Hi, I'm Victor.

LYP Book

Learning to Risk. Risking to Learn.

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Higher education through real-word experience


A community of people taking risks to change their world.


Reasons to Leap

  1. Because you are full of hope – hope for something bad to stop or for something beautiful to multiply.
  2. Because you are frustrated. Something wrong is happening and it needs to stop for the sake of your health, livelihood, or family. In order to stop it, you are going to have to learn and do something out of the ordinary.
  3. Because you’ve been too comfortable for too long. You can’t remember the last time you learned something new. You know you’re not reaching your potential and it’s time to change that.
  4. Because you’ve been listening to everyone else’s well-intentioned expectations for your entire life. But, you’ve never examined yourself and your own goals.
  5. Because your kids are watching you. If you don’t leap. They may never have the courage to do so either.
  6. Because your parents are watching you. They have their ideas for what your life should be, but if you leap, you may inspire them to reconsider those ideas and, even, take a leap as well.
  7. Because your business has become stagnant. Sure, you can work more and push your employees harder, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be more successful. Take a step back, examine where you should go, and then (you guessed it)…leap.
  8. Because the pain of staying where you are has become greater than the fear of exploring the unknown.
  9. Because you’re on the brink of something great great. And, if you aren’t willing to take a chance on yourself, no one else will.
  10. Because you’ve waited long enough. Now there’s a community, a tool, and a starting point.

These are a few reasons why we made Leap Kit. This morning, the project went live on Kickstarter. Take a look and consider backing it. http://kck.st/1JBZ8EI

We hope this tool nudges you into your most defining moments and meaningful lessons.


Fighting Confidence


A dear friend recently sent an email that I can’t shake. He thinks I need to own my vision more – that other people will help me reach a vision when they see me fighting for it. He went on to share that fighting for a clear vision will help people fight with you and in turn, be more invested until the end.

I won’t lie…somedays, I pay especially close attention to people who have endless confidence. They walk into a room and everyone knows they’re in charge. They truly believe they have the best ideas, thoughts and abilities of anyone else. They’re magnetic, cool, and unfettered by others’ opinions. If they give you attention, you feel on top of the world. If they ignore you, you feel worthless.

How did those people get that way?

It wasn’t pep talks or self-help books. It wasn’t marriage or money or kale smoothies.

I wonder what it takes to be that way – to carry oneself with an eccentric boldness and certainty. If I was able to do so, would my ideas would be further along? Would we have accomplished more or reached a greater number of people?

Do I need to be less nice? More bold? Make you want to fight with me? Or against me??

I don’t know.

Or, maybe I do know.

Actually, I do.

I do…

The frog who leapt


the frog leapt.

he landed.

he looked about, frightened for his life, yet focused on his goal.

a sound.

from behind?

no. from above.

he leapt again. further. higher.

he did not land.




Recently, I met with someone who wanted to help me prepare for retirement. He told me I should be defensive with my money – health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance – and to be forward thinking or “offensive” with investments, money markets, roths, etc.

He was a bit surprised when I told him that I didn’t want to retire. Instead, I’d like to take a chapter out of Stefan Sagmeister’s book and spread out my retirement throughout my life.

We began discussing how I might take a year-long break every eight years – or every other Leap Year. I’ve never shared that idea out loud, but the more we talked about it, the more alluring it became.

Though I think every year can be a space for learning, reflection and taking new risks, there is something special about the natural rhythm in our earth’s cycle – an extra day, a globally recognized title, a four-year rhythm – it creates a sort of built-in checkpoint. So what if every other Leap Year (2020, 2028, 2036), I personally invested in my life and family through travel, reflection, study, or by working on an audacious idea. It would build upon what our community did together in 2012 in a methodical manner and continue sparking meaningful conversations and acts. I’ve always been curious about how the Olympics take place every four years to celebrate feats of athleticism, endurance, and physical and mental prowess. Could Leap Year invite and celebrate bold acts of learning, growth, change and impact – a sort of Social Good Olympics? 

