This is a story of advice and inspiration and quotable quotes. And how, at the end of the day, the only way our quotes live is if they help spur others — and ourselves — to action.
Oh, and it's about a new commitment we're making to put some skin in the game.
Bookend Story #1: The Bus Stop
We, our backpacks and our feed bags were piled high on the sidewalk in downtown Portland after we'd been disgorged from the Bolt Bus from Seattle. We were disheveled, looking for a café. (Confession time: even with all the travel we’ve done we still pack too much and we sometimes lack a sense of direction.)
As we collected ourselves, one of our fellow passengers approached us, beaming: “I just wanted to say hello…I was at WDS [World Domination Summit] last year. I enjoyed your talk, especially the bit about Kilimanjaro.” Then Faisal told a story about wanting for years to take a trip around the world and to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Spurred by our talk to finally do it, he set off weeks later.
We were thrilled — not just because someone said that they were inspired by something we said — but because something we said motivated him to take action. And we were a part of his story. This dynamic connects us, binds us to one another.
“So thank you,” he said.
Thank us? We owed him thanks, really. Faisal’s story grounded us by reminding us of the power of story to motivate action.
At the time we didn’t realize that Faisal’s message – be inspired, but be motivated and do – would resonate for us as central theme of WDS 2013. It was a weekend where the underlying message echoed by every inspirational speaker who took the stage could roughly be translated: “Inspiration without implementation is not enough.”
44 Sparks and Sprouts from WDS 2013
For a variety of reasons, we don’t often do conference roundups. But our experience at WDS last year combined with the messages this year got me to thinking. And perhaps most notably, someone during the weekend suggested that we “share prolifically.” I'm now trying to do just that.
Another said, “Share for the benefit of others.” At its purest, I know this intention to be both true and good.
High fives and cheers for entering the theater.
You may agree with the following statements or you may not. That is not so much the point. These ideas may make you think, they may tap your motivation, and maybe they’ll encourage you to some action you’ve long been aching to take.
Nancy Duarte, a specialist in communication, public speaking and persuasion
1. A potent idea packaged well takes on a life of its own.
2. Resonance. Making people shake with emotion and connection, that’s the magic.
3. Evaluators look at the first page and last page of a screenplay. The question they ask: Who was greatly transformed? That’s what people want to see and that's one objective you may aim for in sharing a story.
4. Great talks and speeches cast What is vs. What could be. Look to the speeches of the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Steve Jobs.
5. Tell them a story where they expect one thing, then give them another. The obvious will only get you so far.
6. Storytelling is an essential skill to take ideas in your head and make them a reality to change the world.
Darren Rowse, Mr. ProBlogger himself
7. “People don’t realize that the future is now, but just later.” — Russell Brand. No, he wasn’t at WDS but Darren Rowse from ProBlogger invoked him and his quote.
8. Experiment prolifically.
9. What gave me energy today? Ask yourself this question daily, then give oxygen to that thing. What energizes other people when you do things?
10. Set aside time to create. And complete.
11. Share your dreams. This creates accountability and encouragement.
12. Be hyper aware of problems. Be obsessed with being useful.
13. Create space to observe sparks.
14. Don't just have dreams, chase them.
Jia Jiang, 100 Days of Rejection Project
15. Rejection is like chicken. It can be either yummy or yucky depending on how you cook it.
16. The higher you go, the more you will be rejected. (Lesson: You can't usually rise to the top without taking risks.)
17. We often see rejection as objective truth. Rejection is subjective and is often as much or more reflective of the rejector than it is of the rejected.
18. We ought to ask ourselves more often: What if I don't ask?
Chase Jarvis – Photographer, creator, advocate for creativity in business and life.
19. Creativity = take nothing, make something.
20. Our society needs creativity to thrive in all disciplines. Unfortunately, we often associate creativity with art, although it is only a small subset context where creativity can be applied.
