Letting Go Of Fear & Finding Your Voice – Lessons From #WDS2015

“Once is a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.”

Those are the words of Alan Keightley and man oh man – I couldn’t agree more.

I had the privilege of once again attending World Domination Summit (#WDS2015) this year in Portland, OR and as expected, it did not disappoint.


It’s a yearly global gathering of creative remarkable people of all kinds focused on the values of community, adventure, and service above all.

Thousands of people from all over the world brought together for an entire weekend to connect, discover answers, possibilities, opportunities and explore this key question:

How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?


Core Values

Unlike any other convention, conference or summit where there’s a common vision but many different values, among the thousands of attendees at WDS from more than 30 countries, many come with different visions, but the same shared core values.



What brought me back again this year and I’m assuming many others as well, is the sense of community and connection you feel with everyone you meet. I’m seriously thinking of asking the WDS team to change it from community to family because that’s exactly what it feels like.



Taking risks, stepping out of comfort zones, and taking imperfect action is a big part of what WDS stands for. Whether it’s with travel, writing, crafting, creating – whatever it is that provides you with thrill and fulfillment.

“A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”



WDS defines what it means to serve. Not only does Chris Guillbeau, Founder of WDS, come prepared to serve himself, but so do all his incredible volunteers, speakers, and attendees. The effort to serve extends beyond WDS too and into the local Portland community.


Happiness Matters

IMG_5199World Domination Summit may not be for everyone, but it’s definitely for me.

There’s nothing wrong with living a conventional life in a conventional world – as long as you’re happy and fulfilled is what I believe matters most.

If a nine to five corporate job makes you happy, awesome.

If entrepreneurship isn’t for you, completely cool.

If a big house, white picket fence, and 2.5 kids makes you happy, don’t change a thing.

After all, this is what society (including my family) always told me was the norm, the path to follow, what everyone does.

As much as I respect all of it, it just never was (and probably never will be) for me.

I want to constantly write, think of new ideas, create them, embrace entrepreneurship, constantly serve and travel – meet, connect, and collaborate with others.

I welcome uncertainly, fear, and failure along the way because I know it’s all part of the process – the never ending process of growth, contribution and fulfillment.

If that makes me unconventional – I’m cool with that.

All I know is that I’m happy, and that’s what matters to me.


Speaking of Unconventional…

What better way to start of an event such as WDS than with a world record breaking attempt.

That’s exactly what we did.

On Friday morning, 600 people gathered in Pioneer Square for the biggest breakfast in bed party and broke yet another record for the most people eating breakfast together.

Call me crazy but what better way to connect, laugh, and share an awesome experience with others than with having breakfast in bed with them and oh ya, breaking a world record while you’re at it?

That is so going on my resume… wait a sec, I don’t have nor do I ever plan to have or need a resume. If I did have a resume, it would definitely be on there.


Making Time For Exercise Is Making Time For Success

IMG_5101For the second year in a row now, I signed up for a 5K Fun Run on Friday morning, right before the world record breaking attempt.

Both Kristen (my girlfriend) and I both ran it and loved it. It’s an awesome run that takes you over bridges, through parks, and ends by the waterfront.

Aside from a great way to see Portland, it’s also a great way to kick off WDS weekend.

We met lots of other runners including this guy and this guy who we ended up spending the entire weekend hanging around with.

That’s WDS in a nutshell – come as strangers, leave as friends.


Entrepreneur Fit Camp

Aside from the various academies that WDS provides, there are numerous meet-ups that are put on and hosted by attendees.

This year I decided to host my own meet-up, an Entrepreneur Fit Camp.

It was awesome! There were about 40 entrepreneur’s who showed up for it.

EFC at WDS 2015

I provided some verbal instruction first on the importance of exercise when it comes to entrepreneurship and success followed by a 15 minute exercise routine designed specifically for entrepreneur’s that can be completed anytime anywhere.


WDS Academies

I attended two academies this year:

Academy #1

How To Become A Location Rebel: Three Step Process For Building A Business You Can Run From Anywhere.

It was hosted by Sean Ogle from Location 180 and it was awesome.

Sean is a super cool guy who I have gotten the opportunity to connect and develop a friendship with.

His laid back genuine style coupled with his knowledge and expertise when it comes to building a location independent business is money.


He provided tons of valuable tips and practical suggestions. Here’s just a few:

* Create a support group, network, community (such as Location 180)

* Identify what you struggle with (potential business idea)

* Think about and write down what your perfect day looks like

* Be selfish (To become a location rebel, you have to be willing to be a little bit selfish)

* Being a location rebel doesn’t mean you have to have a passion, travel or that it has to be difficult

* Develop/build the right skills (wordpress, copywriting, fundamentals of design, social media for business, content marketing, and SEO (search engine optimization)

* Start a blog (here’s everything you need to know to start one)

* Freelance your newly acquired skills

* The three c’s equation: Consistency = cash = confidence


Academy #2

Language Lab

Hosted by Benny Lewis and Scott Young.

