WDS2012: Not the World Dairy Summit

Why I wanted to attend the World Domination Summit 2012
I first started following Chris Guillebeau’s writings on The Art of Non-Conformity in the winter of 2010. I have no recollection of how I found his website but I’m glad that I did because his messages resonate with me and are inspiring, and his adventures are fun-reading if anything (his goal is to visit all of the countries of the world). Oh yes, and Chris (and his team) hosts the World Domination Summit (WDS) in Portland, Oregon; 2012 was the second WDS.

I graduated from university with a Science degree and landed in my current job after applying for it on a whim during my last term of university. It was not directly in my field of study, I had never considered working for my employer, and I wouldn’t be told for months what my particular job would be…but it was enough out of left-field that I figured I would regret it if I didn’t apply. I love it when luck meets opportunity in life, as lo and behold I was offered a position with my employer and have been working for them for the past four years.

In those four years, I have gained invaluable insight and knowledge and I have continued to develop my skills. I have a fabulous manager who supports work-life balance and a small group of like-minded colleagues who are supportive and just plain fun. However, over time, I’ve started to question how and whether my skills/interests/abilities align with my employer’s needs. I question the validity of the organizational structure, bureaucracy, and motivations. Are they contrary to my personality and essence? I also moved across the country for this job and consider myself blessed to have been given this opportunity to live in a new city…but am starting to think that I want to move back closer to friends, family, and the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

I’m at an evaluative stage where I’m considering where my inspirations and inner motivators lie, as well as re-evaluating what my interests are and how I’d like to be spending my time. I used to be fairly certain about the path ahead that I saw for myself…but now the path feels shrouded in haze. And these are the reasons why I wanted to attend WDS2012. I wanted to hear people’s stories as a mechanism to try to hone in on my next steps.

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Resonating ideas (aka notes from my notebook)
Brene Brown: Nobody belongs here more than you do. Show up and let yourself be seen. Belonging over fitting in.
Scott Belsky: Don’t become burdened by consensus. Most ideas never happen; the key is making fewer ideas see the light of day. Look for the intersection of genuine interest from yourself, having or the capability of developing the necessary skills, and opportunity. Gain confidence from being doubted.
Chris Brogan: Learn to untangle from criticism and from praise; just say thank you to both. You will succeed the weirder you get.
Audrey and Daniel: Nothing worth it in this world is an easy decision to make. Embrace regret avoidance (my own life philosophy). Embark on something, not for the outcome but because it feels right. Personal accomplishment is great but shared accomplishment is sublime.
Cal Newport: A path to a passionate life is far more complex than just following your passion. Get good at something rare and valuable, then leverage that something to create the life that you want. If something is interesting to you and it could give you interesting options, then that’s what matters.
JD Roth: Say yes to opportunities. Sometimes change has to start with small things. Say no to the things that don’t excite you. What you do do are your priorities, not what you say you area or want to do.
Attendees: Always have a big dream to serve as a beacon when you feel lost. Turning ‘someday’ into today. Embrace the black hole that is freedom. The best way to give yourself a raise is to spend less money.

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My homework
After having a rah-rah weekend immersed in an inspired, motivated group of people, it’s not uncommon to feel a little disillusioned returning to a world where societal expectations rule you down. Since I’m continuing on with my rail tour (ie. vacation) for a few weeks, I will be avoiding any such disillusionment, at least for another few weeks. However, it’s important that I reflect on my experience and outline some next steps for myself, however small.

  • Read Chris Guilleabeau’s most recent book, $100 Start Up, as well as some of the resources that I learned about at WDS. (Did I mention that Chris signed my book!! Super ecstatic about that.)
  • Get my hands on a copy of fellow WDS attendee Adam Baker’s new film, “I’m Fine, Thanks” and host a screening party with friends. The film is so amazing and needs to be shared with the world.
  • Use the visual right-brain business plan model by Jennifer Lee in creating a personal road map to get ideas out of my head and onto paper.
  • I’m not certain yet how exactly my life will be different a year from now but I believe that my homework items above will get me well on my way to knowing…soon. I’ve already been incorporating lifestyle elements that align with my values but it might be time to kick it up to a whole new level! WDS lit that little fire under my butt to make things happen!

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    A few words on my WDS experience
    The Summit is officially two days, jam packed with great keynote sessions and a wide variety of workshops, and full of inspired people. On the first day, each of the attendees that I spoke to already had their own businesses (perhaps something I someday would like for myself as well) and blog to promote and I felt somewhat intimidated as I wasn’t really sure what I was doing or wanted in life and had trouble responding to their questions, “What do you do? What do you want to be doing?” If you ever switched schools during the middle of the year, you’d understand how I felt, a little out of place and as though everyone already knew everyone else (I know this sounds ridiculously childish but…). In true WDS nature, everyone was super friendly…so in the end, my quiet nature may have predominated too much, preventing me from using WDS to its full potential. I was finding all of the keynotes and the workshops to be super interesting and loved the feeling of being stimulated! A feeling I may be missing from work more often than I like. By day 2, I met some folks who are more like me in terms of life stage: a bit unsure about what they want or what to do next but open to new opportunities and experiences. This was incredibly encouraging.

    I hope to one day attend WDS again but I don’t think I’m ready to head to Portland for 2013. When I do head there again in the future, I’d like to have a clearer direction in my life and be more comfortable networking. In the meantime, I will be following the progress of the pursuits of some of the very cool people who attended WDS and working on acquainting myself with myself. WDS is a great forum for ideas and support and did I mention inspiration-inducing and a ton of FUN!!

    And a special thank you to Chris, his wife Jolie, and their incredible team of volunteers for putting on a seamless weekend. I’ve planned large-scale events and know two things: it always takes a solid team to make things happen and in the end, not everything will go as you had planned but as long as everyone’s having a good time, that’s all that matters. Funny…those are two good life lessons too!

    How do you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?

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