By Jocelin Higgins
World Domination Summit? What’s that? Well, it’s not what you think! It’s not some tyrannical plan to subjugate the masses. It’s a welcoming and wonderfully inspiring event!
I actually find myself relishing in the memory of an amazing experience that I had a couple of weekends ago as I participated as an Ambassador in The World Domination Summit here in Portland, Oregon. I’ve been reflecting back on this volunteer experience and how I both really enjoyed and learned a great deal from this endeavor. So, I wanted to reach out and share my insights of this experience with you and touch on the humanitarian service of it all.
A New Paradigm of Humanitarian Meets Business
The business landscape is changing, if you haven’t noticed already, and entrepreneurs and humanitarians are evolving into a synergistic breed who now combine forces more readily to work together and impact the world in new ways that are profoundly amazing. A scene from the film, Hector and the Search for Happiness profoundly shows the loneliness of old way of doing business. It’s the scene where he is commenting on how content these poor Chinese women look as they are sitting in the street happily visiting with each other in contrast to the expressionless business men who walk right by them looking quite bored and empty.
The tides are changing though and more people want meaningful, fulfillment and adventure in their lives these days, especially when they are doing business. They want to give back more and meet needs in their communities. This wave is awe-inspiring to watch unfold and witness the changes happening to our economy and communities. It’s long overdue and the world and its citizens are jumping on board!
A shift in our economic structures, a reaching out to people and being more inclusive to empower others is altering the paradigm. The World Domination Summit is a great model of this awakening.
A Spirit of Giving at The World Domination Summit
I saw this inspiring blend of humanitarian and small business creatives come together to share some wonderful gifts with others from the community of The World Domination Summit. The themes of this summit are community, service and adventure. Chris Guillebeau, a writer and entrepreneur of the widely read blog, The Art of Non-Conformity, envisioned and founded WDS as a way for people to come together in person to both share how they are living remarkable lives in a conventional world or how they can learn to do so. From my experience as a volunteer Ambassador this year, I can honestly say that it is not just living up to these goals, but it’s surpassing so many people’s expectations, especially after getting to meet and personally talk with professional bloggers that I admire, take part in attempting to break three Guinness World Records and then dancing to upbeat Bollywood music, I can attest that it is truly unique.
My Reflections of the WDS Experience
I first learned about the World Domination Summit through finding and reading Chris’ blog online. In 2014, I signed up for a Friday blogging workshop called Problogger Academy and was very impressed. It actually helped me get this blog going. This piqued my curiosity about the entire summit. When it rolled around in 2015, I applied to volunteer and was given the honor of being called an Ambassador.
As an Ambassador, I worked behind the scenes with other volunteers and the core planning group to build community and facilitate the enjoyment of attendees. There were many mind-blowing workshops and super inspiring speakers, which have already been described online in other blogs, so I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite reasons that contribute to the blending of effective humanitarian service and business at WDS:
- Everyone who organizes and presents WDS is a volunteer. This includes Chris, his wife Jolie and all of the core group in the steering committee, guest speakers and volunteers. No one earns a dime to participate at the venture nor collects any money from sponsorship and yet puts in a ton of hours of work. Some companies did donate products though. Mainly edibles.
- A WDS Foundation was created that donates thousands of dollars to community attendees every year in order “to empower individuals to pursue their dreams and impact their community.” These folks came on stage and told us all about their incredible brainchild’s. This year’s recipients are described in this post.
- Many items purchased for Guinness World Record attempts and other events were given away afterwards. For example, this year about 500 Ikea beds were given to Habitat for Humanity Restore and the Community Warehouse in Portland.
- The generosity from participants with time and belongings was astounding. You walk away with some remarkable free education (Creative Live gave everyone there a $150 gift card for one of their classes), inspiration and unconditional support for what ever idea you have incubating or crawling on up to walking or needing a restart. I was continuously being thanked as a volunteer.
- The audience applauded when speakers needed encouragement and cried when felt moved by such touching stories. Additionally, a lot of goodies-t-shirts, The Happiness of Pursuit book, a backpack, free food tokens and gift cards, and fun WDS socks were passed out in abundance.
- They even have a lounge for highly sensitive people with massage therapists and hammocks and an outdoor yoga session! WOW.
Even though this isn’t a third world country, summits like this show that humanitarian service is being redefined here in the capitalistic land of the freedom and opportunity.