If there was ever a place I could call home other than Seattle, it would be Portland. It’s home to Starbucks shops that serve coconut milk; the nicest people ever, and the World Domination Summit (WDS). WDS is a conference like nothing I’ve ever been to – and I’ve been to a lot. Looking at my pile of conference badges, I’ve been to probably 50 or so over the last few years, averaging about one a month. But WDS is not your average conference (or so I realized.) It’s a gathering of creative types who want to make a difference in the world, however they define that – and want to be inspired by others of the same. It’s a conference of those who want to learn how live life better without necessarily being told how. It’s a place to find your tribe without intending to find your new 5 best friends (who just happen to live all over the world)
I intended to go to WDS to get a kick in the ass. For several months I’ve been a little lazy. I’ve chosen to be apathetic rather than tell stories I hear. I’ve passed up networking events, meetups, and happy hours. I’ve stayed in and been lax with love. I haven’t pursued my passion – writing. If it was a good week, I wrote maybe 2 or 3 articles.
I outsourced my best talent.
It wasn’t the life I wanted. I craved the passion I had in past years — passion that was stolen when people broke my heart and devalued my worth (both literally and figuratively.) I didn’t know how to get it back. So I decided to find “my people” and hope inspiration would hit.
The first moment it hit was Thursday when Jeff Goins outlined five types of bloggers:
1. The Journalist — the type who asks the important questions, aka Gladwell, Darren Rowse.
2. The Prophet — the type who tells the dirty, nasty, ugly truth, aka Dooce.
3. The Artist — the type that creates beautiful things with a antural eye for beauty, aka Ann Voscamp
4. The professor — the type who has the facts, loves getting it right, and knowing how it works. The break it down to simple, easy to follow process; and finally…
5. The Celebrity — Well known for likable personality.
During that moment, I realized I was a mix of the Journalist and the Professor, who for so long wanted to a be a Prophet. I wanted to be a lifestyle blogger, when telling stories, breaking things down and asking questions was where my heart has been for so many, many years. That “aha moment “made me realize I needed to focus my work – my career – on this purpose and with passion for telling stories or breaking down processes and stop chasing a life that is not mine.
The second moment was a collection of conversations during the opening party when I met dozens of people who shared a passion for life, stemming, in a variety of ways, from hitting rock bottom. Their failures and, now, greatest moments of strength resonated with me so deep that it reminded me I’m not there anymore. It reminded me of what I have, and inspired me to think of where I could go. I started yearning for better, and started thinking of what that looked like. More bylines. Less debt. Love.
There were other small moments that instilled a sense of community, of trust, of not giving a shit of what others think. There were the moments I realized I had to value my self and my core values over anything else the conference could offer and just take a nap already because whoa was there a lot going on. I realized, in the span of one surprise minute, that while I had been so busy seeking love in the last year, I had failed to love myself.
At the end of the week, as I was driving home Tuesday night, I realized how I have failed to love life in general for quite some time. I failed to love people; my work; family; myself. I have been cynical and critical. I was taking the easy way out of every life’s challenge instead of looking at the good; looking at the problem; asking for help. I had settled.
But as I looked at myself and my mistakes, I became so motivated to move forward, to teach others, to make an impact. I have a to-do list a mile long; to de-clutter (first task: my Facebook friends list), to write more (at least one article a day for every client), to eat clean (no more toxic foods), live with less (I already listed my apartment on Airbnb and have two reservations, which will pay my rent for a month plus some – just in 24 hours!), read more/learn more with blogs and TED talks, and so on. All of this really comes down to simplifying my life, which was inspired all weekend but so beautifully wrapped up in Tsh‘s academy on Tuesday. (Sometimes you just need a moment to absorb and decompress – in an organized method.)
It’s funny; I have goals of both doing more and doing less. But at the end of the day, I just want to make an impact. I’ve reached a point in my career where I know what that feels like. Thanks to everyone at WDS – all the chats over happy hour and lunch and between sessions and while getting ice cream, and all the mainstage speakers and academies and those hosting meetups, too – I have a desire to push harder and feel what making a bigger impact means. To push myself to write harder, faster, and stronger; to reach people who don’t yet know; and to teach those who dream as big as myself.
We all dream. WDS just united me with those who dream a little harder – and are brave enough to try and make those dreams come true. And those people finally pushed me to do the same.
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