Grab a cup of coffee guys, this is a long one…
I just flew back home from beautiful Portland all abuzz with what can only be described as a WDS hangover. For me it was a week of non-stop movement, meet-ups with incredible people doing big things in the world, epiphany inducing lectures and workshops, Bollywood dancing in the streets, and of course, copious amounts of Portland brewed beer.
I’ve been trying to write this post for a few days. Tried to start writing it at a coffee shop called Public Domain while my friend and I enjoyed what can only be described as Portland Weird. Tried to formulate coherent thoughts about WDS at breweries and distilleries to no avail. And then I tried again on the red-eye I took back home to South Florida only to succumb to major sleep deprivation.
The truth is that WDS is a very hard thing to put into words. It’s quite an experience to be in the same room as so many major thought leaders, entrepreneurs, friends you just met in person for the first time, and people who are all doing their part to make the world a better place.
I know that sounds totally cheesy, but it’s true, every single person I met was in their own way trying to make the world better. And you know what? It’s a constant high to be around people like that. It really lights a fire under your own ass and helps you realize that you’re all in it together.
For me, having just quit my own job to pursue my business full-time, it was exactly what I needed to affirm that I really am on to something. That I’m making the right decision for myself and my life. And above all, that there is a massive community of people out there willing to support each other along the way. I always knew this intellectually, but it’s a whole other thing to experience it on the massive scale WDS provides.
With that being said here are some of my personal takeaways from this incredible experience…
Surround Yourself With Your People
The idea of surrounding yourself with like-minded people is something I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, and it’s something I have to drive home again. When you are in the middle of a big project, a business, a dream, or a goal it’s like you adopt this new mindset a lot of people aren’t accustomed to – a mindset of possibility.
That’s why it’s paramount to keep that around you as much as possible while you pursue your endeavors and design your life the way you actually want it. Otherwise it’s very easy to fall into the doldrums of mediocre living and forget that you have more power than you think.
It was absolutely amazing to meet so many of the people that have become my friends along this journey. People that up until recently I’d only interacted with on Twitter, Skype, Google Hangouts, or through their blogs. And it was awesome to share this with my friend who lit a fire under my ass some time ago when he handed me Chris Guillebeau’s ANOC.
Nothing like talking big projects, world domination, life, dreams, and passions over brewskies (and in my case lots of gin).
Other incredibly awesome people who I just met: Heidi Fuhrman, Ashley Josephine, Taylor Jacobson, Genevieve Santos, Thursday Bram, Erin McNaughton, Melissa Anzman, Kate Marolt, Caren Baginski, Jia Jiang, Phillip Taylor, Mark Powers, Brian Seth Perler , Jeffrey Trull & Elizabeth Seda
How can you not have a life changing time with so many awesome people in one place?
It’s Okay to Be Vulnerable & Negative Emotions Happen
I met Pamela Slim from Escape to Cubicle Nation. And upon meeting her I told her I’d just quit my job to finally pursue my own business. This woman, who had never met me and for all she knew I was some crazy blog fan girl, then proceeded to not only congratulate me, but give me the biggest hug ever! Made me feel a lot better about my decision that’s for sure.
Danielle LaPorte also talked about vulnerability and negative emotions when it came to pursuing your passions and living the best life possible. One thing in particular really struck a chord with me. She was asked “How do you know when it’s time to take the leap from your regular job to your business?” (common theme at WDS) and she said “When you start resenting your regular job. Get that off your plate immediately because it will only get ugly from there.”
She also talked about guilt and how we’re never really going to get rid of it so just go with the flow. You feel guilty at your regular job for not pursuing what you love. And then you feel guilty for leaving your job because you feel like you are leaving people behind. Just flow with it, don’t let it totally constrict you.
Bingo! Needed to hear that. I can now die happy because I saw Danielle LaPorte rock the mic in person. And everything she said was as if it was tailored right for me.
Another genius talk was given by Tess Vigeland. In it she talked about the roller coaster involved in leaving her big time job to pursue what she felt in her heart was right. From extreme self-confidence to wondering what the hell we’re doing, we’ve all been there, and her definitely resonated with all 3,000 attendees.
And the amazing Gretchen Ruben from The Happiness Project gave a spectacular talk about different personality types, how truly knowing ourselves will help us make decisions that make us happy, and so much more! It was an interesting talk that can easily turn into a separate blog post (or five).
It’s Okay to Let Loose & Have a Good Time – We Deserve It!
This may have been a conference full of non-conformists, but it’s also a conference full of varying ranges of Type A’s. As such, many of us work really hard. Probably way harder than we should. This was the first trip I’d taken in 3 years that a) was longer than 3 days and b) didn’t involve a wedding.
It was awesome to see what the fruits of my labor have come to – quitting my job, doing something I absolutely love, working on my terms, and now actually giving myself permission to have a good time.
But here’s the thing – we really shouldn’t have to wait for permission to do what we love or have some fun. We have the opportunity to do this everyday. We just need to make the right decisions for us and commit to them.
With that being said, in case you are waiting for permission, here it is:
I grant thee permission to do something you love and have a hell of a good time doing it. Really. It’s okay. No one is going to get mad. You deserve it. Now go for it!
A Few Notes on The City of Portland (Oregon, not Maine)
My friend and I padded WDS with a couple of extra days so we could actually enjoy the city. Who am I kidding? It was so we could recover from jet lag and hangovers. I believe this is one of the signs Paul Angone mentions as having entered adulthood in his book 101 Secrets for Your Twenties. You know, needing extra time in between vacation and work. I will readily admit I’m getting old lol.
- Lots of freakin’ local beer! And lots of coffee!
- Very eco-friendly. Even the trash cans are organized by types of recyclables.
- The strangest donuts ever. I’m talking bacon donuts.
- 4th of July Fireworks and annual Waterfront Blues Festival which were uber fun even with jet lag.
- Powell’s: a four story book store that takes up an entire city block and requires a map to easily get around it. Lit major heaven if there ever was one.
- Sometimes you can’t tell whether people are homeless or hipsters.
- You can’t ship alcohol out of the state of Oregon, but apparently it’s okay if everything smells like weed. With that being said, I had to check a lot of booze on the plane.
- Incredibly walk-able and very pretty.
- I hung out with one of my fellow lit major college friends! So awesome to have hung out with my friend Rose after not having seen her since I graduated!
- Bollywood dancing! Lots of it!
I’ll end this with a video of WDS’ers dancing in the streets of Portland…
Also, enjoy this Bollywood mash-up by DJ Prashant. Pretty much sums up what we were all jamming to.