43.5 Musings, Reflections and Lessons from my Limit-shattering weekend (#WDS2012)

Jul 12, 2012

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you say to someone when you’re being uncool.”

Almost Famous (via Brene Brown)

I had the privilege of attending the World Domination Summit (#WDS2012) over the weekend in Portland, OR. It was a world-class experience, to say the least. I would even venture to say it was the best conference I’ve ever attended (by far).

Energy channeled the right way will bring remarkable outcomes.

I can’t explain the energy that I experienced. 1,000 people, all with a passion to crush the status quo.

The event is hosted by Chris Guillebeau, author of “The Art of Non-Conformity” and “The $100 Start Up”. Chris also is traveling to EVERY country in the world and is very close to finishing this. A true Catalyst.

Chris opening up the envelope we were about to receive

At the end of the three days, Chris told us about an anonymous donor – somewhere to the tune of $100k, I’m gathering. Instead of pocketing the cash for a profit, he presented an envelope to each attendee, including a $100 bill and instructions. It simply said to put the $100 toward a project, something of use that will help us contribute to the world. I can’t help but think that the fruits of those investments (by 1,000 people).

The stakes have been raised.

My mind was going all weekend. Is what I’m doing making a difference? What more can I do? The great thing about being around all these tremendous people is the challenge they represent. The challenge to DO MORE. To not settle. It was all about giving something, doing something remarkable, in this conventional world we live in.

Here’s who I had the fortune of seeing speak. I also had many, many interactions with attendees that were equally transformative.

The Catalysts:

  • Brene Brown, the ultimate storyteller (and researcher), who spoke on the importance of being vulnerable. Check out her TED video here (seen by over 5 million people to date).
  • Matt Harrison, founder of Charity:Water, dedicated to providing water for EVERY person on earth
  • Susan Cain, author of the smashing hit Quiet (an intimate look at Introversion and the power behind it). Watch her TED video on The Power of Introverts.
  • Scott Belsky, founder of Behance and writer of “Making Ideas Happen.”
  • Chris Brogan, author of Trust Agents and hilarious story teller (and super hero fanatic!)
  • Cal Newport, author and college professor (at Georgetown). He spoke about how Following Your Passion may be the wrong advice.
  • J.D. Roth, founder of Get Rich Slowly, and a new-found master of transformation.
  • Jonathan Fields, author of Uncertainty, and a thought leader on the power of mindset.
  • Pamela Slim, author of “Escape from Cubicle Nation” and thought leader on leveraging your passion.
  • Danielle LaPorte, author of The Firestarter Session and master of letting it all hang out with her no BS approach to delivering value to others.
  • Scott Dinsmore, who spoke about Connecting with Anyone (sign up for his pre-launch team for his upcoming Connecting project). A tale of how he has a relationship with Warren Buffet is extraordinary.
  • Corbett Barr, founder of Think Traffic, who led an interactive session on idea cultivation with everyone’s projects.

A must-see documentary that just may change the world

Probably the highlight of the weekend for me – I was fortunate to have a ticket and witness the world premiere of an upcoming documentary, “I’m fine, thanks” (watch the trailer). Adam Baker, Grant Peelee and their team nailed this. The premise is that we need to follow our dreams, period. Seriously, check out the trailer. It’s fantastic. The actual movie will be out soon and I’ll be sure to share a link to it. I even man-cried a little bit (hard for me to admit, but I’ll just throw it out there!)

There are many things to share. Here’s just a taste of my thoughts from the weekend.

