Last week, I had the good fortune of being able to attend the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon.
Bonus: I was able to fly Heather and I out there for $10 using the Southwest Companion Pass (video proof).
For those of you unfamiliar with the World Domination Summit, it’s revolutionary, but not in the way you’re probably thinking.
WDS is a conference run by a role model of mine, Chris Guillebeau, that brings together 3,000 of the world’s most creative and innovative entrepreneurs, all striving to make their lives, and lives around them, better.
It’s a festival of inspiring speakers, incredible people, crazy events, and plenty of beer.
With so much amazing information presented, it’s taken me a week to comb my notes, clear my head, and present to you the seven biggest lessons I learned from this year’s WDS.
But learning a lesson doesn’t mean anything if you don’t implement it.
So I’ll also be publicly stating the actionable steps I’m taking.
Then, I’ll be asking you questions that will help you take these lessons and change your own life, so that we can all continue to better ourselves!
Please feel free to answer the questions in the comments below. Making your goals public and telling others helps you follow through on them much more effectively.
#1: Surround Yourself With People You Admire
Out of everything I got from WDS, by far the most important was being able to meet, face to face, with some of the people I’ve most admired over the years.
People like Jacob Sokol, who has served as my mentor in building and growing my site.
Nomadic Matt, who was the first ever travel blogger I read.
Steve Kamb, whose site has served as an inspiration to me, both in how to grow a community and in how to stay fit.
Sean Ogle, who made me believe I could live a location independent life.
Sean Keener, whose enthusiasm for travel is contagious.
Sean Aiken, who 6 years ago first sparked my desire to see travel as a vehicle for personal change, without even knowing it.
(What is it about the name Sean?)
And of course, Chris Guillebeau himself, who made me believe I could lead an unconventional life, and provided the blueprint of how to do it.
Many of these people have graciously helped me build this site and provided expertise, as well as served as past or future guests on the Extra Pack of Peanuts podcast.
Now, I’m able to call them friends.
Nothing builds bonds like meeting people in person. Nothing!
- Create a mastermind group to hold each other accountable.
- Email each person at least once a month to maintain contact.
Question: Who are a few people you’ve always admired and wished you could surround yourself with?
#2: Stop Doing It All Yourself, Because Others Can Do It Better
None other than the maestro himself called this his biggest lesson learned, and I couldn’t agree more.
Many people who have worked to build something, whether it be a company, a website or something else, have a very hard time letting go of control.
We try to do everything ourselves.
We fight handing over control, even of the most mundane tasks.
And it drives us insane and sucks up most of our time.
I’m the poster child for this type of behavior, and lately I’ve realized that by obsessing over ever small detail, I’ve been unable to move forward in the big projects I have in mind. It’s lead me to stagnate.
So if I can do this, so can you.
- Bringing on an intern (let me know if you’re interested)
- Outsourcing the design side of the website, such as new email opt in boxes.
Question: What tasks do you find yourself doing that annoy you and that someone else can do better?
#3: Embrace Every Chance You Have to Meet New People
In a setting like this, it’s hard not to meet new people. However, I still noticed many people on their cell phones during break times, more interested in texting than actually engaging with the people around them.
Since I had paid to be at the event, and was so fired up and enthusiastic, I tried to meet one new person at every opportunity.
This lead to some amazing interactions with people I never knew before.
I met Stu McLaren, the creator of the web’s largest membership site software and founder (along with his wife) of an amazing non-profit in Kenya.
I met Bo Cordle, my doppelganger and obviously a devilishly handsome man, who is sailing around the world (and who will share his story in an upcoming podcast).
I met Danny Bocanegra, CEO of Selfless Tee, a clothing design company that donates 7% of it’s profits to a new non-profit every two weeks.
I met Tom Allen, avid cyclist, film-maker, and one hell of incredible dude who spent 3.5 years cycling around some of the world’s roughest terrain and then put together a movie about it (and who will also be appearing on the podcast).
I met Scott Dinsmore, creator of Live Your Legend and a man who throws great parties.
And while these are just a few of the awesome people I met, the story for each is the same.
I met them because I reached out and made myself accessible.
I was interested in their stories, and because of that, I’ve now got loads of new, inspiring, friends who are out to change the world.
But guess what?
When I’m at home, I don’t do this. The attitude I had in Portland is different from the one I have in Philly.
Because at home, I feel complacent. Nothing feels new. Nothing drags me out of my comfort zone.
But now, it’s time to take a dose of my own medicine and to change that.
- Go to a Meetup.com meeting for entrepreneurs in the Philadelphia Area.
- If there isn’t one that fits for me…start one!
Question: When was the last time you purposefully went out of your way to meet someone new? When will be the next time?
#4 Don’t Let Your Doubts and Fears Cloud Out Your Dreams
Andrew Warner from Mixergy did an interesting presentation on what he dubbed your “true mind” vs. your “counter mind”.
In essence, he was saying that we all have hopes and dreams that we want to pursue.
But we constantly let our fears or doubts creep in and take over these thoughts, to the point that we rarely even act on them.
We don’t act because we think it won’t work.
We let the negative chatter win out.
And then we never go after our dreams.
It’s a super simple message, but how many people can relate to this?
I’m guessing almost everyone. I know I sure can.
The reality is, most of the time that people chase their dreams, they get them!
When you see the people who seem always “be lucky” or “have everything”, it usually because they weren’t afraid to go after their dreams.
