Five short weeks ago many of us were in the middle of a life-changing event in Portland, excitedly riding the high of being surrounded by thousands of like-minded people, high-fiving volunteers and some amazing speakers. It was an atmosphere so fun, so electric, so incredible, that at times it all seemed a bit surreal…
The connections! The parties! The meet ups! The world record breaking events! Like a lot of folks, I too felt like I’d finally found my tribe, and we’d all converged upon our private version of Disneyland to spend five or so days getting high on each other’s vibes, personalities, projects and ambitions. It was, as my friend Jeff would say “A glorious adventure”!
But as with any good party, once the balloons (Okay, bouncy rave balls) deflated, the streamers come down, and – in this case at least – Pioneer Square goes back to being, well, a most awesome hangout for coffee-sipping-food-cart-lunching locals, what happened to this massive group of brand new best friends? Still high, we headed back to our respective homes around the globe, where we excitedly showed off our new back packs and hack sacks (boldly emblazoned with the WDS globe logo) to our friends and families, and explained all the big plans and exciting changes we were inspired to make in our lives… It was awesome!
But as mentioned, that was five weeks ago; and if you are like me, these days you might be sitting at a desk somewhere suffering from a post-WDS hangover… You’re probably wondering how the hell you’ll ever achieve even one tenth of all the amazing things you committed to doing whilst in a euphoric state of WDS bliss, because c’mon! What about work? Family? Commitments and responsibilities? These things still all need our attention, right? Seriously, who has the time for all this extra “stuff”, right? AM I RIGHT?!
Well yes; and no. Personally, one of the greatest lessons I took from this year’s WDS was from Jon Acuff, the keynote speaker who first told us that “Our calendars call us on the lies we all tell”… He went on to say some things that – while we’d never actually say them to ourselves out loud – illustrated how we our poor results in life are reflections of our lack of taking action. For example:
- “I’d rather binge watch Netflix than see a book I wrote on a shelf in a store.”
- “I’d rather follow the plots of seven different television shows than cut the grand opening ribbon at a store I own.”
- “I’d rather play Candy Crush than get in shape.”
As much as it sucks to say it, I believe we are all a little bit guilty of this; me included. So the question becomes: How do we break this cycle and follow through on the commitments we’ve made to ourselves? I might have a few ideas…
We Humans Are Creatures of Habit
Let’s face it; we are all creatures of habit, and therefore will often will take the least difficult route to get to an end result, even if it’s not the ideal result we want; in other words, at times we’ll settle for less from ourselves (usually far less) because it’s easier to do than putting in our full effort – especially when there’s still four episodes of the new season of “House of Cards” to watch, right? (See? I told you I was guilty!)
For example, eating cereal for dinner rather than making a proper meal is a prime example of this – While Coco-Puffs may fill our bellies and slay our hunger, why waste the time and effort to roast up a chicken, and make a nice greek salad on the side? Because really, is the outcome to (a) eat a healthy balanced meal, or (b) simply eat something – anything – or (c) fill up our gut so we don’t miss a date with Francis Underwood? You get the idea.
Regardless of which we choose, we also know that we can’t achieve the great things we want or change the world in the ways we told our new friends (just five weeks ago) we would if we don’t make the time and put forth the effort. In this post (and with the T.V. turned off) my goal is to identify ten ways to keep that euphoric WDS high going, going, going to the point that taking action on these ideas becomes the new, BETTER habit; a habit that not only helps us keep those commitments, but also assists us in moving forward on achieving our goals. So if you’re ready, let’s do this! Oh, and my apologies to Kevin Spacey…
My Top Ten Ways To Avoid a “WDS (or Any Event) Hangover”
Organize Your Notes: You know all the little notes you wrote down in your WDS workbook – remember those? Sure you do; you certainly remember squinting away in the darkness of the Arlene Schnitzer, frantically writing down peoples names and email addresses, as well as all the cool ideas and “little gems” you just had to capture because in the moment they resonated with you so much? You wrote all this stuff so you would remember it for later, right? Well guess what… It’s officially LATER! So if you haven’t done so yet, go through your all notes, and remember (a) why you wrote them down, (b) the action you need to take from each one, and most importantly (c), the benefit or outcome for taking those actions. Next, transfer these ideas onto single cards (with pictures if possible) complete with timelines for their completion, and post them on a goals board where you will look at them every single day. This includes a list of people you need to re-connect with.
Make a Plan and Take Action: If you’ve done step one, then step two should be obvious: Get busy manifesting these incredible things, relationships, accomplishments into your life, so you can reap the amazing feelings and experiences that come from bringing them to fruition! Seriously, if you create the habit of taking immediate action on things that inspire you, I promise that your life will grow in leaps and bounds very quickly… so what are you waiting for? Let’s pour in the rocket fuel and get this party started!
Email the Speakers & Subscribe to Their Email Lists: If you haven’t done so yet, reach out to the speakers who resonated with you by email, and tell them what you learned from their presentation. I recommend you do this for two very important reasons that, quite frankly, are all about YOU. First is that you actually “connect” with them (and yes, as Derek Sivers said, he – and everyone else – do answer your emails) to share your story, project, passion, etc. And secondly, this action helps you break down that imaginative barrier that many of us think separates “us” and “them” . I truly believe that successful people WANT to help each other, and just need to be asked. I learned this a few years ago and now ask EVERYONE for help (This is how I met Chris, and got my invite to WDS) and guess what? I’ve sat on the shoulders of many giants! Don’t be shy; contact those people who inspire you – period. And yes, they will usually answer your call.
