World Domination Summit 2014 – Lessons and Takeaways

Have you ever changed your mind? It’s quite common, really. When you gather new information, you make a decision and you stick with it (until you get more information, of course).

I’ve recently changed my mind. I was planning to write a separate post for every single day at World Domination Summit in Portland. The idea was simple: I wanted to capture my feelings, in a live journal that I would share with you. As it turns out, that was a fairly stupid idea. 16 hour days don’t leave much time for journaling.

So, plan B: Write a post for each day once I get back to reality. I started that – in fact, this post began as “World Domination Summit – Day 2”. But then, new information: When you’re gone from your daily life for four days, people miss you, and work piles up. So you wait, and by the time you get a chance to breathe and do some writing, you don’t remember the subtle nuances that occurred each day.

So, plan C (this one): Write a post with some overarching details, and the main takeaways. Does that work for you? If it doesn’t, you should stop reading now, because that’s precisely what this is:

My recap of World Domination Summit 2014, and Lessons Learned


How I Helped Make 696 Indians Have a Bad Day

If I asked you “What is the absolute best way you could ever start a day, no matter who you are, or where you live?”
What would you say?

“Waking up with my soul mate”
“Having my kids wake me up”
“Awaking in a gorgeous wilderness escape, or on the beach”

Well, those are all wrong. The absolute best way to start your day ever is by breaking a freaking WORLD RECORD! 808 people (actually, a hell of a lot more than that, but 808 is the official number) descended on Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, OR (and conveniently, just 2 blocks from my hotel thanks to planning + travel hacking) to break a world record set by India.

The challenge? A Yoga chain – a mass number of people who have one thing in common: They are Awesome. The way it works is kind of like the wave at a sporting event, you do a yoga pose, then the next person does the pose, then the next, etc. When you get to the end, the first person does a new pose, and the next. You hold your pose until the next pose gets to you. Sounds simple, right? Well, it turns out that with 808 people doing the poses, it takes a LONG time for each pose to get to you. You can hold some poses for up to 20 minutes.

I’ve got some video of the line, taken from my little drone copter, and there’s also some footage from a professional drone!

The record? 696 people, doing 3 poses.
The new record? 808 people, doing 5 poses! (Pending Guinness confirmation, of course)

Now, we don’t have any actual footage of the previous world record holders, but I have to imagine most of their day was spent weeping softly while eating from a tub of ice cream.

I challenge you to find a better way to kick off the day.

Friends + Voodoo

After the world record, I went along to Voodoo Donuts with my new Yoga friends, Fabian and Donna.

From Left to Right: Donna, Fabian, Paul
From Left to Right: Donna, Fabian, Paul

I know exactly what you’re thinking: “Paul, you’re so healthy, you can’t eat at Voodoo Donuts!!!”. I didn’t, but it was fun to see the insanely long line, smell the unbelievable smells (think Krispy Kreme mixed with crack) and see the insane donuts that came out of that place.

My new friend Fabian ordered the Maple Glazed Bacon donut, and the Oreo Donut. I’ll just tell you what he had to say: “I don’t know why I ordered both of these”

Bacon and Oreos, a winning combination?
Bacon and Oreos, a winning combination?

What I Learned from a Pint of Beer

Okay, fast forward, and for the rest of the day, we had a Meetup with the Live Your Legend folks at a local brewpub.

And this is where I broke a rule I’ve followed for about 18 months. I had a beer.

It was a long day already (at 2pm), and I was HOT. You see, Portland was unseasonably warm this week (peaking in the 100’s). After 3 hours of yoga, and walking around the city, I was parched! You may well know that nothing tastes as good as a beer when you’re super thirsty, so I decided to use my drink coupon for myself, instead of giving it away.

I ordered an in-house brewed stout (surprisingly, a good crisp stout is about as refreshing as you can get). One sip, and I was transported back 2 years earlier, when I brewed beer and held over 200 bottles of beer in the house. It was amazing. That first sip was like a time machine.

The second sip was really good. The third was good. After that, it was nothing special. After I had drained about 1″ of beer, I was done.

I placed the beer on the bar, and walked away. It stopped tasting good, so I switched to water.

The lesson? It’s okay to partake in something you love (or used to love), but nothing will ever be as good as that first taste. If it stops being enjoyable, stop doing it.


Creating a Revolution (with Jonathan Fields)

One of the most eye opening sessions all week was the Academy taught by Jonathan fields. I didn’t know what to expect going into it, but oh my gosh was it fantastic. His focus is specifically on how to create a revolution – whether that is a food revolution, a political revolution, a revolution against the status quo, he has an 18 step method for creating said revolution. Scott Dinsmore over at Live Your Legend has a nice write-up about the 18 step process. Hearing it in person was so much better, though!