Of course, that means I need to prepare for it. It will be no small feat to save enough financial resources to make the idea a reality, so how do I prepare for those years now?

And, more importantly, I need to continue finding others who care about creating space for learning, growth and change and offer tools to design those spaces. That’s why the team & students at Experience Institute are working to create this set of tools.

In any case, I think the idea of retiring in our 60s in order to do very little work is shifting – in the same way that learning doesn’t just happen in our early twenties. I want to be someone who continues growing and contributing to society throughout my entire life, not just the first parts to it. Getting older doesn’t mean getting less useful; quite the contrary. Our best years are ahead of us and we ought to make sure we have energy and resources to help others until the day we pass.

So, pace yourself, enjoy the days you have now and prepare for those in-between (leap) years accordingly.

I’m going to continue working on this idea. I’ll keep you posted on how it unfolds…

Everyone is on the brink of something great…


A friend of mine recently pushed me to tell him what I believe.

It’s a question that keeps me up at night. I’m still forming my response, but one thing that continues to surface is: everyone is on the brink of something great. I believe it so much that I’ve spent the second half of my twenties helping individuals navigate points of transition through creating a new place to design learning. Education, after all, is where people often go to learn about the world, themselves, and how they’ll work to make things better.

Now, those students, friends, and I are sharing a new idea to give you the tools to take leaps in your own world. We invite you to learn more here…



Whether or not you decide to follow along, that belief continues to fuel me – early mornings, amazing conversations, those nerve-racking moments behind a camera, countless decisions, and these Wednesday Words.

If this works, more people will navigate those points of transitions with confidence rather than fear, with clarity rather than confusion, and with a community rather than alone.

So, here’s to leaping…together.

PS: If you’d like to help us share the news of this project, here are two simple ways:

Pre-written email: Click here to create a quick, pre-written email and send to two friends


What happens when…


What happens when
your dreams fall apart?
Where do you go?
How do you restart?

What happens when
love seems far away?
Do you run fast?
Or find a place to stay?

What happens when
money lures you in?
Do you wake up?
Or forget where you’ve been?

What happens when
the world is cruel?
Do you bounce back?
Or feel like a fool?

What happens when
others give you praise?
Does your nose go high?
Or do you cherish those days?

What happens when
you have to move?
Do your feet plant?
Or do they start to groove?

What happens when
you are alone?
Do you think big?
Or remain unknown?

What happens when
you have no words?
Do you sing songs?
Or just watch the birds?

Heights and Horizons


I know I climbed higher than I should have. I was young and over-confident. Perhaps I wasn’t aware of how fast I was growing during my adolescent years. I like to think the tree really tried to hold onto me. Its subtle cracks were warnings that something was awry; but I didn’t pay attention.

The final crack wasn’t subtle. It was deafening. And, it was the last thing I remember before waking up to confusion, pain, and fear on the icy ground on that cold February. I was never afraid of heights, until I felt their sting.

Obviously, the fall wasn’t fatal. But, my boyish superpowers were harmed. I came to know the weight of gravity and the fragility of a body.

Though my view of heights drastically changed that day, I’m still not scared of them. They exist like any other thing – spiders, snakes, death. They simply need more attention when you’re encountering them.

The same goes for your successes.

With each step you take in your craft, education, or vocation, you climb a proverbial ladder. The higher you go, the greater the distance you might fall; but, the heights also give you more of a view of what could be.

This is why keeping good friends and counselors is a must and why consistent reflection and introspection are vital. It’s much harder to fall to the ground if people watch your steps and catch you when you slip.

So, keep climbing, whatever that means to you. And, if you’re like me, you’ll get scared at times. Really scared. Pay attention to where you are and how you got there. Don’t forget how painful falling is.