Oh, and well we’re at it, I should make sure to mention that you offer to help them as well; and while they may not need it, it’s sure nice to be asked. And don’t forget to subscribe to their emails lists (weekly subscriptions) because if you like what they say, why not get their thoughts and ideas sent to you every week? In fact, why not start with this one? Good plan…!
Grow Your Circle of Influence: For me, WDS was all about connecting with awesome, like-minded people; I mean let’s be honest, we’re all here for the same reasons, right? But as with any relationship in our lives, we must put the time in an nurture them if we expect them to grow and thrive. I believe that many of the people I met casually at WDS are folks who I could offer help to, or get help from on individual projects, simply because we are all WDS brethren; so despite it feeling a bit odd, I’ve been reaching out to them on Facebook to say “Hey!” and offer any assistance I can, and guess what? The response has been overwhelmingly supportive and positive. Best of all, a few of us have been able to support each other out on our projects, which is so cool. Remember, while we are all here to help each other, we can’t do this if we don’t know that the other could use our help and expertise, so it’s critical to reach out. Make sense? I thought so!
Reach Out And Connect with Peeps Over Coffee* or Dinner: If you know me, you’ll also know I finish a lot of my sentences with “Why don’t you come over for dinner?”nand what’s really fun is that within two weeks of WDS (and one month from TEDx Stanley Park) we were able to host three couples who just happened to in (or close by) our neck of the woods for dinner. We broke bread, got to know each other better, shared our stories and created “win-win” friendships that have an excellent chance of standing the test of time. Don’t tell anyone, but we drank a lot of wine too!
The same goes for having coffee*; if there’s a WDS-er (or two) close by that you want to connect with, why not ask them to join you for a latte to catch up and see what you are both working on… Who knows what the outcome will be? You won’t if you don’t try; but then on the other hand, what if you do try? The possibilites are endless! And if you want, feel free to substitute a beer for coffee; especially if you’re Canadian – that gets us every time!
Skype At Least Three People: What’s that? You only met people in other cities, or countries? No el problem, that’s what Skype is for! So far I’ve connected with three WDS-ers on Skype, and here’s what happened. I connected one with a friend of mine who can help them with their project; I got advice from another (who just happens to be an expert) on how to move forward on one of my projects; and caught up for some serious accountability (and great conversation) with a third, all from the comfort of my little office in Victoria B.C., despite them being in Michigan, Toronto and Chicago. The bottom line? Make sure you get a list of those “Must talk to” folks, get their Skype handles and surprise them with a call – believe me, they’ll be glad you did!
Offer Support/Accountability: With all this connecting going on, don’t forget to offer both support and accountability to your new friends, as it does two things. It helps them out, which is the first sign of any good relationship; but more importantly, it gets YOU involved and even more connected with them and their tribe. Do this, and no telling the far-reaching effects and connections that can come out of it. What’s the best way to do this? Simple: Just ask “How can I help?”.
Connect Like-Minded People Together: While we’re at it, if someone needs help, and you know of someone who can help them, why not connect these two parties together? It’s pretty easy, and speaks volume of your respect for them and the projects they are working on. Even better, it’s very, very easy to do, and might just be the step that “cracks the code” for someone. One of the biggest deals in my life came together in an introduction this way, so I swear by it! Here’s how I do it:
First, I explain the project, and then get permission from both parties to connect them. (BTW, so far nobody has ever said no) Then using email, I introduce them, and ask them to connect, and keep me in the loop in case there is anything I can help out with or assist them towards the project. Being the common denominator means that each party trusts that you only hook them up with quality people, so make sure that they will be a good fit. Once you’ve done this, sit back and watch as kindred souls connect and support each other’s projects… All because of you!
Use Your Creative Live Card: How often do you get a free education handed to you? Use your hundred and fifty bucks to take an online course that will springboard your creative streak and passion! Redeem it here and get going!
Create a Remarkable Passion Project: The one bit thing I’ve noticed is just how many people I met in Portland who are absolutely passionate about their projects. These folks inspired me with their drive, determination and unwavering commitment to projects that are important to them; Take Marla and Kasha of The Global Sunrise Project for example: Have you ever heard of such burning desire to make a positive change in the world? (You know them already; but more on their story here) Why not use the inspiration you get from stories like theirs (or so many others) and find ways – big or small – to make a difference in your own community? Reach out and see who needs some help, and then offer it up; trust me when I say that you’ll be glad you did.
So there you have them: Ten ways to avoid a “WDS (or any other event) Hangover” – being that feeling of uncertainty where to start, who to contact, what to say etc. that often slows us down and keeps us stuck after an outstanding and inspiring event. I promise even if you just do a couple of these actions, and then follow them through to the end, that your experience will be 100x better than if you don’t. Because that’s what WDS teaches us: Community, Service and Adventure; and it’s all here.
Besides, with Netflix being on-demand, you can alway watch House of Cards AFTER you’ve gone out and changed the world… right? That’s what I thought!