Tag Archives: World Domination Summit

2000人の聴衆を前にスピーチをした日(World Domination Summit 2015)

19047671793_559f8e38cd_k2011年から4年にわたり、毎年夏に行われる世界征服サミット(World Domination Summit略してWDS)に参加してきました。何が起こるかもわからないままに参加した最初の年、「こんなイベントは今まで体験したことがない!」と衝撃を受け、イベント開催中にもう翌年の参加を決めたのでした。そして2年目は開催月が6月から7月になったこともあり、夏休みの家族旅行も兼ねてシアトルとポートランドを訪ねました。2年目の最初のスピーカーはDr.Brene Brownで、彼女の講演に深い感銘を受けたのを覚えています。過去5回の中でもこの年は講演者が秀逸だったのに加えて、閉幕の間際にWDSチームから1000人の参加者全員に100ドル札の入った封筒が手渡された回でもあり、今まででも一番印象に残っている年です。

058その翌年の2013年の夏はちょうど家族で日本に5週間滞在していたときだったので、日本から単身でポートランドまで往復し、数日間を過ごしました。講演者のひとりだったDarren Rowseの語った夢についての言葉が心に残り、WDSから帰る飛行機の中で「1年以内に一家で日本に移住する」と決意し、帰国の翌朝夫に話をしました。目標を定めて動いてきたことが翌年の6月に実を結び、その年の秋に日本への移住が実現しました。WDSに参加したことをきっかけに経験した、あるいは自分が選択したことのなかで、これは一番大きな出来事だったと言えるでしょう。

2014年のWDSでは「もう4回目になるし、今までと違う体験ができたら」との思いで、「アンバサダー」と呼ばれるボランティアスタッフとしての参加を希望し、舞台裏を体験することができました。また日本移住の2か月前だったこともあり、しばらくアメリカを離れる前にと再び家族でシアトルとポートランドを旅行し、親しい友人たちを訪ねる旅にもなりました。この年はまた、WDS本番の前に「ヨガの世界記録に挑戦する」という楽しいイベントもあって、子どもたちもその様子を見せることができたのはいい思い出です。001-1サミット参加の2か月後に日本に移住。2015年の参加を決めたのは年が明けた1月のことでした。今年はまた日本からの参加になるし、正直なところ参加をどうしようかなぁと思っていた部分もありましたが、今までの積み重ねから家族は「きっと行くんだろう」と思っていてくれたようです。そのサポートがあったことと、過去4年通う間に出会った友達にWDSで再会したいという気持ちがあり、今年1月のチケット販売の時に購入しました。

そしてあっという間にやってきた7月。例年どおり金曜日にポートランド入りし、その夜のオープニングパーティから始まって怒涛の週末を過ごし、月曜の午後にはまた日本行きのフライトに搭乗するという慌ただしいスケジュールでしたが、時差ぼけにもならずハイテンションのまま過ごした気がします。今年のハイライトはやはりサンディエゴのWDSグループの仲間に会い、楽しいひと時を過ごしたこと、そして日本のコミュニティのみんなと檀上にあがり、2000人の聴衆を前に英語でスピーチをしたことです。

11014668_969213646457377_1940160447429095605_n事の発端は5年間一緒にWDSに通った同志である堀さんのところに、数か月前にWDSチームから来た「日本のコミュニティに檀上で数分間プレゼンをしてほしい」というメールでした。それを聞いた時から「せっかく区切りとなる5年目の参加なのだから、可能なら何か新しいことをやりたい」と思い、参加予定の友人たちと色々と案を巡らせていました。紆余曲折を経て私がメインで話をすることになり、日本を出発する数日前にスピーチを書き、スライドを作ってWDSチームに送り、空港に向かう電車や飛行機の中でインデックスカードを手に一人でブツブツと練習をする旅になりました。現地入りした後に、日本のコミュニティの仲間と一緒に登壇し、彼らが見守る中で私が話すという形式で行うことに話が落ち着き、土曜の午後の長い昼休みの間に舞台リハーサルを実施(写真は榊さんがリハーサル中に撮ってくれていたものです)。その時にポートランド入りしてから思いついたことをスピーチに入れたりしたこともあって、また頭の中でイメージトレーニングをしながら落ち着かない土曜の夜を過ごし、本番の日曜の朝を迎えました。

