Anyone who’s been following The Rogue Road or anyone who knows me in person has been listening to me babble on and on about the World Domination Summit for months. Well, now it’s come and gone, and the overall outcome for me was this:
The World Domination Summit was, to this point, the single best thing I have ever done in my life.
I am not exaggerating even a little here.
This post is one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written because I’m trying to quantify a transcendental experience. When you put an experience into words, you lose some of that experience, as words can never suffice to describe the awesome reality of life.
But I want to share it with everyone. So I will try...
What was it?
"It’s a gathering of thousands of people – entrepreneurs, travelers, writers, activists, and artists – in one place to exchange cool ideas. Basically everyone comes and says what they’re working towards, and everyone else helps them achieve it in some small way."
-Kit Whelan, SeekNewTravel.com
As almost 3000 people descended on Portland for a 3-day summit, many of us arrived without any idea of what to expect.
I had the vague notion that I wanted to make connections, and that I wanted to immerse myself in some of the creative energy that would be flowing around the event, hoping to be inspired.
Turns out, both of my expectations were not only met, but grandly exceeded. I never could have anticipated the abundance of each of those things and all the other amazing pieces that came along with them.
One of the most interesting parts was in the build of the event itself - despite all of its awesomeness, it was push-free. That means no corporate sponsorship, nothing being pitched or sold (except ideas), and everyone was a volunteer, including founder Chris Guillebeau. Nobody that participated got anything monetary out of it, unless you count new business relationships for the attendees.
What we did walk away with was an arsenal of new ideas, new goals, and a re-energized belief in ourselves and the things we’re doing with our lives, unconventional as they may be.
Bravery. Hope. Creation. Humility. Travel. Minimalism. Gratitude. Support. Communication. Freedom.
So many themes were present throughout the event, all connecting with one another in the end, even those topics that were a little bit more off the beaten path…
For instance, one speaker talked about saving your creative soul. The audience was urged, “choose to honor the voice in your head! Because your relationship with your creative soul is only with yourself, and if you can't face yourself, you're in trouble!”
WDS wasn’t just about one topic or idea. Entrepreneurship and following your passions was a major theme. Being brave and bold was another. But energy was flowing in all directions.
Oh, and did I mention we broke a world record? Yeah, we did that.
What were the biggest takeaways?
The 3 Core values of WDS were all around: Community, Adventure, Service.
But personally, the biggest message for me was simply this:
As children we enter the world full of energy and without any fear. But as adults, many of us lose that wide-eyed, open approach. We learn caution and fear, becoming creatures who dream, but don't take action.
Except, nobody changes the world or themselves by sitting on their couch. You’ve gotta get out there and, succeed or fail, just DO it (thanks Nike).
As one speaker pointed out, there's a vicious cycle and a virtuous cycle. We all know what the first is, those days when you just can’t seem to get your butt moving. At which point, things at rest tend to stay at rest.
But the latter is where the magic happens, because once you force yourself to take that first step it morphs into a positive feedback loop and everything begins to grow.
When it comes to growth, remember…
All of the really important stuff happens outside of your comfort zone.
All creation involves a lot of work and a lot of bad ideas.
3 questions I enjoyed bringing home to ask myself:
1. How do you want to be remembered?
2. What's the most important thing to me?
3. What's the single brave decision I need to make today?
Finally, another thoughtful point that was mentioned more than once: voice matters. Whether it’s internal, external, or the voice of a mass, it’s a powerful tool. Yet still, sometimes the best thing you can do it to listen.
What were the people like?
What about you? Are you a dreamer? Or a do-er? Because you can’t be both.
This I never realized before, and it was quite a jolt to my own persona as realization dawned that only recently have begun learning the true process of becoming a do-er (and I’m still learning).
Another lesson I’m still learning is that the most important part of communication, with another or with yourself, is hearing the message. It’s the listening. And since most of us aren't really listening, we aren't really learning.
I made an effort to listen to all the people I could come into contact with, to hear their stories and to learn about them. As a result, I heard the life, business, and personal stories of likely hundreds of people I didn't know a month ago.
Some had always known what passion they wanted to follow, but most, like me, had take a long and completely indirect path to where they were now standing. Most had struggled to get to their present day situation, but almost all were so thrilled to be doing what they’re doing that they wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world.
And every single one of them was enlightening in their own way.
Never before have I been surrounded by so many of my own kind. I left the event feeling like I had finally found my people after a lifetime of searching. Therefore, naturally, I made some incredible new friends, friends who I believe will be around for the long haul, if not for the rest of my life.
On a personal note, I also had the opportunity to meet two of my three real life heroes. It was completely awe inspiring. Real people who are out there living my dream, in the flesh....is there any greater inspiration to follow your dreams?!
Why was it SO awesome?
For 4 days, I got to swim in a sea of ingenious & inspired people who are busy making things happen, not only in their own lives, but out in the world.
The energy that all these people coming together in once place generated, it was almost surreal.
WDS was certainly about making connections with people I would have never had the opportunity to cross paths with otherwise. Yet ultimately, it was about the human experience, and experiencing LIFE.
ALL of life, meaning taking the bad with the good, and learning to spend our precious time chasing down our dreams.
Many of us get lost in our smaller worlds. We get buried by the everyday, the mundane. Some of those things are simply a part of living, such as trips to the grocery store and getting the laundry done, whereas others are the fault of nothing so much as our own laziness & internal fear of change.
Remembering not to let the urgent overcome the important, remembering not to do "temporary," because it always almost has the habit of becoming permanent…sometimes those mantras start to slip through our fingers.
This was my first year attending WDS, but it will certainly not be my last. I
will now have the opportunity to get together with all of “my people” and, should I need it, share with them an internal kick start, a re-ignition of all the dreams and dos lined up for my future.
Now I will always remember this: Whatever you're dreaming, you can do it.
You can be the rockstar.
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