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WDS2014 part 3: The Speakers and what I learned.

WDS2014 had some great speakers, among them being,

WDS - Chris Gullebeau (photo by Armosa Studios)

WDS – Chris Guillebeau (photo by Armosa Studios)

I learned a lot from all the speakers, but had some favourites also – in particular Jadah Sellner, Michael Hyatt and Elise Blaha Cripe. Since you were not able to make it, I captured what I heard and hope you find it interesting and thought-provoking. More importantly, I hope it triggers some action based on how it resonates with you. You can read the first two installments here – part 1 and part 2.

Chris Guillebeau

WDS is the brainchild of Chris Guillebeau and it has been taking place since 2011. The main takeaway from the moments that Chris spoke were all around how we live remarkable lives in a conventional world:

  1. Community – building connections with interesting, fun people.
  2. Adventure – taking risks, enjoying new experiences.
  3. Service – making the world a better place through service.

A very powerful message and one that has had a lasting effect. I went on to read his  world domination manifesto since.

A.J. Jacobs

If you don’t know AJ, then you should read some of his books – they are very entertaining. He opened the summit with a very entertaining speech and some important personal characteristics that we should all take on board:

  1. Be bold – he also used the paraphrase; “Fake it till you make it!”
  2. Confidence is important and can be cultivated – hold your body in a confident position – that is, make it big, spread you arms, stand tall.
  3. Be grateful – it yields great dividends.
  4. Cycles – virtuous and vicious – be aware and seek to cultivate virtuous cycles.

He then went on to talk about his new project – a deep interest in genealogy. He brought us through how closely we are all related and introduced us to some of the research being done and data collected (Geni, WikiTree). He truly believes that this has the potential to create a more connected (human) world, and thereby a kinder world. He is planning to set a world record with his own gathering in NYC next year around this story.

Jadah Sellner

The lady behind Simple Green Smoothies. She open with a very strong personal story which really lent weight to her  subsequent advice, which was:

  1. Say your dreams out loud – be you, be bold.
  2. Take imperfect action – go for it.
  3. Let go – give yourself the chance to learn from every lesson in life – learn from failures.

She also spoke about the need to have harmony between dreaming and doing – both are necessary, but need a differing approach – one being a thinking system, the other a doing system.

Jedah closed with five nuggets for building a community with heart:

  1. Take consistent ninja-focused action.
  2. Stay insanely curious and see what sticks.
  3. Court your community.
    1. think of social media as the dance club
    2. your website as your home, and
    3. your email list as your bedroom
  4. Create hyper engaged connection – interact
  5. Choose love over metrics, people over profits – change one person’s life at a time.

Gavin Aung Than

Gavin is a real-life example of someone living the values of WDS through the career he has built with his website and business, zenpencils.com. The takeaways for me from Gavin’s speech were:

  1. Be persistent and seek a way to help others with your skills (150 comics over 30 months before he discovered his chosen strategy. He only really found it after answering the two key questions from the world domination manifesto:
    1. What do you really want to get out of life?
    2. What can you offer that no one else can?
  2. Don’t be afraid to fail – it’s all learning.

Shannon Galpin

Check her out – she is an amazing person. She spoke of a Street Art project that she executed in Afghanistan to give a “Voice” to the women of that country. If was a very powerful speech that spoke of the power of having a voice, and ensuring that there is gender equality in all aspects of life. It is well worthwhile checking her website and that of “Combat Apathy” out.

Michael Hyatt

Michael is a very powerful speaker and used a very personal story to shake us up and ask what type of life are you leading? Answer for yourself:

  1. A drifting life – where you are carried along by life, or
  2. A driven life – where you are all the time driven towards some desire, or
  3. A designed life

Michael suggests that the first two options are unconscious approaches to life where you are taken to destinations that you did not choose – I happen to agree with him and know which life I currently lead.

To move towards a designed life, Micael offered us three questions to ask ourselves and seek out an answer to:

  1. How do you want to be remembered?
  2. What is important to me?
  3. What single brave decision do I need to make today?

Then, do what matters.

Saki Mafundikwa

A very interesting speaker who a successful graphic design career to go back to his home country of Zimbabwe to set up a graphic design college. His speech was very interesting and unique – the key takeaway for me was:

Jump and a net will appear! 

That was Saturday over and now it was on to Sunday.

Dee Williams

Dee Williams gave a super speech and told her story and brought with it inspiration for us all – plus the recommendation that we should buy a cape! She spoke of her internal compass and funnily, a lot of her advice was closely aligned with that of Michael Hyatt. She spoke of the great virtues of action, hope, creation, humility, gratitude and courage, but most of all, the point that has lasted longest with me is:

You will discover your superpower by showing up!

John Francis

Now this is one interesting dude – he walked America and stayed silent for 17 years, all borne out of his response to the oil spill of the coast of San Francisco in 1971. He later became an environmentalist and now defines the environment in the broadest possible terms, including the people who populate our great planet.

He is an impressive man and demonstrates what is possible with a strong mind.

Elise Biaha Cripe

Possibly my favourite speech of the weekend. A lady who sets goals, take on ambitious projects and then goes and delivers, through a combination of good planning and great follow through. The first great nugget was:

Great people do things before they are ready – Amy Poehler.

A clear message that came across was to “Set the goal before you have the skill to do it!” It sounds obvious, but it is not – all too often we talk ourselves out of doing something because we don’t know how to do it.

Her self-declared mantra is:

Just start! (Think of how babies start to walk)

Once you have your big goals, break them down into smaller goals and go forward  … just start   …  begin, one step at a time.

Another piece of sage advise was:

When setting goals, leave space to grow, room to adapt – think about this, there is a lot in it.

Then, having shared her own journey, she challenged us to find an answer to the question – what do you do? – she gave us a piece of paper with “I _____________ !” and asked us to think about our answer to the question, “What do you do?”, and fill this out (see below). Her answer to the same question was – I make stuff – I design products, I make hand crafted objects, …

Define what you do!

I get projects done!

I get projects done!

The other piece of advice – make bold statements.

Scott Berkun

I was looking forward to Scott’s speech and he did not disappoint. He spoke a lot about life as a creator (he is an author) and provided some insight and advice:

  1. Show up and create.
  2. Find your answer.
  3. Listen to your inner voice.
  4. Journal – write your ideas down (just for you – that’s what journaling is).

Scott wrote very details notes on the speakers here.

And so to the last speaker.

John Jantsch

John told some great stories about business owners he had worked with who made great choices and run great companies. His speech had a lot of parallels with that of Michael Hyatt and the biggest takeaway for me was:

Make good choices, daily choices.

True change is lived when tiny change occurs – Leo Tolstoy.

And that concludes my notes – as brief as I could make them. This was a great summit and I would like to thank everyone for making it such – from the ambassadors, to the speakers, the attendees, the productions crews and Chris Guillebeau – I am already looking forward to WDS2015. The use of twitter and the website to keep everyone informed of current activities was stellar – well done to the team behind that.

Later this week, I will start the first new project inspired by WDS2014 – keep reading. As always, I would love to hear your comments. There is just one more installment to come.

Leave a Reply

  1. Thanks for that William.
    Very concise and incredibly useful. Nice to same the same messages coming through such a variety of speakers.
    Fran