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World Domination Summit 2014 – My Unconventional Weekend

Saturday July 12, 2014 – Day 1

It’s been a week since World Domination Summit 2014 and I’m still reviewing my notes and memories for the sparks that touched me the most. It’s difficult to explain the weekend in Portland because, well, “World Domination” just doesn’t characterize the experience. I encourage you to visit the WDS website for a better understanding of the three core values of WDS – community, adventure and service.

Chris Guillebeau kicks off WDS 2014.

This was my second WDS. My experience at WDS2013 was so fantastic that I had to return. The chance to hear people share their personal journeys – both mental and physical – is truly inspirational. Some stories are about transitioning from a conventional to an unconventional life. Some speak of medical challenges, or financial hardship, and some just about the desire to create community and help shine a light on a serious situation. There is no story too small or action too small to make a difference.

I hope that one talk resonates with you and you are encouraged to do something creative or courageous or just a little different. It can make a difference in your own life and consequently, touch someone else’s life as well.

I didn’t participate in all the pre- and post-conference activities, but I want to share the messages and takeaways that meant the most to me. If it sparks an interest in you, there are links below to learn more about the speakers and perhaps create your own connection. I also didn’t try to capture all the attendee stories but they were inspiring as well. I know this is a long post – imagine all this goodness in one day!

A. J. Jacobs
Be Bold

A. J. Jacobs kicked off the program with his humorous stories about being the guinea pig for experiences which would become material for his four New York Times bestsellers. In his book “The Year of Living Biblically” he describes his quest to explore religion by following every single rule in the Bible – certainly a challenge in a modern, secular life. This included finding an adulterer to stone, which trust me, was a good visual.

Author A. J. Jacobs gets us laughing at WDS 2014.

A. J. talked about being bold – to not let your dream be deferred. He advocated several things – including good posture and pretending. “Pretend to be a better person. If you pretend to be long enough, you will be better.” Force yourself to take the first step, then take the final step to do something bold.

Already on his next bold quest, A. J. is pursuing a global genealogy project to encourage people to recognize their interconnectedness by discovering links to their family trees. He has talked his way into photos with several famous “cousins” from his family tree including George H. W. Bush. This project will culminate in a Global Family Reunion to benefit Alzheimer’s research, to be held in New York City in June, 2015.

After his talk, I think most in the audience felt like “cousins” in the WDS experience.

Jadah Sellner
Simple Green Smoothies

Jadah Sellner shared with us the creation of Simple Green Smoothies, a website and business she co-founded with Jen Hansard just two years ago. Before she talked about building the community that has made Simple Green Smoothies a success, she shared her personal story of struggling with earlier businesses failures. Stories of “craughing” – laughing and crying at the same time because it’s so bad it hurts. How we experience lessons in life on purpose and gain knowledge through the pain.

Jadah Sellner and the story of Simple Green Smoothies. Photo by Armosa Studios

Many of us have questions about how to meld the dreamer with the doer to create success, which she put as, “How do vision boards and spreadsheets live together?” Jadah encouraged us to “Say your dreams out loud.” Even if you are only talking to yourself at first. The quote that stood out the most for me though, was: “My brain is like a rave- I have ideas flashing nonstop in my brain.” That’s how I feel most days.

Her advice – to take imperfect action and let go.

The mission of Simple Green Smoothies is to spread the love of green smoothies. The website provides background, recipes, challenges and cleanses. As the Community Builder, Jadah reminded us that everyone starts at zero. Zero followers. Zero comments.

Build Your Community:
1. Take consistent, ninja-focused action.
2. Stay insanely curious, see what sticks and be strategic on growth.
3. Court your Community. I loved her analogy that social media is your dance club, your website is your house, and your e-mail is your bedroom.
4. Create hyper-engaged connection and keep the conversation going.
5. Choose Love over Metrics. Look at the Community as one.

But first – Let go.

Gavin Aung Than
Zen Pencils

Gavin Aung Than and Zen Pencils. Photo by Armosa Studios.

“Have the Courage to Leave the Job Behind.”

Gav had the courage to leave the corporate graphic design industry in Australia and launched Zen Pencils in 2012.

Passionate about illustration and cartooning, he creates a cartoon blog with a focus on inspirational quotes. Recently, he introduced a poster store.

It’s impossible to do his art justice here so just go to his site and join the Zen Pencils community. You’ll see entertaining art depicting historical figures and maybe even learn something. See the step by step cartooning process for Maya Angelou: Phenomenal Woman.

Shannon Galpin
Power of Voice & How to Combat Apathy

Shannon Galpin and Power of Voice. Photo by Armosa Studios.

