(This address was given at the second gathering of The Messengers in the Power House of the historic Roycroft Campus on the evening of June 15th, 2023.)
If you were with us on May 11th, you have a splish of an idea of what I’m talking about when I say “carry your Message.” If you’re sliding in mid-scene, tonight, perhaps you caught a whiff of smoke on the breeze blowing from our not-so-secret layer here on South Grove Street.
Either way, I remind you that you walked in here of your own volition. I will attempt to honor your act of bravery by curating an evening experience designed to bring you closer to yourself and the folks around you.
Regardless of how successful I am in doing this, we do have a strict “all sales are final” policy here on Campus. So make sure you have your fill of snacks and libations, responsibly, of course. At least you won’t leave famished.
Dharmesh Sha is the co-founder of HubSpot, which develops software products for inbound marketing. The core concept of inbound marketing is that if you generously connect people to things of value to them, good things happen for everyone involved. Dharmesh understands the power of connection and community.
Elbert Hubbard, the founder of the Roycroft Campus, also understood the power of connection and community. He and the Roycrofters connected people to ideas, experiences, and creations that enhanced the people who encountered them and those who instigated them. Many of those people came together, right here, and through those connections a community was born and thrived for several decades. What remains are beautiful reminders in the architecture, artifacts, and literature of the Campus.
Dharmesh says, “a community doesn’t have to be huge to create value for its members. It just has to connect the right dots.” In Dharmesh’ world, dots could be ideas. But even more than that, dots can be people.
I believe huge value can be created when you connect the right people to the right ideas.
How do you define “huge value?”
That’s hard to answer.
A better question is how do you define “huge value?”
You could also ask who are the “right people?”
Or, what are the “right ideas?”
I believe these are all part of knowing and carrying your Message.
When you peer inside yourself and hunt down the thing that is yours and yours alone to do, the thing only you can bring to your world, your Message, you’ve found the right idea.
When you say “yes” to carrying your Message, you become the right person.
When we all choose to shape and carry our individual Messages, together, that’s how we create huge value. Whatever that ends up being.
There is a community that once was, when the Roycroft movement was at its peak. Its influence stretched out across this country and overseas, setting kindred spirits on fire.
A new community has been emerging since the first sparks of preservation began flying here on South Grove Street several decades ago.
It’s our opportunity now to discover what’s possible when we come together and pursue our Messages. How far might our sparks fly? Who might follow the smoke back to its source?
We’re here to find out.
I was having lunch with our fellow Messenger, Margaret, and she handed me this New York Times article. Sure, You’ve Achieved, but What Have You Accomplished? by Adam Gopnik. Then she proposed I read it with a reflective heart. And I did. Thank you, Margaret. It inspired the evening we’re about to share.
An evening where, according to our fellow messenger Owen, and I love how he phrased this, “Nothing might be achieved. But great things will be accomplished.”
In the article, Gopnik says, “Losing ourselves in an all-absorbing action, we become ourselves.”
My hope for us all is that in seeking out our individual Message, we lose ourselves, and in doing so, become ourselves, collecting the courage we need to carry that Message as far as we should.
We’ll keep building on this idea of seeking and carrying your Message. And what it looks like for us to do that in community. How we will do that tonight is through an exercise guided by Adam Gopnik’s article.