When you return home from an event like the World Domination Summit, you feel full.
Full of ideas. Full of inspiration. Full of optimism. And full of bits and pieces you want to digest and cobble together and most importantly, act on while they all still make sense inside your cluttered head.
Let’s hit pause for a second, so I can answer the question you probably wish you could ask: WHAT THE HECK IS THE WORLD DOMINATION SUMMIT?
Different people would answer this in different ways, but here’s what WDS is to me: a get-together for people who want to live remarkable lives. A place for digital entrepreneurs and dreamers and creative go-getters to inspire one another. A chance to be surrounded by people who actually get what I do for a living.
The event is motivating and moving and even slightly cult-ish. It’s the one time each year when I get to interact face to face with my online community.
Yet while learning and connecting and experiencing ah-ha moments that will forever affect my business and my life makes for a pretty awesome weekend, something felt different for me at WDS this year.
This feeling was one I didn’t see coming, considering how overwhelmed I was with ideas and emotion at the 2012 event. (Here are my takeaways from that conference.) Last year, the whole experience felt surreal. It felt crazy and strange and empowering to be surrounded by people who don’t see working for yourself as riskier than a traditional job or backpacking through Africa solo as a crazy pursuit — because they’re following their unique dreams, too.
This year, though, being part of this community that revels in unconventional awesomeness… felt normal.
That’s right: the alternative universe of WDS felt normal. At first I thought that was because this was my second year attending the summit, and like many life experiences, it simply didn’t have the same bang the second time around.
Except the summit did still feel amazing, just in a different way. Which made me realize the real reason it felt different wasn’t the summit itself — it was me.
Now that I’ve been working for myself for nearly two years, I interact on a daily basis with people who are creating alternative careers, building interesting online businesses and living remarkable lives. It’s still pretty darn cool to be dancing Gangnam style with 3,000 of those people, but it no longer feels like a huge departure from what I do every day.
By surrounding myself with go-getters, I have shifted my own reality. And because of that, my normal has changed.
It feels normal to create my own priorities. It feels normal to do work I enjoy on my own terms. It feels normal to earn a significant pay raise every year, rather than hoping my boss approves 5 percent at my annual review. It feels normal to dream, and then actually act on those dreams.
That doesn’t mean I appreciate those opportunities any less; I practice gratitude regularly, even more than I did years ago. But once things feel normal, you begin to act differently, too. You push the boundaries more. You go bigger. You realize even more is possible, and you set your sights on new, bigger goals.
That’s the big question, right? How do you go about shifting your own reality? In three ways:
1. By surrounding yourself with other people who are doing awesome things
If you’re the outlier, the only person you know bucking the status quo, it will be that much more difficult to get where you want to be. You will feel like you’re swimming against the tide.
But when you’ve got other swimmers alongside you, you will feel supported. That community is a huge part of changing your normal. To help you grow that community, here’s some solid advice from Scott Dinsmore about how to surround yourself with passionate people.
2. By sharing your dreams with others
When you tell others about your dreams — whether that’s in person or online — you turn them from abstract ideas into concrete goals. You bring your dreams to life. And once you bring your dreams to life, once you share them with others, you’ll be much more likely to take actual steps toward making them happen.
3. By choosing something
Too many of us wait until we know exactly what we want to do to take that first step. But the truth is, purpose won’t find you until you get started. And you know what? Chances are, even if you were able to pick that perfect goal and perfect route to get there, your destination would likely change along the way.
That’s why I loved the lyrics from Clare Bowditch’s song, Amazing Life, which she performed this weekend. Like many of the people in that audience, I teared up when she sang it on stage, not just because it was so beautiful, but because the lyrics reflected why each of us had made the effort to be in that concert hall in Portland. We’re all looking for an amazing life. We might define amazing differently, but it’s still something we all want. To get there, we have to choose priorities, and we have to get started.
“You don’t have to be just one thing,” Clare sang, “but you have to start with something.”