I’ve been accused of not being a very emotional guy. Today is different. I’ve thought about this blog post for some time. Every time I do, tears well up in my eyes.

The overall crime rate in Chicago is 35% higher than the national average. While down in 2017, Chicago’s murder rate soared 72% in 2016; shootings were up more than 88% (Source: Chicago Police Department). Our gang violence and murder problem are regularly featured on the national and international news. And I live on the South Side – near the thick of the action.

Every year, I do one pro-bono project for a not-for-profit. This year, I am working with BUILD Chicago – see https://www.buildchicago.org. During my work with BUILD, I met Niky (fictitious name). Niky’s job? He’s out on the streets every day. He stops kids from injuring or worse killing each other. Right there. In the street. Stopping bullets.

There are dozens of local, state and federal programs that are trying to address this problem. None are anywhere near as effective as Niky. He is, in my opinion, the epitome of transformational change. He stops these kids from harming each other. He puts his life on the line. He shows them another way. He is the intervention. His purpose is clear, and his outcomes are real. He changes lives one soul at a time.

Most of us reading this blog are sitting in the temperature-controlled comfort of our homes or offices. We are shielded from the danger that exists on our streets. Most of us really have no idea what’s going on out there. I have not been on the front line either, but I have met and spoken at length with Niky and his peers. I am awestruck and humbled by the work these people do everyday to help improve lives.

Are you struggling with your transformational change? If you are, think about Niky. Think about how he puts himself at risk every day. Think about his resolute commitment to purpose. Think about how he must engage with these kids. Think about how he helps redeem them. Niky is a real leader. A REAL leader. This is real change. REAL change. The streets of one of the greatest cities in the world are better off for him, and his organization – BUILD Chicago.


Humbly dedicated to your profitable (and safe) transformation,


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