I just returned from four days of awesome at the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon, hosted by Chris Guillebeau. There were 3,000 people, two days of inspiring presentations, an opening party at the Portland zoo, a Bollywood dance party and so much more.
If you ask people what is the World Domination Summit you will find that each person has their own interpretation of what it means for them, but at its core the themes of WDS are community, adventure and service and it brings people together from all over the world who are passionate about leading remarkable lives in a conventional world – in all flavors that implies.
We had a line up of terrific speakers. I was glad to meet Darren Rouse who I have followed for years on his site,ProBlogger. In his presentation, Darren shared his childhood dream of being Superman as well as his journey from geeky entrepreneurial teenager to being one of the biggest authorities on blogging and content marketing in the world.
There was a time in his twenties when he was buying into a more conventional path. A woman he was quite serious about, ended the relationship explaining that she didn’t want to have an ordinary life. Breaking up hurt but more importantly, those particular words stung because Darren knew he didn’t want to have an ordinary life. So he set about exploring some of the dreams he had when he was younger and following the threads of his true interests.
Darren gave some great advice on going about creating a remarkable life. More or less, he said that you start today and everyday because the future is created by the decisions you make each and every day. You step out of your comfort zone and when you have a dream or an inspiration follow it. See where it goes. Fan the flame and take action on the things you find fascinating.
When your interests align with what other people are seeking and what you are doing is useful to or resonates with others, things will happen that you would have never been able to predict. Darren was given a Superman outfit by the WDS team which he sported for us all.
Gretchen Rubin, of the Happiness Project, also had great tips on living a remarkable life. First she was quick to point out that leading a happy life does not mean that you should strive to be happy all the time. Instead, she said self- examination is key. And when you engage in the process of identifying and owning up to who you really are you will also have to look at who you are not. She points out that there is sadness that comes with letting go of the things that you are not and never will be.
Gretchen also said that examining your negative emotions can be helpful to understanding yourself. For example, answering the question, “Who do you envy and why?” will tell you a lot about what it is that you want. Once you identify who or what it is that as Grtechen says, makes you sick with envy, then you may have a big clue as to what you have to let go of or what you need to do to have those things or the essence of those things in your life. The good news is that the more aligned you are with who you really are and the more you tell the truth about it, the more you will be leading your true life and the more content you will be.
Oh, and you know that monkey chatter in your head that tells you that you really can’t or shouldn’t do what it is you know you want to do? Another of our speakers addressed that. Andrew Warner coined the term Counter Mind for people to be able to label those horrible things we say to ourselves that keep us small and stuck as not real, and has developed a practice to help people rationally talk down the Counter Mind thoughts and replace them with what he calls True Mind statements. This is actually a technique used in cognitive behavioral therapy, where we can work on replacing negative thoughts with more rational, productive thoughts. It is true that making a practice of combating the Counter Mind thoughts can and will have you be more productive and successful.
Nancy Duarte was one of my favorite speakers. She has researched the anatomy of the greatest speeches of all times in order to develop a methodology to help speakers formulate their big ideas and get them across to others in the most compelling way. One of the most important skills is to be able to tell a compelling story and it is one of the oldest ways in the world to get your ideas to spread in the world and find people who resonate with you. If you are at all interested in speaking or sharing your story you can view Nancy’s TEDx talk on this same subject.
These by no means were the only great speakers but these speakers all addressed issues that are important to my work with my clients. I have a special love of working with people and their businesses when they begin to identify their next steps in life towards developing a livelihood they love.
I find that it is harder than most people think it will be and that we can get stuck at various points along the way. Some of us are afraid to own their truth. Some are timid about putting their thoughts and dreams out to the world on their websites even though they will say anything to anyone. I met a woman this weekend who was a writer starting a blog, who said she would blog but did not want to do Twitter or Facebook. I replied that if she was taking the step to put her writing on her website it seemed like it would be beneficial to do what it takes to build an audience to read what she was writing. But this is a typical reaction. I will stick my toe in but only to where it is comfortable.
I got involved in WDS when I reached out to Chris Guillebeau on Twitter offering to host his book signing. From that first Tweet, I ended up hosting the book signing for the Art of Non-Conformity and then the next year for the $100 Dollar Startup. It would have been easy to blow off the thought that I should Tweet and offer to host his book signing, but going ahead and taking that first step with that one little Tweet led to becoming a part of this community with Chris and his adventures, which has enriched my own life more than I can say.
It has been a bonus that over the three World Domination Summits I’ve been a part of, I have been able to meet many others I knew only online like Laura Roeder, Pam Slim, Danielle LaPorte. There have been many others that I knew from their Twitter pics that I have now forged real life connections with.
I think World Domination could mean that we have to dominate our tendencies to take the easier softer way that life serves up to us because identifying our dreams, and taking action to act on them is not an easy path. All of us have fears, hesitations and resistance to some degree or another because we are humans and that’s how we roll. But we can work to not compare our insides to other people’s outsides, thinking that somehow we are the only ones to have these issues. We can confront our particular flavors of self-sabotage head on and then put one foot in front of the other to take the thousands of small steps towards living our own remarkable lives.
And finally here is the amazing Clair Bowditch singing, This Amazing Life which she sang for us at #WDS. Go ahead and give a a listen. It says it all.
Photography by Armosa Studios #WDS2013
Photo of Chris and Judi by Dorothéa Bozicolona-Volpe