WDS 2012 – Of Many Lessons Learned

After attending an event experienced by a large number of people [like WDS 2012 or BISC or TBEX], I often struggle with writing a recap. Much of it stems from feeling inadequate to do so. So I wait. I wait for other people [this post from Barrett Brooks] to capture the weekend onto a page of words that says more or less what I felt that I couldn’t articulate. Rinse and repeat.

I will face those feelings and give it a try anyway. My take-aways from WDS 2012: Embrace the fears. Believe in your worthiness. Do.

WDS 2012 – Vulnerability

WDS 2012 - Unconventional Race“Nobody belongs here more than you,” shared Bren√© Brown during her opening keynote, and it felt like she was talking straight up to the nosebleed seat that I was sitting in. The weight of whether or not World Domination Summit was an event for me lifted off my shoulders just a little bit. Then she talked about vulnerability, shame, creativity and belonging.

“When we lose our capacity for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding.”

I came back to this quote later in the conference when I won Most Creative for the photo above in the Unconventional Race. When I first heard the news of winning, I was really excited. The hour we gave up during our lunch that day to stand in the middle of the intersection had paid off. I got hot and sweaty for the photo, and I had reaped the reward of putting myself out there.

Then it hit me.

Wait a minute. This isn’t that creative. There must be other people taking more creative [read: better] photos than that.

And now my photo is up on stage for a good five minutes while I’m wondering who out in the audience is thinking the same thing. Like myself, others had spent time and energy capturing moments from the Unconventional Race and putting themselves out there.

And then it was time to let it go.

“When we lose our capacity for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding.”

WDS 2012 – Give freely

WDS 2012 - Scott HarrisonScott Harrison, founder of charity: water, [photo courtesy of Armosa Studios] was the second to hit the main stage. He took us on the journey of how it all came to be – a Christian upbringing, rebelling by taking NYC by storm, and then doing a complete 180 by volunteering in the world’s poorest nations. He shared photos he had taken of the patients he had met through his work with Mercy Ships. Waterborne illnesses were the main reason why they needed help.

He talked about water – how women and children would spend hours bringing water back, and it wasn’t even clean water. As a response to what he’d seen, he formed charity: water, a non-profit bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, and made a promise to the public – 100% of their donations go directly to the field to fund water projects.

At the end of his story, Scott [are we on a first name basis yet?] asked each person in the audience at WDS 2012 to give up their next birthday in order to raise money for wells in developing nations. Almost everyone agreed to do so. It was incredible as those who were pledging to give up their birthdays for water stood up. It was practically everyone in the auditorium. This call to action hit home. I’d recently received an email with information on the whereabouts of an oil rig that a friend’s birthday had funded through charity: water.

When October rolls around, I plan on doing the same. You too can pledge your birthday!

Okay, this is getting longer than my average post. To be continued!

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  • ewiley

    Sounds like an amazing conference! Nice job on the picture. I think it’s incredibly creative.

    • Thank you! :) It was quite the experience, and I hope to attend again next year.

  • Sounds amazing and inspiring. I definitely enjoyed the tweets from the WDS and it sounds like an incredible event.

  • Congrats on winning the photo contest *and* allowing yourself to enjoy it. ;]