An Unruly Conference That Recharges Your Life


Along your trek in life you will inevitably reach a point where you look around, see no one, and wonder if you’re the only person going through whatever toils that are causing you such fuss. You know what the answer is but that doesn’t make the endless mental switchbacks any easier to navigate.

You just wish you could meet more people along the way who speak your language, who know what you’re going through and who have endured far more than you have. You’d like to raise a glass, share some stories and feel like you truly belong.

In the continuing analogy of a hike, this past weekend I stumbled upon a packed tea house on the side of a mountain filled with explorers of varying backgrounds and at different stages of their journey, but all of whom embraced me with a smile as if to say,“Welcome. You’re one of us. How can we help you?”

I am of course referring to the World Domination Summit, WDS, in Portland, Oregon. It was a weekend of

insight and foresight
of new friends and old
of wisdom and freedom
of watery eyes (yes you, Brene Brown!) and compromise
of conversations and libations
of vulnerability and accountability
of passion and compassion
of stories and triumphs
of dreams and science

It was a tribe of people who agreed that the traditional definition of career fit their psyche like a round peg in a square hole. A big thanks to Chris Guillebeau for being the skipper of the unconventional ship whose destination was: Wherever you believed you wanted to go (as long as you were willing to put in hard work).

Three quotes from the weekend that having been playing Neuron Pinball in my head the past few days are as follows:

  • Your experience here cannot be greater than your willingness to be vulnerable. – Brene Brown
  • It’s more about your mission, not your medium. – Scott Belsky
  • The path to the passionate life is much more complex than you think. Get good at something rare and valuable and then use that as leverage to create the life you want based on your interests. – Cal Newport

There were so many amazing examples of against-the-grain success that I had to be diligent to absorb all of it one way or an other, lest the meniscus on top of my glass of water called “understanding” start to overflow. The weekend reminded me to continue living intentionally everyday and to make sure we deliberately throw ourselves into situations where everyone around us is exploring their own hike but a hike where we are all a little vulnerable. It’s so much easier that way.

I already signed up for WDS 2013. I look forward to taking another pit-stop with the fellow unconventional hikers who will be looking to take a break, re-group and connect at that particular tea-house on the side of life’s mountain next July.

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