What kind of future will you create

“Notice the sparks. Follow them. The next big thing may be the small thing right in front of you.” – Darren Rowse

Rule #1: Put All the Crazy People in the Same Room (or River)

Last Friday morning Chelsea and I grabbed some fresh Portland coffee, walked down to the Willamette River, stripped down to a bikini and board shorts (I was in the shorts) and hopped in a couple inner tubes with about 618 other friendly folks. A few minutes later we broke the Guinness World Record for creating the longest human floating chain (old record was 542 in Viareggio, Italy in 2008). Hat tip to Tyler of Advanced Riskology for orchestrating the seemingly impossible feat.

It was fitting that the first official event of the World Domination Summit involved hundreds of people sloshing around in a river for a few hours wearing next to nothing. Something tells me that little vulnerability exercise wasn’t a coincidence. Also wasn’t a bad way to meet a few new friends.

And it set the perfect tone.

For those of you unfamiliar, WDS is an annual gathering put on by Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non Conformity. The event’s core theme is “How do we lead a remarkable life in a conventional world?” This year 3,000 people from 30+ countries descended on Portland, Oregon to share in that vision. Their stories were proof of what’s possible.

This was my third year in a row and surely won’t be my last (I already grabbed my 2014 ticket).

The People Make Things Possible

At Live Your Legend we believe the fastest way to do the things you don’t think can be done, is to hang around people already doing them. As we spend time around people operating on this new level, our belief of what’s possible begins to transform. We brainwash the impossible and suddenly it becomes our new normal. It’s a magical and simple process, and the best part is it’s 100% in our control.

Our goal at LYL is to help our community find and do work you love by surrounding yourself with the people and tools that make it not only possible, put probable. Change your environment and you change your results – it’s the fastest way I’ve seen too fill any gap between where you are and where you want to be. That’s also why we’ve put such a huge focus on in-personal LYL gatherings in the past months (and why we’re only just getting started).

World Domination Summit is one of the best places on the planet I’ve found for transforming your surroundings in the real world. In fact, I hosted a workshop on that very topic during one of Saturday’s sessions. Corbett Barr and I also hosted a packed house of 160 for a little pre party on Friday afternoon. Seeing so many of you in the real world was no doubt the highlight for me. Next year we’ll have to find a bigger venue!

Something special happens when you realize the people around you believe what you believe.

A guard does down, the need to puff your chest out starts to wain, and for the first time in many people’s lives you can actually be the person you really are. And when you do, you inspire the people around you to do the same. That’s what creates genuine connection. That is where possibility is born.

At WDS, instead of the average person doubting and belittling your ‘crazy’ idea (like so much of society does), the default response is filled with support, encouragement and fresh thoughts to help make your vision come alive.

After the weekend I felt both compelled and overwhelmed to write something. Plenty of articles will come as a result of the last few days, but for now I thought I’d keep it to the most powerful and moving ideas from some of the most inspiring and accomplished speakers, attendees and living legends I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a room with.

The below are some of my favorite tidbits from over 20 pages of notes – either things others said or things I learned from watching the things they did. I’m sure I missed plenty of gems, so please leave your own in the comments!

52 Unconventional Ideas & Stories for Moving from Idea to Impact

We are not our failures

Nancy Duarte – CEO of Duarte, Speaking Coach for Business & World Leaders and Author of Resonate

1. The most powerful way to resonate with your audience is through compelling stories and transitions. From blog post to best-selling book or world-changing speech, the framework stays the same.

2. You are not the hero. Your audience is. Your success is ultimately measured by how greatly you transform that hero. Make the journey dramatic.

3. Provide one magical tool that gets your audience unstuck from their most challenging pain. Meet them where they are and inspire them with what’s possible.

4. Note: For those curious, I did my best to follow Nancy’s Resonate book and framework in writing and presenting my TEDx talk. Her guidance was invaluable.

Darren Rowse – Founder of Problogger and Digital Photography School

5. Condition the habit of dreaming. That’s where creation begins.

6. A path is not to be found, it’s to be made.

7. The future isn’t a place we’re going, it’s a place we’re creating.

8. Notice the sparks. Follow them. The next big thing may be the small thing right in front of you.

9. At the end of each day ask yourself what gave you the most energy. Those are of the sparks worth pursuing.

10. It won’t be perfect. Put it out there anyway.

11. Consistently investigate what gives other people energy. Be the fan that fuels it.

12. Become hyper aware of people’s problems. Become obsessed with providing value. Through blog posts, emails, lunches – every interaction is a chance to helps someone solve a problem.

13. At the end of the journey it’s not about saying I had big dreams – it’s about saying I had great outcomes and results for the people around me.

