How do you want to be remembered?
This is the question Michael Hyatt asked a theatre full of 2,500 unconventional people from all over the world last weekend in Portland, Oregon. I got goosebumps as he talked about legacy as something that you are building every day and creating for yourself. This was just one of the many impactful moments of the weekend. In an effort to keep a long story short, here are some tidbits and takeaways. But first…
Many people asked me “what is this conference all about?” before I headed to Portland last weekend. My response? “I have no clue.” I mean, what could possibly happen at an event with a title of World Domination Summit? Definitely nothing boring.
And so I set off to what would be an event full of unconventional people: entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, people who want to be one of those, coaches, speakers, authors, crafters, walkers, runners, activists, poem-catchers, scuba-divers, serial daters, bloggers, parents, and friends.
Chris Guillebeau, most well known for his book The $100 Startup, answered that oh-so-popular question early Saturday morning. The purpose of this event is to find out:
“How can we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?”
In no particular order, here are some of the points that were most memorable for me:
1) Be bold, make a strong decision, and let the chips fall where they may. Michael Hyatt
I wouldn’t normally recommended sitting back and “letting the chips fall where they may” but there is a difference between doing that and making a strong decision and doing so. “Be bold” was a message shared by multiple speakers.
2) It’s easier to act your way to a new way of thinking than to think your way to a new way of acting. AJ Jacobs (AJ), Editor-at-Large, Esquire Magazine
3) “I’m officially Jewish but I’m Jewish in the same way the Olive Garden is Italian”
AJ is one of my new heroes. Formally agnostic but born and raised Jewish, he spent an entire YEAR studying every version of the Bible and living biblically. He even took it so far as to grow his beard for an entire year because the Bible says you shall not “trim the corners of your beard.” He couldn’t figure out where the corners were so yea, there you have it. Let the whole thing grow.
3.5) Just start. Take action. (We already knew this but it can’t hurt to hear it again.)
4) Imagine if you treated everyone as if they were your family? How would your relationships be different?
AJ’s latest project is creating a Global Family Tree. Prior to the event, he commented on one of the main WDS Facebook forums and asked if anyone was related to any famous person. One of the San Diego WDS’ers said that she was related to Pocahontas. Since AJ is too, he figured they were related and brought her and another attendee up on stage at the end of his speech to culminate with We Are Family. He is also hosting a Global Family Reunion featuring Sister Sledge and coordinating the largest family photo in history. True story.
5) Speaking of the world’s largest anything, over 800 WDS attendees broke the official Guinness Book of World Records record for the longest yoga chain, previously held by some flexible folks in India. Nothing about this appears relaxing but I suppose that was not the point. Namaste.
5.5) You don’t have to know how to get to the end goal. Let the success from step one fuel step two, and the success from step two fuel step three and so on. This applies in all life situations. This fantastic piece of advice by San Diegan Elise Blaha Cripe ALSO applies to relationships. Be ok with taking things one step at a time.
6) If you are stuck at step one after point number 5, revisit point number 3 above.
7) Incredible things can happen and new ways of problem solving evolve when you simply SHOW UP FOR LIFE differently. Show up for other people. Show up for yourself. Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny.
8) For 17 years, John Francis took a vow of silence and did not travel anywhere by any way except walking. 17 years. I can’t keep quiet for 17 minutes sometimes. Along the way, he got his PhD, learned to paint and play the music, and is an environmentalist, and author of Planetwalker: How to Change Your World One Step at a Time. You can watch his TED Talk here. He was actually the MOST inspiring person that I heard speak all weekend, and I was completely moved by his decisions and accomplishments, none of which he knew would happen when he took that first step (literally.).
9) Elise also told us that her success comes partially from “being an expert at the attempt.” Don’t be afraid to try. If you fail, perfect. Just try. If you never fail at anything, you’re not trying enough things.
10) Michael Hyatt suggested we ask ourselves.
- How do I want to be remembered? (in other words, what legacy are you leaving/creating)
- What is important to me?
- What single brave decision do I need to make today?
Notice how he doesn’t ask us to say “what easy decision do I need to make today?”
11) Priorities are what will come up when you answer Michael’s question number 2. He replied that his first priority is his faith, second is HIMSELF, third is family. Why is family after himself? Think about it. Even on airplanes they tell you to, in the event of an emergency, put your face mask on before assisting others. Because if you aren’t breathin’, you aren’t helping anyone else. Work is number 5 on his list because…
12) “…Out of a rich personal life experience, work will flourish.”
