How to Find Your Dream, Create Your Own Path, and Take Over the World

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WDS 2013

I waited for over a year to join 2,800 other travelers in Portland for the 2013 World Domination Summit. And now that I’ve experienced it for the first time, there are no words.

Well, there are so many of them — and so many feelings — that it’s overwhelming to put them into concise words.

What is The World Domination Summit?

When any of us were asked what WDS was, we each had a different answer. Mostly because WDS affects each of us in a different way, since we’re from all walks of life, ages, races and cultures.

But the common thread that binds us is that we want to live a remarkable life in a conventional world, and to take action on our dreams!

The Importance of Finding Your People

Like with most conferences I go to, I wanted to focus on the connections and meetups with other like-minded entrepreneurs. I wouldn’t be where I am today, in my business and my life, if I didn’t surround myself with other non-conventional thinkers.

When I started blogging I didn’t know anyone, I barely knew what a blog was, but in the past several years (Careful Cents turns two this month!) I’ve made connections with extraordinary people doing amazing things.

“Surrounding yourself with awesome people is the best way to grow individually and as an entrepreneur.” ~ Caleb Wojcik

Hanging out with my people!
Hanging out with my people!

None of us are capable of our full potential without first understanding ourselves and connecting with other people like us. The final speaker at the conference, Don Miller asked three questions,

  1. Who are you?

  2. What do you want?

  3. What happened when you went for it?

Don Miller

Without understanding yourself and what you want — not what you’re good at or what you’re skilled at — you will never connect with your people, and connections are the key to happiness.

“You are not your failures. You are not your successes.” — Donald Miller

However, little did I know, the workshops and sessions would turn out to be equally as inspiring and rewarding.

Dream While You’re Still in the Dream

Each session I attended became my new favorite. Nancy Duarte’s presentation had this editor and word nerd on the edge of my seat, with her speech about how stories can change the world. But it was the personal story from Tess Vigeland that really hit home for me.

After working for 11 years with Marketplace Money, she quit her cushy, stable job — and needless to say, everyone freaked out! She didn’t have a safety net, or another job lined up, she just realized that when she got her dream job, she stopped dreaming, and now she was very unhappy.

Tess Vigeland reminding us that we are remarkable!
Tess Vigeland reminding us that we are remarkable!

BOOM! That phrase hit home like a ton of bricks, because that’s exactly what happened to me in my dream accounting job. I stopped dreaming. I stopped seeing what life could be. I stopped making my own luck and finding exciting opportunities.

Don’t forget to dream while you’re still in the dream. You are remarkable, even when you don’t feel like it. Quitting your job is a scary feat for anyone, but even more so when you don’t have a backup plan or safety net.

What is Your Dream?

That’s the question speaker Darren Rowse asked us, and told us to turn to our neighbor and ask them what their dream was, then share your dream with them. While admitting to your dream and saying it out loud takes a lot of courage, so does finding your dream.

My dream is to find out what my dream is, to discover my true path in this life. Since I don’t know my dream yet, I’m telling you, that my dream is to find my dream — something beyond the normal “make other people’s lives better”.

One of the biggest things that impacted me this weekend was seeing people act on their dreams. Dreamers and doers were everywhere! In fact it was normal to be absolutely freakin amazing and to think unconventionally.

How to Find Your Dream

Maybe you already know what you want life to be like for you, or maybe you’re like me and still looking for your dream. How do you find your dream?

“Look for small sparks! Your next big thing might be the small thing right in front of you.” ~ Darren Rowse

During his speech, Darren asked singer and songwriter Clare Bowditch to come onto the stage and sing her song, Amazing Life. It had me and all the other attendees in tears.

“You don’t have to just one thing, but you have to start something.” ~ Clare Bowditch

Until You Find Your Purpose, Be Happy

Don’t waste your life away trying to find your dream and discover your purpose, while living an unhappy, conventional life. The more time you spend with yourself, and acknowledge who and what you are, the happier you’ll become.