14. Big dreams are meant to inspire, not intimidate. Do one small thing each day to the best of your ability to get you a tad closer. Set aside time to create & complete. Even 15 minutes a day can get your closer than you’d think.

15. You don’t have to be just one thing, but you do have to start with being something.

16. Infect others with your dreams. Sharing a vision builds a tiny army of people around you who will help it come true.

Bob Moore – Founder of Bob’s Red Mill

17. Sell something the public wants and do it in a conservative enough way to make it a business.

18. Put people before profit. Share with those who helped you build it.

19. Progress sometimes is just showing up. Personal permanence is powerful.

Jia Jiang – Founder of the 100-day Rejection Therapy Project

20. Go out and ask people for crazy things. You’d be surprised how often they’ll say yes.

21. Train yourself to welcome rejection. The higher you get, the more success you experience, the more no’s you’ll hear.

22. Avoiding rejection from others means you’re rejecting yourself. Ignoring your own ideas is the worst turndown of all. It’s also the most in our control.

23. How could the world change if you and the people around you stopped worrying about hearing “no”?

Chase Jarvis – Famed Photographer and Founder of Creative Live

24. The most common trait of successful people is creativity. It’s not a talent you’re born with. It’s a habit to be cultivated.

25. Embrace the creative craft. Find your art – photography, writing, music, story telling, cooking, anything – it’s all art. Create it daily.

“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.”  – Abraham Maslow

Gretchen Ruben – Bestselling Author of The Happiness Project

26. The key to happiness is self-knowledge. We become too focused on how we should be that we forget who we are.

27. Being who you really are means recognizing who you aren’t and who you’ll never be.

28. As you let go of the sadness that you are not a certain way, you can devote more of your life to what you actually love doing.

29. Being you allows the people around you to be them – one of the greatest gifts you can give.

30. Who do you envy and why? Notice the things in others that you wish your life embodied. Build upon that.

31. What did you do for fun when you were 10 years old? Find a way to adapt it to your adult life.

32. Trying to resist temptation causes a lot of bad feelings. Avoid the situations that require the greatest fight.

33.  Do the work to know who you are, and set life up to play into what you know creates your happiness. Leading with intention can change everything.

Andrew Warner – Founder of Mixery

34. Pay attention to what triggers your inner critic. Learn to question it. Is it true? Does it matter? Your answers can diffuse it.

35. Focus on your true mind – the part about you that’s getting traction and doing well. What is true, useful and wanted? There’s always something. Drown out the critic.

36. No one ever got great by not sucking.

Tess Vigeland – Radio Celebrity and Former Host of Marketplace Money

37. It’s time to jump ship when you have too much self-respect to stay. Even if you happen to like the job.

38. Getting your brain to absorb new opportunities is damn hard when you’re deep into something else. Space is a powerful producer of possibility.

39. Wherever you are in your career, realize there will always be a “next”. That’s the exciting part.

40. You are not defined by your job – no matter how magnificent it is.

Steve Schalchlin – Musician, AIDS Survivor and Founder of Living in the Bonus Round

41. You can only make a difference when you care.

42. You can always find one thing you can help one person with. Finding that person means there are 10 others. And if there are 10, there’re likely 1,000 more. That’s where changing the world starts.

Donald Miller – Multi Bestselling Author and Founder of Story Line 

43. Three questions make for a powerful story: Who are you? What do you want? What happened when you went for it?

44. What we think we want isn’t what usually makes us happy. Don’t expect your achievements to solve your problems.

45. Happiness comes from meaning. Find a meaningful project, share it with those you love and you’ll become a lot more resourceful when the inevitable suffering hits.

46. Shame often separates one’s personality from who they actually are. We can’t genuinely connect with others until our identity reflects our core.

47. We are not our failures. We aren’t our successes either.

48. The expectations that come with success can freeze us from being the person that got us there. Stop being careful. Seeking approval is not a reason to do something.

49. No masterpiece is perfect.

50. Put it out there. Give people something to respond to. Learn and adjust.

51. Great stories happen when characters take action.

And the most powerful theme of all…

Dont ask permission

52. Stop waiting for permission.

An attendee who’s currently planning his around the world sailing adventure summed it up nicely: “You don’t learn sh*t tied up at the dock.”

