What do you get when you gather a group of convention-defying, quirky, passionate, intriguing people? A humble gathering that goes by the name of World Domination Summit.
As I remarked when I attended last year, I originally thought that this conference would be full of Dr. Evil wannabes with their Mini-Mes and hairless cats, but I couldn’t have been further from the truth. The WDS crew is full of gentle, kind-hearted people who want to make a positive impact on the world. Oh, and maybe fill it with light-up balloons and dancing T-rexes as well.
Here are a few moments that stood out to me about WDS 2016.
The Hero’s Journey
On Friday morning, I opted to participate in an event called “The Hero’s Journey.” The first order of business was to choose a name for ourselves—as we went around and introduced ourselves, I shared a little anecdote about a friend who had attended WDS last year and dubbed the attendees “happy nerds.” Everyone liked that, so we became Team Happy Nerds!
Our quest took us all around Portland and presented us with several challenges, including holding doors open for strangers, trying (and failing) to start a spontaneous conga line, and arranging ourselves into a human pyramid.
While it’s fun to run around a city trying to do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do, it was also HARD! Communication was a real challenge in our group of nine, and as the appointed social media documenter, I didn’t always know where we were going or which challenge we were going to attempt to complete next. And constantly taking photos, uploading them, and captioning them without missing any of the action (or getting run over by a car) is a lot harder than it looks!
Kindness was a definite theme of WDS this year, both in the types of challenges we were asked to complete during the Hero’s Journey, in the main stage presentations, and in some of the other activities as well.
Beginning at the opening night party, there was a large display filled with brightly colored envelopes and a large sign that read”Challenge Center” on top.
People were encouraged to stop by the Challenge Center in pairs (though you could also visit as a singleton if you wanted). We were all given these beautiful coins as part of our welcome box. One side of the coin had the words ” Be Kind” while the other had a picture of a globe. If you’d gone as a pair, you would flip the coin to determine who could pick out the envelope you’d be using.
I played twice and my challenge buddy won the coin toss both times! What are the odds?? (Kidding! I may not be the best at math, but I do understand the odds of a coin flip.)
The coin toss winner then got to tear open the envelope to reveal the challenges inside. We saw things like “Find someone who’s attending the conference for the first time this year and tell them you’re happy they’re here” or “Leave a positive review for something on Yelp or in the App Store.”
It was such a great reminder that there are so many kind gestures that we can easily build into our everyday life.
The goal was to achieve at least 1,000 kind deeds by the time WDS was over, and I’m pretty sure on the last day I saw that we’d achieved beyond that number.
During her talk, Amy Jo Martin shared how kindness can deliver serotonin not just to the person who performs the kind act, but to anyone who observes it as well. She suggested that we run a little experiment on Facebook to see if we could promote positive feelings among our connections.
Here’s how it works…
On your own Facebook page, create a post covering the main concept of Amy Jo’s on-stage discussion, and add the following action items so that your friends and family can join in on the fun:
1. Like this post (to make the Facebook algorithm happy)
2. Share something you could use help with in the comment section
3. Scan comments to see who can help.
Together we can have a positive impact on social media through empowering others and ourselves. Why not start now?
I just posted my message on Facebook last night and had a few people ask for help. I told Teresa I’d spread the word about her blog and Danielle that if I met any coffee roasters I’d send them her way. I also received a comment from Karen saying how much she liked this idea and she shared the post with her connections. Looking forward to seeing what else comes of this!
There’s no shortage of inspiring people at WDS—whether it’s overcoming adversity, challenging conventions, or being outrageously creative, this crowd does it all.
Jonathan Fields talked about the importance of mindfulness and clarity. If we don’t have those things, we won’t be able to live our fullest lives.
And, of course, there was the quote pictured below: “Before you can be unapologetically joyful, you’ve gotta be unapologetically you.” It sounds simple, but how often do we compromise who we are because we’re afraid of standing out?
Michelle Poler shared how she decided to tackle a pretty intense 100 day project—100 days of trying to overcome her fears. And she had A LOT.
She documented everything from singing karaoke to holding a snake to dressing up as an old woman. And she reminded us that at some stage, we all have a big decision to make: We can either step forward into discomfort or backward into familiarity.
A few fun memories
Here’s just a little assortment of moments I loved throughout the event.
When we came back to the theater in the afternoon, we’d generally slowly fill the seats, and darkness would descend on the room. Then, out of nowhere, a giant plastic bouncy ball would materialize, and then another, and then another.
I was fortunate to meet a friendly crew of fellow attendees and we had a lot of laughs and good times together. One evening we had dinner together and went around to share what we could offer and what we were hoping to get out of this experience. It’s such a simple thing, but a really useful reminder that articulating your needs is often the first step towards realizing them.
Marli Williams, one of our awesome group members, created these cards that she calls “Stoke Quotes.” These small cards were printed with inspirational quotes, like “Believe in yourself” and “Choose your mood.” Marli had so many creative ways to use the quotes to start conversations and make people feel, well, stoked!
At the opening party and near the theater entrance, she created an interactive installation with a sign that said “Take what you need.” She’d sometimes walk around with a bag full of cards and invite people to pick one. And she’d always leave one for the waiter or waitress who’d been taking care of us during a meal.
Here’s a photo I found of myself in the WDS Flickr stream. It was totally candid—I had no idea it was even being taken. But it pretty perfectly sums up how I felt during the event and how I continue to feel when I reflect on my time there.
I hope that during the next year, I’ll be able to look back on some of the ideas and excitement I discovered during WDS and make some positive changes in my life as a result.
I’m already so excited for WDS 2017!
Photos courtesy of Armosa Studios.