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Many people ask me what the World Domination Summit is, and why everyone is so excited. I had some great conversations last night with some fellow attendees about why #WDS2013 has had such a massive impact on everyone. Here’s the summary of that conversation.

WDS is About the Why

A lot of conferences focus on tactical, how-to presentations. Many business folk have been accustomed to getting straight to the point, to the bottom line – but here is something that a lot of businesses, and people, forget: great companies solve big problems. They spend a lot of time thinking about how to tackle really important issues.

Examples:

  • Google: Organizing the world’s information
  • Facebook: Connecting everyone in the world with their friends and family
  • Apple: Empowering people to go further and do more with technology

Each of these companies are led by people who have spent a tremendous amount of time thinking about life’s big questions. WDS is two straight days (four if you include the July 4 holiday and the day before the conference when everyone is already in town partying) of thinking about the Why.

Chris G is an Evil Genius

Chris puts on a good show of being a regular dude that is very approachable (and he is), but he’s also very smart, and, in my mind, very deliberate about how WDS comes about. This year, the entire range of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur was covered.

Speakers covered:

  • Why following your passion leads to great ideas
  • Why we need to be getting real about the fear and anxiety, and failures of following your truth
  • Why its necessary to learn to handle the stress of being an entrepreneur – rejection, self doubt, and criticism from others (is bullsh*t)
  • Why & how to tell great stories in your life and your business by asking essential questions – who are you, what do you want, and what happened when you went for it
  • Why gathering your tribe around you is vital for long term success – DIY Doesn’t Mean Do It Alone
  • Why everything we know about happiness is mostly wrong

If you can get the answers to these questions right, so many other things go well. If you know what you want, you’ll put all of your heart into your business and it won’t always feel like work. If you know what you want then you’ll talk to people and find the right people to help you. If you know what you want you’ll ask the right questions.

On Criticism

There were problem with WDS. It wasn’t perfect. There wasn’t enough space in the official sessions. Some of the presentations fell rather flat.

I heard a number of people tell me that the word Domination in the title makes them uncomfortable. Some considerably so. I get it. There are negative connotations around war, slavery, gender roles, and other problems with the word. I would encourage these people to look at the intent of the organization and the founder. In the years that I have been following Chris’ blog and meeting his tribe of people, I have never found them to be anything but kind and supportive of everyone.

Here’s the thing, though – anyone can criticize. The positive impact of WDS far outweighed anything negative that might have come from it. I hope the WDS team improves where they can, and ignores the criticism that isn’t valid. Because, as we learned, there’s enough criticism in the world as it is.

Did It Change My Life?

I already have my passion project and business. I’ve been working on it for 3+ years and don’t see it slowing down any time soon. Did I really need to spend this much time focusing on the why? Being reminded of: why I do what I’m doing, getting clear of the constant self-doubt and external criticism, and connecting with people who are supportive of my dream were worth the price of admission alone. 

Also, that was an AWESOME dance party.

Knowing what you want is not a panacea. You still need skills and experience to do great things. That can come from other conferences, but I did learn a few applicable, practical things at WDS as well.

  • How to create a great presentation. Thanks Duarte.
  • How to accumulate a crapload of travel miles & benefits
  • How to love my readers more
  • A framework for facing down rejection
  • A framework of self-knowledge for understanding how to communicate better with people in business
  • Practical steps for dealing with self-criticism
  • People really, really connect with personal stories. A lot.

I already bought my ticket for next year’s WDS. I hope to see you there.