Everyone I talked to seemed to have their story about the difference they were making. For starters…

  • Amy’s creating a movement by hosting fitness bootcamps around the country to help suicidal kids. She did her 30th in Portland last Friday.
  • An artist launched a camp to teach women how to build iPhone apps.
  • Sarah swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco in her birthday suit to raise over $30,000 for Charity Water.
  • John’s writing a book to support his mission to transform the way kids learn.
  • Rami started a website and wrote a book to teach geeks how to meet girls.
  • Jon launched a kickstarter project to help a recovering bipolar paraplegic kid turned life advocate, tell his story and help others avoid the same challenges.
  • A world-exploring chef created Global Table Adventure to celebrate the positive in the world by bringing it to your table.
  • And my favorite (and most proud) – Naz, a member of our Connect with Anyone community, who started a business, The Pursuit of Purpose, with her two mastermind members turned best friends, who then decided to fly out from Australia together, and managed to make her way onto the main stage to recite a limerick that won her a free ticket for next year – which she promptly donated to a Venezuelan friend to help her stay in the U.S. and build out her dream.

You cannot make this stuff up.

And probably the most obvious lesson in possibility and permission came from Chris himself. As he stood on a stage in front of 3,000 people from over 30 countries, it’s easy to forget that six years ago no one knew who he was.

But he had an idea for a new approach to the world. His values were simple: community, adventure and service. Values people could take on as their own, and as they did, a movement was born. Three years ago 500 people showed up to share in that vision. The next year it was double. Then triple. Thousands more were on the waiting list. And it’s only been a few years…

Do you think Chris asked if it was ok before he got started?

Something interesting happens when you hang around people who refuse to ask for permission.

Their actions become contagious.

We no longer need approval by some higher power to pursue the things that matter to us. We don’t need a bunch of money or special resources either. The only real requirements are a meaningful idea and the people to help make it come to life.

What makes a weekend like WDS so magical is the same thing that makes our community at Live Your Legend what it is.

Everyone here has an idea to share.

Something you’d like done differently.

A problem you want to solve.

An impact you desperately want to make.

A way you’d like to change the world.

And this community has always been here to make that impact a reality.

Wrap up your idea in a way that makes the people around you better. Then care enough to do something about it.

After a weekend like this it’s hard to imagine doing much else.

-Scott

For the comments: If you were at WDS, what lesson did I miss? If you weren’t there, tell us your vision or share a lesson of your own. Stop asking permission, leave a comment and make us better!

And in case you missed it, here’s my recap from the first two years: WDS 2012 and 2011.

—–

Images courtesy of Armosa Studios


Leave a Reply

57 Responses to “52 Unconventional Ideas & Stories for Moving from Idea to Impact (#WDS2013 recap)”

  1. Amy says:

    Sending so much love to you, Scott! Thanks for featuring The 30×30 Project… again!

    I am so grateful for your inspiration and guidance. You’ve helped me more than you know over the last 2 years of Strong Inside Out’s existence. I hope I can help you in the near future as much as you have helped me!

    • Scott says:

      I cannot tell you how fun it is to have sat with you for tea when you first talked about the quest you were considering going on. Then the next time I see you, you’ve completed the whole damn thing. Talk about moving from idea to impact!!

  2. Ben says:

    Awesome recap! Had an awesome afternoon session with Pam Slim talking about moving big overarching goals into action…without getting overwhelmed.

    Break them down into feasible chunks by defining an “insultingly” small and feasible project.

  3. Sarah says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I was there for the first time this year, and it was an experience that I’m struggling to put into words. I’m still reeling from all the incredible stories I heard and people I met.

    After reading about the $100 dollar investment Chris made in all of the attendees last year, I knew that I had to experience the WDS community for myself.

    Motivated by his investment last year and all the wonderful stories this year, I decided to take $100 of my own money and invest it in myself and my dreams. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do with it yet, but I’ll have something to share at WDS2014.

    • Scott says:

      Now we’re talking Sarah! Something tells me that investment is going to get a pretty nice return. How are you thinking of putting it to work?

    • Patricia BT says:

      Hi Sarah

      Yeah, I did the same, and put $100 (or rather equivalent in my own currency ;) in an envelop as a bet/challenge…

      T think it’s a pretty good idea you have and I’m for sure looking forward to hear your story in 1 year.

  4. You described the entire conference in that one sentence: “You cannot make this stuff up.”

    This was my first year, and it is exactly what all the outliers need – a place to convene so we can all find out that we’re not crazy, we’re just a little lost in the mediocre world out there.

  5. Courtney says:

    While I will always likely remain skeptical about who was wearing the shorts and who the bikini, I will wholeheartedly agree with everything else you have said here. So many good points. Stop waiting for permission. I think more than would ever admit it are failing due to that alone.

  6. Hey Scott,

    Awesome recap of the WDS! I couldn’t go this year, but next year I will be there and meet all the amazing people from around the world. I hope to meet you as well next year!

