What should one do when coming back from eight months of travel to no house, no job, no car, no phone, and no direction? Attend the World Domination Summit!
I attended the conference last year and was bummed when I realized I wouldn’t be in Portland for it this year. While traveling, I forgot about the conference until after I’d changed my plans and decided to come home early. I randomly caught a glimpse on someone’s Facebook page that volunteer applications were available. Since my newly booked flight would get me to Portland just in time for the conference, I applied.
I got accepted! (…I’m pretty sure they take everyone who applies.) I had volunteer orientation a couple days after arriving in Portland, and then worked the conference a week later.
I know, the name is awesome, but what the hell is a World Domination Summit? I heard they’re making a mini documentary to help answer this question – since no one knows what to say when asked about it. For now, I’ll give you the most concise version I’ve come up with:
The World Domination Summit is a gathering of about 3000 people who descend on Portland one weekend a year to inspire and motivate each other in building purpose-filled lives around community, service, and adventure.
WDS was founded four years ago by Chris Guillebeau, author of the blog The Art of Non-Conformity, and book by the same title. The book pretty much blew my mind when I read it a few years ago. (In that annoying way where I really hated it at first because it challenged my world view and I was lazy and didn’t want to do the work I knew it would take to change. Eventually I changed my mind about the ‘work’ part and I’m glad I did.)
On the blog Chris talks about life, writing books, being an entrepreneur, travel (he just accomplished his goal to visit every country in the world by age 35), and pursuing an unconventional life based on three principals – community, service, and adventure.
Volunteering this year was a lot of giving directions, trying to answer questions, greeting, and helping out with anything that was needed. The days were long, but we were still able to hear most of the speakers and connect with a bunch of fantastic people – attendees and volunteers alike.
I was motivated and inspired by many of the speakers, but one theme emerged from the weekend I really needed to hear:
“Take imperfect action.”
The first speaker of the weekend, Jadah Sellner, told a personal story of her struggling family in debt, living paycheck to paycheck. They started a couple businesses, both of them failed, but they kept trying until finally they started the one that became a success – Simple Green Smoothies.
After describing every major life ‘failures,’ Jadah would say, “I learn every lesson in life on purpose.” Meaning, that even the discouraging moments exist to teach us, prepare us, and build in us tools for the next thing. She learned a lot about business from the first two failures, and this eventually lead her to a successful one. She encouraged us to not quit, but to keep moving forward, taking imperfect action.
I’ve already talked about being a perfectionist – how perfectionism has kept me from doing a lot of things in life. A few years ago I recognized this and have been working on letting go. But I still need reminders like this. I can put off and put off and makes excuses that it’s not good enough, or I can just put it out there and move on to the next thing.
“Great people do things before they’re ready.” – Amy Poehler
So, here I am rambling, all too aware that what I’m writing is not perfect, but I know the only way forward, the only way to learn, the only way to build something, is through imperfect action. And if failure will give me the lessons and tools to future success, then BRING ON THE FAILURE! RAHH!
Another great quote from Jonathan Fields over the weekend:
“Try, fail fast, kill, build.”
I’m so grateful I was able to participate this year. (We set a Guinness World Record for longest human yoga chain!) It was the best thing to possibly come home to while feeling a bit directionless and overwhelmed by life. Well, I’m still overwhelmed, but now in a good way. I met so many great people, all who played a significant role in contributing just the right nugget of wisdom when I needed it. Thank you, all!
What thing have you been really wanting to do? Seriously, tell me in a comment below, I want to know. Don’t fall into the trap of believing it needs to be perfect before it sees the light of day. Take imperfect action. Just focus on the first step. The world needs your thing!