In this academy, Benny and Scott provided us with language hacks to be able to have a basic conversation in any language. They provided easy to follow and practical advice on how to learn any language regardless of how busy you are and regardless of whether or not you can travel abroad.


Here’s some tidbits that were provided:

* You can’t learn a language, you must live the language

* Use “virtual immersion” online to learn a new language

* Goal is to speak the language , not speak it correctly

Resources to create an immersion environment include FI3M.com, Wordreference.com, italki.com, and Memrise.com.

At one point, we were all put into groups and could only speak and communicate with the language we were giving (Spanish) for 20 minutes using some of the language tools I mentioned above.

It’s amazing how much and how quickly you start picking up words and a language when you don’t give yourself any other option than to learn and use the language (language immersion).


Main Stage

The main stage inside of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, which is the headquarters for WDS, is where all the magic happens.

It’s on this stage that this years speakers once again spoke to me, moved me (to tears even), inspired me, and reminded me once again to believe in myself, in others, and in all I’m creating.

Pursing my dreams, creating and growing The Wellness Bucket community, as awesome as it is and as much as I love it, isn’t always easy.

Being around and listening to others, who’ve been in my shoes, are still in my shoes, or aspire to be in my shoes, is a wonderful feeling.

WDS provides a unique experience to learn, relate, and educate.

I’m excited to share with you all of the wonderful speakers I had the opportunity to listen to this year.


Speakers, Messages, & Takeaways



Jon Acuff



* You have a voice

* Would your 3rd grade version of you clap or cry for you today?

* Have you become what you wanted to be?

* Fear is temporary

* Regret has a longer shelf life

* Will I face the fear of today or the regret of forever?

* Bravery is a choice, not a feeling

* You’ll never feel brave enough to do the thing you want to do

* Time won’t find you, you have to find it

* Would you take money to not do the things you love to do?

* Does more money cost you your voice?

* You can’t monetize joy

* When you see people as just your platform, you eventually stand on top of them

* Don’t trade your voice for things that don’t matter

* If you tell someone “no” and they react in anger, they just confirmed you made the right decision

* Stop trying to win people over who will never like your voice

* Trying to make everyone like you is the quickest way to hate yourself

* Be known, not perfect

* Your voice is never lost, it’s always waiting to be found



Man, where do I even begin.

I do know that I always want to please everyone and I want everyone to like me. I don’t think that’s a bad thing as long as I don’t sacrifice my “voice”, who I am and what I stand for, along the way.

Great reminder too that I need to find the time to do and create the things that matter to me and that time will not find me.

I also know that no amount of money would ever be enough to keep me from doing what I love. Jon put it best when he said, “you can’t monetize joy“.



Jeremy Cowart



* I can’t do this

* Video presentation of all the things he couldn’t do that he did and is doing

* Founder of a global photography movement called Help-Portrait

* These are the only notes I took – Jeremy’s story and message consumed me.

* His message of courage, taking action, and making a difference moved me to tears

“Don’t just aim for greatness. Aim to use greatness to serve a greater purpose.”



I absolutely loved Jeremy’s talk – probably my favorite because of how much it resonated with me.

Growing up, I wasn’t provided with support and motivation. In fact, it was just the opposite.

I was often told by different teachers I wasn’t skilled or smart enough, that I wouldn’t amount to anything or go anywhere with my life.

Tough to swallow for a 12 year old kid just trying to be accepted and loved.

Jeremy’s story was a reminder that what others may think of me matters little.

What matters most is what I think and believe about myself and that taking action, in spite of fear, has a funny way of always working itself out and yielding me results I never could have imagined possible.



Megan Devine



* What do you do with raw emotion that will never go away?

* We are all overwhelmed with things that don’t have a happy ending

* When you try to fix someone’s pain, you don’t make it better

* Just tell them it’s OK to talk about their pain

* Pain deserves acknowledgement, not repair

* The path of bearing witness is the true path of love

* When you bear witness, everything is welcomed

* There are things that can’t be fixed, and that’s OK

* Hear someone’s pain and let them have it

* Bearing witness to someone’s pain is an act of risk

* How to bear witness:

1) Notice: Notice your impulse to help

2) Pause: Let people tell their own truth

3) Don’t Fix: Don’t fix anything

4) Bear Witness: Make space for things to suck

* You can’t fix someone’s pain by trying to take it away from them



Megan’s message was a powerful one and an eye opener for me.

