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What I Learned at the World Domination Summit

What I Learned at the World Domination Summit

by Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical on June 9, 2011

WDS Pals

Me, Mark Powers & Matt Bailey at WDS


This past weekend I attended the World Domination Summit in Portland Oregon.  I didn’t really know what to expect only that there were going to be some incredible people there that I was really looking forward to meeting.  The event exceeded anything I could have imagined and Chris Guillebeau and all the rest of the WDS staff pulled off an incredible weekend.

I’m not going to go into details about the events of the weekend, who spoke what or the amazing people I met.  But I do want to share what I feel are a few of the take-home points I personally came away with.

  1. There are seemingly ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
    One of the best things I experienced at WDS was being able to meet and talk to so many interesting and amazing people who came from around the world.  Each one of them had a unique and interesting story to tell, a vision of an amazing future and a passion to make that vision a reality.  Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
  2. If you are suffering from fear, anxiety or disillusionment or feel your life sucks you are not alone.
    WDSIt’s amazing when you are talking with someone and really listening to what they are saying and suddenly realize that they are just as scared, insecure and have just as many questions about the future as you do.  Throughout the weekend I met so many people who shared their incredible personal stories with me, and every single one of them was at some point during their journey required to face the fears that were building up inside of them.  But they found the courage to overcome and persevere.  If you think you are the only one with those doubts in your mind think again.  You are not alone.
  3. Everyone has an amazing story to tell.
    I talked with people who were walking across America, people who were moving to Bali to start a new chapter in their lives, people who wanted to travel around the world without flying, people who simply wanted to create a better life.  Everyone I met had an inspirational story to tell.  I don’t know about you but when I hear amazing stories I find them liberating, motivating and empowering.
  4. It’s important to build a tribe of people who you can trust and who will be completely honest with you.
    Through all the discussions and speakers and break-out sessions the point was made again and again just how important it is to have your own tribe; a group of people who you can trust to mentor you, give you feedback and be completely honest with you.  Events like WDS are a good way to connect with people and build that tribe.
  5. Reach out to people and listen to them.  REALLY listen to them.
    When having a conversation with a new friend it’s so important to really listen to them without the expectation of receiving anything in return.  Feel their presence and connect with them on a different level.  I participated in several sessions where we talked with a partner and I can attest that when you forget about yourself and your own problems and really listen to that person you reach a whole new level of connectedness.  Don’t stand on the sidelines.  Reach out and make that connection today and really listen to the person.
  6. Your story may be just what someone else needs to hear.
    You might think that your story is boring and offers no value but it may be just what the person next to you needs to hear.  Maybe that person next to you is going through a tough time and your story is that AH-HA moment for them that breaks them free.  Never be ashamed or degrade your own story.  It’s uniquely yours and more valuable than you may realize.
  7. Changing your perspective will change your life.
    Feel like you are stuck in a rut of negativity that you just can’t seem to escape from?  Change your perspective.  Look for the positive in every situation and it will change your life.  Look for the daily pleasures that make life worth living.  For example, you could be sad that it’s raining or you could rejoice in that fresh rain smell in the air and the quiet sound of rain pattering on the window.  It’s all a matter of perspective.  There are so many things to be happy about.
  8. This one is for the parents: Our goal as parents is not to coddle and protect our kids from every conceivable danger; it’s to teach them to be independent.
    When I heard this it really struck me.  As a father I want to see my kids happy, safe and enjoying life to the fullest.  But it never occurred to me that by shielding them from the pain of everyday life I wasn’t preparing them for becoming independent persons.  It may be difficult for us but we have to let our kids experience pain and disappointment in order for them to develop into the kinds of people that do great things because they are not slaves to fear.
  9. Take the path that scares you the most and there you will find true life.
    When I heard all the amazing stories people I met told me I couldn’t help but wonder if I were the one who had wanted to do those things would I have been able to?  Would I have been able to stare fear in the face and move forward anyway?  It wasn’t that these people didn’t experience fear and trepidation.  It was that they took the path that confronted fear and as a result they found true life.  And that is exactly what we need to do as well if we truly want to live a personally rewarding life.
  10. Good food brings out good conversation.
    Sitting down with my fellow WDS cohorts was truly an awesome experience.  There is something about food and beer (maybe it was just the beer) that loosens people up and brings out the meaningful and deep conversations.  Maybe we let our guard down a bit more when we are enjoying good food.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that I had some amazing conversations while eating and drinking.
  11. You have superhero qualities.
    Maybe you don’t wear fancy colorful tights or a big red cape, but you are unique and have superpowers.  Maybe you can’t see through walls or fly through the air but you have talents and perspectives that no one else has or will ever have.  Discover what those qualities are and build on them. Exploit them to not only make your life better but make the world a better place as well.
  12. Be your authentic self because you are awesome!
    Above all else be you.  Don’t try to be the other guy doing all the crazy and fun stuff.  Find your own crazy and fun and own it.  Be who you feel you really are and don’t apologize to anyone for that.  Accept it and get busy living your life.

I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on my experience at WDS and I think the most important thing I realized is that dreams and aspirations are worthless without action.  You can’t get to Indonesia for a sabbatical without taking action.  This isn’t a revelation.  I think it’s something we all know.  But often it takes the encouragement, the inspiration and the motivation of others to make us see it more clearly.

