We talk a lot about passion, about entrepreneurship and all of the assorted romance that goes along with those things. We often think of tableaus involving sexy pitches and even sexier investors. As we stand before them in our dream, we pitch the next great idea with gusto and panache. They sit awe struck, hypnotically grab their checkbooks and begin to write the largest check they will ever write, because they know our brilliant idea will return that sum tenfold. Like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, we can imagine ourselves hoisted upon the shoulders of everyone in the room, just that damned impressed with what we have built. It's a celebration for the ages...and then we wake up.
The reality of entrepreneurship is not quite so pretty. There are days of crippling self doubt, of isolation, hours spent in pajamas and the fear that we aren't worthy of success because we are faking it. Who do we turn to? We turn to our tribe, those people in our inner circle, the nomads we have gone through life with, our chosen family. What if we don't feel we have a tribe? Then we find someone like Hilary Johnson, the founder of Hatch Tribe, and we join theirs.
Hilary and I met for a walk by the coast in Mt Pleasant this morning, a walk and talk between two warriors as the sun worked its way to the zenith. I am twice her size, but walking next to her you can feel the strength she radiates, she is friendly and welcoming, unafraid. Her smile is huge, her excitement is contagious. I'm not sure what shines brighter, the sun or her passion. She speaks articulately about challenge, about the need for support, about her passion for creating it, about her story. I feel like a student as she speaks, and that's a good thing. I am eager to learn.
HIlary Johnson is one of those people who can succeed at almost anything I'd imagine. Her story is one where she succeeded, she just didn't feel fulfilled by it. It wasn't her passion. I know this feeling well. You have a good corporate job, the success is rolling, you have a bright future ahead of you, but your heart's not in it. It's not something that happens to everyone. Hilary and I talk about how important it is to know your dream, that thing you want in life. Maybe it's your family, maybe it's a long career in a corporate setting, maybe it lies in adventure. Whatever it is, you need to it in your life. Putting that off is a bad idea. Hilary is brilliant and patient, she took her time and found the right time to leave, moving from Chicago to Charleston with the quest to be an entrepreneur.
She founded her first company, in the event space, and it went through ups and downs as all things built do. Lessons are always learned, and stories have their turns to the dark. There are parallels in our stories; going from the master of your domain to feeling like an imposter, the endless grind, fear and wondering what you've done. It's from that experience that her great legacy began, Hatch Tribe. It's a place where women can find support as they build and grow their businesses, with support, mentoring and workshops. It is not born from a book, or a market survey. As all great things are, it is born from life, from knowing hardship and deciding to take a stand for others.
Hilary understands that changing the world doesn't only happen from on high. No the more lasting change occurs from the bottom and rises. If we are to be the change we want to see in the world, then this powerful woman walking next to me, this apex, is that change. I can see a better world in her dream.
It would be tempting to believe that such a woman had no fear, but we talk about fear a bit as we walk. Often we think about life threatening situations as the worst things for fear, and yet when deciding to do something for our lives or the lives of others fear becomes one option in a zero sum game. More insidious fear occurs in our daily lives, the fear that we face when we have all of the time in the world to spin out. Hilary tells me about how she has to face the same fear we all do. When we are given so much time, it is so much easier to spin out, and then we stop moving. We are paralyzed by indecision and our worlds begin to crumble. This is when those chosen families, those tribes become so important, they help bolster us. We talk about how fear exists on the same spectrum as hope. It's interesting when you think about it, one thing we love and one that paralyzes us, separated by how we choose to confront our leaps in life.
Standing next to a woman whose wheels are always turning, who conveys strength and personal power in each step, it is a powerful reminder that none of us are beyond fear, but we can always overcome it. Sometimes we just need a little help.
My time with Hilary Johnson was too brief, and yet I have truly learned with every moment. I can only see her through my lens, but I can see her in this world, and I can see the world she will shape. It is an amazing thing, walking next to the founder of the tribe, and knowing how much courage you can gain from a simple walk and talk.
Favorite Dinosaur: T Rex
Why: Because they were slaying all the time and that's just what Hilary is trying to do. (I walked with a tiger through the wetlands of South Carolina and I am ecstatic!)
Take some time and check out Hatch Tribe at www.hatchtribe.com. It truly is an incredible resource of amazing women who are crushing it!