WDSのキーワードのひとつに「コミュニティ」がありますが、それは私のスピーチのテーマでもありました。私が去年まで住んでいたサンディエゴには大勢のWDS参加者がいて、素晴らしいコミュニティが出来上がっています。私も2012年のWDSの後にその存在を知ってグループの集まりに顔を出すようになり、毎回のように顔を出す中心のメンバーとは家族ぐるみでつきあうくらい仲良くなっていました。彼らのおかげで、サンディエゴでの最後の数年はそれまで以上に豊かになったのです。DSC07007サンディエゴのグループの結びつきが強い理由のひとつは、コアのメンバーがとてもいい人たちであること。そして常に誰かがイベントを企画していて、気が向けばいつでも、夢を語り合ったり励ましあったりする仲間と会うことができる・・・そんな彼らと出会えたこと、それだけでもWDSには感謝の気持ちでいっぱいで、それをスピーチで伝えたかったのです。そして、私も新たな場所でそんなコミュニティを作りたいし、聴いてくれているみんなにもそれぞれの場所で輪を広げてほしいということも。

DSC06992今回のWDSのためにポートランド入りしたのは、去年の9月に日本に移住してほぼ10か月経ったときでした。多くの友人と再会を喜び合ううちに、私はアメリカ生活12年の間に「友達との挨拶でハグをする」ことがすっかり当たり前になっていたということ、そして、それを日本では気兼ねなくできないのを実は寂しく感じていたということに、ポートランドに来てから初めて気が付いたのです。日本で準備していたスピーチの冒頭に「私と同じく今年5回目の参加者である堀さんが毎年WDSに来る理由は、WDS恒例のBollywood Danceをするためだ」という箇所を写真とともに入れていたのですが、このハグについても、日本では自然にできないことがここでは可能になることのもうひとつの例ではないかなと感じました。そこで「日本人は挨拶でハグをする習慣がないんだけど、アメリカ生活が長かった私にとってはハグするのは自然なことだから、相手が日本人でもハグしたいと思っていたんだよね。日本だとなかなか自分の殻を破ってやりたいことをするのが難しいけど、それを変えたいと思っている」という趣旨のことを言って、スピーチの途中で一緒に檀上にいる仲間とハグをさせてもらうことにしました。

hugs土曜日のリハーサルでは立ち位置やスライドの確認などだけで、実際にスピーチを行うことはしなかったので、このハグの部分も含めて、当日はほぼぶっつけ本番の状態でした。そのためもあって途中で次のスライドへのクリックを忘れていたり、時間切れで準備していたことの全ては言えなかったりと、完璧とはほど遠い出来でした。それでも、一番言いたかったことは伝わったのではないかな?と思っています。また堀さんの提案で、スピーチの締めくくりも会場のみんなに隣りの人とハグをしよう!と呼びかけて、会場全体が和やかな雰囲気になったところで終了になりました。

スピーチが終わった直後は、とにかく檀上で転ぶこともなく無事に終わったことの安堵感でいっぱいでした。そして覚えているのは、自分たちの番が来て舞台に出ていくときに、緊張よりも嬉しいという気持ちのほうが大きくて自然にニコニコするのを止められなかったこと。2000人もの聴衆を前にスピーチすること自体、初めての経験でしたが、前日の土曜日に次々と登壇するスピーカーの講演を聴きながら、WDSの参加者はとても前のめりな感じで登壇者の呼びかけによく反応しているな~と感じていたので、たとえ失敗してもきっと大丈夫だろうという気持ちもありました。実際に話し始めたときに目に飛び込んできた人々の顔はみんな優しく、好奇心に満ち溢れた表情をしていて、それにも勇気をもらいました。19046048924_88ed3e4b04_k