The really fascinating aspect of the talk with Jonathan, though, was the fact that he left a full hour for questions. In a 3 hour session, you would expect maybe 15-20 minutes for questions. This man understands what people really need, though. He went through his material, opening up hundreds of minds in the process, then he allowed all of those questions that had percolated up to the surface of our brains to make the last part of the journey out of our mouths.

What really impressed me was the amount of caring that came through with Jonathan. For each question, he would squat down (he was on the stage, the question asker was at a microphone off the stage) and it really felt like the only person in the world he cared about at that moment was whomever was asking the question. I have worked on this skill, but it is DIFFICULT to master. To ignore all other stimuli, and focus only on the person with whom you are speaking. I got a bit better at WDS (possibly because everyone you speak with is so damned interesting), but it is still a hard one to truly master. You can see it in the photo below (sorry for the stupid blue filter, I was experimenting). Look at all of his focus – it’s on only one person out of the hundreds in the room.

Jonathan Fields truly cares about his audience.
Jonathan Fields truly cares about his audience. You can see he is only focused on one person


The main takeaway for me, though, was something that was outlined by Jeff Goins on Day 1, it’s all about your audience. Who are you serving, who are your people. Who is your soul clan (that came from the next day, but you get it). We all share some common view with tons of other people (and other absolutely hate said worldview). You must connect with those people, and understand that there will always be folks who completely disagree with your worldview.

Jeff Goins called it a worldview.

Jonathan Fields calls it Unifying beliefs.

I call it brilliant.

The Actual World Domination Summit

A new day, a new group of people. The actual World Domination Summit didn’t start until Saturday. Up to that point, it was ancillary sessions (known as Academies and Meetups). A comparatively small number of people attending these sessions. Day 3 was when all 3000 people came together in Portland for the World Domination Summit.


With a full stage of speakers and amazing takeaways, I’m going to summarize here. Each speaker had a lot to say. But I learned a brilliant technique about 6 months ago from an anonymous Reddit member (of all people)

Immediately after every lecture, meeting, or any significant experience, take 30 seconds – no more, no less – to write down the most important points. If you always do just this, said his grandfather, and even if you only do this, with no other revision, you will be okay.

So, for each speaker, I’ve gone ahead and given a 30 second summary of the most important points.

A.J. Jacobs – We are all family. Every person on earth is interconnected and is 50th cousin or less. Every. Single. Person. Hosting the worlds largest family reunion next year, all 7 billion members of the earth family are invited. Find out how you’re related to A.J. at wikitree

Jadah Sellner – Find your soul tribe – WDS is my soul tribe. It takes many failures to find your success. Creating a community takes consistent, ninja-focused actions. Choose love over metrics.

Gavin Aung Than– It is absolutely possible to do something you love. This can often come in the form of combining two separate, seemingly unrelated things that you happen to love. See Gavin’s work for a good example of this (Inspirational Phrases + Cartoons).

Shannon Galpin – Every person on earth has a voice. No matter their circumstances, they will open up for you if only you listen.

Michael Hyatt – In 30 days, 2 people from WDS will be dead. Take action now, and make this your life. There is no time to wait, it must happen now.

Saki Mafundikwa – It’s important to go back to thank the people who helped you. They want to know how what they’ve done has contributed to what you are doing. (I also learned a number of African (Zulu, I believe) words, but have, unfortunately forgotten them)

Gary Hirsch – What is one brave thing you have done? We all have bravery in ourselves. Gary gave us all a Brave Bot, which is a magical thing!

Dee Williams – We are all superheroes. Throw on your imaginary cape, and notice your posture, stance, and confidence change (more on this later). It is never too late to fix your life, and to reclaim your life.

John Francis – (Note: You MUST read John’s story, even if just on Wikipedia) – Simple actions, taken with commitment and consistency can cause ripples the entire world will feel.

Elise Blaha Cripe – Your story is interesting to someone. Likely, it is interesting to lots of people. Be yourself, and be your true self, and others will listen.

Scott Berkun – If you take notes, people will be forever grateful (Scott took notes on every speaker and posted them publicly). Story telling is a lost art, but it is a vital one to learn if you are to be a public speaker.

John Jantsch – Make Good Choices. (This is simple, but to anyone who attended, it is profound). “Between Stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our Freedom” -Victor Frankl.


There you have it. 30 seconds each. After doing this about a week late, I really wish I had focused on this right after each talk. Not only does the 30 second rule force you to listen and understand themes, it can also drive the questions you ask.


The Best Party I’ve Ever Been to

Finally, I want to talk about the closing party. This was an amazing party – 3,000 (okay, I’m sure it was less than that) people descended on an old industrial area. Full of rocks and gravel, and under a bridge – it was perfect for a closing party.

