My Top 5 Talks at WDS 2016

Chris C:U

Chris Guillebeau

August 2016 was my second time to attend the World Domination Summit (WDS). It’s a summit that takes place in Portland Oregon and 2016 was it’s sixth year! WDS was started by Chris Guillebeau and his team to foster adventure, community and service for people all over the world. It attracts a lot of creative entrepreneurs who think outside the box.

People gather for a week with multiple opportunities to interact via:

  • Main Stage Talks with speakers all day Saturday and Sunday.
  • Meetups all around town to hike, see stars, connect around a mutual topic, eat, drink beer, etc. Tuesday through Monday.
  • Academies (think 1/2 day workshops) which are open to the public on Thursday and Monday.
Academies with me

Academy on Building a Hyper-engaged Community

  • Spark Sessions for open-ended conversations on specific topics.
  • Activities such as yoga, going for a run, kayaking, tours, etc.
  • Opening and closing parties for all participants to hang out, connect, eat and be merry.

You may ask, where did the name “World Domination Summit” come from?  Well, to be honest, it’s a bit of a mystery, but it seems the goal is that people with a focus on community, service and adventure would be those who take over the world. I think that would be a great idea!

Gift Box WDS.jpg

Gift box given to participants at opening party


Two of my favorite things (out of MANY) are the people you meet at WDS and the main stage talks. Here are my top five talks from the weekend for those who didn’t get to attend live. I started to share my top three, but just couldn’t limit it to that!



Jonathan Fields


Jonathan Fields – has what he calls “The five be’s” which are – Be intentional, Be open, Be kind, Be you and Be still. Stillness cultivates awareness. In a life that is easy to fall into a reactive life syndrome, this wisdom can bring us back. Sometimes being open will make others uncomfortable, to which Fields says “good, that’s their issue!” By being kind we get that “givers win glow” with a boost of serotonin for us and others. We need to surround ourselves with people who are kind. Be you, unapologetically joyful and you!




Michelle Poler – Facing fear is contagious and Michelle helped us see that fear is an opportunity. She took on 100 Days Without Fear by facing a fear each day. You can watch her YouTube videos to see how that experiment went. It’s easy as we get older to have more fear and sometimes we can even have fear about fear itself (phobophobia). Indeed, each of our comfort zones are unique and changing. But, what she found, was that by facing our fears, we expand time! Doing new things makes time feel longer and experiences are so much more memorable. What would you do if you weren’t afraid of disappointing others? You can follow Michelle’s progress here.


Mr. Money Mustache

Pete Adeney (Mr. Money Mustache)

Mr. Money Mustache (Pete Adeney) – He retired at age 30 and is hard core about being frugal. His whole deal is that we need to spend less than we earn and he models that by living off $25,000 a year with his family of three. We each make personal choices that make us richer or poorer.

There are 3 facts to being rich:

  1. Everybody sucks at money
  2. You can get rich enough to retire in 10 years
  3. Work is better when you don’t need the money

Any money spent that doesn’t make you happier sucks. Freedom has it’s own value. The purpose of life is to be happy. More fancy shit and less effort doesn’t necessarily make you happier. The actual recipe for happiness is:


He asked us to consider how long is our prison sentence? This is his way of referring to the time it will take to be ready to retire. Go for that basic looking simple used car. Ride a bike. Do whatever it takes to live below your means. Higher income people almost have it harder with spending, as it’s easy to get lax when the money is coming in. The purpose of work is to create or feed your soul. The purpose of earning money is to have “enough.” Authenticity is the most powerful form of marketing. So do things for love vs money and reduce the bullshit in your life. His blog can be found here.


Zach WDS

Zach Anner

Zach Anner – Seizing his moments and mistakes is what makes Zach such a huge inspiration. Cerebral Palsy gave him the knowledge that he can’t do it all alone. He embraces the struggle with gratitude. One of the biggest things he is grateful for was his parents fighting for him to be integrated in school. He has friendships based on common interests versus common aliments. One of the most powerful things he said was

“Failures, faults and assists don’t need to be excluded from the narrative.”

He began a show called “Rollin’ with Zach” that Oprah sponsored. Later he began “Riding Shotgun” with the focus on roadblocks as part of the journey. He responded to the WDS audience question “what inspires you” by replying “anyone who has the balls to chase something inspires me!” He encourages us to do it with compassion and love versus chasing success. Find more about Zach here.



Emily McDowell

Emily McDowell – At 24 years of age, she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Her friends and family disappeared, not knowing what to say or how to be with a sick person. Years later she was healthy, but faced a friend who had cancer…and people began to come to her for advice about how to support that friend. She noticed how greeting cards were “aspirational” vs “real” as she launched her first awkward valentine card. She found that when people can say “me, too” it’s empowering! That sense people have that someone “gets” them. Anytime we can expand what normal is, that’s good. She wanted to use truth and insight to help people connect. The times when we need a card are those hard times, not halloween. In May of 2015, she launched her first collection of real life empathy cards. This was the merging of her own life experience with a need she saw. Emily didn’t want to be known as “the cancer card person,” so she waited and let her card audience, via Whole Foods and Urban Outfitters, grow. As her new card line launched, she blew up social media. She and  Kelsey Crowe are writing “There Is No Card For This“, a book to come out in January 2017. I can’t wait to read it!


Opening Party

Opening party

So, you can see why I love WDS! It’s like being in church for 48 hours with your heart wide open! They live their values by being sponsor-free, while offering HUGE value to the 1,000 participants in 2016. They also are known for changing it up, so who knows what 2017 will offer!

Quotes on a string

Quotes to get you thinking

Have you ever been to WDS? And if so, what was your favorite experience? Please share in the comments below. 


  1. I’m addicted to Field’s good life project on YouTube. I would love to attend WDS in the future.


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