I’m going to keep this kind of short. This post was supposed to go up last night, but I was out so late that I couldn’t quite get it written. So, you get this write-up this morning before I head off to the Great Namaste Challenge, a world record attempt for the largest yoga chain (like doing the wave, but with yoga poses). Keep in mind that I will update it as I have time to capture my pages and pages of notes, thoughts, and insights.
Of course, I kicked off the day in style by visiting the Concierge lounge at the Marriott (booked with only points – my flight and hotel are free thanks to travel hacking). Being 20 stories up, looking down on the world, you start to get some perspective.
Bum, bum bum bum bum, bum bum…
One other note – I was lucky enough to see some of my favorite Street Names in the world. Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons, one of my favorite shows ever) is from Portland. As a typical lazy writer, he stole names for many of his characters from streets in Portland. I’ve found Lovejoy (the good Reverend), Burnside (the Greedy Billionaire), Terwilliger (Sideshow Bob’s last name), Kearney (A bully), and Flanders (Everyone’s favorite Christian). I know it’s super geeky, but…well, I’m a super geek, so that’s okay.
Fear and Meeting People in Portland
I have to say, on my way to this conference, I was a bit nervous. There are feelings of inadequacy that come up when you go to sessions like this. A fear that you’re going to be the one guy who doesn’t have at least a 1,000 readers and a profitable blog. The fear of being found out as a fraud. “I call myself a blogger, but is that even the right term, I mean, I don’t do this full time, and I don’t make a living from it, so I don’t think I’m a blogger, I have a blog, but, you know, it’s…” Aaaaargh.
Fortunately, my mind was put at ease before I even got to the theater where the academy was being held.
On my way to the session itself, I was standing at a street corner with a number of other people, and I hear someone say “Are any of you going to the blogging session?”
I turn around and say “Me! Hi, I’m Paul” and we spoke the rest of the way to the conference, and for some time in line. Robert (Mid-Life round the world) just quit his job, and is planning a move to Thailand after Christmas with his family. It’s a one way ticket, and it’s the kick-start to a new adventure.
While in line, we both met Sarah, who is a pretty amazing individual. She is not a blogger herself, but would like to start one (a common theme among the people here). Sarah is an MD who is actually an instructor at Harvard Medical School! These people really are awesome.
While talking to Robert, he said at one point “and then, I’m not sure where I’ll go from there”, and the epiphany hit me. The people who come to WDS are different because when there is uncertainty, they see it as a point of excitement (a concept I confirmed in many subsequent conversations). The vast unknown is only an opportunity for doing amazing things. Of course there is fear – anyone who says there isn’t is lying to your face – but in the face of that fear, truly exceptional people see it as the adventure that it is.
Once inside, I got to meet Jesse, who is another example of a really profound individual that you meet at places like this. Jesse is an Australian who lives in Dubai, who happens to be in Portland for WDS. She used to fly for the Abu Dhabi royal family (as cabin crew) after working at Emirates, and she is working on creating a fitness brand. Why a fitness brand? Because Jesse is so awesome that she actually competes in CrossFit. I keep using that word Awesome, but in this post, I mean it literally – these individuals and events truly inspire a feeling of awe. Jesse is a true inspiration, and I can’t wait to see what comes of her fitness brand (if you read this, Jesse, I would totally watch that TV show you are pitching, it sounds amazing)
And lastly for the people I met, there’s Nick. Nick is an adventure traveler, and has been blogging for about 5 years – the dude is fascinating. Hitting up a number of countries, and yesterday hiking like 6 miles nearby, just because it’s cool. I don’t have Nick’s website, because I forgot to get a card from him, but once I get it, I’ll update this post with the information.
I also got to hang out with Amorette (from Live Your Legend local, in Houston, and one of my close friends), and in the evening, I hung out with Erik and Sarah. For those who remember, Erik is the guy whom I embarrassed with the picture from Vegas in my last post about my trip to WDS. (For those who like to see embarrassing things, you can find it here) We got some tea (really delightful stuff) and hung out for a while in the evening – it’s a great city. Every time I talk to Erik, I wish so badly to live in Portland. Whether Portland is really that amazing (which I’m thinking it is), or Erik has such an incredible worldview that he can make Portland sound like the absolute best city on earth (I suspect it may be a bit of both)
So that’s all the people, but what about the academy? Well, there was a ton of information and knowledge shared with us, but as many people know, and the speakers reminded us: These conferences are more about the people you meet in between sessions, than the sessions themselves.
What actually happened at the Academy?
Anywho, yesterday a number of us had a VERY full day of lots of blogging insight and tips. at the ProBlogger academy. By my count, there were between 100-200 people. The combination of like-minded, motivated people, and fantastic speakers really made this event stand out.
Speakers (linked to their respective blogs):
- Darren Rowse – ProBlogger
- Chris Guillebeau – The Art of Non-Conformity
- Pam Slim – Escape from Cubicle Nation
- Pat Flynn – Smart Passive Income
- Chris Garrett - chrisg.com, also an author at copyblogger
- Tsh – The Art of Simple
- Jeff Goins – Goins, Writer
More detailed information will come about what we learned, and what actions you can expect to see on this blog in the coming months as a result of everything taught by these thought-provoking leaders of the space, but it’s early, and time is precious. I still have yet to transcribe my notes and dissect them for useful nuggets of awesomeness.
But based on the motivation alone, I found myself writing down countless ideas. Also, (this is a tip I learned) I’d like to ask you all if there is anything else you would like to hear about. Just leave it in the comments (I read every comment myself), or if it’s private, you can shoot me an e-mail at Paul@padorec.com and I won’t share your name with anyone without your permission.
Jeff Goins (who was once mistaken for a little girl when he had a paper route) provided the most incredible outreach I’ve ever seen. He must have seen a tweet I sent with #wdsproblogger, but while he was speaking, he followed me on Twitter. That kind of dual sided outreach has made sure that I’ll never forget his name, and I had never even heard of him before. Brilliant play, Mr. Goins.
Like I said, there’s a lot of information, and I expect this blog to change up as a result (to a certain extent). But for now, I’m just going to leave you with one really incredible insight from Pat Flynn (who had the most fluid, dynamic speaking style of the group, yesterday)
You can find that posted all over Twitter, I’m sure, because it was a favorite of the attendees.
Go out and make today amazing!