私たちの番が終わり、しばらくして休憩時間になったときに会場を歩いていたら、多くの人が「とてもよかったよ~」と声をかけてくれました。そして会う人、会う人 みんなが“Let me give you a hug”と言ってハグをしてくれ、最後には “Oh, you are the hug lady!”と言う人までいたりして、今までの人生の中でも最も多くの人とハグをした日だったかもしれません。また、ある参加者からは「君のスピーチよかったよ。隣に座っていた男性はイスラム教徒だったんだけど、檀上でハグする君たちを見て”I want to hug my people too”と言っていたんだよ」と教えてくれた時は、何とも言えない嬉しい気持ちになりました。

スピーチの中で話したことのひとつには、家族への感謝の気持ちもありました。出発前に留守の間のことを夫にいろいろ引き継いでいるとき、「もう5回目だし、これで最後のWDSかな~」と言ったら、夫はそれに対して「それは素晴らしい」。私の両親のサポートもあるとはいえ、言葉もそれほどできない異国の地で留守を任されて「子どもたちが病気になったら」とか「万が一事故にあったら」という緊急事態について夫がいろいろ考えを巡らせていたのを知っていたので、まぁ当然の反応かなと受けとめました。

でも、夫は少し経ってからこう言ったのです。

You know, I am not sure if your not going to this kind of thing is the best decision for our family. After all, you are just trying to be the best person you can be. Self-exploration is necessary for that.

「君はなれる中で一番の自分になろうとして、こういうのに参加しに行くわけだから、それに行かないことが家族にとって最善とは必ずしも言えないと思うよ」。出発前夜の彼のこの言葉には本当にびっくりし、その気持ちを本当にありがたいなぁと感謝するとともに、私も彼がやりたいことはできるだけサポートしたいと改めて感じました。DSC07009スピーチの中でも、WDSに来る理由の一つとして、職場での役職や、「妻」や「母」など、各人が持ついろいろな役割に沿った言動をとることを求められるプレッシャーが比較的強い日本から少し離れることで、Who am I?” つまり自分は何者なのか、ということをゆっくり考えたり、あるいは思い出させてくれる機会のひとつであることも話しました。

そしてWDSのすべての講演プログラムが終了して閉会になったとき、WDSチームから来年の方針について、2年目と同等の1000人規模に縮小するという発表がありました。すでにそのうち半分のチケットはWDS開催期間中に完売しており、残りは500枚。それを聞いた時、やはり今年が最後だったなと確信しました。幸運にも過去5回参加することができたので、まだ行ったことがない人に席を譲りたいという気持ちもありますし、これまでの経験でWDSのコミュニティとも強いつながりができたことと、ここ数年はメインステージでの講演はサミット終了後しばらくしてから動画が発表されているので、ポートランドに行かなくても『WDS的なもの』に物理的にも心理的にもいつでもアクセスができるということもありました。

堀さんもブログにこんなことを書いていますし、この経験から次に何を生み出していけるかを一緒に模索していきたいものです。また、2016年はWDSに行かない代わりに、自分の専門分野における見聞をさらに深めるための会議やワークショップなどに参加できればと思っています。例年どおりクロージングパーティでは踊り倒し、それも終わってしまった後には、親しい友達たちに「来年は戻ってこないけど、またどこかで会おう」と再会を期し別れを告げました。今までのサミットの思い出が交錯して、またもう当分は会わないかもしれない人々の顔が浮かんだりして、bitter sweetな幕切れでもありましたが、何か「やり切った」というような清々しい気持ちもありました。やはり最後は「ありがとう」という言葉で締めくくりたいと思います。
Thank you & until we meet again!19653483776_1420bf6789_k (images: Armosa Studios)

Revive Your Dream (World Domination Summit 2014)

The 4th annual World Domination Summit (#WDS2014) concluded last Sunday. I have been attending this summit since the year 1 – but this time I participated as an ambassador (=volunteer to help out running the show).  I have always been curious about the ambassador team with different color shirt from the rest of us, and after attending as a participant for 3 years, I wanted to see how it’s like to be on the other side. It turned out to be a wonderful experience. Throughout the few days of being an ambassador, I found myself wanting to sing the Lego Movie theme song “Everything is Awesome” as the lyrics goes “everything is awesome when you are a part of a team”.  I did watch the movie with my boys so I know this is not necessarily a song about being unconventional or remarkable, but all jokes aside, being an ambassador was unique and wonderful way to experience WDS.