But then…peer deeply into the breathtaking horizon ahead of you. Even though you may not know how to get there yet, let it keep your attention.  

Because, if you do fall, it’ll be all the worse if you never opened your eyes.


ps: Huge thanks to those of you who completed this short form. That was really helpful. Here’s to the next sixty weeks.

pps: If you’re free on the evening of August 27th, can you meet me here



I’ve written Wednesday Words for nearly 60 weeks straight. Now, I’d like to check in with you.

Can you take 30 seconds to complete this single, multiple choice question so I can learn more about what you want to read on Wednesdays? The answers will be completely anonymous.

Thanks for being here,

Different Ways


Tensions were high. Voices were being raised. Hopes for a better future were being shared. A mix of anticipation, frustration, wonder and questioning swirled around the room.

I watched and listened as the small group of committed yet disgruntled educators ranted their rants and shared their qualms with current systems. I wondered why I was at the table with such a remarkable group of people.

It seems that Leap Year Project and now, Experience Institute, get looped into anti-college conversations – as my own way of brushing current systems aside and claiming “I have a better way” to education.

But, that’s not me.

It’s faddish and overly simplistic to put down current systems and tout a new way that will change everything. That style has been around since the beginning of playgrounds and politics. It’s a message that may have its place in moving people to action– especially within education; but it can be an unsurprising and unhelpful voice in an industry with a lot of noise.

It is far more generative to focus on the needs of real people and uncover methods that are merely overlooked, underrepresented and have potential to be remarkably powerful.

Because education isn’t about education, it’s about people – learning about the world, themselves, and how they’ll make their mark here. We’d be amiss to shrink it to programs and technologies. Yes, it needs to be organized, but if we try too hard to formalize it, it becomes nothing more than a mask for our desire for control – or our fear of losing control.

I truly wonder how we might elevate the role of experience within learning. I get excited about someone designing their education in the same manner as someone designing their own furniture, home, or anything else that requires creative, intentional thought. I’m curious what will happen as content becomes less of a focus due to its newfound ubiquitousness. Could the core of learning become even more rooted in community? Could cities be seen as classrooms? Could resumes be replaced by compelling, well-told story? Will the role of professor shift to a mix between practitioner and mentor?

These curiosities continue to fuel me as I prepare for some of the biggest risks of my short career. They’re a reminder of why I’m willing to take those risks.

Wherever you are, you too should raise your head, voice, and hands for what you believe. Find the people who are saying similar things. Let your frustrations lead you to listen and let your learnings move you to build rather than demolish.

The future will be much brighter with new roads and remodeled buildings, rather than picketed sidewalks and echoes of angry voices.


Act like it’s going to take time


“You act as if you’re further along than you really are.”

The words felt like a strong right hook. He could tell I was affected by them, but the middle-aged, well-dressed creative director and design educator didn’t back down.

“Be honest with me. Tell me how long you think it will take for your ideas to come to fruition and then act like it’s going to take that much time. I’d be relieved if you told me you’re still 10 years away from reaching your goals. Show me you’re in process, don’t act like you’ve arrived.”

I didn’t have much to say in response. I simply took notes and asked a few questions.

When the hour passed, I was both relieved and wishing we had more time. I truly enjoy that kind of honest banter. But, it was also a jarring conversation.

We live in a society that celebrates quick growth and success. I can see the appeal of fast wins and understand the pressure to reach as many people as possible. Trust me.

But, growing bigger, faster, and more powerful is not the only thing worth pursuing. There are steps in between that you must learn to do really well, even if they seem less exciting than a final product or destination. Just as a painter wanting to create a masterpiece must learn the art of stroking a brush, you have to develop skills and traits that will help you create great things. Savoring and sharing those times will make you, your craft, and everyone around you better.

I’m not saying you ought not try things quickly, or you should overthink every detail. I’m simply saying you’re probably not there yet. So, be honest with how long it’s going to take to get there. And then…act like it.

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