This past weekend I attended my first World Domination Summit. Chris Guillebeau and his team delivered big time and I met some fantastic people. Here are the three central lessons I took away with me.
1. Do what you care about and do it well. Simply being at the summit and seeing how it was run was one big workshop on excellence. The entire weekend was strategically planned and executed brilliantly. You could tell a lot of thought went into every single element: the design of the notebooks, the contents of the gift bags, the selection of speakers, the choice of venue and the amount of free time we had. Experiencing such a well run and well led event -- staffed by motivated volunteers and operated as a non profit venture -- was challenging and inspiring.
2. The world has a huge supply of remarkable people. I was consistently impressed by the caliber of the people I would randomly meet at the Summit. I enjoyed sitting by new people during each session. As an extrovert, I'd always be the first to strike up a conversation and find out where the other was from and what he or she was up to. Without fail, each person was doing something very interesting and was abnormally helpful and enthusiastic. I wish I had more time at the Summit to continue to connect with such great people. But this group of folks is extremely accessible online and that's where I'll continue to seek them out.
3. Pour yourself into a worthy cause and really help others. My favorite talk was given by Scott Harrison, the CEO of Charity:Water. He shared a compelling story about how he pursued a life of selfish indulgence for a decade but then felt God calling him to something more. He joined Mercy Ships as a volunteer photographer and saw that poor people throughout Africa were suffering enormously from diseases resulting from dirty water. He then embarked on an impassioned effort to build a nonprofit organization that would be remarkably different from other charities. It would give 100% of all its funds directly to needy people and connected projects -- no spending on overhead. He also operates his organization with complete transparency and shows exactly where each dollar donors give is being spent in Africa. I want to be involved with organizations like his. He is helping people in this world who need it the most and showing all nonprofits how to serve others more effectively.
I've already signed up for the next Summit in 2013. See you there.