(Valerie Tookes, Margo Brockman, Ash Craig, Kate Swoboda)

So–how exactly did the World Domination Summit go?

I know. I’m like, a million years late on all of this.

My story is the story of what happens when an INFP HSP attends WDS with a stress fracture.


I’ll translate: My story is the story of what happens when an Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving (according to Myers-Briggs) Highly Sensitive Person (according to Elaine Aron) attends the World Domination Summit (Chris Guillebeau + crew + 1,000 fans) with a stress fracture (teensy broken bone in the 4th metatarsal of my left foot; massive pain in the ass, literally from sitting, and figuratively).


The Back Story

The stress fracture happened a few weeks ago. In the spring I fell, hit my knee, had to take a few weeks off from running, and then played catch up with mileage prior to a half marathon.

Learn from me: this is not smart to do. I thought that at most, moving from 9 miles one week to 13 miles another, would leave me with muscles that were more sore than usual. Nope. It left me with a stress fracture. This meant lots of sitting, and everything taking longer than usual when trying to get around and about at WDS. It was a nutty cab-calling hassle and I don’t wish to ever repeat it again (the cab part; WDS I’ll happily repeat).

Thankfully, hardly anyone asked me about my foot. For this, I bless you all. The idea of spending an entire weekend yapping about an injury that I was still in process with, still practicing all of my own tools of acceptance around, felt like a lot to contemplate.

World Domination Summit? For those who are unfamiliar with the conference, it’s the brainchild of Chris Guillebeau, author over at The Art of Non-Conformity. I’ve interviewed Chris a few times; he is a good egg who knows his shit. He puts on this conference with this weird name that’s hard to describe to family and friends who don’t spend their lives online (“World Domination? What are you trying to dominate?”). At the end of the day, I like to describe it as “a 3-day summer camp for bloggers.”



HSP? That’s a term I learned at last year’s WDS. Everyone was talking about how they were HSP this and HSP that, and finally I asked what in the world HSP was. They explained it to me, and then I took the HSP quiz (http://www.hsperson.com/pages/test.htm) and realized that hey, almost every single one of these applied to me. How had I gone my entire life without knowing about this? I am so totally HSP.

INFP is Myers-Briggs. I’d say that much of this is pretty on target: http://www.personalitypage.com/INFP.html


The Breakout Session

I was leading a breakout session for attendees called “Entrepreneurs–how to stop overwhelm from kicking your ass!” Only, I like to say “yo ass” because, well, that’s how I roll.

Being chosen to lead a breakout session? Huge honor–huge, huge, huge, because I was chosen by attendees who voted on who they wanted to see at the conference. Like, this was so huge to me that I could hardly talk about it to anyone but my inner circle, prior to the conference.

Also? Huge fears to manage, which means lots of practicing courage. Prior to WDS, Andy said to me: “I’ve never seen you practice this much for a speaking event.”

My reply? “These people have blogs, and they aren’t afraid to use them.”

A brief rundown of the breakout session can be found here, on Jamie Ridler’s site: http://jamieridlerstudios.ca/world-domination-summit-2012-stop-letting-overwhelm-kick-your-ass-kate-swoboda

How did the breakout session go?

Well, first and foremost, I got an entire room full of people to simultaneously exchange hugs, and that was a high point for me since I’m an avowed hugger. People cheered, people laughed, and I saw a lot of nodding heads, which confirmed for me that I’d gone in the right direction talking about overwhelm from the standpoint of what holds it in place, not offering 10 “tips and tricks” that will work for about five minutes before someone is caught in overwhelm, again.

(Speaking of overwhelm, a new session of Breathing Space will be opening soon).

Afterwards? My immediate feeling upon finishing the breakout session was a sense of eerie calm that had me thinking, “Hmmm, something’s off. Is this flavor… disappointment? Let down? Not meeting my expectations? Not having an open heart?” I had expected to have the usual post-speaker rush, the “high” of having just delivered something.

It took me awhile to fully process through all of my feelings about it. Finally I came to understand that part of how I’d been dealing with the stress of coming to WDS with limited mobility, the fears I had around presenting and being evaluated as a presenter, meeting so many people at once, etc., had been to shut down a little bit.

I had closed myself off (energetically) in order to maintain a “status quo” baseline level of energy that I would need to get through the weekend (being fully open would have required more energy, and my sensitive system was in hoarding mode).

Now, here’s the hard part: practicing the courage it takes to be transparent about that. I tried talking about it a bit at the conference, and decided to stop doing so when it became clear that it was hard for people to understand how I could be anything other than mega-watt overjoyed.

It was difficult to convey that I wasn’t “let down” by the experience just because I wasn’t jumping for joy (not that I could jump, anyway). I was simply wading through being surprised by the degree to which I had been managing fear in the background without an awareness that so much energy was tied up in that fear-management.

Looking back, I can see how all of the mobility hassles, the people, the energy of the event, the preparation leading up to the event, the very natural nervous excitement that comes up in social situations–all of that combined was total overload, and that was doubly compounded by not being able to walk, and not having been able to walk for three weeks. What they tell you about exercise’s effect on mood is true–being immobile for 12 waking hours, day after day, week after week, had done a serious number on my sense of well-being. I was carrying all of that with me to the summit.

Post breakout, people came up to me to share what they received from the session. I hold them in my hearts, grateful for their willingness to step forward and connect one-on-one.

The best part is that now, tucked away in my home, reliving the summit via blog posts and exchanging emails with attendees, I do feel that opening, that expansive joy, and it feels like a blessing to remember that we always have access to it; sometimes we just need to peel a few things back to get there.

If y’all invite me back next year, I will be there–and more hugging will commence. (Don’t pretend to be too cool to hug, now).


$100 and 100 Questions

By now, you’ve probably heard: Chris Guillebeau gave all 1,000 attendees $100 and a card asking them to consider carefully how they would invest it.

The $100 Investment at World Domination Summit 2012 from Chris Guillebeau on Vimeo.

What am I doing with my $100?

Now, that is a difficult question to answer–which means that I love exploring it.

The first thing I realized was that the money is less important to me than the question, and all of the emotional associations that come along with it.

For instance–there is something about mis-using this $100 bill that seems more wrong than it would be to mis-use $100 pulled from my own bank account.

Why? Why is it that when someone hands me the money to invest, I treat that differently than I would money that has been procured through some other means?

This is an interesting question, one that has prompted me to explore how I’m treating my money. Am I taking it for granted? Where am I at around issues of value? Is there a hesitation to invest in myself in some way? Am I disconnected around money?

I don’t think that the answers to those questions are sinister or pointing to some major core issue, but it’s still interesting to notice the first impulse. Something about being handed $100 and told to use it conscientiously has more impact on me than pulling out a credit card. Yet, they are one and the same. Why?

Here’s one thing that feels really, really amazing to realize:

I won’t be using this money to invest in my business. I’ll be using it to invest in something or someone else.

The reason I won’t be using this money to invest in my business? Because my business is doing well. I don’t need to invest it there.

And wow–that feels really, really amazing to acknowledge and really, really amazing to type. I’m proud of what I’ve been building.

I am purposefully holding on to my $100 investment for right now, because I don’t want to simply pass it along before I’ve fully examined the experience. If I were to place my bets on anything, it would be that it will go to Charity Water, whose presentation broke my heart wide open (thank you). I’ll keep you updated.

So–there you have it.

No one post could possibly encapuslate the weekend (and this one is getting terribly long, anyway), but this gives you a snapshot of the power of this conference. I sincerely hope that I’ll see you there, next year!