Food, Hot Air Balloon, Tarot Cards, A Concert, A Tiny House (54 sq. Feet) all were present. Plus, a TON of color.

The Hot Air Balloon was pretty awesome – you go up about 50 feet, then come back down. We got very lucky, though, because of what was happening at the concert.

You see, DJ Prashant had brought out some colors. These are powdered colors, like they use during the Indian Festival of Holi (images). As we were up in the air, he had everyone throw the colors up as well, so we got to see this massive cloud of color fly up into the air. I wish I had a picture of it, but the balloon ride is so fast, I decided to just enjoy it, and not worry about photos.


This is the Balloon that Took us up so high.
This is the Balloon that Took us up so high.
This is what the Colors look like. We saw it from a balloon.
This is what the Colors look like. We saw it from a balloon. (Credit: Armosa Studios)

After that, we swung by Dee’s tiny house. She brought a 54 sq. Foot Tiny house (her retirement home) for us to check out. We also wanted to have Dee sign our capes. “Capes?” you ask? During Dee’s talk, she put on a cape (it was really a blanket she stole from Delta Airlines). She gave her entire talk with this cape on, and she had us all stand up and put on invisible capes. When you wear a cape, you stand up straight. You puff out your chest. You turn your palms out. You are a superhero.

We were sporting OUR capes
We were sporting OUR capes

Turns out, they had blankets at the closing party, just in case people got cold. So, what did everyone do? We all wore capes! That’s right, one woman’s talk convinced 3000 people that it is okay to wear a cape, and to be a superhero. Well, me and my friends (Davis and Amorette) decided we would get our capes signed. As we walked up, Dee was getting antsy, and decided she was done talking to people, it was time to dance. So she started dancing on the gravel, then jumped up to her patio, and pulled a few of us up there. Then, she said “into the house” and she jumped up on her bed. We must have fit around 20 people in that Tiny House, and dammit, we had a dance party. To quote Dee, “See, who says this place is small!”

Once again, I wish I had photos of this, but as Jeff Goins so rightfully posited: The best nights are when you’re having too much fun to take pictures.


What Does This Mean for You?

So, with all of that said, what’s the big takeaway. What does all of this mean for YOU. After all, this blog is for you, and not for me.

This even was never about the speakers, or the events. Sure, they added, and who doesn’t love learning and being inspired. But events like this are about the people. It’s not who you see, it’s who you meet. I’ve made some lifelong friends – we will always have WDS2014 in common. And come next year, we’ll meet up again. These people are part of my tribe. We had an instant connection, and it’s a connection that will never be broken.

So, again, what does this mean for you?

What it means is GO FIND YOUR TRIBE.

Find the people who you identify with, who you truly connect with. It’s probably not your co-workers, or even your family. Make sure you make time for your people.

When you are with people who you can’t connect with, your life will feel unfulfilled, but as soon as you make that real connection, you will immediately feel like part of the tribe, part of something. And that, my friends, is the most powerful feeling in the world.


P.S. For anyone who might want to attend WDS next year, you can sign up to get notifications when tickets go on sale here. And if you are going, let me know, I’d love to meet up and get some coffee or tea!


World Domination Summit – Day 1

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.

For the full review of WDS, and the Lessons Learned, check out Lessons and Takeaways!


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.

The View From the Top
The View From the Top
Flanders Avenue in Portland
He’s the Flanders, Man

The Simpsons

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.

Darren Rowse and Chris Guillebeau take Questions
Darren Rowse and Chris Guillebeau take Questions

Speakers (linked to their respective blogs):


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.

Pam Slim talks Blogging
We got lots of great, thought provoking tips from Pam Slim

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 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)

"I'd rather live a life of 'oh wells' than a life of 'what-ifs'" - Pat Flynn
Inspiring Words from an Inspiring Guy

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!

On the Way to the World Domination Summit

I’m sitting here in the Delta Sky Club in Salt Lake City waiting for a flight to a truly transformative experience.

I'm happy!!!
I’m happy!!!

I’m on my way to the World Domination Summit in Portland (Oregon). This is an annual event hosted by Chris Guillebeau for Entrepreneurs, Web “People” and just generally awesome folks. And I don’t use the word “Awesome” lightly.

Side benefit – I get to see one of my best buds Erik, with whom I worked on Bar Crawl Bingo. He moved to Portland about the time I moved to Texas, and I haven’t seen him since. It should be a great time!

See, we really are good friends
See, we really are good friends, especially after some drinks in Vegas

(Erik, don’t hate me for posting the above photo!)

I’d like to document this experience, so you’re going to get raw, unadulterated reflections each day this weekend, as I capture my thoughts and feelings. Look to for updates.


That’s all for now, but there should be plenty of juicy posts coming in the next few days!