My (First) Five Lessons From World Domination Summit 2014

One of the themes of holding my life for Ranson is doing things I’ve never done before, both in areas of travel and personal development. And right around the time I settled on the concept of holding for Ranson, it occurred to me that it was time to go to World Domination Summit.

I’d known about WDS for a couple of years through various entrepreneurship and lifestyle design contacts, but it had never seemed like the right time to go…until suddenly it was. Everything fell into place: I had the money for the ticket, I had enough Southwest points left to travel hack my flight, I had a place to stay with some friends from The Conference for Men, and (largely due to that conference) I was ready to show up in another conference environment and soak up everything I could.

I’m not going to summarize all of the insights I got from the WDS speakers here, partially because there were far too many great points for me to take good notes on and partially because bloggers who were there with me have already done so really well here and here. What I am going to do instead is talk about the lessons I learned from the experience as a whole. Here are five of them:

Lesson #1: Punctuality Isn’t Everything

Full disclosure: I missed taking part in The Great Namaste, the world-record-breaking yoga chain that took place on Friday morning of WDS, because my buddy Josh Barad and I got there late and all the spaces were taken. We were understandably bummed about this, but as we sat on the steps of Pioneer Courthouse Square watching the Namaste begin, we met up with a couple other people in the same situation we were, and ultimately decided to go sit by the river with them rather than baking on the bricks with no yoga mat. Josh already knew these people, but I didn’t, and they ended up being two of the best connections I made the entire weekend, to the point where we reconnected and spent time together almost every day after that. Would it have been cool to get to The Great Namaste on time? Sure, of course. But if I had to choose between that relaxed, shady and uber-connected morning by the Willamette and doing yoga in the blazing sun, even for a world record, I’d choose the first option nine times out of eight.

Lesson #2: Everyone Is On The Same Page

One of my biggest worries when I first started thinking about coming to WDS was that everyone there would be way the hell ahead of me in life, doing awesome things that I hadn’t even considered yet, let alone figured out how to do. And to be fair, yes–there were a lot of people there who WERE doing amazing things, and had been doing them for a while. But there were also a lot of people who were just as close to starting out as I was, maybe even closer. And more importantly, I realized time and again throughout the conference that everyone was figuring it out as they went, not just me. Even the people who seemed to have it all together didn’t know everything. Everyone was vulnerable, everyone was courageous, everyone was interested, everyone was open to feedback, everyone wanted to learn from everyone else, everyone who had perspective and experience was more than willing to share them. And everyone I told about what I’m doing–my writing and editing business, my upcoming road trip around the US, my experiences of growth at and since the Conference For Men–was immediately and completely supportive.

Lesson #3: We’re All Badasses Right Now

There were moments during the course of the conference when everyone around me was having an incredibly fun time, and I was too self-conscious to join them. At one point it even took me more than two hours to get out of my own head and into the moment. But that was okay. I told a friend (one of the people from the river in Lesson #1) about that experience two days later, and her response was “you are such a badass. You sat with all that fear and frustration until you got through it, and then you went and danced your ass off. You didn’t let it beat you.” I’d never considered it in that light before. I’d always thought being a badass meant not having these kinds of mental struggles in the first place. But my friend was right. Being a badass is not about never having to struggle, it’s about facing that struggle and knowing that you’ll still be standing when it’s over. It’s not about being some fantastical future version of yourself, it’s about being who you are right now. And that’s not just true for me, it’s true for everyone. We are all badasses, right now. We’re all doing the best we can in the present moment, and that’s perfect. Which brings me to…

Lesson #4: Filling In The Blank

During the second full day of the conference, we all received stickers that had an unfinished sentence on them: “I _____________.” One of the speakers told us what these were for: we all got to write one true sentence about ourselves on them for future reference, whether that was something we are, we do, we can, we will, we love, or something else along those lines. I stared at my sticker for a long time before I wrote anything on it. I watched people around me writing things like “I help people find their freedom,” “I can fall in love,” “I am letting go and taking action,” and so forth. I considered several options, including “I am an amazing writer” and “I give fantastic hugs” and “I hold space,” but none of them seemed to fit. Then something came to me in a flash, and though writing it was very clearly an edge for me, it just felt right. I put Sharpie to sticker and wrote:

I absolutely fucking love myself. 

Because if it’s written down, it has to be true, right? ;) I’ve spent a lot of time since then thinking about this statement, and every time I think about it I feel more right about it. I DO absolutely fucking love myself, and now I get to discover what that looks and feels like from a first-person perspective. I’m pretty excited for that!

Lesson #5: One WDS Isn’t Enough

So…I’m hooked, people. Everything I did this past week, I want to do it again. I’m already planning next summer’s leg of my road trip to take me to the Pacific Northwest specifically so I can be there for WDS 2015. If I met you at WDS this year, I can’t wait to see you again…and if you haven’t been there yet, come and join me!