I am a runner and am therefore accustomed to pushing past my comfort zone from both a mental and physical perspective when training and racing. When it comes to other areas in my life however, I am not proficient at all with leaving the easy, calming comfort of the known. So this past weekend I took a risk and pushed the envelope.
I attended the World Domination Summit (WDS) In Portland, Oregon Friday, July 5 through Sunday, July 7. For those that do not already know, each year Chris Guillebeau hosts WDS with a focus on how to live a remarkable life in a conventional world. As you might guess, the conference attracts a huge number of people (over 2800 this year) with big ideas, strong passions, and lots of creative energy. WDS is a blogger’s dream conference and so naturally I wanted to attend (see #10 on my New Year’s Resolutions post from last December).
It is safe to say that prior to attending WDS, I expected to be inspired by the speakers, workshops, and fellow attendees during my time there. WDS easily met and surpassed my expectations. I will leave the specific highlights of WDS for a future blog post however, because I want to focus on something different here – something that was less expected.
I signed up for World Domination Summit back in January. My excitement grew as the conference approached. About a week before the conference however I started having a degree of trepidation about attending. Thoughts like, “What am I thinking, I do not know anyone there” and “What if I do not fit in” started running through my mind. But there was no backing out – tickets had already been purchased, travel arrangements had already been made.
So I made a deal with myself – to show up fully for the opportunities that presented themselves at WDS. Attending WDS was a rare opportunity and I did not want to let my worries keep me from experiencing it completely.
When I arrived at WDS it did seem a little awkward at first. I did not have anyone to tag along with or to help me break the ice with new people. I had to rely completely on my own social skills to get the job done. A scary thought for an introvert like me. But what I found as I navigated through the crowd of the WDS weekend and attended a full schedule of talks, discussions, workshops, informal meet-ups, etc. was that the reality of it was actually quite liberating. I met some awesome people at WDS and I hope to keep in touch with as many of them as possible going forward. Because I was alone, I had complete flexibility with how I planned my schedule. I could have chosen to take it easy by attending only the big sessions while skipping out on the smaller meet-ups and the larger celebrations that necessitated closer social interaction. Instead, I chose to put myself out there and I met all of those great people. World Domination Summit provided a number of great learning experiences for me – the most unexpected being that I found I can survive quite well in a big crowd of people who I do not know. In fact, going somewhere you have never been, without anyone else around that you know, and really showing up by being open to the learning opportunities is an experience I recommend to everyone.
Have you pushed past your comfort zone in some way recently? Please feel free to leave a comment to share your story.
With Peace and Gratitude,
*Be looking for at least one more post about my experiences at World Domination Summit 2013 in the near future.