This was the most uncomfortable subject of WDS to me – gender violence & women’s rights. It’s hard to see the freedoms denied women & the violence inflicted and not shut down. Which I guess was the point – How do you raise awareness and get people to take action when the subject is overwhelming, the pictures are brutal & apathy seems a method of self-defense? Shannon has bravely biked across Afghanistan, using photographic exhibitions to change perceptions and provoke discussion. Her message – Pledge to take action, sign a petition, volunteer, get educated, and use our voice. Because “One person’s voice when put with everyone else’s becomes a roar.”

Michael Hyatt
The Designed Life

I was familiar with the work of Michael Hyatt prior to WDS 2014 because I have read his blog for insights on leadership, publishing and social media. I knew he would bring a strong message of family, integrity and personal development to the stage.

The best speakers are good story tellers, and by sharing personal challenges, setbacks and triumphs they create a connection with the audience by being relatable. Michael shared the story of the relationship he had with his father, how it changed over time and how it influenced his desire to have control over his own life. There was business failure, a health crisis, family problems and the stress was overwhelming. We can all relate to some kind of life stress, I think, and understand how decisions are often made in reaction, without a real plan.

Michael described three different lives:
1. The Drifting Life – with no choice of destination, just caught up in life’s distractions;
2. The Driven Life – which is often an overcorrection to The Drifting Life, where the focus may be on not failing; and
3. The Designed Life – where you are conscious and choose the destination.

Michael Hyatt on The Designed Life. Photo by Armosa Studios.

He urged us to ask three powerful and important questions:
1. How do I want to be remembered? Now is the time to create that legacy.
2. What is important to me? Choose your priorities consciously, not based on the urgency of the moment.
3. What single brave decision do I need to make today?

Do what matters.

That was the takeaway for each of us -

Safi Mafundikwa
Graphical Design & Images in Zimbabwe

His philosophy: Jump and a net will appear.

Safi Mafundikwa. Graphic Designer. Teacher. Farmer. Photo by Armosa Studios.

Saki Mafundikwa loved to sketch as a child growing up in Zimbabwe. He was later able to pursue a graphic design education and career after coming to America and authored a book, Afrikan Alphabets, which is currently out of print. In order to bring graphical design education and new media training back to Africa, he founded the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts (ZIVA). There students can learn not just the use of graphical digital design tools, but typography, different mediums, communication and information design.

As part of his story, Saki shared the African use of totems as cultural markers to reflect kinship. Different animals are associated with families and may have different names in different cultures. For example, an elephant totem may be called Mutopo or Isibongo.

Safi also is an organic farmer.

Read more about the WDS speakers and connect here:

World Domination Summit website #WDS2014

A. J.Jacobs website @ajjacobs
TED talk: My Year of Living Biblically
TED talk: The World’s Largest Family Reunion

Simple Green Smoothies website @jadahsellner

Zen Pencils website @zenpencils

Shannon Galpin website @sgalpin
TED talk: Art as Activism

Michael Hyatt website @michaelhyatt

Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts website @sakimaf

Stay tuned for World Domination Summit – My Unconventional Weekend – Part 2


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://Corporatenationsimplified.com Charanjit singh

    Unfortunately I was not there at WDS2014 but fortunately I can still read and learn a lot from experiences that you and others are sharing. The best thing I like about WDS is that it opens your mind to newer possibilities, the WDS community is strong and you don’t really have to be an established entrepreneur to be able to participate.

  • periwinkleyears

    Thank you for the nice comment? Were you at #WDS2014? If so, what did you enjoy the most?

  • http://Corporatenationsimplified.com Charanjit singh

    Very nicely written and comes out as great story telling. I can relate to you and thank you for providing the inspiration through your writing.

  • Pingback: What Are People REALLY Saying About WDS 2014? : The Art of Non-Conformity

  • periwinkleyears

    Thanks for reading! There are many really good posts on the #WDS2014 timeline. Hope to get Sun. notes up soon. I’m working my way through the books written by the speakers too. Great stuff!

  • http://www.caelanhuntress.com/ Caelan Huntress

    Great digest! I was hoping someone would take great notes, so I could find out all about the speakers I missed. You rock.

  • http://livesimple.nu/ MoNo

    Great post. I truly love that you have started writing about this amazing experience. And I am a bit jealous (just kidding) of where you were sitting in that auditorium :) I was at a corner and none of my pictures turned out to be as good as yours :)
    Lots of love and support form a fellow WDSer :)

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What are Periwinkle Years?

To me, they represent the second half of my life. These years while I reassess what to do with my time and what I still want to accomplish. How to create security as I head into retirement. How to discover a new passion. I'm on that journey. Maybe you are ready to create a new adventure too. What do you dream of doing?