The Adventure Begins
I first learned about WDS 2012 on Twitter. So many tweets. Such amazing stories. A great speaker list. The $100 challenge. I wanted some inspiration in MY conventional, unremarkable life. I joined the waiting list for 2013 and the rest is history.
I was so excited the day that ticket sales went live for WDS 2013. I had the event reminder on my phone and was poised over my computer at work. Should I commit? It was more than I had ever paid for an event. I would have to meet new people. I decided Yes! Then despair. I had to sign in with Paypal to complete the purchase. What was my password? Scramble. Please don’t sell out. Please don’t sell out. Finally, relief. Committed.
Friday afternoon I arrived in Portland, in time for the “Can’t Wait” WDS exclusive opening party at the Portland Zoo. There was food, fun, a mechanical bull, a real baby elephant and a stilt-walking band. The first person I met described the fun he had earlier in the day helping to break the Longest Floating Chain World Record, by braving the cold Willamette River in an inner tube.
The many choices for meet-ups and workshops at each WDS create an amazing experience unique to each attendee. Passionate and moving testimonials were spoken. Dreams were shared. I’m going to tell you what I brought away from the weekend, starting with events on the main stage at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. One note – the venue was beautiful and the sound, lighting and visual displays were perfect. Attention to every detail was evident throughout the whole weekend, no doubt through the genius of WDS creator Chris Guillebeau. Friendly Volunteer Ambassadors were always present to direct, support and encourage fun.
Part 1 – Saturday Morning
Throughout the weekend I wrote furiously in my Moleskine notebook, trying to capture the words that resonated with me. Sometimes I was so mesmerized by the stories that I didn’t write a word. I apologize for any unintentional misquotes.
Nancy Duarte – The Art of Storytelling
Resonated is a good choice of words, as the first featured speaker was Nancy Duarte, author of “Resonate.” I had wanted to buy her book since I heard her interview with Darren Hardy on the May 2013 Success Magazine cd. At WDS she spoke about using storytelling to cause a physical reaction in the audience. One key message -the speaker should take the audience on a journey by communicating ideas, giving a point of view and telling what’s at stake.
By sharing examples of great speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, Jesus and María Eva Duarte de Perón (Evita), she showed the importance of transforming the audience into the hero through persuasive storytelling. The story structure was diagrammed to show the back and forth flow from “what is” to “what could be” until the “new bliss” at the end. Her analysis of the words spoken by these charismatic leaders from history who sparked movements through the use of familiar songs, scripture and literature was fascinating.
My takeaway: Who is the audience before you tell your story & How do you want them to be afterwards?
Darren Rowse – Dreams
with Musical accompaniment by Clare Bowditch
Darren started by sharing that as a boy in 1975 he dreamed of being Superman because that was not how he felt about himself. Over the years, he discovered talents as an entrepreneur, speaker, photographer and general nerd, but he felt that he stalled somewhere as little failures created fear. He was determined to change that trajectory.
He didn’t find his spark again until he heard about a thing called a blog, and started one blog, then added a second blog to share photos. This grew into ProBlogger and Digital Photography School sites which are thriving today.
Darren’s message was to allow yourself to dream. Notice small things. Pay attention to what gives you energy today. It could grow into your passion. Once you have inspiration you must take the first step towards making it real through implementation. Share your dream and allow an army of people to help you through accountability.
My takeaway: Remember what you loved as a child & don’t keep your dreams inside your head. Don’t be a Perfectionist. Take the first action to create your dream. Share it.
Bob Moore – Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods Story
Bob shared the story of creating Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods. It wasn’t always easy and there were setbacks along the way. His key tip to being successful at life: Make major direction lists for how to be successful at your personal and business life. Keep checking them.
Bob described himself as an entrepreneur. He is proud of the 22 mills that create stone ground grain products. They have a gluten free testing lab and a gluten free packaging room. The company is on track to sell $200 million of whole grain foods this year.
He believes in giving employees a living wage, benefits and profit sharing. For Bob’s 81st birthday, he surprised his employees by giving them total ownership of Bob’s Red Mill through an Employee Share Ownership Program (ESOP). He truly lives the statement “Putting People before Profits.”
My takeaway: Look for inspiration in unusual places. “Progress, sometimes, is just being there.”
If you have been inspired by the information being shared on the internet about WDS 2013, be sure to register on the WDS 2014 waiting list for notification of ticket sales later this year.
Stay tuned for Part 2.