Since I was a part of the team that focused on making the attendee experience as great as possible and helping out with whatever and where-ever was needed, I really can’t write much about main stage speakers – this is not to say that I didn’t catch any of it. I was able to see about 50% of the speeches. But I was always “on duty” and constantly looking at the clock on my phone so I was not late for the next task, so I was not fully present while sitting in the audience.  I also sat different parts of the theater as opposed to the front rows where I always sat over the past three WDS (which explains a fair amount of my pictures on flicker stream from past WDS!) As a result, my level of engagement or excitement for the content of speech was very different from the past years. I look forward to catching those speeches once they become available in a few months – from talking to my friends or reading others’ blog post, I know they got a lot of inspiration out of them.

Being an ambassador was a fun experience. I loved being able to say hi to anybody, smile or attemptto give high-five without being self-conscious about it because of the orange shirt I was wearing. I do not consider myself introvert – I am right in the middle based on the test Daniel Pink recommended in his book – but being an ambassador pushed me to be extra friendly or open to talk to anyone, asking where they are from or if this was their first time attending WDS. I know I could have done all those things as a regular attendee too, but the orange ambassador shirt empowered me to do more, and also pushed me to stretch myself even when I felt tired and didn’t feel like it. Because of that, this WDS became the year I talked to the most people in all of the years I have attended. I also got to know more about other ambassadors and core team members. They are truly devoted, committed group of people. Jollie Guillebeau (Chris’s wife) reminded us right before the closing that WDS could not happen without this team and that is true. I was happy and proud to be a part of the team who believe in the vision of WDS.

At the closing, Chris did something to make me all teary. The team and he selected 4 attendees to be on stage, and after showing their vision for their future captured in the video they shot during the registration, he announced how they’d help them realizing their visions. He said “We can’t help everyone. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help someone”. One of the four people who received this incredible gift was clearly overcome by sense of shock and joy, and crying. Seeing her face got me crying too. Later when I congratulated her in person, she said it was a miracle. Of course Chris didn’t forget to remind everyone that they still have to do the work, it wasn’t like he or WDS made their dream come true. But he also said that all of us have a responsibility to help others with their dreams as well.

This last segment made me think of my past 4 years of attending WDS and what it all meant to me. Here is a short recap of what has transpired since the first WDS.

WDS 2011 – I didn’t know what to expect but I signed up right after it was announced just because Chris invited us to do so (I was and still am a true fan). It was much smaller event with just 500 attendees. Iremember the ice sculpture of the globe at the opening party and thinking “they do things differently here” as I had never seen one at a conference…. I enjoyed every minute of it including a Bollywood dance lesson during the official programming on the main stage by DJ Prachant. Yup, it really is a tradition to have him at WDS! Credit to Chris for finding such talent and bringing him in. You can read about my experience of the inaugural WDS here.

WDS 2012 opened with a keynote speech by Dr.Brene Brown who blew away everyone with her own act of vulnerability. Then at one of the attendee-lead sessions, I was so inspired to learn that someone from my own town took immediate action after the first WDS…that person was Gregory Berg, he started Radio Enso after the first WDS and he was presenting how to start a podcast show in a workshop! I was almost shocked and felt like “what did I accomplish this past year?” Looking back, I did have a baby between the first and second WDS, so I should probably cut myself some slack, but in any case, I remember thinking that I need to do something before coming back again. At the end of the last main stage speech, Chris shocked everyone with the gift of $100. WDS 2012 was truly magical from the beginning till the end. 7 months later, I used that $100 to purchase some microphones and a mixer, and I started my own podcast show. I continue to produce one show a week ever since its launch and as of this writing, 74 episodes have been released.