    It has been a dream of mine to attend the conference, and WDS 2014 will be the year! I just started my journey not too long ago, but around the time of WDS next year, I will be celebrating 1 year of blogging and building my presence online, so the timing couldn’t be better :)

    As always, you continue to inspire us, keep up the amazing work you do!

    Navid

    • Patricia BT says:

      Ni Navid!

      It’s nice to see you on our different online circles. It’s like there at the WDS, people from different horizon mix and meet.

      You know what? if you want me to bring a bit of the WDS spirit, I’m going to be in your city next week-end (taking the ferry to Finland), so if you are there we can meet! I contact you on FB

      And for sure see you at WDS2014. You’ll love it!

    • Patricia BT says:

      oops typo above : Ni => Hi

  7. Nikki Smith says:

    Hey Scott,
    Thanks for getting this post out so quickly. It’s like a little balm and a lot of inspiration for those of us who wanted to be there!.

    Did you get to catch up with Clare B?

    I love a couple of things in particular:
    - You are not the hero. Your audience is. Your success is ultimately measured by how greatly you transform that hero.
    So true and Scott, you have an uncanny way of making us feel special! I can take it into my community as well.

    I love the “insultingly” small and feasible project – description that Ben reports from Pamela Slim. I’ve been saying to clients “what’s the next easiest step to take!” I think “insultingly” small works so well – humour – positive emotion – more action.
    Woo hoo!

    Nikki

  8. Leah says:

    The only thing you missed Scott was your awesome moves at the closing party! Forget the break-dancing, Bollywood is calling!

    I am still smiling back here in Brisbane from what was one amazing adventure. Thanks for including us in your round-up. Brilliant work as always.

    Stingin’ high-five!
    Leah.

  9. John Bardos says:

    Great write up Scott. It was an amazing event!

    I didn’t get a chance to meet you this time, but hopefully next year.

  10. Jason Gracia says:

    Scott,

    I appreciate the summary of WDS 2013, but more than that I appreciate the level of writing in this post. Your passion shines through in your words.

    This was a great post, a great message, and a great example of how your heart can make its way to the keyboard.

    Jason

  11. This is an amazing recap Scott! This was my second year and I was totally open to see what came towards me while experiencing WDS taking notes.

    Thank you so much for creating this, as you have created something I will share with others when they ask curiously…”What happens at an event called the World Domination Summit?”

    Much appreciated :)

  12. That was meant to be….experiencing WDS “without” taking notes.

  13. Tania says:

    Hey Scott,
    AWESOME recap!! Thank you for taking mad notes and sharing your learnings. It was fantastic floating across from you in the Willamette and chatting with you at the conference.
    My biggest takeaway from the weekend is this: Life is just one big experiment. I found the commonality between everyone that got up on stage was that their journey started with a burning question. Their curiosity started movements, actions and awesomeness.
    So, now you’re going to ask me what question is on my mind right? ( oh, its like I’m a mind reader)….My question is: What if?
    I’m trying to keep this question top of mind and see where it guides me.
    What’s your question?

    Enthusiastically,
    Tania

  14. Mike Rudd says:

    Great post here! As someone who attended my first WDS this year it was contagious!
    How could I add anything to such a fab list?!?!
    Maybe this…
    “If you want to learn how to run a business go sit down with Bob Moore for two hours.”
    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Boni Satani says:

    Hi Scott

    Thanks for sharing, it inspired me alot. Infact i loved it so much that i went ahead and shared few quotes on ma blog and my social networks.

    #thanks again!

    Cheers!

  16. Scott Dinsmore what can I say? To meet in person was off the charts A.MAZ.ING! You are the epitome of authenticity. You have a rare gift of an incredible energy being able to make everyone you interact with feel so special.

    WDS 2013 helped me find something very unexpected – my freedom.

    My deepest appreciation for your very kind words.

  17. Bo says:

    Awesome recap Scott! It’s impossible to fully express in words the impact of this weekend, but you’ve done a damn good job. I’m bookmarking this to review every few months!

  18. “We don’t need a bunch of money or special resources either. The only real requirements are a meaningful idea and the people to help make it come to life.” Scott, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve got what I think is a great idea, and I’ve got the purpose-driven passion to make it happen. But when I look for backing, it’s like I’m talking from a bubble of invisibility. I’d love to hear from other folks in the LYL community- how and where have you found support for your idea? Seems like I’ve tried everything I can think of- social media, blog, talking about it at work etc. Anybody got any ideas? I’m all ears! Thanks peeps.

