6 Ways to Start Your SPARK in 2016!

A wise man named Steve Jobs once said, “If you work in your passion, you never work a day in your life.” At Usher’s New Look, this is our secret to developing the next generation of extraordinary leaders! Passion + Potential = Purpose. Our programs help students identify their “spark”, or the one thing that naturally gets them excited and engaged. Then, we help them connect their passion to a relevant education and career pathway.

Once you know your “spark”, everything else ignites!

Put yourself in the shoes of a UNL Leadership Academy student. You’ve discovered your spark and your “new look” is suddenly in full effect! High School becomes cool, because you understand why you’re there and how what you’re learning relates to your future. In college, choosing majors and which classes to take becomes obvious, because you have a clear goal ahead of you to work towards, plus a stellar support system. You begin to surround yourself with positive people who can help you towards your goals, and they are drawn to you too. Throughout the journey, UNL job shadows, internships and other intentional exposure experiences ignite your pathway to success. Eventually, you learn how to seek out these opportunities yourself! You land your dream job. Then, ta-da! Fast-forward and you’re 40-something years old, feeling like you’ve never worked a day in your life, because you love what you do. You’re ignited!

Where would we be if our greatest legends had never been “sparked”?

If you think about some of the greatest legends who have ever lived, they all have one thing in common: Someone “sparked” them! They excel in their work, because everything they do is everything they love. From Oprah, to Muhammed Ali, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Steve Jobs, Malala, Mark Zukerberg, your favorite school teacher… All of these people are not only successful, but also happy, because they were fortunate enough to stumble upon careers that match their passions.

The earlier you discover your spark the better, but we like to think that no matter what age you are, it’s never too late. Some people’s journeys are just different!

Here are UNL’s 6 tips to help you #StartTheSpark in 2016!

By doing these 6 simple things a little bit better, you’ll be one step closer to becoming the legend you’re destined to be.


Often times your spark is right in front of you. Listen to your heart. What’s one thing you’ve always been good at? What makes you unique? If you had to work for no money, what would you choose to do?


Once you think you’ve found your spark, immerse yourself in knowledge by learning as much as you can about the different career possibilities around your passion. Get lost in Google! Create a Flipboard related to your passion. Chances are, you’ll find out about things you never knew existed.


Learn from the pros! Find people who inspire you, and emulate them. Let your spark draw you out of your shell and towards human connections who might be your “spark starter”, or mentor. Go to events, make a LinkedIN profile and join groups relevant to your interests. Doesn’t matter how you do it, just get your network on!


Hit a road block? Feel like giving up? Learn to laugh it off, because legends never let people see them sweat. Obstacles are only detours, redirecting us to better things.


Keep your eye on the spark. You were born for this… Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Say peace-out to any negativity and distractions!


Reaching back and helping another succeed along their journey can be the greatest spark of all. Live for the moments that spark your soul.

Read What We’re Building in 2016 to Help More Youth #StartTheSpark