing in this new year that will improve your life or your work?
- What is one non-traditional metric of success you’d like to measure next year for yourself (i.e. the number of nights you smell like campfire, the number of times you dance in a week, the number of new words you learn)?
- What one gift will you give yourself (physical or non-physical) that will improve your life or your work?
- What are 3 words you’d like to measure in this new year that will help you live more intentionally?
- Who do you need to forgive in this new year? Who do you need to seek forgiveness from?
- What is one totally improbable, but wildly exciting thing you’d like to do, accomplish, or be a part of this year? If you couldn’t fail, what would you want to happen for yourself?
CharacterStrong has looked back to learn and to celebrate and to recalibrate our efforts. We are looking forward with a clear vision and full enthusiasm.
Houston Kraft is the co-founder of CharacterStrong. He is a professional speaker and kindness advocate who has spoken at over 600 events internationally. Student Body President in High School, Class President at Bowdoin College, Leadership Camp Staff for 14 years in Washington - he is a lifelong learner of character, culture, kindness, and leadership. He was featured in 2019 on BBQ Lays Potato Chips and his mom's lasting life lesson is "Hug like you mean it."