  19. Marina says:

    I run a cooking blog where I share my tasty recipes and
    tricks and tips that I know from my numerous years of cooking.
    I try really hard to enhance my blog no less than thrice a week.
    I have had the blog for around 3 months, which I think
    is a pretty good amount of time. But, my blog
    doesn’t get lots of hits . When I look for my posts on Msn, it’s really hard for me to find them.
    I found your blog on the 1st page of DuckDuckGo while i
    looked for 52 Unconventional Ideas & Stories for Moving from Idea to Impact (#WDS2013 recap) |
    Live Your Legend, as a result i believe you must be a expert, care to share some information with me?

  20. Patricia BT says:

    Scott!

    After being part of your community for the last 9 or 10 months, meeting you and Chelsea was “totally amazing” ;) as well as meeting all the great people I got to know thanks of Live Your Legend and How to Connect with Anyone! Great bunch ;)

    Being new at the WDS, everything had a strong impact on me, and thinking we shared all the great moments, the float record, the meetups, was a blast!

    Yesterday here, I talked to a woman behind me in a line in a shop, and we shared some fun and this is really what I love with human relationships. I was then having tears in my eyes, thinking “connect”…

    Thank you Scott, thank you Chelsea, and thank you Liz, it was great to be in your room, and also for having matched me with my great friend Toi in the MM group. Spending time with her was so wonderful!

    You are all my people, I love you all!

    PS: a post on my blog is on it’s way

    • Liz says:

      I wish I could have spent more time with you! Talk about maximizing the WDS experience – you were everywhere all the time. I don’t think you got more than a few hours of sleep every night. We barely saw you, but I’m happy to have met you anyway.

  21. Fernando says:

    Scott,

    Great recap! I remember running into you at the zoo on Friday night before I knew what the weekend really entailed. As the weekend progressed I learned why I had made the decision to come to WDS. This was a once in a lifetime experience. Yet, many of us will be fortunate enough to attend WDS again next year. It’s been almost a week since I’ve returned from Portland, and the positivity and energy from the event is still within me.

  22. Kate says:

    Love this recap, thanks Scott! So great to meet you as well :)

    Two things I took to heart as well-

    * Sometimes it’s really helpful and freeing to work within a framework of who you are- when Gretchen Rubin talked about being an Abstainer or a Moderator, it gave great language to something I work with clients on– instead of fighting some of your tendencies, knowing how you operate in default mode can be SO illuminating toward building healthy habits and relationships with yourself- you mentioned it already in “happiness lies in knowing yourself” – but that specific example was amazingly helpful!

    * Be remarkable. Wherever you are at, whoever you are with, whatever you are doing- do it with everything you have. When you show up completely and do the best you can, even if you aren’t yet doing exactly what you dream of, you are creating the circumstances for those dreams to arrive.

    Thanks again!!

  23. What a fantastic, moving blog! These tips resonate so deeply with me. Thanks for a soulful, inspirational article.

  24. Great recap Scott! We didn’t officially meet, but now that I see your face, I think we were dancing near each other at the After Party :)

  25. Jeff Rose says:

    Awesome write up man. Glad I was able to finally connect with while at WDS.

    Can’t wait to see what the upcoming year has in store for you. :)

  26. Thanks Scott, that was really a great summary of the wonderful wisdom shared at the WDS. I did my own more brief version here: http://www.explorelifeblog.com/blog/2013/7/10/notes-of-wisdom-and-inspiration-from-the-world-domination-su.html

    My biggest takeaway was that self-doubt is the most persistent limiter and my post for this Weds is about how to eliminate self-doubt.

    I met you briefly on Saturday and recognized your smiling face and energy from other posts I have read by you. You are an amazing young man. You will do many great things in your life. Thanks for being who you are.
    Joseph

  27. Mindy Crary says:

    Ok, I think yours might be the MOST impressive post for WDS – I just bookmarked it, because how nice is it to have the 52 takeaways broken down by event and speaker?!? I am sorry we didn’t meet in person, maybe at WDS 2014!

  28. reuben says:

    Really cool article, highly useful and professionally written..Good Job

  29. Aecio says:

    Great post! There’s so much content here that I’ll keep reading this for a while! Good job Scott!

  30. Jia Jiang says:

    Wonderful write up, Scott! Thank you for summarizing my talk on rejection.

    Jia Jiang

  31. Chas says:

    Thank you for the great words of wisdom from many people and the recap (love the things Bob, of Bob’s Red Mill has to say). I was there in spirit, and down on the river, (couldn’t miss Robert Plant at the Blues Fest). Thanks for sharing the experience~ maybe I’ll attend next year.

  32. Silviane says:

    Thanks! really, really, truly..THANK YOU.
    I’ve just started this new job and…yeah. fear was around.

    Success to you!

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