Gathering for Stories

After completing a ski marathon, competitors gather. They congregate to tell stories, eat, drink, change into dry clothes, and find supporters. They finish, remove their skis, and inhale a sense of accomplishment. Then they begin to share.

How might we make space for our fans and participants to gather? How do we create intentional gathering places? When World Domination Summit (WDS) took place in Portland, OR, attendees assembled for breaks between presenters in the adjacent park—a selection of food and drinks available to nourish. The event’s superpower appeared through its performers, including a unicyclist with bagpipes that expelled flames, a steampunk group on stilts, and a roller derby team speeding about while serving snacks. The performers provided remarkable moments we could witness and share with other conference attendees. I remember some of the WDS Main Stage speakers, but I recall all the performers and many people I met in the presence of these buskers. The entertainers provided a sense of place and a point of connection.

Where there is smoke…

What advice would you give your younger self? If you could go back in time, say half of your current lifespan, what wisdom would you share with your less traveled self?

Chris Guillebeau shared a mind-shifting answer this weekend at World Domination Summit. He stated that he would ask his younger self how to nurture the key characteristics and mindsets that aging might erode. He flipped the script. He did not see the question as linear but rather generative. He reversed the flow and asked for guidance instead of funneling suspect wisdom to youth.

What questions and opportunities in your ecosystem are prime for a mind shift? How might we tell less and ask more for guidance? 

I am more connected to the causes who asked for my insights over the ones who told me their results and impact at the first point of contact. My ideas are treasured investments in these enterprises, and I intend to monitor their germination.

Ask a question before we tell; perhaps it becomes the fire that never natures into smoke.

What Gets You On A Plane?

What event or opportunity is meaningful enough to get you on a plane (or another form of transit)? With ubiquitous virtual conferencing platforms, why do we ever need to travel again? Why can in-person connections not generate the same intensity as those created on a screen? Why do groups that exist in a virtual platform hold in-person gatherings (online gaming competitors, Youtubers, etc.)? In my experience, there are planned connections that we can schedule when we gather in person. A friend or colleague we look forward to seeing. Then there is serendipity. The individual we sit next to at a meal or during a presentation. The one we discover a point of confluence with adds depth and dimension to our journey (and work). I have several in-person connections from attending the same conference for over ten years; our online chats archived on the conference app. I have few virtual friends that I connected with on-screen and shared contact information. Creating the necessary depth and dimension from a virtual connection is much more challenging.

I am attending the final World Domination Summit (an unconventional weekend for unconventional thinkers) in Portland, OR. After the pandemic caused a two-year delay, the summit re-launches to celebrate its final iteration. It would be convenient not to attend; a multi-year delay disrupted the cadence of the event and disjointed some of the networks of participants. But the group is remarkable, and the connections resonate. The event does not define me, but it expands my mindset. It adds crucial details to the unmapped portions of my journey. The flight there represents the front door of the odyssey.

World Domination Summit 2014

IMG_6760Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit is a highlight each year.  The speakers are remarkable, the attendees engaged in inspirational projects, and the summit’s community commitment to service dynamic.  Highlights included:

  • AJ Jacobs encouraged us to act differently and allow our mind to catch-up, not allow our dreams to be deferred.
  • Jada Sellner emphasized the importance of imperfect action over waiting for the perfect moment.
  • Shannon Galpin asked us if we were using our own voice or borrowing someone elses.
  • Michael Hyatt challenged us with three questions 1. How do I want to be remembered? 2. What is important to me? 3. What single brave decision do I need to make today?
  • Gary Hirsch asked the audience what is one brave thing we want to do but have not?  Bots were distributed to serve as on-going inspiration.
  • Dee Williams challenged us to show-up wearing our cape and announce our super power.
  • Elise Blaha Cripte encouraged us to say our goals out loud and stop looking for a treasure map.
  • Scott Berkun suggested we have to be vulnerable in order to make stuff.  Choose to honor the idea.
  • Jan Jantsch presented the importance of creating loyal customers by choosing the right customers and asking how we can be of service to each other.

The impact of these profound insights have been of great value.  I hope they might add value to your remarkable journey.