Three Ways HLI Changed My Life By Cory Stumpf

I have learned three things from HLI that have changed my life. My name is Cory Stumpf and I attended HLI in the ’15-’16 semester in Kansas City. The things I learned didn’t come directly from HLI teaching, but came through attending the program. Firstly, being steadfast and sticking to a plan. Secondly, working with the tools and resources I have (ingenuity). Lastly, being a learner for life.


Steadfast is a King James kind of word, it means to be unwavering in a decision. Before attending HLI I had a plan of starting my own service business and marrying my girlfriend. These plans helped keep me tethered to reality during the 9-month long journey. They gave me reasons to come back home and to not get lost on the journey. I’ve realized that without an unwavering goal or destination people can get lost, so I learned that with pre-made decisions or goals, I stayed on track and made it home. Yes- I started the business and yes, I’m now married to my dream woman.

Ingenuity was one of the character pillars in Heroic Leadership. The premise of ingenuity is to “make the whole world your home”. I was shown the importance of ingenuity because there are so many variables in HLI life that I couldn’t control. Who my host home is, who my classmates are, the rigorous training in HLI, etc. Making the whole world my home allowed me to be fully comfortable with and adapt to these “variables”. It allowed me to surpass a constant state of complaining and stagnation. Growing past my environment so I could thrive was a huge stepping stone in HLI. Making the whole world my home allowed me to bloom where I was planted.

Being a learner for life is something I heard a lot of people say before HLI, but only while I was in HLI did I learn the importance and viability of it. The pastor of the home church we attended during the 9 months always stressed being a learner. It was inspiring how many books he read and how plugged in he was to reality, always learning and using stories from his life to teach sermons. I decided to begin learning and I asked for book recommendations. In addition to the books assigned to us in the HLI class, I took on additional material to be a “life-learner”. To this day I am still digesting books to continue learning and expanding my horizons. I also have found the importance of following people I wish to be like, because whoever I set my eyes on, I will look more alike.

Although I learned lots of things at HLI these three have stuck with me and are areas I value and continue to grow in. They are tools I’ve taken from the program into my life after HLI. These three subjects may not necessarily apply to you exactly how they have to me, but hopefully you can adapt them and fit them into your life. If I could sum what I learned in one saying it would be ‘Be focused, be rooted, and always be growing’. May God bless you indeed!

Mary McKellick