I found myself quite fortunate to be able to make acquaintance with the Pacific Northwest two separate times this past year: the first time being my trip to Seattle in May of 2015, and the second being Portland in July for the World Domination Summit.
If you know me at all, you know that while I do love to think big, I’m definitely not the “pinky and the brain” type, so the name of this conference might seem a little incongruous, but let me assure you if you’ve never heard of WDS, it’s likely nothing like you’re imagining. The weekend I spent at WDS was surprisingly intense in some ways that I didn’t expect, along with being easier in a lot of ways that I wasn’t anticipating.
As an introvert, I’ve felt quite overwhelmed by some of the past conferences I’ve attended. You also feel this pressure to look a certain way, + have your elevator pitch ready so that you can respond to the 250 people who will pitch right back at you. But World Domination Summit was decidedly different.
First of all, if you are an introvert who’s ever been at a large event, you will get excited with me about this feature of the event: a highly sensitive persons’ room. A haven where you could escape + sit in quiet if things got too crazy. So despite the big crowds + a lot of things going on, it was fairly easy to interact + engage without getting overwhelmed or too exhausted like I had been worried about.
Everyone I met at this conference was so supportive, asked deep questions + was genuinely unique + interesting. No need to have the perfect hair, the perfect outfit, or a perfectly polished manicure here. Although if that’s your thing, that’s also cool – but I know sometimes we can feel pressure to look “the part,” so to speak, whatever that part is. I definitely felt like as long as I showed up as myself, I would be welcomed with open arms. What a wonderfully challenging group.
Other things about this conference that made it really unique for me were all the “extracurriculars” you could choose from – we had meet-ups on all sorts of topics, parties celebrating all things Portland, and lots of opportunities to connect with like-minded people. Because of the environment fostered by the World Domination Summit, I connected with some of these new people quite deeply.
I think WDS was really a culmination of things for me – a confirmation of these quiet whispers that had been stirring in my heart. I’ve made some personal decisions in the last few years to live quietly, safely, while I healed from some deep hurts. But lately, I’ve also felt that familiar pull towards my “something more” + it’s taken a great deep breath to begin taking steps back in that direction. Those small little tugs towards art + music + having a real passion for my work again.
MAKE MORE ART is something my insides have been telling me for a while.
All the speakers at the summit were excellent, my particular favorites being Kid President + of course, one of my all-time heroes: Jeremy Cowart. The main themes that I took away from the event as a whole were as follows:
Bravery: taking small steps in a direction even if I don’t know exactly where they’re taking me + even if I feel afraid.
Cultivating play: + that childlike creativity I let go of at some point, or at least, stopped practicing.
Embracing my voice: being true to myself without letting hate or negativity (from either internal or external sources) drain me of my energy.
It is OK to be genuine. It is OK to still be figuring it out. It is OK to be vulnerable. But it is not OK to be stagnant. It’s not ok to avoid feeling. It’s not ok to let the gifts I’ve been given atrophy or hide my magic.
But those are all hard, big things that are going to take a while to sink in. Six months later + I’m still pondering + processing them.
I won’t be attending this year due to schedule conflicts, but I’d highly recommend checking it out if you’re looking for a conference to go to in 2016.
Also, you can’t beat the look on the hotel staff’s faces when they ask why you’re in town + you respond: “The World Domination Summit.” It’s almost worth it just for that alone.