21. We have a crisis in creativity. We have a system that legitimately stamps out creativity as we grow older.
22. We are all creative. We owe it to ourselves and to our culture to nurture that creativity.
23.Creativity is the new literacy.
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project
24. What did you do for fun when you were 10? This is likely an indicator as to what you would still like to do for fun — if you felt you could.
25. When we admit who we are, we can more meaningfully connect with others who share our values.
26. The greatest thing I’ve found that determines a person’s happiness? One's level of self-awareness. And accepting who you are first, not who you would like to be.
Sasha Martin from Global Table Adventure: 195 countries, 195 Meals, 195 Weeks
27. “They [countries around the world] are your neighbors. They matter.” We need to stop focusing on the negative. Find your own special way to love your world.
Tess Vigeland, former host of Marketplace on NPR, on a longer path than she expected to figuring out her remarkable future.
28. How do you know when it's time to go? When you have too much self-respect to stay.
29. Go out leaving no regret.
30. I could have not have had more fun if I were bathing in a tub of kittens.
31. When you have your dream job, the irony is that you don't spend a lot of time dreaming.
32. I'm supposed to tell you I’ve learned so much [leaving my job] that it’s been a growing experience. It’s been terrifying, awful, and heart-breaking.
33. The next person who tells me “just make it happen” gets a punch in the face.
34. How do I get back to remarkable? By re-defining it. Our jobs are not who we are.
Andrew Warner, entrepreneur and host of Mixergy
35. The Counter Mind triggers negative chatter. We must address it and ask: Is it true? Does it matter? (As you might have guessed, your answers will likely surprise you.)
36. Focus on the True mind. What is true, useful & wanted? Meditate on this.
Donald Miller, author and founder of Storyline
37. We are not our failures. We are not our successes either.
38. The greatest emotion in life: gratitude. Develop a sense of gratitude for what life is.
39. The psychologist Viktor Frankl suggested that ultimately we humans are on a search to find a deep experiential sense of meaning. When man does not find this meaning, he seeks out pleasure. The stuff we believe we want may not make for a happy or meaningful life.
40. What if we are not the identities we project?
41. Integrity means integrated. Integrated means all of who you are.
42. Be unconditional.
43. Treat life as a memoir being written.
44. Great stories happen when characters take action.
Bookend Story #2: A “Stalker” on the Bridge
As we walked back to our hotel after the conference late Sunday night, we found ourselves in an exhausted yet satisfying “I’ve ingested so many ideas and rolled through so many emotions” sort of haze. As we were about to cross the bridge, leaving downtown Portland behind, a woman ran up behind us.
“This may sound stalker-ish, but can I walk with you for a bit?” she asked.
“Now that you put it that way…” I joked. “Of course.”
“I was at WDS last year and saw you speak…I just wanted to say thank you…I’ve shared that story you told from Georgia [women in the market providing us a feast, the generosity of spirit]…a bunch of times…”
Zoe not only remembered us – that’s always satisfying – but she remembered the story of those Georgian women. I felt a heavy, emotional goodness wash over all of us. That story always chokes me up, even just thinking about it in passing. When Zoe shared her own recollection of it, I found myself welling up. We were honored that something we said resonated so much that someone chose not only to recall it, but to pass it on to others.
We asked Zoe about her story. As it turns out, she had the travel bug and was saving to take off for a long trip. But a welcome player — namely love — intervened and convinced her to remain closer to home. To feed her wanderlust, she found work that allows her to travel as part of her job.
After enjoying our conversation and the general glow of making the effort to connect, we hugged, placing a fitting seal on a weekend of connections and lights.
Our emotions may move forward with inspiration, but our ideas and intentions won’t — that is, until we’ve actually done something about them.
So Dan and Audrey, what are you going to do?
We're going to write a book. Two, at least. The first will be a self-published book coming by this fall. We very much look forward to engaging you, dear reader and friend, in the creation of that book.
The second book we have in mind is targeted for print. Its estimated time of arrival is very much TBD.
As for the rest of those books (and other ideas), stay tuned. We're just getting started.