The made their own future, instead of giving in to the fact that it won’t work.
- Launch Frequent Flyer Bootcamp before August (be on the lookout).
- Build and launch my most ambitious project ever, tentatively titled The Action Initiative. It’s like Facebook, but with the purpose of helping you achieve your dreams and hold you accountable.
Question: What is one dream you’ve always had that you haven’t acted on and what is the biggest reason keeping you from doing it?
#5: Impress Less People, Make Deep Connections with More
How often have we heard “you can’t please everyone”? And yet, even though we know it’s true, we still try to to do it.
Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz and an amazingly engaging and entertaining speaker, put it very bluntly when he said “Be Less Careful!”.
He was telling us to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks, and do what we feel rights. By doing that, we’ll naturally find the people who can help us the most.
And he couldn’t be more right.
For a year and a half now, I’ve vascillated between what this website should be.
Should I post 3x a day, when every little deal comes up?
Or should I make less posts, but make them more substantial?
Should I post every Tuesday and Thursday?
What if Monday is better?
Should I continue to do podcasts?
What if people don’t like them?
I’ve constantly, and I mean CONSTANTLY, been worried about how I did things, and if I was doing them wrong.
And finally, I’ve come to terms that there is no right answer.
Do I want to do what is best for you guys, the readers? Of course, and I value your feedback in surveys and emails very much. I read them all, and take them to heart.
But everyone always wants something different.
And what I’ve realized is that what is best for this site is me just being me.
I love doing podcasts, so I’ll keep doing them.
Plenty of websites post every time a new deal comes out, and they do it well. I don’t like doing that, so I won’t.
And in the long run, the people who like what I do will really, really like it.
And those who don’t, they’ll leave.
And that will leave us with a much stronger community here at Extra Pack of Peanuts…and me with less gray hairs!
- Be even more open and more honest in my posts and less worried about everything being perfect all the time.
Question: What is one situation in your life (work, school, family) where you try to please everyone?
What would happen if you stopped doing that and started doing what you wanted?
#6 Just Ask
When Jia Jiang took the stage to speak on Saturday, I had absolutely no clue who he was.
However, according to YouTube, about 5 million other people DID know who he was.
That’s because Jia is the guy who went in to a Krispy Kreme and asked for donuts in the shape of the Olympic Rings…and got them!
Jia’s original quest was to “befriend rejection” by doing 1 thing each day that he would get rejected from.
By doing this, he planned to toughen himself up and take the sting out of being rejected.
Instead, he learned that many, many more people than he ever thought would be willing to let him do things if he just asked.
Jia is living proof that the old adage “it can’t hurt to ask” is more true than ever.
So what’s stopping you?
- Ask to become a keynote speaker at next year’s World Domination Summit (and providing enough compelling arguments to make it work)!
Question: When was the last time you were rejected, and was it as bad as you thought it would be?
Question #2: When was the last time you actually asked for something “special” and gotten it?
#7 Give Yourself Time and Space to See the Forest Through the Trees
Entrepreneurs have big visions. Which is great.
They also tend to get so caught up in their own work that they can’t see the big picture. Which is not so great.
I feel like the poster child for this type of behavior, constantly focusing on the small and mundane, allowing it to consume me and my time.
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, founder of one of the internet’s biggest blogs, called it “creating space to observe sparks.”
Taking time to sit down, clear your mind, take a step back, and look at the big picture.
Figure out what is energizing you.
Figure out what is energizing other people.
And then act on those things, and don’t allow yourself to get bogged down with the incessant pull of day to day activities.
Like checking Facebook.
Or my big one, email.
One way he did this was to move his showers from the beginning of the day to the middle.
He built in a time where he had to slow himself down, a time when he literally could not be in front of his computer (although I’m sure someone, probably a WDS colleague, will soon come up with a waterproof case for Macbooks).
It’s simple, but effective.
And it’s something I’ve known I needed to do for a while now, ever since I heard that Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the Brooklyn Nets and one of the world’s richest men, exercised for two hours every day, no matter what.
If a man much busier than me can do it, so can I.
It’s time to regain control of my time, and my life.
And I’ll do it by building in slots for my main “time suck”, email, and a slot to observe the sparks.
- Only check email twice a day, at noon and 5 pm. And never check it first thing in the morning, where it becomes a time trap, or on my phone, where I can’t respond and it creates “open loops”.
- Take 15 minutes to exercise directly after checking my email at noon. This will lead to coming back to the task at hand refreshed.
Question: What is the biggest time suck in your life?
Question #2: Do you take time throughout the day to observe the sparks, to see the big picture?
World Domination Summit is an absolutely amazing event put on by amazing people (thanks guys)!
It has the potential to change the direction of your life.
But without action, it is just a really cool, really invigorating hang out session for a few days.
If you’re someone who attended, don’t let your passion and energy dissolve now that you’re home. Make actionable steps toward the goals you set.
If you didn’t attend, I’m hoping that this post can inspire you to do the same.
Because not being there doesn’t mean you can’t implement these awesome life lessons, same as being there doesn’t ensure that you will.
So take action, friends, and if you want to be held accountable, leave the answer to the questions in the comments below and tell us what changes you’ll be making!
Thanks again to all the wonderful people that put on WDS, especially Chris for being the ringleader, and to all the great people I met who made it the experience it was.
(all photos courtesy of Armosa Studios)