I Survived World Domination Summit 2015! (Portland, OR, USA)

In the past year, I've inundated myself with everything travel and location independence, and to my surprise, I found an annual conference where attendees were deep into both of these domains - these were my people! The icing on top of the cake was the name of the conference: World Domination Summit (WDS). After signing up and telling people I was going to participate, I felt like I was going to a camp led by Gru (from 'Despicable Me' fame) to be an evil villain.

The conference was far from that, with its core tenets being 'Community + Adventure + Service'. Held in the beautiful city of Portland, OR and led by superstar author and adventurer, Chris Guillebeau, my excitement for the event was at a fever pitch by the time I stood in line to pick up my registration materials in Pioneer Square the day before the conference even started.

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall housed the main WDS conference

The conference was far from that, with its core tenets being 'Community + Adventure + Service'. Held in the beautiful city of Portland, OR and led by superstar author and adventurer, Chris Guillebeau, my excitement for the event was at a fever pitch by the time I stood in line to pick up my registration materials in Pioneer Square the day before the conference even started.

Registration for the 2-day conference was quite steep at $500 with additional workshops (called Academies), world record attempts (yes, you read that right) and excursions costing extra. To be honest, I bitched and moaned about the steep price for a while till I learned that the conference was 100% sponsor free, which is a feat in itself!

Attendee badges were hand painted! Just one example of the TLC every single detail of the conference was given by its organizers. 

This reflection will cover strictly the conference on Saturday & Sunday) as I didn't attend any Academies, excursions or world record attempts that costed extra. It was my first time, and I wanted to make sure the core experience I was paying for was worth it before I splurged on the optional extra curricular activities.

With that said, here are my key takeaways:

The swag bag was excellent! Every single item was something useful, starkly contrasting the usual conference swag of stress balls and needless flyers. I have yet to try out the socks, but I've heard that they are quite comfortable!

The swag bag included an amazing lightweight daypack, canteen, socks, t-shirt and a copy of Chris Guillebeau's latest book.

Energy, energy, energy. The aura of positivity was busting at the seams at WDS. You were greeted every morning with an army of high fives, instantly waking you up, no caffeine needed.

The speakers were world class. For a two day conference, I have never clapped so hard, cheered so joyously, and even shed so many tears, in a 48-hour period as I did at WDS. The stories that were told (look out for a post dedicated to the speakers soon!) and the sheer elegance at the way they were delivered, were nothing short of life changing.

Take baby steps. I will be first to admit that I have put off many projects because the thought of completing it was so Herculean that I didn't even take the first step. Breaking down the challenge into smaller, more manageable tasks to accomplish and celebrate will get you to the top of the mountain much faster.

Things take time to develop. Overnight fame and celebrity are a huge myth. Even our favorite actors and actresses toiled away and worked at their craft before making it big. Time and dedication to your cause or challenge is the surest way to victory. Case in point, Derek Sivers, founder of CDBaby.com, built CD Baby from selling his own CD to a $100 million business in just under a decade, one CD at a time.

Embrace the haters. There's invariably going to be someone who doesn't like your voice/point of view. Try not to take it personally and expend all your energy to win them over because it will be a fruitless endeavor. Vani Hari illustrates this best in her talk with a recent Madonna quote: "If you don’t like me and still watch everything I do. Bitch, you’re a fan".

Be exceptional. No matter what you do in life, take pride in it and be the very best at it (or strive to at least). If your heart is not into it, don't be afraid to quit.

The mainstage at WDS

Execution above all else. The quintessential theme of WDS at large is the embodied by world famous slogan by the largest athletic products company, headquartered not too far away from Portland actually, in the world: 'Just Do It'. An idea is nothing but a wish till something is done to make it reality. The conference was full of people of do-ers and wannabe do-ers. There were no armchair quarterbacks here.

KID PRESIDENT. Wow. I have no words for the life that is Robby Novak. If you don't know who he is, I suggest you start now by going here.

Investing in the participants. From the attendee spotlights on the main stage to the surprise $150 Gift Card to Creative Live for every single attendee, the conference was generous in giving everyone the tools to set forth and conquer the world, and even celebrated in the success of past attendees!

$150 Gift Cards to Creative Live for everyone in attendance!
Image courtesy of Armosa Studios

If you've gotten this far, I salute you and thank you for taking the time to read this post. Points 4 - 8 seem to be ideas that have been around forever, right? That's because they are nothing new. They are foundations of the successful, the envy of cubicle dwellers everywhere with hopes and dreams of doing great things but can't seem to let go of the comforts the cubicle prison provides.

World Domination Summit is not for the faint of heart. As a first timer, I was exposed to concepts that warped my already unconventional way of thinking. This is all about execution and they even started a 2 year college to break the mould of the inefficient education system in the United States and teach the generation coming up to be more than office automatons.

Let me get to the million dollar question: what is it worth? Despite my participation strictly in the conference itself, the answer would be yes. As the curtains draw to a close, the onus is now on you, the participant, to get out there and make something of yourself because the conference won't do it for you. The other question: would I return to WDS? Only if I venture out into the world and try to live my life as unconventionally as possible first. Getting inspired repeatedly only does you good up to a certain point!

Thank you to Chris and the rest of the organizing committee for an amazing, life changing weekend. I haven't felt this invigorated to break out on my own in all my life. If you're interested in attending next year, add your name to be notified of when tickets go on sale for 2016!

Were you at WDS this year or years past? What did you like and not like? Let me know by connecting with me on Twitter, Instagram or Email.

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