Last week, I attended the last conference of the World Domination Summit, an event that asks “How can you lead a remarkable life in a conventional world?” In many ways, it altered the course of my life, and the people I met there I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life.
So, I wrote this as a way to process saying goodbye to this WDS experience. If you have experienced this event, this article is for you. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, some of the lessons still may apply.
WDSers, how are you doing a week after WDS?
This sums it up for me.
I’m writing this as a reminder to myself of what exactly happened at WDS X, how I’m currently coping, and what actions my future self can take to deal with this WDS withdrawal, especially when I misremember this experience. If you find this beneficial for you too, awesome.
I call it WDS Withdrawal, as opposed to WDS Hangover, as a hangover is temporary and withdrawal seems more permanent.
I got more hugs and high fives in the last week than I have received in the last 3 years. Going from a week of such love, appreciation, gratitude, and vulnerability back to the “conventional world” of small talk, chores, and regular routine has been rough. Especially when I’m constantly looking for something remarkable to happen to fulfill that WDS fix.
So, here is what I’ve come up with, so far, to help me process this WDS Withdrawal.
#1. Mourn That WDS Has Come To An End…Instead of Looking For The Next WDS-Like High
After such an uplifting event like WDS, the message I heard was, let’s keep the momentum going. No time to be sad, followed by some toxic positivity cliche, usually provided with the best of intentions.
But I believe pursuing that next high, without processing what just happened, isn’t realistic or healthy.
I could immediately start looking for the next high, the next fix, the next camp/retreat/summit/conference/gathering to replace this hole that once was filled by WDS. Most likely though, I’d be sorely disappointed. Chasing the next WDS-like rush, trying to recreate what I just experienced would not only not be helpful, but it would dishonor the memories of this week.
This was something rare, powerful, and unique. Now that it has come to an end, I want to adequately mourn that it is ending. There is also a beautiful sadness in saying goodbye to it…and I don’t want to rob myself of that opportunity.
As Vision says in the MCU (Yes, I’m a nerd):
“A Thing Isn’t Beautiful Because It Lasts. It Is A Privilege To Be Among Them.”
It has been a privilege to be among all of you. Each of you inspires me in so many weird and fascinating ways. I appreciate living more knowing how each of you show up in the world in your unique and quirky ways.
The fact that I got the chance to meet all of you in one place, learn from you, and experience your energy is something I will never forget. That’s worth feeling sad about and allowing myself to properly say goodbye to this World Domination Summit chapter in my life.
I feel grateful that I got the chance to experience WDS with all of you and also appreciate that it was so special that it makes me sad to see it go.
Taking advice from the book Tuesdays with Morrie:
“If you hold back on the emotions — if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them — you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails.”
So, I will sit in this beautiful sadness for as long as I need to before wishing that feeling farewell, so I can truly move on.
#2. Celebrate The Magic That Did Happen
After mourning that WDS has ended, I wanted to celebrate what I experienced.
So, I pulled up all my photos from the past week and dove into the WDS X Master 2022 Flickr Page looking through all the pictures that captured my experience at WDS. I didn’t just look at the photos, but I tried to imagine how I felt at that moment in time.
- Why does this picture resonate so much with me?
- How did I show up at that moment?
- What emotions was I feeling in that photo?
- Who were the people that made this moment so special?
Just sitting with these photos in silence, in a way was like hanging out with WDS friends one more time. I feel an immense amount of gratitude looking at these pictures and knowing that this experience occurred. It wasn’t in my imagination and regardless of what happens next, I will always have these memories.
Looking back at all the speakers, I reread my notes and the messages that stuck with me most were:
- LAURA PENA: Magic happens when you ask for help
- GARY WARE: Rebel against the boring status quo. You have everything that you need right now to begin
- KARLA STARR: Quick fixes and simplistic solutions to complex problems are patriarchal BS
- CARLOS WHITAKER: Be Human (By Curiously Caring For Others)
- JEFF GOINS (WDS Book Writing Academy): Any interesting book starts with challenging what we know to be true. Everybody believes X, but actually, it is Y. People want to be surprised, but in a familiar way (80% familiar, 20% a surprise).
- JONATHAN FIELDS: Don’t wait!
There were so many powerful attendee stories, but the ones that I’ll remember most are:
SARA SURANI: You’d be amazed how much the universe has got your back (and it may come in the form of seven oranges).
JULIA SMITH: Julia taught me that choosing to show up fully as myself and embracing what brings me joy is one of the bravest and kindest things we can do for ourselves
Recognize Those Magical Random Moments
When I first arrived at World Domination Summit this year, I asked a fellow WDSer what they were looking forward to most. She said:
The random magical moments.
Some of those moments for me were:
- Playing storm trooper with my friends (SASS Squad), as we supported our outstandingly creative friend Gary Ware with his Playful Rebellion
- Dancing in a lovely inflatable, air-conditioned dinosaur costume with my friends…and in the process of just playing, breaking a world record
- Running a workshop with my friend Sara about embracing fear, where WDSers were able to both cry and laugh through their fears
- Telling James Todd he is my 3rd favorite white guy and that he gives the best hugs
- Coming up with a custom 5-step handshake with Sexy Marco that involves snapping while shaking hands and an Usher slide, and proceeding to do this handshake every time we saw each other this weekend
- Met my Pinoy Family That I Didn’t Even Know I Had in Hope and Scott
- Howling like Diamond Dogs with other Ted Lasso fans at the What Would Ted Lasso Do Meetup after giving each other Lasso Way advice. It was hosted by my awesome podcast co-host, Dimple Dhabalia.
- Witnessing magical randomness when these two phenomenal souls connect in a way that can’t be explained by coincidence
- Having Nong’s Vietnamese chicken and while eating it, saying to myself “this is the life.”
