Becoming a leader is no easy task. For many people it does not feel natural. Matt Hill will admit that at one point he experienced discomfort over just the thought of leading. However by following his creative passions, seeking others who believe in the same mission, and establishing a tribe, he honed his chops. As a result, leadership is now something Matt practices daily and is extremely passionate about.
While at a photo industry trade show in Arizona, Matt and a friend went off to visit Archers National Park. He left the park thinking how important it was for him to share it’s nighttime beauty with others. I find it impressive that the act of noticing an opportunity to share his experience, led to the creation of National Parks at Night. NPAN is a night photography work shop that takes place across various National Parks.
Inclusive of Matt, NPAN is a team of five. The company is setup so the instructors are not just contractors. Instead they receive maximum profit for the individual workshops they preside over as opposed to more money going back into the company. Instructors also retain maximum control over what and how they teach. As a result of such desirable features, the five team members are motivated to remain committed. One of Matt’s key takeaways from working with the NPAN team is to never underestimate the power of accountability.
I asked Matt if leadership was something he was always comfortable with. His response was a chuckle! He made note of the fact that as he started to do more self / side gigs his leadership abilities came to the surface. This was the result of realizing if he didn’t make something happen for said projects, no one would. His leadership abilities did not present in the style of a stereotypical “manager” checking boxes off a teams to-do list. Because of Matt’s will to inspire, his leadership shows up in the form of getting others excited to take on what is ahead for the greater good. The source of true leadership? Empathy.
Matt’s other entrepreneurial venture is Matt Hill Art where, among many other things, he creates incredible Cut Paper Art. As a matter of fact, creating Cut Paper Art is what pulled Matt out of a very rough patch. As he mentions during our talk, it probably saved his life.
During the latter part of our conversation we discussed how creating something, weather it’s a business or piece of fine art, should be to please oneself. If you create out of genuine passion, you will attract like minded people who are interested in where you are going. If you create to make money, you will constantly be spinning your wheels.