I never post on weekends or holidays, but World Domination Summit is a special circumstance. One day feels like a week. There's so much going on, so much to think about, so much "homework," and mostly, so many fascinating new people to meet, that I have an intense desire to record it all in some way. Oh, and to share it, of course!
We've been riding the bus downtown from my parents' place, which is just under an hour each way, so we've been having early mornings and late evenings. We left our schedule open this morning, as it was the only opportunity we would have to go to Powell's Books. Everywhere we went downtown, we saw WDS attendees dressed in costumes. One guy was dressed like a shark, which is real commitment on a 95 degree day. That event made all of downtown feel like part of a festival, which is true right now. I arranged a small, informal lunch meet-up, and we all sat in the shady park and ate from the food carts while listening to live music. Since I work at home in a city where we haven't lived long, I don't have any lunch buddies yet. Eating lunch with someone other than my dog is a red letter day.
My husband and I were scheduled for diverging events all afternoon. We walked part of the way to our respective academies together. I took Stephanie Zito's class, Launchpad to the World: Travel Hack Your Way Around the Globe in 90 Days or Less. We've taken the CreativeLive class she did with Chris Guillebeau, Make Your Dream Trip a Reality. Travel hacking is like drinking from the fire hose. There are so many different ways to do it, and so many details to manage. After this class, I realized that we're only doing maybe 20% of what we could be doing. This is part of where "homework" originates, when we realize we want to sign up for a bunch of different services or websites or programs, and it's going to take the rest of next week to do it all. So much awesome. The big question is where we'll go next.
My husband took the academy on How to Create & Build a Hyper-Engaged Community, which is relevant to his interests. His brain is full, too. Now he's trying to nudge me a little about opening comments on my blog. Just leaving this here. I always figured if anyone took the trouble to email me and ask about it, I might do it, but until then, I prefer not having to manage or moderate commenters.
We each had an afternoon meet-up. I was torn, because I wanted to do both of them, but they were cross-scheduled. Lo and behold, both of our academies ran late, and we were both late to the opening of our meet-ups. Unfortunately, mine must have met in the designated spot and then gone elsewhere, because I wasn't able to find anyone. (It was an event on non-fiction book proposals, and it felt very consequential and important to me, but oh well). Another woman found herself in the same situation, and she suggested we go to the other event, which was two blocks away. Even though we weren't signed up, we were able to sit in, and they had just started.
This meet-up was about how to get clarity when you can't decide between multiple projects. One of the exercises involved touching base with how you would feel if you completed the project, and comparing that to how you would feel if you never completed the project. For some people and some projects, there's undoubtedly a rush of relief at the prospect of quitting and letting it go. The exercise I found most valuable was to work with a partner, share projects, and talk about how to break them into smaller pieces and schedule them. I realized that I could easily think of several ways to get through the block on mine.
My partner shared concerns about negativity from people in her life about changing her career direction. What I told her was that the closer people are to your inner circle, the more they will naysay you, because they will want to protect you from failing and getting hurt. That's if they're loving. If they're dysfunctional, they'll just actively sabotage you, but we didn't really need to go there. The key is: DON'T TELL ANYONE CLOSE TO YOU UNTIL YOU'RE DONE. Strangers on the street will tell you that your idea is awesome and offer to connect you with people in their acquaintance who could assist you. People who love you will look you in the eye and ask you what the heck you are thinking. You're not obligated to tell every single person in advance about your new book idea or business plan. If you write a business plan and show it to a loan officer at a bank, and that career professional deems it worthy of investment, then it is. If someone in your inner circle who has no credentials or relevant experience has an opinion about your project, smile, thank them, and tell them you'll "take that under advisement." The only thing you owe them is love.
In conversations throughout the event so far, I've noticed something interesting. When women share their ideas, they tend to preface them with an explanation of why they're ambivalent, or why it's a silly, dumb, or crazy idea. (More silly, dumb, and crazy ideas like these, please!) Then they'll come out with something that is obviously going to make money immediately. I'll ask, why on earth would you think that wouldn't succeed? You have to do this thing. If only I had an idea that good... Then another lady turned the tables on me. She asked me what project I was ambivalent about, and I told her, hemming and hawing just like all the other women have done so far. She told me the same thing I've been telling everyone else! "Of course that will sell, you have to do it!" It's a confidence gap, pure and simple. We can see it in others, but it's harder to see in ourselves.
We wended our way over to the opening party, which took over most of the South Park Blocks. Live music, magicians, food, and hundreds of like-minded people waiting for a surprise. We got gift boxes full of all sorts of cool swag. We have assignments. Mine was to express gratitude to one of the volunteers, as though anything could ever have stopped me, and I was more than happy to do that again. My volunteer came around the table and hugged me when I was done. My husband's is to write an inspirational message and leave it somewhere downtown for someone to find it. Again, why stop at one? I invited my parents to contribute messages when we got home, and we'll have fun doing that.
Some inspirational messages can be really confusing to people, such as, "There is plenty for everyone in this world," or, "It's okay to have lots of money," or, "Strangers are trustworthy." I'm going to try to curate what we put out there and make sure it's broadly comprehensible.
Yesterday, we left the event bubbling over with ideas on how to revamp our spending. Today, we had to add to that yet more ideas on how to earn points for free travel, or rather, many many many more points than we have already been earning and using. That's how we got to the event this year; we paid $22.40 in tax on our combined trip. We'll have spent more than that on city bus tickets before we leave! What we'll do with our thoughts on the projects to cut or continue, and what we can do with a community-building mindset, remains to be seen. Somehow sharing ideas with all our new friends makes them start to feel like projects that are destined to come forth.
On the bus ride home, a young gentleman chatted with us, and then asked if he could please use my phone to make a couple of calls. Of course. Why not? I lend my phone out all the time. What are they going to do? Drop it? Run off with it? Pfft. People are probably more careful with a stranger's electronics than they would be with a live actual baby. In five years I'll be laughing at the comical obsolescence of this exact model. He made the calls, finishing both with "I love you." (Girlfriend and dad, I presume). Then the dad called back and I handed the phone over again. Twenty minutes later, the lad told another passenger that he had just got out of jail. I laughed inwardly. There is nothing to fear. There is nothing to be afraid of. The fact of this person's event timeline has nothing to do with his manners or general harmlessness, which anyone could see. Welcome back to civilization, my fine fellow, and I hope someone gives you a hot dinner and a nice dessert afterward. I felt that the spirit of WDS is by no means limited to the couple thousand people who knew of the event and could afford tickets. There are kind-hearted, friendly, bright, fascinating people everywhere you look, provided that you do look.
(In fact, after the "jailbird" got off the bus, another young man who had been in the conversation taught us how to make a smartphone projector out of a cardboard box and a magnifying glass. He was carrying materials with him and he played us an instructional video. He suggested we follow the Futurism group on Facebook. Talk to people, I'm just saying).
Two days of main-stage events and a few more meet-ups mean that this is going to be one busy weekend!
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I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.