I recently attended the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. (Weird name, right? And no, it’s not like that.)
Often defying description, WDS was recently described by a friend of mine, Jeff Harry, when he said: “The best way to describe WDS is that it is a play conference where people are giving each other permission to live a much bigger, more powerful, adventurous life. It challenges the notion of the standard 9 to 5, as well as believing that life is a mundane experience that you just need to tolerate.”
Every year, the content is captivating. In addition to mainstage speakers with the likes of Brene Brown and Ryan Holiday, attendees are empowered to create their own meetups throughout the week and share their knowledge and expertise with each other. Or just have tacos, because tacos.
There are numerous blog posts every year reviewing the content – that’s not my focus today.
Today, I became fixated on the question … why do the attendees struggle every year to describe WDS, and why they keep coming back? Attendees often return for 2, 3, 4, 5 years to this conference, and yet when asked what brings us back, many will say “it’s hard to describe,” and then echo the conference theme, “how can we live a remarkable life in a conventional world,” and then “really, it’s the community.” And all the while, we walk around wondering, “what does make this community what it is?”
Then today I was out for a walk, listening to Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie. I may have gotten dirt in my eye, as I often do during this section of the song:
Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?
Why can’t we give love that one more chance?
… ‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
And it struck me that the reason we have such a hard time describing WDS is because the answer is very simple.
WDS is love.
It’s a community of people who show up every year to connect with their chosen family.
It’s a community that invites in new members, without hesitation, and says “come, join us. Show us your quirks, your fears, your dreams, and we’ll show you that you belong here, because we have the same quirks, fears, and dreams.”
People return to WDS because this community is willing to risk loving each other, in a society that has, somehow, made that wildly uncool.
I have friends at home, and we struggle to say “I love you” to each other. We know we do, we show it and feel it in every interaction. And yet, it’s difficult to say the words, because “love” is reserved for family and lovers.
But at WDS, people show up and express their love for their people all week long. They show vulnerability, trust, and patience with each other. Hugs last longer than a pat on the back. Friends say “I love you!” and it’s not weird.
Love isn’t dangerous, it’s the baseline.
WDS is a glimpse of what the world could be like, if we collectively gave – and received – more love.
The World Domination Summit community has one more year in it’s current incarnation, and after 2020, I expect to see breakout offerings from attendees all over the world. None of them will be exactly like WDS, but maybe that’s the point.
Because maybe now, it’s time to show more people what this kind of love feels like. To take it out from this community and share it with the world.
To make it safe to care about each other again.
Wouldn’t that be amazing?