At WDS 2013, Darren Rowse talked about dream. Then he had Clare Bowditch perform a beautiful song and he re-appeared wearing a superman costume. His speech and Clare’s song planted seed in my mind and on my flight home, I decided to revive my dream of moving to Japan with my husband and kids for a few years – a dream I had shared with my friend Eddie Hori (@mehori) at the first WDS, but had given up after we had our third baby.  After returning home from this experience at WDS 2013, there was a big meetup in September with San Diego WDS group, and I told my friends there that I am committed to do everything in my power to make it happen.

Then, one month before this year’s WDS, it became clear that we are moving to Japan in one of the best ways we imagined possible. I saw Darren Rowse at the opening party, so I had to share this story with him – that it was him who inspired me to reconnect with my dream, and that 12 months later it is about to become a reality. He said he came back to WDS this year partly because he wanted to hear what people did with their dreams. From that perspective, this year’s WDS really felt like a celebration. Speaking of celebration, WDS has always closed with an epic party, but this year was extra special – I somehow ended up dancing on stage in the end (I believe it was the power of orange shirt), and WDS designated “party closer” DJ Prachant gave me a gift of having everyone sing Happy Birthday for me after the party ended at midnight as my birthday officially began.

I am about to embark on a new journey at the end of summer with my husband and three kids, and I have many more dreams I will pursue. At the same time, I am also curious how I could be of help to other people’s exploration of their vision. I’d like to encourage you to share your own dreams publicly, if only initially just with close friends. I, for one, would love to help in any way I can if you dare to share your dream with me.

*Photos by Armosa  Studios & Gregory Berg

World Domination Summit 2013 (#WDS2013)

This year’s World Domination Summit (WDS) was different in a few ways. The biggest difference was the size; there were more people this year than previous years with over 2800 participants from 33 countries. I also traveled a lot more distance to get there unlike last two years (See my previous post for details). Here is the brief summary of my experience.

・Speakers & Workshops

My #1 favorite speaker was Jia Jiang who spoke about how he overcame the fear of rejection. His experiment of “rejection therapy” where he deliberately seeked rejections by asking outrageous things such as driving a police car or flying airplane was very inspiring. You can watch one of such experiment on his YouTube video. I heard from many attendees that they would like to do the same thing in order to overcome their own fear of rejection. Often we talk ourselves out of pursuing what we really want because we are afraid. Jia Jiang beautifully articulated how he built an intimate relationship with fear of rejection so he could go for what he wanted without being afraid.

I also enjoyed two musical performances; Clare Bowditch sang this song called “Amazing Life” at the end of Darren Rowse‘s presentation.  On the 2nd day, Steve Schalchlin who is living with HIV/AIDS performed his own songs while playing the piano, singing about the days of his struggle, later accompanied by Portland Gay Men Chorus. These musical performances were  played with such heart and soul  that they brought tears in my eyes.  Judging from the looks on the other attendees, I believe I was far from alone. I was reminded how powerful the human voice can be.

One of the workshops I attended was with Danielle LaPorte from Canada. She had many “quotable” suggestions. I have always enjoyed her talks very much as her words always come from her heart. She spoke about desire mapping and how to find one’s core desires. A few of the memorable phrases are:

“Your journey of exploration could be moneytizable”

“Love at first sight can happen when you trust it can happen”

“What if joy is your birthright?”

“Beauty is a powerful door-opener”

“Imprint yourselves with victories”

“Obsess yourself about being useful”

“Real men love curves” – this one came in response from a question about women and body image issue. She also said “either deal with it or learn to accept it”. I believe this is true for other aspects of life.

・Friends & Attendees

WDS is not just about speakers on main stage or breakout sessions. Meeting with other attendees is a core aspect of WDS. On Friday night at the Oregon Zoo, I saw lots of familiar faces from the past 2 years. Also, I became a part of a San Diego WDS group last November and we had several meetups this past 6 months, so seeing many of them again in Portland was really nice. Knowing so many people made me feel more comfortable than the past two years in social settings. I was particularly happy and proud when one of our San Diego friends won the Unconventional Race. Well done Oliver!!

