I didn’t think that I could improve upon last year. Upon arriving in Portland and making my way to the hotel, I didn’t think I could top the experience I had sharing WDS with my son. I was wrong.
For those of you not in the know, the World Domination Summit is a place for those who strive to create a remarkable life in a conventional world with the three stated values of community, adventure, and service. This is the meme that brings thousands to Portland every summer. Where many conferences bring like-minded people together to pursue one topic, WDS brings in thousands of completely different people in order to support the individual pursuit of creating something right for themselves. And, at WDS, there are hundreds of people who will happily help you achieve your goal(s). [For a little history, Chris Guillebeau founded WDS in 2011. ]
When trolling Chris Guillebeau’s website, I found this quote: “The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself.” (-Rita Mae Brown) and it summarizes nicely the underlying theme that all of us aspire to do different things in different ways. Well .. THIS is WDS’s special sauce. THIS is the current that pulls us downstream.
This said, this year’s summit was remarkable. There was loads of emotion, experience, eagerness, and friendship offered to everyone by participants, speakers, and staff. It was profound, especially when one thinks about how 3000 participants at WDS could overwhelm. But this is definitely not the case. In fact, WDS is an experience for everyone. WDS staff go the extra mile to make everyone feel safe so that the focus can be on learning and sharing. There is even an “introvert recovery room” .. just in case the crowds get to be too much!
Speakers and Message
“If we waited until we knew what we were doing, we’d never do anything at all.” –Elise Blaha Cripe
How true is this quote? What holds us back individually or collectively? There are plenty of studies, I’m sure, but let’s just think about what it is you want to do and what it is you’re doing. Therein lies either your happiness or your longing.
For me, the conference began with the world record attempt of eating breakfast in bed. “Worldwide Waffles” was a great opportunity to start meeting other attendees and getting into the spirit of WDS.
After registration and the opening party, came the Main Stage. The first speaker was Jon Acuff. His message was simple. Find your voice. “If you’re having a hard time finding your voice, feed it some time.” This is not profound, but it reconnected me to one of my personal goals. When I was younger, I was always writing. Along the way, I quit making time for it. And, how can one deny that “regret has a much longer shelf life than fear” ??!! So, I began WDS by recommitting to making time for the things I’ve always wanted to do, and that includes sharing my message.
Each of the presenters were notable and shared messages of empowerment, like embracing your haters, allowing grief, choosing to dance, or being a super human. Here are some notable quotes from the weekend.
“Treat everybody like it’s their birthday.” The Kid President (Robby Novak)
“The first and last thing we hear in life is ‘I love you’. We spend our lives forgetting.” –Brad Montague
“Instead of striving to be a superhero, strive to be a super human.” –Lewis Howes
“You can’t fix someone’s pain by trying to take it away from them.” –Megan Devine
“Take a lesson from my experience, risk is really important.” –Tess Vigeland
“What voices have kept you from reaching your potential?” –Jeremy Cowart
“Love yourself because of, not in spite of, who you are!” Jessica Rector
“Self-confidence grows every time you keep a promise to yourself.” –Asha Dornfest
“Ask instead of answer. Learn instead of preach.” –Derek Sivers
Now, picture this environment .. with 2999 other enthusiastic attendees .. and remembering Kid President who said, “There’s always a reason to complain and always a reason to dance. Choose to dance.” .. now add to it Chase Jarvis who gets on stage and proceeds to give out over $400,000 worth of CreateLive educational programming (in individual $150 gift cards). If this doesn’t make you want to dance, then just start by connecting to someone else, write if you want to write (or dance if you want to dance), and remember that everyone has something to say (that means YOU too!). Find your voice !!
So, now what? I’ve already said that I’m going to make time for writing. And, I am walking the walk by writing on my blog. I will continue to write, but I am also choosing to pursue another dream – to teach (why limit oneself??). Yes, in a few short weeks, I will begin teaching Management Information Systems as an adjunct professor. I was thinking about this and realized that I am fulfilling a lifetime dream. Does it get better? Why, yes, it can. And it will as long as I continue to make the time for the things I want to do and pursue my own remarkable life.