Every year, a large group of passionately devout individuals travel from across the globe to join together in celebration and support of a shared cause. Though it is tricky to pinpoint the exact binding element, it is built on a sense of community, adventure, and service.
These are people who not only dream of changing the world, but actually take the necessary steps to do so.
World Domination Summit is an event that attendees eagerly anticipate all year. It is an event that all will surely remember for the rest of their lives.
Those who show up crave creativity, connection, acceptance, and support. They thrive in the space beyond their comfort zone and are exhilarated by radical self-discovery and creative innovation. All welcome the opportunity to be recognized and respected for who they are and all that they dream; all graciously offer the same to others.
It feels like home.
Last year, I attended WDS not knowing anyone. Sure, I’d met Chris Guillebeau at his AONC and $100 Start-up book tours when he rolled through Phoenix, but for that shy 23-year-old with big dreams and a tiny comfort zone, flying 1,000 miles for “some conference” was a shock to all, herself included. That was the first time I made a huge decision based solely on the rhythmic pleading of my heart. Over the past year, I have learned to listen to and trust that small voice. Doing so has completely changed the way I experience my life and actively work to create my future.
This year, the main stage speakers spoke on resonance, rejection, extending creativity to all disciplines, and putting people before profit. All were remarkably inspiring. All are my heroes.
However, it was not only the main stage speakers and workshop leaders that set fire to my heart. As much as those before me impressed and invigorated, it was those to my left and to my right that had the most powerful influence.
Every single person I met and reconnected with this past weekend is a superhero, because everyone in that Northwestern paradise is directing their unique skills and superpowers towards the shared vision of bettering the world. The city was flooded with an openness, as well as an overwhelmingly positive and deeply resonant energy. Having loved the show Care Bears as a child, I cannot help but visualize the benevolent energy pouring out from every chest as the entire group cheers and shouts out, “We care!”
Throughout the weekend, I was continually starstruck. Authors, bloggers, thought-leaders, and others whom I greatly admire surrounded me, but they were not above me. I realized that they are just normal people doing extraordinary things. They are people–like you and I–who have found success and want to humbly help others do the same. I met many of my heroes this weekend. They did not tell me about their achievements, but instead asked me about my projects and my biggest dreams. And they actually listened.
Darren Rowse‘s talk included the line: I don’t want to live an ordinary life. I would guess that every WDS attendee lives by this mantra. We all have unique skills, passions, and perspectives. We all have a unprecedented contribution to offer our world. But that begs the question:
How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?
Gretchen Rubin would suggest: Stop waiting for permission to live your extraordinary life. Those who are living out their dreams were never given permission or explicit direction. Rather, they followed their inspiration and their calling.
Imagine a world without fear of rejection, and then begin to live as if adversity were a necessary step towards a stronger self and a brighter future. According to Jia Jiang, it is. When you run away from rejection, you reject yourself. When you embrace your true nature and deepest desires, your most potent powers will begin to emerge.
The superheros in comic books and movies do not sit at home and draft the perfect plan to mange thefts and fires and fights that may never occur. No, they go out and save the day. As Donald Miller so aptly puts it: Great stories happen when characters take action. You are the author of you life’s story, as well as the main character. You are either the hero, or the planner who never leaves his desk–the planner who is thus never recognized on the street as a superhero.
As children, we learned from the confident men and women in colorful, skintight costumes, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Likewise, Bob Moore suggests that: Success creates responsibility. When you are the hero of your story, you must use your powers to promote good and you must direct your influence towards helping others.
Superheroes often act as mentors, both on a broader, public level and when interacting with individuals. In her presentation, Nancy Duarte explored the concept of the audience as the hero, and the idea of conveying symbolism via storytelling. The storyteller’s job is to encourage people to take action on an idea, to spark a movement, and to create a better future. If the audience does not take action, the storyteller has failed.
We need to recognize the superhero in everyone. Tess Vigeland advises that: We need to redefine remarkable. The crème de la crop are no longer the doctors and engineers, but rather those with the greatest creative potential and the ability to innovate and redefine normal. We cannot wait for the super geniuses. We have to MAKE them. Chase Jarvis spoke on the lack of creativity in modern education, and the need to re-inject creativity into ALL disciples. We need to provide our younger generations the tools and environment necessary to build a better future, as well as training and discipline to utilize these resources.
Here is a secret: that training often requires nothing more than a refrigerator box, some crayons, a tall tree with low branches, books, some good friends, and a short break from technology.
Creativity is innate. Innovation is innate. We need to stop stifling our superpowers. We need to instead embrace the ways in which each of us has been individually endowed in extraordinary ways.
We need to look in the mirror each morning and say: I am a superhero. How am I going to use my powers for good today?
Mecca is defined as: a place regarded as a center for a specified group, activity, or interest.
Portland, during the first weekend of July, is the place where my tribe of fellow dreamers and world-shakers coalesce. It is a place where I can confidently show up, knowing that who I am is enough, and what I dream of becoming is entirely possible. Portland, Oregon is my Mecca.
Superhero is defined as: a benevolent fictional character with superhuman powers.
Every attendee at World Domination Summit is a hero, for all in attendance believe in their heart that they can, and will, change the world with their own special skill set. Everyone showed up not knowing exactly what to expect. Yet, every one of us was drawn to the event by the hope of a better future and the opportunity to contribute to to goodness that will inevitably stem from the connections made.
To every superhero I met this year, thank you for your inspiration and support.
To all those I did not personally meet, thank you for sharing your passionate energy with me.
To those who did not attend WDS, thank you for allowing me to share my experience with you.
I am already counting down the days until WDS 2014. I hope to see you there.