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Finding My Voice at Hatch

What could I possibly have to offer at Hatch?

That was the questioned that plagued me for the months leading up to the creativity summit in Big Sky, Montana. I was a volunteer, trying to hide in the shadows as I soaked in the energy from the genius minds around me – filmmakers, designers, writers, musicians – all working passionately to create a better world.

I arrived at Hatch on the first day, and stood back and observed. I watched people from around the world come together in one room to laugh, share stories, and talk about their projects, but one common thread ran through the conversations: few people knew what to expect of the weekend. At least I had that in common with others.

With hesitation I slowly began to introduce myself to a few people, followed by, “Well, I’m just a volunteer.” What did I have to offer to the high school boy trying to cure blindness? The world-renowned composer? The leaders of social justice movements? I compared myself to everyone else around me, and in that, I felt worthless.

Then the leadership counselor and facilitator, Rob McNamara, spoke: “Out beyond the veil of who you think you are, and where you think you’re going, is a treasure. And our world needs you to discover it. But it cannot belong to you; it belongs between us.” It was the wake up call I needed. Instead of comparing myself to these accomplished people, I had to become one of these accomplished people. Over the course of that second day, I began to converse with more and more people, and unbeknownst to myself, I began to offer up skills I never knew I had. Teachers asked me to give writing lessons in their classroom, students asked me to speak at their school clubs.

Did I actually have something to offer at Hatch?

Before I knew it, my mind was wide open – I was dreaming of big projects, networking opportunities, collaborations, and ways to change the world. My tired mind was alive, synapses firing! I gave myself over to the experience, fully understanding the importance of a mutual relationship at Hatch.

The end of the weekend was emotional: we were exhausted, sad to say goodbye, but thrilled with the new ideas we were taking back to our corners of the world. I have projects I am working on over the course of this next year, and I know I have other people holding me accountable. And, #becauseofHatch, I found what I have to offer the world, but I cannot hold it inside. Like Rob said, these world-changing ideas do not belong to me, they belong “between us.”