  1. First and foremost, the people. We were all there for the same reason. To do more. To contribute to the world in a positive way. The power of this group is second to none and I can’t wait to see the momentum and amazing things come from this tribe. Everyone was so open, so willing to say hi and discuss the great projects they are working on. Plus, reciprocating and having real interest in what I was doing.
  2. Portland – What a great city. From the food carts, to the cool, laid-back vibe; it was a fun place to visit and hang out in.
  3. Meeting a lot of my mentors face to face. I’m a big believer in reaching out to others and learning. A lot of the folks that have helped me craft The Catalyst Project were there. It was a great opportunity to say thanks and build relationships. There’s nothing better than meeting face to face with someone.
  4. The speakers were mind-blowing (as mentioned above).
  5. Learned how to dance, Bollywood style (I think the multiple beers I had helped : )
  6. Found out I’m kind of an introvert – was very surprised about this but heading out by myself put me outside my comfort zone. Pleased to share that I was able to bust through this and embrace my fear.
  7. Many, many inspiring ideas. Man, the ideas were and still are flowing. I’m excited to announce an upcoming project/movement that I’m putting my $100 into. Stay tuned.
  8. Validation that The Catalyst Project is a big passion. I’m ready to take this to the next level. This weekend confirmed that this is what I need to be doing and is a great platform for me to build on.
  9. Vulnerability and Uncertainty are okay and a common theme – see Brene’s TED talk above. She was fantastically funny as well.
  10. Building relationships is the key to everything. Be authentic and be OPEN!
  11. Giving needs to be our primary focus. Unconditionally.
  12. The 3-second rule of meeting anyone – there’s a small window and you just have to go up, look someone in the eye and say hello.
  13. We need to figure out our “killer app” – what do we embody that makes us remarkable. We all have something.
  14. Mindset trumps all – call it attitude if you want. You need to cultivate the right mindset. Read Jonathan’s book, Uncertainty, for an insightful look into this topic.
  15. Life is one big experiment – keep chugging.
  16. Progress comes in small incremental steps
  17. You don’t need to be burned out to take a hiatus
  18. Find your creative bubble and leverage it
  19. Being prepared is an act of love
  20. You never fully arrive so embrace the journey
  21. We all have the capacity to produce great ideas….but, executing is the key
  22. “Screw it, we’ll do it Live” is a great motto. Adam Baker, producer of “I’m Fine Thanks” mentioned this. It comes from a Bill O’Reilly video where he’s prepping for a TV segment (warning – it’s pretty intense and, yes, a four-letter word is used). The message is to just jump in the water – you’ll figure it out as you go.
  23. Courage is acting in the face of fear.
  24. Movement makes us open – it’s okay to be uncool.
  25. Your experience cannot exceed your willingness to be vulnerable.
  26. You must be willing to be hurt, to put it all on the line – take off your armour.
  27. True joy can only happen when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
  28. We need to practice gratitude.
  29. Are you in the arena getting your ass kicked? If you’re getting bloodied that’s a good thing. Don’t let others who aren’t influence you.
  30. Fitting in is showing up and being what “they” want you to be – be conscious of it and nip it in the bud
  31. Belonging to a group or tribe is essential and a human need.
  32. Perspective – It’s okay to not have everything figured out.
  33. Following your passion isn’t the only way.
  34. The Wright Bro.’s didn’t have a pilot’s license. Wow – didn’t know that. Look what they accomplished. Don’t wait to get started (see the theme). Do something remarkable – you have it in you.
  35. Surround yourself with inspiring people – You are the avg of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
  36. Be interested, not interesting. Ask people about themselves. Listen. Wait to speak. Be humble.
  37. Value is the key – What skill do you have that would be valuable to others? If you understand this, you’re going places. If you don’t, find out – ask people.
  38. Value brings pressure – once we acquire and understand the value we provide, pressure is unavoidable. Embrace it.
  39. Utilizing the key traits that will make you feel alive is more important than waiting/seeking a true passion
  40. Do what Steve Jobs did, not what he said (If Jobs would’ve simply “followed his passion” he probably would’ve been a Zen teacher). He developed his passion at Apple, etc by leveraging his core values. Think about what yours are. Maybe you can leverage these in your current situation (i.e., you hate your job).
  41. Be a kid again – what great advice. Heard a few people say this. The joy of a child is priceless. We all need to play more.
  42. One at a time – Forming habits is tough. Stick to one thing at a time.
  43. Portland has amazing food (and I need to get back there)…..43.5 – Portland has some great craft beers (drank some great stouts)

The 1,000 Attendees

If you have a chance to attend this event, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s limited to 1,000 people and over 800 already bought their ticket for next year, as we had a day to get in on the fun and pre-order. You can hop on the pre-register list and get notified when tickets go on sale to the public. You know when something sells out in seven minutes, there’s something magical to it.

Don’t settle. This is the advice I give to you. We can ALL do so much more to deliver fulfillment to those in need. Be daring. Embrace your fears. Be vulnerable. Be you.

I want to thank all of you for inspiring me. I can’t wait to see where we go from here.

Some additional reading on WDS:

Twitter feed – #WDS2012

74 Unconventional Stories, Ideas and Beliefs for Making an Unforgettable Impact in a Conventional World

The Stories of Humanity and Power of Connection

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter


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