・Parties!

When I told someone that this was my 3rd WDS, he said that “you must really like the parties”. I never thought of WDS as a party, but it is true. They know how to throw good parties! The opening ceremony was at Oregon Zoo with a marching band playing music while doing all kinds of crazy tricks. For the closing ceremony, they blocked off “Pioneer Square” which is at the center of downtown, and following the WDS tradition, Bollywood dance kicked off the party. In both places I had lots of fun, partly because of the music and dance, but also it was a great opportunity to connect with the old friends as well as make new ones. Of all 3 years of WDS, I had the best time at the parties this year as I knew a lot more people this time around, and it also made it easier to meet new people during this time.

Also I did a river cruise on Saturday evening where 400 WDS attendees got on a cruise ship called “spirit”. I had a good time on the cruise – I enjoyed meeting with other attendees, looking at the scenery along the coast, a view of the Portland bridges which are very unique, and beautiful sunset.  To top off an already fine voyage,  the  excursion included  swing dancing with a fellow attendee named Trevor whom I also danced with at the last year’s closing party.

・The Toast

At the closing, close to 3000 peop      le in the theater toasted with apple cider (Chris was cracking jokes on how they came to chose this beverage while close to 3000 glasses of apple cider were being distributed throughout the theater) . It was quite a view. Every year, the ending closes with bittersweet feelings as I always feel that I don’t want it to end. I must admit that I didn’t particularly love having to wait a long time to get in the main building or workshop venues, but it is true that all of the attendees are what make this event so special and that is what makes me want to come back.

・The Team

Don’t forget the amazing team of “Ambassadors”!  I felt so much love coming from them each time we walked into the theater, and a few different ambassadors helped me throughout the weekend, all of them equally helpful and very friendly. WDS came out of Chris Guillebeau’s mind but the team truly embraced his vision and created something really magical. If I lived in Portland, it would be a team I’d love to be a part of.

・Next  step

I wrote most of this blog on a flight going back to Japan. I also wrote my new goals on another list, with specific “next step” for each one. I am excited to get it started, and I will share them here in coming days.

Journey to Portland, OR (#WDS2013)

I attended the World Domination Summit(WDS) in 2011 and 2012 and had a wonderful experience in both years. This year, however, I almost did not go back.

I’m from Japan and I’ve been living in San Diego since 2002. My husband and I now have 3 sons, ages 6, 5 and 16 months old. This year, we decided to go back to Japan as a familyfor 6 weeks, starting early June, so our oldest son could have the experience of attending a school in Japan for one month. It was what I’ve always wanted to do, so I did not purchase the ticket for WDS2013. I told myself that I could not go to WDS this year.

January came around, and a good friend of mine said, it would be nice if I came. Yes, it would. Then I asked myself – why wouldn’t I?

I then realized that I was putting myself in a box – a box that is made up in my mind, putting myself in the roles such as being a mother or a wife. The self-talk sounded like “I should not go because I’m a mom of 3 kids including a baby”, “Japan is so far away from Portland, OR”, “I should not leave my husband at my parents house, that’s just not what a good wife & daughter would do”.

But then I remembered how capable my husband is in taking care of our sons, or how my parents and my husband get along well enough that they would be fine without me for a few days.

When I pitched this idea of me leaving for a few days for something I really cared about, they were very supportive. They didn’t reject me. They had already embraced who I am a long time ago and they continue to be the most supportive people in my life.

This experience reminded me that you have to be vigilant, constantly keep watch on your self-talk, and keep these “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts” in check. A quick recap of WDS2013 will follow in the next post, but I wanted to write about the journey to get to Portland, OR this summer and how grateful I am for my family. Making the round trip Tokyo – Portland just for the weekend was a crazy thing to do, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it was well worth it.

How I spent my $100

I’m at Seattle airport, waiting for my flight to Portland – I am attending the World Domination Summit 2013. This will be my third year.

This past 6 months have been very strange – a lot of things happened that made me stop and think about what I was doing. Kids are growing up, even the little one started walking – he is no longer a baby! It’s a bittersweet feeling.

