This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the World Domination Summit in Portland, OR. It was put on by Chris Guillebeau, author of the book The Art of Non-Conformity (which I highly recommend). He is also a traveler, blogger, entrepreneur, and someone who just can’t be put in a box.
The World Domination Summit was a mishmash of 500 like-minded artists, bloggers, writers, coaches, speakers, and anyone who wants to or currently is living unconventionally. A collection of people who challenge the status quo of the regular 9-5 life.
Here is a list of the speakers and my most important takeaway from each:
Pamela Slim : Amplify your strengths, rather than focus on your weaknesses.
Leo Babauta : Simplify your life to free up time for more of what you really enjoy.
Danielle LaPorte: Take radical responsibility for all of your choices.
Jodi Ettenberg : Go with the flow but keep your eyes open.
Karen Wolrond : We don’t age because time passes. We age because we stop looking for the wonderful.
Neil Pasricha (via video) : No matter what life brings, always look for the awesome things.
Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen : Always dream big, and make lists of all the amazing things you want in life.
(Andrea and Jen also made me realize that I want a tattoo.)
John T. Unger : Turn disaster into opportunity. Take the momentum, and turn it around to use it to your advantage.
As I was sitting there listening to the last speaker of the weekend, Jonathan Fields, I had a moment in which the following thought hit me:
All of us sitting here are the leaders of tomorrow.
But it wasn’t a moment of arrogance or power. It was the culmination of all of the events of the weekend: the conversations with others, the connections, the workshops, the speakers, the dancing, the note-taking, and all of the laughs. All of us were peers. No matter where we were on our paths, no matter what people looked like, or how much money we had, how many books we had sold, or how many visitors our blogs had, deep down we all wanted the same thing.
Very simply, we all just want the freedom to live our own lives, to serve others, and to truly be ourselves, whatever that means to each of us. A fellow WDS attendee, Dave Ursillo (whom I never had the pleasure to meet), wrote about the speech he never gave at the event: How to Lead Without Followers. This was exactly the sentiment that had struck me in that moment. Each of us there (and many more I know who weren’t able to attend) are leaders who don’t need followers. We want to empower everyone to live their own lives as they see fit; to be their own leader.
The whole experience was like being in a crowd of 500+ soulmates, which became overwhelming for me at a certain point. In my normal day-to-day life, it is rare for me to run into someone who doesn’t look at me like I’m insane when I explain my outlook on life. So going from that to meeting all of these people, each of whom I would love to engage in hours of conversation, put me on sensory overload. But it was also beautiful and amazing at the same time. We were all connected. We had stripped down all of the B.S., the judgement, and the societal expectations of each other. We were all pulling for each other. We all understood each other. Yet we were still uniquely ourselves.
And to me, this was a microcosm of what each of us, as leaders, holds as our vision for the world:
Our duty is to connect the world in the same way we were connected at the World Domination Summit.
We don’t really want to “dominate” the world in the traditional sense of the word. We want to connect the world. What we really want to dominate is ourselves. We want to conquer our beliefs that don’t serve us, and help others to do the same. We want to conquer the status quo and give each other the freedom to be our authentic selves, no matter what that means to each of us. This is the only true path to happiness: to follow our instincts, be authentic, and allow others to do the same. So next year, perhaps we should call it the World Connection Summit.