Notes from a Nonconformist: The World Domination Summit
I recently returned from Portland, OR where I spent a heady weekend at an event called the World Domination Summit.
WDS, the progeny of my friend Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-Conformity, was a convening of more than 500 nonconformists, entrepreneurs, bloggers, creatives, visionaries, and other cool folks.
And, although I did not have the opportunity to commune with all 500+ fab and friendly souls, those with whom I did renewed my faith in humankind. Yes, a big statement, I know, but the love, kindness, and friendliness of the WDSers was unparalleled by any other goers of conference-type thingies that I have attended. I use the word conference, loosely, by the way, to describe this event.
So let me try to wrap my brain around WDS. First, as I mentioned, everyone that I came in contact with was beyond nice. And not in that saccharine-sweet sort of way, but genuinely nice. Ok, nice is a limp word–the people I met were cool. Vibrant and raw. Funny and engaging. And while there was the shared we’re all from the same tribe vibe, everyone was different in age, looks, pursuits, and reasons for attending. I feared the group might be a bit homogenous, but my fears were put to rest as soon as I queued up outside the Portland Art Museum (where the event was held) during registration.
Fun, funky colorful peeps juxtaposed against a background of semi-geeky types made for great people watching. In fact, while I loved nearly all the speakers (big props to my pal, Pam Slim, who opened the event with pure inspiration and heart and to Jonathan Fields who closed WDS with the same open-hearted goodness), it was the attendees that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Everyone that I met at the various break-out sessions and parties, including the after-party held in a former funeral home called The Woods (god, I miss Portland!) was engaging, curious, and genuinely interested in finding out what made me tick and the feeling was mutual. I suspect many new projects and collaborations were started as acquaintances grew into budding friendships and partnerships. The creative energy was palpable, even from those who’d say they were not creatives. It’s this energy, the creative juice, the desire to better one’s life while making a kick-ass contribution to the world, that makes my heart sing. I live for this stuff.
So, how to retell a story of a weekend where much of what I saw and felt falls under the you-had-to-be-there category?
Well, like this: The World Domination Summit was an amazing first of what I imagine will be many Summits to come and Chris and his all volunteer team (including the all-star speaker line-up) did a phenomenal job of building and holding the space for a community of like-minded outsiders to blossom. It’s just this kind of event that needs to happen in more places, albeit in a smaller way, as it was, shall I say, a tad overwhelming. I mean, a girl can only wrap her brain around so much awesome at once!
What I took away from my WDS weekend was not earth-shattering, although I imagine for new entrepreneurs and those thinking of taking the leap there was much transformative stuff happening, no, what I got from my WDS experience is the reinforcement that I am on the right track, that walking and talking my truth are key to my self-defined success, and that I am in good company with those whom Marie Forleo, hot babe that she is, would describe as multi-passionate entrepreneurs.
WDS reminded me that I can combine my skill as a writer with my love of travel, healthful foods, sustainable living, tiny houses, and my propensity to catalyze change in those who seek it.
That I can dominate my tiny sliver of the universe with grace, authenticity, and love and know that there are others out there walking a similar path to their truth.