- Helping one of my favorite people on the planet, Marsha Shandur with her WDS academy by simply playing, as well as making up an out-of-tune R&B song with Gary Ware during sound check
- Having a 6-Hour meetup with Angie Cole and friends on the 11th floor of the Duniway hotel, where we did absolutely nothing, but just enjoyed each other’s company…reminding me I didn’t have to constantly be busy in order to get the most out of this final WDS experience
- Attending my favorite meetup of the weekend: How To Be Vulnerable, Authentic, and Feminine in Your Business (And Make Lots of Money) facilitated by Meredith Marder, Jordin James, & Angie Cole. My perspectives on what I thought to be true haven’t been challenged like that in years. There are so many times when I’ve chosen to force myself to work harder, buying into the 24/7 hustle culture, when embracing curiosity, compassion and ease brought more success…and made for a more enjoyable ride.
- Playing powerpoint karaoke, doing a night sit in the basement, playing other ridiculous games, and getting all vulnerable at the WDS Play House
- (It was a house full of amazing people whose profession is play. We coined the term the WDS Playhouse because one cannot enter without experiencing some type of WDS-type play. Example: We said goodbye to the house by popping balloons with our bottoms).
- Having a uniquely powerful conversation with Anfernee Chansamooth, which he talks about here, the day after WDS was over with a bunch of my favorite people
- Reliving the experience of seeing my friends, Laura Pena & Gary Ware, on the main stage speaking, making their dreams come true after knowing all the hard work, sacrifice, and rollercoaster of emotions that got them there
- Closing an important chapter of my life and finally choosing to move on
#3. Reach out to the WDSers that bring a smile to your face when you think of them and thank them
I rarely recognize the impact that I have on others. Maybe, I’m scared to take any credit or fearful that I might not live up to the hype.
But when someone told me that simply my presence filled their soul with joy and appreciation, that really mattered to me.
It also has a long-term ripple effect, both by motivating me to show up more fully for the rest of the year, as well as impacting anyone else that I interact with. Hearing words like “ Thank you for being you,” really makes a difference and probably altered the course of my life in some way.
If you are a WDSer, the best part is that it is easy to do right now, as we can still contact people via the WDS App or WDS X FB Page. If you feel an inkling to do it, follow that curiosity. You won’t be disappointed and, in the process, you may make someone’s year.
#4. Bring WDS With You…But Tangibly How?
I heard this said all weekend. I might have said it myself (thinking I sounded wise), but seriously how do I bring the adventure, community, service, and love from that weekend into my day-to-day. I have no idea how to do it. So, let me process it here right now.
I first have to ask myself, how was I showing up at WDS?
I was fully me. I did not hold anything back. I was unfiltered and shared my joy and love as if I had it in abundance.
Am I doing this now that I’m back in my convention, ho-hum world?
No! I’m maybe showing up 80% of the time but scared to go All-In.
- What if my weirdness isn’t accepted in this normal world?
- Do I even want to get the approval of “normal people?”
- What if the only way to find more weird/WDS-like people that I connect with, I need to fully embrace my wyrd?
So, what am I willing to do to change this?
Let me try to answer this from the WDS Values standpoint.
From a service standpoint, I can start by helping and connecting the way I did at WDS. I’m going to look through the “Offers and Needs Post-Its,” (thanks Joel Zaslofsky for making this happen) that I took photos of and see where I can be of service.
I was surprised by how many people mentioned that they’ve seen my ridiculous videos and some even said it helped them through the pandemic. So, I can then choose to create more for the sake of creating because that brings me joy, even if I do it in a messy and imperfect way, knowing as it helps me gain clarity, it might benefit others.
I can connect to the WDSers that I cannot forget about and just reach out having no clue what we are going to talk about, but simply trusting my intuition and the magical randomness of WDS.
Finally, I am going to give myself the grace, compassion, and love that I did during that surreal weekend. I’m going to be careful not to fall victim to comparison-itis. I will wholeheartedly celebrate the successes of other WDSers, as we overcome our fears by embracing WE over ME.
I will also remind myself when it seems like “everyone is doing way better than me” that I’m only seeing their highlight reel. At that moment, I must take a breath and recognize that we all are going through our own struggles and tribulations, potentially in secret, and that is okay.
Perhaps reaching out to cheer someone’s accomplishment at that very moment will help me to reconnect with myself, and avoid falling victim to a negative pattern of isolation and disconnection.
I have a choice in each moment to just appreciate that wherever I’m at is exactly where I need to be.
#5. Explore What You Want To Create Next…But Only When You Are Ready
I sometimes believe whenever I leave an unforgettable experience like WDS, as soon as I get home, I’ll be a brand new, revitalized person. I am reborn from a cocoon, ready to spread my wings, produce at a prolific rate and show up every day as if I’m Super Mario after finding the invincible star. But then I just set myself up for failure. I beat myself up any time I fall back into my old patterns and habits as if adopting new behaviors is so easy.
What has helped me though is celebrating the small changes I do make. I find it exciting to try out small experiments that bring a little more adventure, service, community, joy, and love into my life.
- Am I taking a little extra time today to feel gratitude?
- Am I connecting with people that fill my soul each day?
- What steps am I taking to allow others to see me for who I am?
A great question I’ve been asking myself since WDS ended is:
What small action can I do today that cracks open the WDS part of me?
I thought these steps were insignificant but they add up…and these small gestures of self-love matter, at least they have to me.
When I’m ready to fully embrace my weird the way I did at the conference (even weirder than I am now), I believe the impact I can have is creating a space for others (who have no idea what WDS) to experience that level of WDS-like magic that I thought I lost.
Whether our paths cross or not in the future, I wish you all an epiphany-filled, play-infused, joyous, quirky, exhilarating ride in life.