13) Michael also asked us “How are you doing with what you’ve been given?” Powerful to think about.
14) Jadah Sellner, founder of Simple Green Smoothies, gave five pieces of advice for the business owners in the crowd (basically all of us are or want to be):
- take consistent, ninja-focused action
- stay insanely curious and see what sticks
- court your community
- create hyper-engaged connection
- choose love over metrics
15) Scott Berkun (who took fantastic notes and posted them here) talked about luck. This really hit home for me. I’ve often been guilty of, in response to people who say I’m “so lucky to live in San Diego” that “luck had nothing to do with it. I’ve worked my butt off to get here and stay here.” Scott’s perspective was that sure, luck isn’t all of it, but statistically and scientifically speaking, luck has something to do with everything.
Later that day, after meeting Michael Hyatt on the streets of Portland, I was speaking to my two amazing friends Mike and Kristen, and told them that my chance of meeting Michael was in fact luck, based on me being in the right place at the right time.
Mike replied that yes, luck might have something to do with it, but it was also about me taking advantage of the opportunity that luck presented. So true.
16) It doesn’t matter how many opportunities you are presented with if you do not take advantage of them. Period.
17) “When you honor the voice inside your head, it gets louder.” Scott Berkun
18) “Make good choices.” John Jantsch Sounds simple but he has a podcast on this exact topic.
19) When you are constantly surrounded by incredible people, it’s easy to start feeling like your life is insignificant. Don’t forget to look back on all you have done and appreciate that.
20) Being an Author is one of the loneliest things on the planet. The process looks fun and interesting but it’s really just work. Very lonely work. – Scott
Aside from these points, there are some really important people and things that are well worth mentioning here.
And for that matter, his lovely wife who he is constantly raving about (and I can see why. This woman can rap with the best of them and she is just an outstanding human being.). I would not physically have been able to attend WDS if it weren’t for Scott and Live Your Legend. LONG story short, I saw Scott’s TEDx Talk two years ago, followed his blog, signed up for his course How to Connect with Anyone, participated in an incredible Mastermind Group, and earned my ticket to WDS from him. They were completely sold out so it was really a gift and I am forever grateful for his generosity and his absolute genuine kindness and interest in everyone he meets. Scott and Chelsea are out to change the world, and that they are doing, one person at a time. Forever grateful for them.
Naz and Leah were two of my Mastermind coaches through Live Your Legend. Before LYL, I was a little lost with what I wanted to do but knew I wanted to make an impact. With their simple advice but moreover, their belief in me and what I was doing, I’ve been able to make a difference in other’s lives like I never thought possible. I ALSO had the pleasure of sharing a house with them over the weekend where Naz and I experienced our first bat attack. (Long story for another day.)
Mike and I became Facebook friends after he completed the same CWA LYL course that I did. We had another awesome mutual friend out in San Diego, so I figured he was pretty cool. Little did I know that when I met him and his lovely girlfriend Kristen in Portland last Thursday night, they would be incremental in shaping my experience at WDS. These two are just so incredible, inspiring, fun, funny, and loving, that they are worth writing about, and I’m certain I will see them again some day sooner than later.
Nomadic Matt, author of How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, was another awesome guy to meet since I wasn’t sure if he really looked like his avatar in real life. Newsflash: he doesn’t. He is, however, always VERY well dressed.
Deborah Owen, author of Social Media Fascination. I bought her book on kindle the day it came out and I was so excited and surprised to meet Debbie in person, only to find out it was her five minutes after we started talking. She gave me a hard copy of her book and I am stoked to read it and to keep in touch with her.
Michael Hyatt is someone I mentioned multiple times above and I must say, he is just as nice in real life as he appears he would be on stage. As luck (and opportunity) would have it, I ran into him on the streets of Portland immediately after the conference ended and was able to chat with him about legacy for a few minutes. I think a smile is permanently planted on his face, something I noticed right away. I’ve always been a fan of his and that just grew immensely.
There are so many more people who made an impact on my time at WDS and it would be unfair and impossible for me to try to mention all of them. I’m just lucky to have so many unconventional, inspiring, and incredible people in my circle of friends.
Thank you all for being part of my weekend.
Finally, a huge thank you is due to Chris Guillebeau and his team of over 150 people – mostly volunteers – whose energy and passion helped orchestrate an unforgettable event. I am grateful for all of you.