An Interlude of Grace, Generosity and Possibility: World Domination Summit 2014

WDS_matchy-matchy_2014{Dispatch from Debbie} Just start. Let it go. Serve others. Those were three of the things we heard at World Domination Summit 2014 in Portland, OR.

Doesn’t sound like much. But these small phrases reverberate through my head as I unpack, attack a pile of laundry, go to the grocery store and re-stock the fridge. As well as refocus on my book coaching clients and re-enter the hyper busy summer season here in Stonington, ME. The challenge after WDS is to continue to make space for thinking and to re-think.

And to smile nicely when our more conventional friends and family look thoroughly unconvinced about an event with World Domination in the title.

WDS is described by founder Chris Guillebeau as a conference for creative people who want to live remarkable lives in a conventional world. While many of you who know Sam and me may not think that describes us, I think it does. It explains our crazy gap year idea, our moving from D.C. to the coast of Maine, and my partying with a guy in a matching gray skirt (see photo).

About 3,000 people attend WDS, from 30 countries. The age range is 20 to 60-plus. There is no corporate sponsorship. Nothing is hawked or sold. The focus is on entrepreneurial and creative business and on thinking differently and thinking bigger about life and work. If there is a common thread, it’s that you can make a difference no matter what your passion or cause. I find it enormously refreshing.

This year, provocative speakers included bestselling author A.J. Jacobs, tiny house pioneer and author Dee Williams, Zen Pencils cartoonist Gavin Aung Thang, author and speaker Scott Berkun, planetwalker and National Geographic Fellow John Francis, bestselling author and publisher Michael Hyatt, online business visionary Jadah Sellner (Simple Green Smoothies), blogger and craftmaker Elise Blaha Cripe, bestselling author and duct tape marketer John Jantsch,  Zimbabwe graphic designer Saki Mafundikwa, and women’s rights activist Shannon Galpin.

WDS_D_and_S_July2014The conference is also a chance to experience an interlude of grace and generosity and possibility. We bathed in it. Everyone who attends is inspired by Chris Guillebeau’s gentle presence and clear vision.

In short, WDS is a perfect reset. For our relationship as well. This is the second time we attended WDS and I loved seeing how Sam’s approach to life has changed over the past year.

Here are a few of my takeaways:

Just Start

What are you procrastinating on because the project seems too big or too scary to start? At the top of my list would be writing a short book on How to Write a Short Book. This is a writing project that I’ve temporarily – and consciously – put aside. Still, it lingers at the back of my mind. It’s comforting to know that when I’m ready to attack it again, I’ll just start.

The corollary, emphasized by several speakers, is that imperfect action is better than no action at all. Ask yourself what small imperfect steps you could take to “just start” whatever you’ve set your sights on.

Let It Go

This phrase was particularly compelling for me. On a daily basis, am I piling on the Urgent rather than culling my task list for what is really Important? Let some of the small – and big – stuff on your list go.

As we heard from speaker Jadah Kellner, what desired or expected outcomes can you let go of? Maybe your current business isn’t working. Clarify it, refocus it or ditch it. Try something new.

Leaving work aside, I was reminded that there are a number of desired outcomes I could let go of in my personal life. Three examples: fixing difficult relationships with certain family members (not likely; let it go and show compassion instead); the expectation that our house in D.C. will sell quickly (it hasn’t); a complete reinvention of ourselves by the end of this gap year (it takes more time).

Serve Others

As speaker John Jantsch put it, “All great businesses have one thing in common: serving others.” I believe in this wholeheartedly. If there is no match between what you want to offer the world (your passion + your expertise) and what your customers want and need, then you don’t have a business.

WDS_write_a_bookThe questions to ask are: Who do I want to serve? Who shares my values? Whose problem can I readily solve? In other words, have I found the right clients? (Thank you, Brian Shea, for your notes from John’s talk.)

Another way to look at “serving” is to identify – and understand – the shared pain felt by your ideal clients. In my case, what is stopping them from writing a book? They are scared, they don’t know where to start, writing is too hard, they will be laughed at, no one will read it, etc. How can I help them in a way that truly serves their needs?

Favorite blog posts from #WDS2014

WDS 2014 Takeaways: Imperfect Action > No Action (Brian Shea)

3 Takeaways for Writers from the 2014 World Domination Summit (Jane Friedman)

Scott Berkun’s Notes from World Domination Summit 2014

11 Bold Steps Taken by Remarkable People (Insights from #WDS2014) (Joshua Becker)

BraveBot: Helping the World Do One Brave Thing (Gary Hirsch)

Our Dispatches from #WDS2013

Finding My Voice at World Domination Summit 2013 (Sam)

Tapping into the Hunger for Change at World Domination Summit 2013 (Debbie)




10 Responses to An Interlude of Grace, Generosity and Possibility: World Domination Summit 2014

  1. Brian Shea July 19, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    Hey Debbie!
    Thanks for the shout out. I like your takeaways. John Jantsch’s quote “all great businesses have one thing in common: serving others” is a stand out theme for me. A week after WDS it’s still rattling around in my brain.

    Great to see you and Sam!


    • Debbie Weil July 21, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

      Brian, so fun to see you. Now that we’re on the coast of Maine, Boston doesn’t seem so far away. Hopefully we’ll see you again before WDS2015!

  2. Barbara McNichol July 20, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    What a rich experience. Looks like a “must do” on the list for next year. Wonderful recap.

    • Debbie Weil July 21, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

      Barbara, I think you’d love WDS! Lots of writers and authors attend and/or speak.

  3. Erno Hannink July 31, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

    So weird that we were in the same place at the same and time and did not meet. If only I had known you were there too… Next time? 🙂

    • Debbie Weil August 1, 2014 at 7:34 am #

      Darn! There’s something about the algorithm of 3,000 attendees. I kept running into the same handful of people over and over, knowing I was missing many others I wanted to connect with – !

  4. Brooke August 3, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    I’ve been a fan of Chris Gillebeau for a while and have been floating on the periphery wondering if I can/should save up the pennies to go to the WDS. I’m happy to be reading this wrap up/take-away to see what you got out of it. For some reason, the bit about no sponsors really made me giggle and get even more excited about the event. Sounds like an incredible opportunity and one that’s worth investing in! Thank you. Nice to meet you and see your work on your site!

  5. Leilani August 25, 2014 at 4:49 am #

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this
    post was good. I do not know who you are but certainly you are
    going to a famous blogger if you are not already ;
    ) Cheers!


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