On his 1st birthday, I started a podcast program and have been putting a new episode every Friday – so far, 20 episodes have been put out there. I used $100 that I received at the last year’s World Domination Summit to purchase some equipment for the show. I am sure the question of “how did you spend your $100?” will come up during this year’s summit and it will give us some opportunity to reflect on what we have done this past 365 days.

I know it will be a crazy busy next 2 days, so I wanted to write this before I get on a short flight that will take me to Portland. Last year’s summit was amazing. I am sure this year’s will be as well. Most of all I am very excited to see my friends again, and make new ones. Portland, here I come!

World Domination Summit 2012

World Domination Summit 2012 ended last Sunday. It was my 2nd time to attend this conference (I wrote about the first one here). This year, it was twice the size from last year, and it was amazing to see this beautiful theater filled with 1000 attendees. What’s more, apparently some 5000 more people wanted to come.

The most memorable speaker for me was Brené Brown. I wasn’t familiar with her work before I heard her speak, but I am now a fan. She talked about vulnerability.  The topic happened to coincide with an area I’ve been  working on these past few years. Most of us are so afraid of being or feeling vulnerable. She then talked about the value of keeping our heart open even when we want to shut down, withdraw or hide, because that is what keeps us connected with people, and with the world. It’s what makes us feel. She said that “the capacity to be wholehearted can’t be greater than your willingness to be heartbroken”.

After seeing her speak, and sharing the experience of singing the song “Don’t stop believing”, a popular song by Journey, with everyone in the theater full of people, I remember thinking “this alone was worth coming here”. You can read a back story of this occurring in a blog post by Brandon Sutton, who took over the microphone from Chris (in picture) after a while. Reading Brandon’s post reminded me that nothing is quite how it seems on surface, as he looked calm and confident as if he was practicing for this performance…

Then there was Cal Newport, author of “How to be a high school superstar”. He talked about how thefamiliar advice of “Follow your passion” is a bad career advice, based on his research and discovery. He said that nothing is quite as simple as the phrase suggests. He talked about the value of craftsmanship, spending 10,000 hours or more to be truly great at something, how we all should want to strive for mastery – and how the most satisfied and happy people at their jobs share common “patterns” in their career paths. When you come to this kind of conference and hear the speakers talk, you might think that the people up on the stage make everything so easy, and “anyone can do what they can do”. Or just the opposite, they might make you think that they possess something special  that you don’t, and you can’t do what they do. The truth, of course, may lie somewhere in between. Anything worth doing, and more importantly, anything that creates a lasting impact will take time to master, and one needs to put in some serious effort. Those who are the happiest at their job have spent time doing the work and got really good at a rare and valuable skill, to the point that they can leverage those “career capital” to gain general traits(characteristics of the life you want), so their life can be filled with the value of their choice. Cal concluded his speech with this remark “Do what Steve Jobs did, NOT what he said”, meaning that when you closely look at his career, creating a computer was not his #1 passion to begin with. According to Cal, if Steve Jobs had followed his passion back then, he probably would have become Zen instructor. Overall, I enjoyed Cal’s speech a lot. It reminded me that in the world of instant gratification, sticking to one thing and pursue until it becomes your passion, has lots of value. It can also be a good relationship/marriage advice. Rather than try to find what you love, learn to love what you already have….

Then there was Chris Guillebeau. At the end of these mind-turning, heart-opening, inspiration-loaded 2 days, he managed to shock us once again. He shared that unlike last year where they lost about $30,000, this year they came out ahead and made a small profit.  Then he talked about an anonymous donation that came after the last year’s summit. He announced that he would invest that money in us, the 1000 attendees of this conference. He told us that we were all going to receive a $100 each when we walk out of the venue, so we could do something good and meaningful with it. When he said that, I felt like I could hear what people are saying in their heads while quietly gasping in shock and disbelief. The picture above was taken when he just announced. In the end, we walked away with an envelop which contained $100 bill and a small card that said “Thanks for making #WDS2012 a fantastic experience. We’d love to see how you can put these funds to good use. Start a project, surprise someone, or do something entirely different – it’s up to you”.

