World Domination Summit in Portland, OR

It’s been a few days since the inaugural World Domination Summit has ended. Those who’ve attended are still talking about it on twitter by using the hashtag #WDS. Numerous blog posts have been written, including this one by the visionary and creator of this event Chris Guillebeau. I’m about to add one more to the list.

First, I have a confession to make. At some point I had seriously thought about not going. I purchased the ticket as soon as the registration opened up last year in fall, partly because it was offered with a “pioneer price” to the first 50 or 100 people (Also, being a “true fan” that I am, I usually respond to Chris’s invitation to his readers). Portland is one of my favorite cities because my friend since elementary school lives there with her family and I had fun memories visiting them a few times in the past. But as the departure date drew near, other things started to come in to my life. I decided to take a spontaneous trip to Japan at the end of May, which would leave only one day between Japan trip and the trip to Portland. I was also feeling a bit selfish for leaving our two young sons with my husband’s care in 2 weeks in a row.

The other hesitation was that I felt like as though I already knew what I’d “get” by going to this event. I’ve been following Chris’s work for 2 years – I’ve been reading his blog regularly, I have translated his manifesto to Japanese, read his book and even worked really hard to get a Japanese publisher to buy the foreign book rights in Japanese… I knew what his message was all about. Also, I knew some of the speakers at the event, including big-name bloggers such as Pamela Slim, Danielle LaPorte, Jonathan Fields… I have heard all of them speak before and/or have been reading their blogs occasionally, and felt like I sort of knew what they are about too. Additionally, I had already taken a leap of faith and have been living my dream! Shouldn’t I stay with my family instead of going on “vacation” to Portland, after being absent for a week?  If I want to know more about what they have to say about anything, I could read their blogs…

In the end, I am glad I didn’t cancel my trip. Looking back, there were many memorable moments throughout the weekend, but here are some key things that I took away.

1.    Awareness and gratitude:

On Saturday morning, in his opening remarks, Chris mentioned; “This is not a motivational conference”. Listening to him, I realized that I went there partly because my life is already awesome. That awareness filled me with gratitude for my life and my family who supports me in my journey.

2. Connections with new and not-so-new friends:

I have made several meaningful connections throughout the weekend. One of them was with @Mehori, or Mr.Hori from Japan. On several occasions we had a series of conversations about life, work and the current status of things in Japan. It was refreshing to hear his point of view from many reasons. Another re-connection I made was with @mma323, or Mr.Matsumoto – for those who were there, he’s famously known as the guy who Pam Slim took down on stage. Actually, Mr.Hori, Mr.Matsumoto and I had met in Tokyo last December, but reuniting again at this side of the ocean meant a lot to me.  Mr.Matsumoto and I had dinner together on the second day of the conference, and we joined fellow WDS attendees afterwards for a drink. It was interesting to hear him talk about his pursuit of romantic relationships. We’d have to continue the discussion when he comes down to San Diego this weekend…

3.    What makes me feel most alive:

On the 2nd day of the event, Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen took the stage and presented their Mondo Beyondo talk. These two giggly ladies asked us to think of a time where we felt most alive. This question threw me off a little bit, because the first thing that came to my mind was not at all what I had expected. It wasn’t about accomplishing amazing goals such as getting a job at the United Nations or publishing a book –  it was when my kids and I were pumping the pomp of this fire truck to make it move forward at the Legoland, or when I was out swing dancing by the beautiful San Diego bay. Then we were supposed to talk to a partner and solidify why these moments came up, and pick a word to describe it – which ultimately pinpointed the value we hold dear. The word I picked was “let go” because when I get out of my head and am taking action I feel most alive. Also, they told us that their message to each of us will be found underneath of the chair we were sitting. This earned them a standing ovation from a hall full of 500 attendees – the card I found on my chair said “You are becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be”. This experience brought me tears. The rest of the speakers were all uniquely great and inspiring but this was one of the most memorable moments. I carry this word with me and try to look at it written at least once a day. Oh, we were supposed to write that one word we found somewhere on our body to honor and reconnect with that value…it looked something like this in this picture of @mma323. As you can see, his one word was “love”!

Last word about this event; there is something about being there in person. Yes, you can accomplish lots of things on-line these days and the distinction between “virtual” and “real” are getting blur especially if you are connecting with “like-minded” people. But being in that space and creating a face-to-face connections is still very powerful. An inspiring event where you get to connect with inspiring group of people, where you feel like you belong, an event which bring you tears and laughter….If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of, you can put your information here so you can be one of the first to know when the registration opens this fall. I look forward to The Sequel in 2012.

*Photos by Armosa  Studios

PS….Short video of WDS2011 can be found here.

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