Wednesday, June 8, 2011

World Domination Summit - Saturday Recap

This past weekend I attended the World Domination Summit (WDS) in Portland. I know, a kind of a vague and somewhat ominous name. One person misinterpreted it as the World Dominatrix Summit … now that would be an entirely different type of conference!

This event was put together by Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Non Conformity, and his team of volunteers. In a nut shell, the summit brought together 500 people that are crafting the life they want for a weekend of inspiration and mixing with other folks who are leading unconventional lives. Attendees came from all backgrounds, including travelers, bloggers, photographers, life and business coaches, small business owners who left the corporate track, writers, artists, travelers and adventurers of life.

Each of the speakers inspired me and I took home something valuable from every one of them, which is summarized later in this post. However, the real highlight was getting to connect with the other conference attendees. For example, I met Becca, who runs a blog called Modern Athena that is an empowering place for women athletes. I chatted with Jami, a foodscaper (love that word!) from Indiana, who is working with local decision makers on policy related to urban gardens. The first people we talked with were Joe and Patty, who after taking a 6-day sailing course took their 36-foot sailboat around Baja. This is just a small sample; everyone had a story which made them unique.

Let me share with you just a few of my “takeaways” from Day 1. Seriously, I have a little notebook full of handwritten notes, these are just a few of the juicy kernels :

Pam Slim: Pam is the author of Escape from Cubicle Nation. From her I learned the word Ya’ateeh (welcome in Navajo) and the importance of genuinely greeting each other. A greeting is eye contact and accepting everything about the person you are meeting … so take the time and be sincere with it. Something else that Pam said that I wanted to share with my friends who are parents: “The greatest gift a parent can give a child is the gift of independence”.

Leo Babauta, of Zen Habits fame, spoke about habits, simplicity and living without goals. The kernel I took away from Leo on changing habits is to just pick one thing you want to change and work on it for just five minutes a day to start. I also recommend reading Leo’s blog post on his experience at WDS and the great word JoyFear.

Leo Babauta

Danielle LaPorte, of White Hot Truth,  is fiery and says it like it is. I had so many notes from her talk, you know the kind you underline and highlight, because it's that juicy. From Danielle's talk I took away the following:
  • You need to know when to walk away from a project
  • Know the rules before you break them
  • Take wisdom from others, but the decision to implement is yours alone
  • Make a list of how you want to feel, not what you want to do or be. Make sure all your projects and commitments are leading you to how you want to feel.
  • If you are ever interviewed, sit on the edge of your seat and own the interview!
  • When you become resentful, it’s time to let it go

    Danielle LaPorte
Jodi Ettenberg, our afternoon speaker, has been crapped on by 11 birds and one bat. She keeps a poo tracker on her blog, Legal Nomads. Three years ago, Jodi left her fancy pants job with a private law firm in New York to travel the world. She is still at it, blogging about food and travels. Her talk was inspirational and funny. My take away from Jodi …there are thing that you CAN do, but why not do the things you WANT to do?

Karen Walrond is a photographer, writer and amazing speaker; strong stage presence and great story telling. Oh, she was also an engineer and attorney in a former life. Karen wrote the lovely book “The Beauty of Different”. Her talk focused on some of what she learned while writing her book and was illustrated with her amazing photography. My notes from Karen's talk:
  • We are wired to connect
  • We all feel different
  • Making comparisons is a colossal waste of time. Comparing ourselves to others is useless, since we are comparing our insides to someone else’s outside
  • Adventure occurs when we embrace possibility
  • We don’t age because time passes, we age because we stop looking for the wonderful
Karen also talked about her life list during her talk and about curating an exciting life. One of the items on her list is to make old-fashioned hand-crank ice cream with her daughter. As many of you  know, I have my own life list that I am working through. One of the items on my list (#20) is to help five other people achieve something on their life list. After Karen’s talk, I asked her if I could send her an ice cream maker so that her and I could BOTH work towards something on our life list. She graciously said yes (!!!). I have my eye on a great vintage ice cream maker and will post an update if this all pans out.

Day 1 wrapped up with Bob and I going on the "Sweet Tour" which included stops at Alma Chocolate and Pix, two stops that should be on your list if you ever go to Portland. A special "thumbs up" to Alma's thai peanut butter cups (PB + chocolate + lime + chili + sea salt = heaven).

Edible gold leaf + chocolate milagros from Alma Chocolate.

Beautiful macarons from Pix.

Oh, I almost forgot, there was Bollywood dancing! DJ Prashant and his team taught the 500 of us some killer Bollywood moves and we put it all together to Jai Ho. Talk about fun! DJ Prashant is a bit unconventional himself, as he left his corporate job with Intel to start his own DJ/Bollywood dance performance business.

Learning some Bollywood moves!

Yes, all this in just one day! A recap of Sunday coming later this week, which will cover an artist who makes dramatic fire bowls and more great speakers. Until then, dream big!

Note: All photos credits are to Armosa Studio, who photographed the entire event and made their photos available for use via Creative Commons. Check out Chris' Flickr page for heaps more photos from the talented team at Armosa. They really captured the feeling of the event!

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