When you live through one, you know in your heart and soul that you were part of something and yet trying to explain it to others who did not witness it in person is near impossible. This is where I am now. Trying to explain this past weekend in Portland at the World Domination Summit.
The focus of the event is “living a remarkable life in a conventional world” and I've always known that my life certainly falls into that framework.
Looking around the theatre, packed on all three levels, I saw people of every age, color and nationality. Men, women, artist, entrepreneurs, dreamers and professors. Some were already blazing their own paths, while many were actively trying to find theirs.
After a hello I'd start every conversation with the simple question of, "what brought you here?" The reasons were as diverse as the people.
For me, I attended because I wanted to be surrounded by like minded people. I needed to talk to others who believe that we each make our lives what we dream for them to be. I was curious if what I had written in my next book was in fact true or not.
As I write these words on the plane on my way home, I can confirm that I found everything I had set out for. I've already bought my ticket for next years event and this conference has moved to the top of my personal must attend list of events.
The adventurous spirit was alive and well and by the end of the first day, an idea that I've been toying with for years was screaming inside to be let out. I made a silent promise that when I got home I was going to figure out a way to finally let it out and play.
Grabbing dumplings and local brews with old friend Eric Rice proved to only fuel the fire. We talked about the old days and the stagnate streams of social we were both growing tired of. As we kicked back later with coffee and shared stories of our children I couldn't shake the importance of the weekend.
As if everything wasn't already amazing about the weekend, there was one more moment of magic as the summit came to a close on an emotional high.
Chris Guillebeau took the stage and purposely rolled up his sleeves.
He told a story of losing significant money on the previous years event. About the team discussions and decisions to continue and to not take on sponsors.
He shared the story of a first year attendee wanting to make a generous anonymous donation and the conflict this posed to the team to stay pure to their ideals in light of making a profit on this years event.
You could see the emotion in his eyes and the passion in his heart. Whatever he was going to share next was big and even I could feel it welling up inside me and I had no idea what was coming.
He announced that as we left the theater, every attendee was going to be handed an envelope. Chris held up one and ripped it carefully open. Inside was a hundred dollar bill and a simple ask.
This $100 investment was to support each of us in doing something good. One thousand of us rose to our feet with a roar of applauds.
Events are started to make money. The World Domination Summit was started to change lives. Taking a donation and the profits from this years event and turning around and giving it to the attendees is one of the most generous and genius decisions I've ever witnessed.
I'm taking my $100 Investment and opening a bank account with it to start that crazy idea I've been thinking about. A year from now I hope to return to #WDS2013 and tell my story about what I did with it and more.
Thank you Chris and every energizing soul who shared in this weekend with me.
My life is better because of it.