Making space for things that suck.

Maybe it’s just me or my “guy” instincts but I always want to help someone who’s struggling or going through a tough time.

Megan’s message was a great reminder to not always try and fix things but instead, just listen – bear witness to someone’s pain. Hear their pain and let them have it.

I will continue to remind myself that someone’s pain deserves acknowledgement, not repair.



Asha Dornfest



* Adulthood is a process filled with many reinventions

* Myth #1 – Grown-ups stick to the plan

* Truth #1 – Embrace course correction

* Plans are brittle

* Plan based on what is actually happening, not what the books say

* Embracing course correction is about trusting – following your heart even if it leads you off your path

* Myth #2 – Baby steps are for babies

* Truth #2 – Small, consistent steps are the surest way forward

* If you feel resistance, go smaller

* Any step forward is progress

* Myth #3 – Grown-ups are sure of themselves

* Truth #3 – Self confidence grows every time you keep a promise to yourself

* People trust people who do what they say they’re going to do

* Every small step you take is a promise to yourself you complete, therefore building trust in yourself

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” ~ Steve Jobs

* Trust the dots

* You’ve got everything you need right now

* Small steps



I absolutely loved Asha’s message of small steps and trusting the dots.

I created The Wellness Bucket around these two exact principles – taking small steps to create daily sustainable health habits and trusting the dots, that the investments your making in your health today will pay you numerous dividends later in life.

Her idea of keeping promises I make to myself and how that will build trust in myself and what I’m capable of is awesome and makes complete sense.

I know that whenever I say I’m going to do something and don’t, I feel shitty about it and start questioning myself and my abilities.

On the other hand, whenever I follow through with what I say I’m going to do, I feel great about it, my confidence is up, and I feel super motivated.

A great reminder for me was to embrace course correction and be OK with the fact that I don’t need to get it right out of the gate.

What matters is that I continue to take step after step and trust that the dots will ultimately connect when the times comes to look backwards.



Vani Hari



* Be who you were created to be

* The snowball revolution – start small into something big

* How do you handle being remarkable?

* Let go of fear – the universe has your back

* Haters are a sign of success

* Don’t let haters distract you

* No mud no lotus which means – without struggle, you cannot have happiness

* It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it or get you, it matters how many people do

* Focus on the willing

* Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, liking how you do it

“If you don’t like me and still watch everything I do, bitch you are a fan.” ~ Madonna



One of my biggest takeaway from listening to Vani (foodbabe) was her bravery for standing up for what she believes in the face of adversity, including threats, harassment, and a harsh backlash.

I loved her reminder to work and focus on those that get you and are willing to work with you and pay less (if any) attention to those (the haters) that do not.

Her snowball revolution is an awesome concept too.

Taking something I love and believe in and sharing it with the world by starting small and watching it grow into something bigger along the way – love it!



Lewis Howes



* Challenge the myth of masculinity

* Most people either feel a deep desire to be great or that they’re not good enough

* Take of the mask and ask, who are you?

* Don’t strive to be a superhero, strive to be superhuman

* Most successful people become the king of hearts

* Just like Jeremy Cowart’s talk, I got was engulfed in Lewis’s talk and stopped taking notes.



IMG_5146His courage to share with all 3000 people in attendance an early childhood experience of sexual abuse brought me to tears.

Here stood this All-American athlete, entrepreneur, and successful multi-million dollar online investor and business man opening up about a hard to talk about experience.

Aside from fame and success, Lewis is human, he’s one of us, a wonderful human being, doing all he can to make a difference in the world and in the lives of others.

I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Lewis on several occasions throughout the weekend and each and every time, his sincerity, kindness, and gratitude was awesome. He greeted me with a hug each time we met – he really did.

An absolute class act in every way possible.



Kid President & Brad Montague



* To be awesome, treat people awesome

* Treat everyone like it’s their birthday

* “If the world were a twinkie, WDS would be the cream filling”

* First and last words we hear are “I love you”

* We forget everything else in between

* You’re being uniquely prepared for something amazing

* Take a chance and hug your haters

* Haters gonna hate, huggers gonna hug

* You matter

* Sharing is good

* Don’t just share content, share opportunities

* Invite everyone to the party

* Take a chance with what you have

* It’s everyone’s duty to give the world a reason to dance

Question for kid president as to what to do when you’re afraid – his answer, “Don’t be afraid 🙂

Question for kid president as to what he wants to be when he grows up – his answer, “a kid” 🙂

Socktober – a movement launched by Kid President creator Brad Montagueato to get kids and grown-ups to help the homeless in an easy, fun way



Kid president was awesome!