How will my life be different because of this experience? How can I make someone’s life different, or make a positive change in this world? These are the big questions I still need to answer. But first thing first, my birthday is coming up in exactly 3 days! Since I pledged to give up my next birthday at the end of the presentation by Scott Harrison for his charity: water,  I created this page and started a campaign to raise money so we can give more people access to clean water all over the world. Please join me to make it happen!

Thank you Chris, the action team and the ambassadors, all of the speakers, and all those who attended and became part of this experience!

*Photos by Armosa  Studios

目標を持たない生き方

今年の6月、ポートランドで参加したWorld Domination Summitのスピーカーの一人にLeo BabautaZen Habitsという有名なブログの著者)がいました。彼は、その昔はヘビースモーカーで太っていて借金まみれだったのですが、あるとき一念発起して少しずつ生活を変えていき、今では借金はすべて返済し、シンプルな暮らしをし、マラソンを走るベジタリアンになり・・・という大変化を遂げました。その変化の過程を書いたブログが大変な人気になったのです。そんな彼のプロフィールについては知っていたので、話を聞く前は「どうやって習慣を変えるのか?という話だろう」と予想していました。

実際に講演が始まると、予想通り「新しい習慣を取り入れるには」という話もしてくれたのですが、それとともに、今自分自身が向き合っているチャレンジのひとつとして「目標を持たない生き方」について語っていました。壮大な目標をうちたて、そのためのステップを細分化して毎日の”To Do(やること)リスト”にして・・といった、自己啓発セミナーでおなじみの目標達成手法とはまったく違った提案に少し意外な感じがしました。Leoは、「これといった目標を持たずに、毎日『これをやりたい!』ということだけをして生きることを目指している」と言っていました。

彼の講演を聞きながら「ふーん、そんな風に目標を持たないで好きなことだけやって生活して行けたら、それは確かにいいよね・・」と思ったことは確かです。ただ、今まで私が慣れ親しんできた考え方、つまり「やりたいこと」を決めて、達成したい時間軸を決めて、そのためのステップを細分化して着実にやっていく・・・というのとはあまりにも違う考え方だったので、その時は「そういう考え方もあるだろうが、自分はあまり関係がないな・・」という感じでそれほど真剣にとらえていませんでした。でも、その後7月に入ってから体調を崩し、それまでやっていたように「朝から晩までバリバリと課題をこなす」ことができなくなってから、ふと彼の言葉を思い出すようになりました。

朝起きてから「今日ひとつだけ片付けるとしたら何をするか?」と問いかけ、それだけできればとりあえず「よし」としてみる。ひとつといわず、幾つもこなしたいのはやまやまなのですが、体調というある意味どうにもならない制約がある時、ひとつだけを目標にし、それができれば「今日はOK!」と思うのか、それとも「ひとつしかできなかった・・」と自分を痛めつけるのか、どちらが精神衛生上より良いのかどうかは考えるまでもありません。ひとつでも達成できたことに気分を良くし、感謝し、でもいつかやらないといけないんだけど・・ということはとりあえず紙にでも書き出して「よし」としておく。そのくらい気楽に構えていれば、予定通り出来なかったことに対するプレッシャーのためにますます出来なくなることだけは免れそうです。

Leoによると、「毎日ひとつだけ目標をもつ」ということは、「まったく目標を持たない」の一歩前の段階なのだそうです。体調による制約という、ある意味不本意な状況になったことによって、図らずも「毎日これだけはやりたいと思うことだけを行う」という方向には進んでいるような気がします。多くの人にとってのチャレンジは「毎日やりたいと思うことだけを行う」ということでしょうが、このあたりは、ライフハック的な考え方と、いろいろな「法則」が必ず言及する「感謝の気持ち」を持つことで対応できそうです。もし「やりたいこと思わないことだけで毎日が構成されている」という場合には、このスティーブ・ジョブスの講演を見ることをお勧めします(このクリップは講演の後半部分です)。

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.