If you find yourself at a point in your life where you can see the path in front of you but are scared of taking those first steps; or you see so many paths you are confused on which path to take; you would definitely benefit from attending WDS in 2012.  I would encourage you to sign up for updates on when pre-registration opens.

I’d love to meet you there but I’ll be motorbiking across Indonesia.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Niall Doherty June 9, 2011 at 2:24 am

Awesome, Matt! Reading #10, I wish I’d had the chance to sit down and share a meal with you. Glad we did get to meet in person though and I wish you all the best on your adventure.

And thanks for the mention 🙂
Niall Doherty recently posted..My Ridiculous Adventure- Travel Around The World Without Flying


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical June 9, 2011 at 11:17 pm

I wish we would have too! We’ll have to plan to meetup again somewhere in the world. If you ever come to Indonesia we’ll be there to welcome you. Pleasure to meet you and talk with you at WDS. Best of luck on your adventures around the world!


Sherry Ott June 9, 2011 at 2:40 am

Great recap Matt! BTW – I know someone who went around the world with no flights…his name is Michael Hodsen –
It was great meeting you and best of luck on your sabbatical and life change!! We are all rooting for you!


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical June 9, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Thanks Sherry! It was so awesome to meet you. OK, I checked out Michael’s site. What is it about lawyers and world travel? LOL! I may contact you again before we depart with some more questions. Cheers!


Gillian @OneGiantStep June 9, 2011 at 8:26 am

I agree, WDS was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. Meeting people who were genuinely interested in meeting me and hearing my story was very powerful. I have long believed that we shouldn’t devalue our own stories; that everyone has something about them that inspires others. It was fabulous to meet you this weekend and I just know that your story is only going to go from great to awesome in the coming months!!


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical June 9, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Thanks Gillian! WDS was a great boost of confidence that this sabbatical is possible. We are more determined than ever. I’m just so encouraged by the stories of everyone I met at WDS. So awesome to meet you guys!


Edger June 9, 2011 at 9:22 am

#6 is my favorite. If I learned anything at WDS it’s that everyone can inspire someone and even though I don’t blog/work location independently/or whatever else I thought you’d have to be doing to really belong at WDS, I still felt completely at home with everyone I met there. Wish I had found you at Rogue earlier, but…maybe I’ll end up in Indonesia and run into you and Mark on your motorbikes! Though hopefully, not literally 🙂


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical June 9, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Absolutely! I know exactly what you mean! It was just such a warm and inviting environment where you could literally voice your opinion and while not everyone might agree with you they had total respect for you. It was like a big family without the dysfunction. Would love to see you in Indonesia if you go there. Let’s definitely keep in touch. Should we order up another motorcycle for you?


Cara Stein June 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Yeah! It sounds like we had similar experiences. I was really surprised to discover that the things I normally avoid (bars, people I don’t know) ended up being the best part. It was so great hearing everyone’s stories and what they’re doing. Every single person I talked to had something uniquely cool about them. What a blast!


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical June 9, 2011 at 11:34 pm

I really surprised myself at WDS. I’m an introvert so being forward and going up to people can be difficult but at WDS the environment was just so liberating that I found myself doing things I normally might not have done. And I think that environment of acceptance and interest was what made this such a great event. So glad to hear that you had a similar experience. Wasn’t it just an incredible couple of days?


Carmel June 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

That’s it. I’m signing up for this next year. I live in Portland, there’s really no excuse. Thanks for such an inspiring (and well thought out) post!
Carmel recently posted..Absurdly Decadent Cupcakes


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical June 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Do it! I highly recommend going if only for the incredible people you will meet and the friendships you will make.


Rachel @ The Travel Pen June 13, 2011 at 9:52 am

Good lessons learned – thanks for sharing them. It is encouraging to read that everyone faces self-doubt and finds it difficult to really take action and pursue a calling (whether that be a vocation, an enterprise, or a sabbatical). The “that’s stupid”, “that will never work”, “that’s a waste of time” voices are certainly loud.

Thanks for the encouraging post.


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical June 16, 2011 at 12:53 am

Hi Rachel! Yes, I agree that the negative voices certainly can be loud and those are the voices that seem to do the most damage to us. It’s good to know that others out there struggle with the same things, that we are not alone. It’s that comfort that we can talk with others who understand. Cheers!


Mark Powers June 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm

All fantastic take-home points, Matt! That was an incredible weekend, chockfull of amazing people, laughs, inspiration and yes . . . food and beer! Your story is indeed a unique and valuable one. And, to think, that the best is yet to come! Kudos, dude- see you in Oceania


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical June 16, 2011 at 12:54 am

Amazing wasn’t it Mark? Loved every second of it, even the Bollywood dancing. Looking forward to our adventure next year. It’s going to be epic!


Matthew Bailey July 8, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Totally cool meeting you, mark, and tons of other inspiring people at the event. Wish you coulda jumped off the bridge with us haha. Next year, bali? 🙂
Matthew Bailey recently posted..Taking a long term sabbatical overseas with a family | An Interview with Matt Koenig


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical July 9, 2011 at 12:20 am

It was so awesome to finally meet you in person as well Matt. Looking forward to doing some incredible things with you in Indonesia.


Mark Powers July 19, 2011 at 11:48 am

Great meeting you there, too, Matt B.! And, yes . . . next time we drag out Matt K. 🙂
Mark Powers recently posted..My 7 Links


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