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Shine Your Light: 8 Takeaways From World Domination Summit 2015

world domination summit- Jessica Lawlor

The World Domination Summit (WDS) seeks to answer one question:

How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?

After spending the weekend in Portland, Oregon with 3,000 of my new best friends, I think I may have finally developed an answer (or several answers, rather) to that pointed question.

I just returned from WDS, an annual meeting of unconventional thinkers, dreamers and doers, led by the wonderfully inspiring Chris Guillebeau. This is a conference I’ve read about online for the past five years and dreamed of attending. After attending Chris’s book signing in Philly in September and receiving a card to register for WDS early, I took that as a sign that this was my year to go.

I was lucky enough to spend my WDS weekend with two of my good friends- Sara Frandina, my accountability partner and Janelle F., whom I met through this very blog. We had a blast exploring Portland (more on that later this week), meeting new people and of course, being inspired by the gems of wisdom at the actual conference.

So, how do we answer that all-important question, How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world? Here are eight key takeaways from World Domination Summit 2015 that do just that.

1. You have to do the thing you want to do. I could write an entire post about all of the amazing bits of wisdom Jon Acuff shared during his opening keynote, but my greatest takeaway from his presentation was that above all else, you need simply DO THE THING. Jon encouraged us to remember our dreams from when we were young and think about what our third grade self might ask us today. For example, my third grade self might ask me, “Did we become a writer? Did we ever write a book?” That was my third grade dream! Jon then urged us to think about if our third grade selves would clap or cry based on our answer. He said, “Will I face the fear of today or the regret of forever?” His point? Whatever you want to do, do it. And get started now.

2. Don’t get distracted by the haters. Haters are everywhere. We can’t let them get us down. This point was well-illustrated by Vani Hari, also known as the Food Babe. As a somewhat controversial figure in the online world, Vani showed horrendous screenshots of her online haters harassing her- some who had even gone as far as posting her home address on the Internet to encourage people to go to her house to heckle her in person. WHAT? Despite all that, Vani urged us not to get distracted by the haters. She said, “The more success you have, the more haters you will have.” I feel lucky that so far, I’ve only had to deal with a couple of haters here on the blog, but Vani’s talk reminded me that no matter what, I must keep moving forward.

3. The most important lessons are the ones we learned as kids. At WDS, we had the unique pleasure of hearing from Kid President (11-year-old Robby) himself, along with his family member Brad Montague who created the Kid President brand. Brad shared with us that sometimes the most important lessons in life are also the most simple. They are the ones we learn as little kids. He reminded us to be nice—treat everybody like it’s their birthday. Other simple missives included: you matter, sharing is good, invite everybody to the party and choose to dance. This presentation was one of the most fun, playful and joyful! It was an excellent reminder that it’s acceptable (and important!) to act like a kid.

4. It’s okay to be vulnerable. Some parts of WDS got pretty heavy (at one point, Chris jokingly referred to 2015 as the “crying WDS”). While there were some talks that didn’t resonate with me throughout the weekend for whatever reason, I still was able to take away the lesson that it’s completely okay to be vulnerable. People appreciate and respect vulnerability. We don’t have to constantly pretend to be super heroes, because at the end of the day, we’re not. We’re just human. I’ve definitely learned that lesson here on this blog—some of my most popular and interactive posts have been ones where I’ve been completely vulnerable with you.

5. Embrace uncertainty. A quote during Lissa Rankin’s presentation really stuck out to me. She said, “Uncertainty is the gateway to possibility.” I absolutely love that! I’ve written about this before– I feel very uncertain about my future…life changes every single day, yet instead of being scared or anxious, instead, I’m choosing to feel excited. There is so much possibility in the world! Lissa reminded us to look at everything as an opportunity rather than something to fear or worry about.

6. Develop Version 0.1 ASAP. Forget Version 1.0. According to Derek Sivers, it’s all about Version 0.1 What’s that, you may be wondering. Version 0.1 is the thing you can do RIGHT NOW. It’s the simple question you can ask someone face to face to gauge their interest in a product, rather than putting together a prototype or spending a ton of time developing something that people may not actually want. Everything Derek shared just made perfect sense- when you really drill it down, business isn’t all that complicated. It’s simply just common sense. Derek reminded us, “If people aren’t loving what you’re doing, stop.” Why fight that uphill battle?

7. Connecting with 3-5 awesome people is better than meeting dozens of people. Everyone always says the best part of WDS is the people. While that’s definitely true, I found myself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people there with whom to connect. Instead of trying to meet anyone and everyone, I focused on meeting just a handful of people, but having meaningful conversations with them. Deep conversations are much more impactful than surface level, “Hi, what do you do?” “Oh, I do this, how about you?” conversations. One of my favorite WDS memories was unsuccessfully attempting to find a meetup with four other people; we couldn’t find the larger group, so we plopped ourselves down and had our own pseudo-meetup. That conversation (about blending all of your passions/projects into a one brand/business) is extremely memorable to me (Thanks Sara, Jeff, Joel and Mike) and held a lot more value than a dozen shorter conversations.

8. Shine your light. We are all so unique. We all have special gifts to share with the world. It is our duty to shine our own lights so that we can help and encourage others to share theirs. After attending WDS, I thought I’d feel a little inferior and fall into the comparison trap because of the cool things other people are doing, but instead, I feel more excited than ever to shine my own light. I can’t wait to follow the adventures of my new friends and be motivated by their great work and travels to create my own beautiful path and continue my story.

Did you (or have you ever) attended the World Domination Summit? I’d love to hear your thoughts and takeaways!

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Meet Jessica

I live by the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and help others do the same to reach their biggest, brightest goals. Read my story here.

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