How a Leadership Program Transformed My Art
The weekend started off in a particularly innocuous way, a dinner party at Fort Mason. On the ride over I was still unsure of what I had gotten myself into with the Hive Global Leaders Program, but having formed the habit of hurling myself into the unknown, I was feeling at peace with that. I walked through the door of the General’s Quarters and was greeted by an unfamiliar face, “You must be Tom.” It felt like a date with destiny. “Welcome home.”
This was the beginning of a weekend that would challenge the way I define myself. Over the last 18 months, I have been in the fortunate position of examining my life from many sides, like a Rubik’s Cube, turning and twisting with Mama Hope in East Africa, followed by a 10-day silent vipassana meditation, Burning Man, and a New Year’s Eve trip to the permaculture farm, Kalu Yala in Panama. Each one of these events was like a 7.5 earthquake to my house-of-cards-like sense of self. The upheaval power of Hive was no exception. Through the next couple of days, we incorporated a beautifully designed curriculum that incorporated original content, time tested principles of being, and phenomenal lineup of guest speakers and workshops with people such as Tom Chi, Ashanti Branch, and Lynne Twist. It was blissfully terrifying. What makes it all manageable is the incredible support system Hive defines from the first night, digging deep without hesitation and staying there. In the small groups are little pockets of comfort to return to for a soul cuddle or a hug when things get tough. Whenever anyone trips on their words at Hive, there’s an eruption of “YOU’RE AWESOME!” from the crowd as a reminder that we are perfect even in our flaws. Because of the power of community and acceptance, each Hiver is free to fail forward, or as Tom Chi says, “Don’t fail. Learn.” Palomi and Jesse guided the program through insightful reflections and beautiful grounding exercises that kept us in the present and focused.
Sunday we engaged in a workshop around life design. “Why do you exist on this planet?” Ryan Allis asked calmly and assertively while beaming at a man that was searching frantically in his soul like he just lost his wedding ring. Many of the 115 participants of the 12th Hive Global Leadership Program showed up thinking that with all of the hours, days, months, or years of work each had put in leading up to this point, surely that question was already solved. From highly accomplished founders and industry leaders to lost souls hacking through the bush looking for a path, all of us sat in this moment with Pascal, who was staring back at Ryan rummaging for the ineffable language to describe the force dragging him towards his destiny. After two days of intense deep reflection, sharing, open-heartedness, and community each one of us was wondering “Why me? Why this? Why now?” and 24 hours later, we would all take turns standing amongst our fellow Hive members and courageously proclaim our purpose, each one followed by the howl of the galvanized group.
As a working artist I’ve discovered that the biggest growth in my career comes from the biggest growth within myself. Gregory Crewdson says “I feel very strongly that every artist has one central story to tell. The struggle is to tell and re-tell that story over and over again in visual form… and try to challenge that story. But at the core that story remains the same. It’s like the defining story of who you are.” The journey as an artist is the journey of discovering every nuance inside of you that can help tell your story over and over, in a more complete way each time. Art is in the intent. What is your intent and how do you plan on living in a way that makes that real?
There’s that little something, that spark behind anything we do in life that we truly connect with. Many don’t take the time to dive in and consider what kind of fuel is feeding that fire. I’m so thankful for all of the Hive staff for helping me understand that the reason I pull myself out of bed in the morning is to catalyze deep human connection that ignites love and ripples through generations.
Hive 12 gathered 115 people representing 43 different countries. If you are looking to expand on your life purpose, trying to find it, imagine a more cohesive world where everyone has enough, grow as a leader, or if you’ve been looking for a group of kind and compassionate people like yourself, I encourage you to apply to Hive and get ready for a transformation.