It’s been so long since I wrote a blog! But I am inspired (it’s hard not to be inspired when 1,000 bloggers/creative entrepreneurs/innovators converge on the beautiful/zany city of Portland for three days).
What is WDS, you ask? I didn’t know either until Jeff and I showed up at a grand Opera House in Portland and joined the growing crowd outside. WDS (which stands for the World Domination Summit) is, essentially, summer camp for adults. And it’s awesome. There were lasers. There was ziplining. There were drag queens handing out donuts. There was fake snow and free tattoos (real tattoos).
More officially, it’s a conference for “living a remarkable life in a conventional world.” More on that to come.
I ended up at WDS thanks to Live Your Legend (a movement similar to TheMillionTo1Club) that I follow on FB. Live Your Legend said write a FB post. I did. I won a ticket. We had two weeks to figure out how to get to Portland, so Jeff travel-hacked his heart out with scary cheap plane tickets, two Airbnbs, and a $40 yellow Fiat. The rest is history.
Because a whole lot happened (like a whole lot) during WDS, I’m going break my adventure up into episodes. Ready? Let’s go. Here’s how you take over the world (Part 1):
You take a leap of faith.
First thing I did in Portland: Boarded a yellow school bus filled with enthusiastic poets and wannabe origami artists (called the S.S. Poegami) and headed somewhere. No one knew where. That was part of the deal when you signed up. Turned out that somewhere was the treetops. That’s right. 200+ people were shuttled to an elaborate obstacle course/zipline system in the treetops of Oregon.
“Alright, you’re good to go. Tackle any course you want.”
I stared at the woman. I’d literally just completed a three-minute training on how to maneuver the complicated “Tweedle” system (i.e. how one hooks oneself to thin wires strung between sixty-foot trees.) I didn’t exactly feel “good to go” when I started the Green Course (the easiest frickin’ one).
I looked out before me and saw a tiny, wobbly bridge to cross, twenty-something feet in the air. For some reason, the risk still hadn’t registered. I don’t know why (maybe cuz I’d spent 5+ hours on plane the day before). Or maybe I was just willing myself to be cool and brave in front of everyone.
First, I messed with the tweedle things (yes, that’s what they’re called), and prayed I did it right. No one was watching me, so, if I didn’t…whoops. Lawsuit. Except, nope, I’d signed a scary waiver.
Then, I took a step forward.
What is this? I thought we were ziplining? You know, strap me in and send me off kind of thing?
I grabbed onto something, anything for dear life. It finally hit me:
This was scary.
This was all on me.
This would not be easy.
This would not even be that fun, probably.
This is going to require intense concentration and being hella brave.
All that, plus the scariest notion of all – there was no going back. No, I was in it, and now I had to hook and unhook myself in the right order, squeeze myself onto tiny platforms with other terrified people, and will myself to move forward (which was made easier by the fact that there’s no way back.) You literally can’t go backwards to safety. Once you’re going, you’re going, and no one can save you. You’re too high up. You have to finish the course.
So…can you guess where this is going? Do you see the profound metaphor? I didn’t until I started writing this (I honestly just wanted to write about ziplining, lol). But that feeling – that leap of faith forward despite your fear – is the foundation of everything that makes us feel alive. It’s what must happen if we want to challenge ourselves. It’s the only way forward.
Anyway, I finished the Green Course. I was low-level shaking the entire time and pretty much silent (not a great networking activity, just FYI), but I finished. When I was safely on the ground again, I stared up at the other, harder courses…and I tried to devise a plan to escape. LOL. Really. But, after a few minutes of taking it in: the beautiful weather, the beautiful trees, the brave people, the fact that I’d done it once already, I said, “Oh, what the hell.” And I moved on to Purple (that’s right, I skipped Blue and went right on to the third hardest). Egads.
But that’s what facing your fear does. Your eyes get all wide and your heart races and you want to retreat, but when you move forward you realize that you CAN do it, you ARE brave, and you MUST move from tree to tree, to higher ground. The next challenge face is a little less scary. I mean, it’s still scary AF, but it’s less scary, and that counts for something.