You are enough.
After a few fun and intense days in Portland (followed by a short burst of school holidays, jetlag and deadlines) these three words linger in my heart and mind. You are enough.
I wanted to write a neat summary of all that was said and done. But every time I tried I felt like I wasn’t doing justice to the event, speakers, attendees or volunteers. How do you wrap up a program which covers how to lead a remarkable life in a conventional world? There was so much goodness, so much to take in, that it’s taken me a while to express it. In fact, I feel like WDS2013 was an event that changed me, and the words to convey that are difficult to find.
This is what I remember the most….what epitomises the World Domination Summit 2013 for me is a sense of beginnings and endings and everything in-between, connections and ideas and dreams all started by people because they were enough to make something happen.
Are you enough?
Despite having – and in a sense knowing- I am enough, I rarely feel like I am enough. I’m the most critical of my own work, and despite being told otherwise I will always assume what I say, produce or create isn’t very good. On one hand, I’m confident and feel no need to prove myself to others. On the other, I am probably prone to the Imposter Syndrome: even when I’ve worked hard, I feel like a fluke artist and I need to remind myself that I’m not. I can get high distinctions, promotions or endorsements but I somehow feel like an imposter. Silly, I know, but that’s how I’m wired. When I post photos or share a blog post, quite often it’s a dare to myself on some level, to force myself to share even if I’m cringing a little bit on the inside. I take on challenges – not because I feel extremely capable – but because I will never live the life I want to unless I step out. Gently.
So, there’s me.
And there in Portland were nearly 3000 other attendees, speakers and volunteers, all starting with themselves. Just like you and me.
You’re never just anything.
Something that stood out to me in Nancy Duarte’s keynote was the example of Evita’s speech; her passion, the embrace of her audience and what she held in her heart. You are never “just” anything, Nancy said. Know your passion. Become a phenomenal communicator of your ideas. I would dearly love to be a better communicator.
I was so privileged to sit next to Nancy that night and personally thank her for inspiring me to create slides to raise money for women in poverty a few years ago. I could have thought I was “just” a busy mum working part time when I set out on that journey. But I started with what and who I knew. Together, we made a difference.
We are enough…when we stop doubting and comparing ourselves, we can dream.
We can take responsibility for our future, as my super awesome boss Darren Rowse said in his keynote. Instead of trying to be everything, Darren reminded us we can start with small sparks, to become obsessed with being useful, to proactively make our dreams happen by taking responsibility for our future. ‘Set aside time to create and complete’.
The lovely Clare Bowditch sang a song on stage “you don’t have to be just one thing, but you have to start with something.” I think she moved us all. And how lucky was I? Clare sat next to me at dinner too! We even walked barefoot on the grass outside the Kennedy School together :) She’s a fascinating creative person I hope to get to know better.
You are enough.
Gretchen Rubin inspired us to know who we are. Not who you should be. Or the image you want to project. Just as you are. She gave us plenty of questions about our habits. Are you a Rebel? An Obliger? Either way, you are enough. I wrote down plenty of notes and was thrilled to meet her in person too.
Jia Jiang shared his incredible story of rejection therapy. He made us laugh and cry. He shared what happens when we put ourselves in a vulnerable position of potentially being rejected. We will ultimately be accepted or rejected but not ignored on the basis of opinion and preference – but not because of an objective opinion about you.
Andrew Warner reminded us that when our counter mind tells us something we need to ask “Is it true? Does it matter?” Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are enough, and that our counter mind which doubts and criticises needs to be ignored.
You are enough and you can do things your own way. As Sasha from Global Table Adventure shared with us in a few short minutes -with a whole heap of passion and enthusiasm – find your own special way to love your world.
Tess Vigeland captivated and challenged us to be ENTIRELY enough to ourselves. When is it time to jump without a net? For Tess, she said it was when she had too much self respect to stay. Could you leave a sure thing for the vast unknown? What does success mean to you? Tess felt she succeeded as she left a sure thing. Get back to remarkable, she persuaded us. At the time of WDS, she still had not found the next remarkable thing. Now she has a book deal, thanks to a Random House editor who happened to be in the audience!
Tess Vigeland, image courtesy of the World Domination Summit official set.
You are enough.
Steve Schalchlin received ovation after ovation for his performance. He implored us to act on our creativity. ‘Everyone is creative. Everyone has imagination. You don’t have to change the world. Find that one person, focus on the one reader….and if there’s one…there will be more..’
Don Miller was the final speaker to motivate us to be all that we are. Are the things you want the things which will give you a meaningful life? Impress less people and connect with more. We are not our failures and we are not our successes either. Connection heals. ‘Likes’ don’t.
During a break on the second day I went to the bathroom and the girl in the cubicle (stall) next to me was humming a delightful foreign tune. The girl in the cubicle to my right yelled out “Is someone singing?!” “Yes” “Sing LOUDER!”. The humming girl was enough. She sang louder. Her voice was beautiful.
There were so many ‘WDS-esque’ moments in-between sessions, on the street, meeting an old friend from IBM, and bumping into new friends on coffee runs. I found Portland inspired me while I wandered back from a full session to the main venue. It seemed like the whole city was abuzz with creativity and a youth choir even gave an impromptu performance at the airport when our flight was delayed, young voices dappling the air with a melody to ease the most frazzled passenger.
Just be, right where you are
This gentleman was sketching in the Portland Art Museum on the Friday after I registered for WDS. He didn’t hide his artwork. He celebrated creativity by being in the moment – he was enough. I was very grateful that he allowed me to take his photo. “Why, I thought you’d never ask” he replied, with a healthy dose of charm and a cheeky grin.
You can see more of my photos from the event over here.
I certainly hope I can come again another time. For now, I’m inspired, challenged and changed to live a meaningful life and to make braver choices.
So can you. Because you are enough.