Such a cool kid out to do some good in the world by simply being a kid.

It doesn’t have to be someone’s birthday or a special occasion for me to treat them like it is. I can buy someone a cake anytime, take them out to dinner, make them a card, or do something special for them.

There doesn’t have to be an occasion – the occasion is that they’re awesome and I wanted to do something for them.

The idea of inviting everyone to the part is also an awesome takeaway. Be open to listen, speak, and connect with anyone. Be welcoming, kind and loving not just to those I know, but those I don’t know as well.

Lastly and probably my favorite, when faced with the decision to be scared or not be scared, choose not to be scared and keep moving forward.



Lissa Rankin



* Physician turned best selling author of Mind Over Medicine

* How old where you when you discovered life mattered?

* Discovered life wasn’t all it was cracked up to be in med school

* “Don’t let them break you”

* Make peace with what’s true

* The hero’s journey – starts with a call to adventure

* Pro-noia (not paranoia) – belief that everything in the universe is conspiring to help you

* Karass – A group of incarnated beings whose job it is to bring into existence a holy idea



Lissa is an incredible speaker.

The stories she shared about life in med school and as a surgeon were hard to listen to.

Her courage to stand up for what she believed and what she felt was right not just for herself, but for those in her care is in my opinion, nothing short of heroic

Her message of “don’t let them break you” gave me chills when I heard it.

A message of courage and bravery – to stand strong for what I believe in and all I’m creating with The Wellness Bucket.

Going forward, I am definitely going to live in a world of pro-noia – let’s do this universe!



Derek Sivers



* Creator of CD Baby – the largest seller of independent music online

* Sold CD Baby for $22 mil – gave all proceeds to a charitable trust for music education

* Nobody knows the future

* Your business plan is moot

* Commit to a problem you want to solve – not to an answer or idea

* No plan survives first contact with the customer

* Ask instead of answer

* Listen instead of preach

* Revolution is serving people better

* If it’s not a hit, switch

* If people aren’t loving what you’re doing, stop. Don’t persist, don’t push it

* When you’ve got something great, you’ll know

* Success version 0.1 – thing you can do right now

* If you’re not launching too soon, you’re launching too late

* Ideas versus execution

* Most successful things done at CD Baby:

1) Answer phone on 2nd ring

2) Personalize email headers

3) Changes need pizza (humanize your business)

4) Customer comments sent to musicians

5) Request anything with your order

* Be shockingly unusual



Derek Sivers was the perfect closing speaker – his style, personality, and message rocked!

His whole idea of committing to a problem I want to solve and not to an answer or idea completely resonated with me.

Although I’m looking to create a world where people feel and live their absolute best using exercise to get there, I understand now that this is the idea – the problem is obesity.

The only way for me to solve this problem is to ask others what they need and struggle with versus trying to answer what I think the problem and solution are.

Another way is to listen to what people are saying to me, verbally and non-verbally and not be the one preaching what the problem is and what needs to be done.

Another big takeaway was the idea of taking action – executing – creating version 0.1, doing and creating the thing I can do right now.


The Closing Party

WDS photo booth 3The closing party at this years WDS was wild – even wilder than last year which I didn’t think was possible… man was I wrong.

It was the perfect way to end an incredible weekend.

Bollywood dancing, more world record breaking attempts, photo booth pictures projected onto an 18 story Portland building, huge inflated beach balls unleashed into the crowd – mostly just crazy fun!

My girlfriend Kristen somehow managed to get me to follow her onto the stage where we were met with other attendee’s and WDS staff members dancing the night away

As I looked out into the crowd, a feeling of happiness and fulfillment came over me and the thought of “these are my people” made me smile really big – it felt so damn good.


Go Where You’re Celebrated

IMG_5293A.J. Jacobs (one of last years WDS speakers) said it best when he said Portland, during WDS, rivals Disneyland as the happiest place on earth – I would have to agree.

There’s no other place, conference, wedding, country, reunion, anywhere that I’ve ever been where there are 3000 people excited to see me, speak with me, high five me, and accept me just the way I am.

At WDS, I’m celebrated, appreciated, encouraged, motivated, and supported.

It’s an atmosphere that let’s you dream, explore ideas, talk about all that’s possible – nothing too crazy, too wild, or impossible.

The perfect atmosphere to let go of fear, find your voice, and be heard.

There’s no greater feeling.

Until next year…




PS – Here’s some additional WDS blog post resources from me:

23-Step World Domination Summit Checklist – How To Get The Most Out Of Your WDS Experience

7 Things To Do Immediately Following World Domination Summit – How To Capitalize On Your WDS Experience



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