…no. Really. :D
I called my brother the other day and said words I never thought would come out of my mouth: “I’m turning into you – I went bungee jumping last week!”
How did this happen? And why should you care? The story starts in 2012, when I first visited WDS: The World Domination Summit. I wasn’t really sure why I went to WDS in 2012. A friend told me about it, I signed up for ticket info, tickets sold out in something like 11 minutes, so within 11 minutes I was caught up in the frenzy and bought a ticket thinking, “Eh, I can always sell it later.” But I didn’t. And instead I ended up with 1000 other dreamers at an opening party that closed the street down. Little did I know that WDS would forever change my life. If I’m lucky, this story will bring a little of that WDS magic into your world as well.
WDS centers on an unusual question:
How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?
It answers with three words: Community, adventure, service. And WDS attendees embody them all.
Service – to quote Chris Guillebeau, the organizer of the conference: “World domination is ultimately about world service.” The inspiration to serve others at WDS is off the charts. Between the volunteers who run one of the smoothest events I’ve ever attended while going out of their way to welcome everyone, and the other attendees who are busy making a difference in their corner of the world, to the incredible stories each speaker tells, I come home wanting to do everything I can for you, my community, my readers. I hope to bring you even a little of the joy veganism brings me, the health, the vitality, the compassion, the energy – and also to make a better world for the animals that are the other force behind my passion for this lifestyle.
Adventure – Guinness world records two years running, Bollywood dance parties that take over an entire city block, and a unicycling bagpiper with a Darth Vader helmet… all these have happened at WDS. Chris described it as “making an active choice to live adventurously.” Well… I jumped off a bridge. Definitely an active choice to have one of my biggest adventures so far!
But the biggest… the biggest is community.
I haven’t met anyone that can truly put into words how special the WDS community is, but everyone knows it without actually saying a word. There’s an understanding: if you’re there, you’re awesome. In a theatre of 2500 people this year, I don’t think I could find one rotten egg. Sometimes it’s still scary to go up and start a conversation with a stranger, but then you remember “Hey, they’re here, they’re awesome, we just have to find what our personal connection is,” and you say Hi and ask “What’s awesome today?” “What’s exciting you right now?” “What adventure have you had recently?” – there’s no “What do you do?” here. Everyone cuts to the chase immediately – you get to know people on a real level, and everyone has a story worth hearing.
And that was really the thing with jumping off the bridge. Well, one of the things. :) The people I jumped with. Those people became my core friends for the weekend this year. There’s something about sharing that fear, tackling that adventure, that makes you fast friends. That gives you a face in a big scary crowd of 2500 absolutely wonderful people to recognize and say, “Hey, I jumped off a bridge with you!”
But that wasn’t the only community of the weekend. There was my crew from last year, my fast and best friends of WDS, who stuck together again this year and added a few new peeps from the jumper crew. :) We took such a great pic of our reunion at the pre-opening party party that we made it on the big screen at the main event!
And then there was The Great Namaste. For two years in a row, we’ve broken a world record at WDS. This year it was for the World’s Longest Yoga Chain. In terms of adrenaline – totally the opposite of jumping off a bridge. Calm, peaceful morning with some basic yoga poses. In terms of numbers – instead of an intimate group of ~20 people on a bridge in the middle of nowhere, 808 people – plus volunteers and crew! – in the middle of Pioneer Courthouse square smack in the middle of downtown Portland. But in terms of community – oh so very much the same. The entire event was about community – about what is possible when you work together to accomplish a goal. And the feeling of “OM”ing with 808 people… chills. I meditated while we held one of the poses, and was struck by the power of my feeling of grounding, connectedness, and absolute gratitude for the power of this group.
So in 2012, with that powerful community behind me, this life was born. Before that first WDS weekend I had this blog, but the business… the business was still a pipe dream. But that year Chris made an investment in us. He entrusted each attendee with $100 – cash – and a charge to use it to make an investment ourselves – in a project, someone else… whatever felt right to us in this world, following the WDS guiding themes of community, service, adventure. He made it clear with his words and with that trust that he believed in each of us to do something amazing – and he lit a fire in me to live up to that trust, and to finally start believing in myself. To live the ideals of community, service, adventure every day. I came home, quit my job, bought this domain with that $100, and the rest is history!
I jumped off a different bridge that first year. Somehow looking back quitting my good, comfortable, reliable job with people I really love seems way crazier (but way less scary!) then actually jumping off a bridge. But WDS dared me to take that leap. I took that dare. WDS pushed me out of my comfort zone to a new and better version of myself.
Two days before this year’s jump I would have told you “I would never. I’m not someone who jumps off a bridge.” But in my Rockstar Coaching Mastermind program with Jacob at Sensophy we’ve been discussing the idea of self-limiting beliefs – what do you believe about yourself that holds you back? – and I decided it was time to conquer one of those. And you know what the funny thing is? Once you conquer one… it’s a lot easier to conquer the rest.
Ever since jumping off that bridge I think “I can’t” or “I don’t” or “I’m not that person” and then I look down at my ImpossibleHQ bracelet (also earned from jumping off the bridge), and think “Oh. But I can. I do. I am.” Self-limiting beliefs seem to mean very little these days – I’ve proven they’re not true, and I want to keep proving it.
Two years almost to the day after coming home from my first WDS and quitting my job, I finally have a successful business that I’m proud of and allows me to do work every day that makes me happy and brings joy to other people in this world. I *help* other people in this world. Writing those words feels surreal and I want to pinch myself, or delete them before I jinx it. But here I am. It’s true.
That business led me to give a talk last night at a local community gathering in someone’s home, a cooking demo that I was not as prepared for as I wanted to be.
“I don’t know how to give a speech off the cuff, what am I doing?!?!”
– my thoughts beforehand
But I remembered some of the lessons I’ve learned at WDS:
Be willing to fail.
Everyone is new at something until they’re not.
It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than to think your way into a new way of acting.
Be present. Show up.
So I showed up and gave the demo, and it was the best talk I’ve given yet. With no script, no outline, no talking points – I just *talked*. I told jokes, I had anecdotes, I asked questions, got the crowd involved… and everyone loved it. Everyone loved it, learned a lot, and enjoyed the food, but most importantly, those people left less afraid of stepping into the kitchen and cooking healthy whole foods for themselves.
And that’s what it’s all about. Jumping off a bridge or stepping into the kitchen – taking something intimidating, and doing it anyways. Last night I walked up to that house thinking, “Why am I doing this, I hate this, this sucks, I’m scared…” Now it seems silly that I was so terrified. But I was.
But yet I took a breath, pictured jumping off a bridge…
And I rang the doorbell.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, I would love to talk to you more and help you face your own fears or hangups, to go deeper with you on how to build your own healthy, joyful life. In the spirit of WDS I am currently offering coaching sessions free of charge to a limited number of people, and I would love you to be one of them! Please comment below or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to set up a time to talk. :)