“Self acknowledgement is the key to happiness.” ~ Gretchen Rubin.

After Gretchen’s presentation on habits and understanding ourselves, I purchased and started reading her book, The Happiness Project.

Gretchin Ruben

During her speech, what really resonated with me, was her story about how she loves reading children and young adult books. But that isn’t the “responsible” thing to indulge in as an adult, so she hid that part of herself for a long time.

Once she finally owned up to the fact of who she was, and what she liked (more on moderators versus abstainers) she found happiness. I’m a moderator, and an upholder, and I will no longer make apologies for the way I am.

Create Your Own Path, Even When There Isn’t One

During the whole weekend at the Summit, Chris G. featured multiple attendees and their stories. It was super inspiring to hear other people acting on their dreams. One guy wanted to speak in front of 500 people as part of his bucket list, so thanks to the WDS2013 team, he was able to cross it off the list.

The coolest story by far, was from Marian Schembari the Social Media Manager for Couchsurfing. Six months ago, she was living in New Zealand and knew she had to quit her job. She ONLY wanted to work for a company that she believed in, and that lined up with her personal values.

But unfortunately Couchsurfing wasn’t hiring a Social Media Manager. So like any go-getter entrepreneur, she didn’t let that fact stop her. She created a video of all her Couchsurfing hosts recommending her (in their native language) and explaining how passionate she is about traveling.

Then she sent the video to the CEO of Couchsurfing, and within 2 weeks she moved to San Francisco and is now part of the social media team. We have no excuse to follow our dreams and create a path, even when there doesn’t seem to be one.

Biggest Takeaway From WDS2013

We are all at different stages in our businesses, our dreams and our lives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still continue to dream and to pursue our purpose. There’s always a new opportunity, a world record to break, and inspiring people to meet.

Dream while you’re still in the dream! Look for sparks! Connect with your people! Let loose, and have fun!

Dancing at the closing party!
Dancing at the closing party!

If you want to be Superman — go for it! If you want to dance Bollywood Gangnam style — do it! If you want a job that isn’t hiring — create a position for that job anyway!

This is just one of a two-part series about my trip to Portland. But there was just SO much information and awesomeness that I couldn’t fit it into one post. Keep a lookout for a more personal post (with fun pics) soon!

Photo used with permission via Chris Guillebeau.


  1. Benny Hsu says:

    You put it very well into words! Were you out there dancing? I loved the attendee stories. Wish there were more of them. Too bad we didn’t get a pic together so I could be added to your next post w/ fun pics. 😉

  2. Nick Loper says:

    “My dream is to find out what my dream is.” I love this, because I was worried I was the only one who didn’t have a good answer yet! Thanks for sharing!

    • Glad I’m not the only one too Nick! I still feel like I’m young, and I have time to really pinpoint what my purpose is, so there’s no reason to rush. 🙂 And like Tess Vigeland said, “never stop dreaming, even when you’re in the dream!”

  3. Bo says:

    I’m with Nick…I think it’s awesome you’ve recognized that dreams don’t always just magically appear in a, well, dream. I know mine didn’t.

    Sitting on the couch watching the same tv shows every day and talking to the same people every day probably isn’t going to create the spark that leads you to your dream.

    You have to make the first move. You have to travel or go to a conference or talk to strangers or just do something that takes you out of your norm and forces your brain to process things it’s not used to. Or experience WDS and do all at once.

    For me the catalyst was creating a bucket list. Before I made my bucket list, I probably couldn’t have told you what a single dream of mine was. But after? I knew exactly what my dreams were & quickly realized I wasn’t getting any closer to accomplishing any of them.

    And the change didn’t happen overnight, but 6 years later, I’m sitting here living one of my many dreams.

  4. Dreams are fleeting, if we’re chasing them.

    If we create (and inhabit) the reality of our dreams, then they come to us, like magic.

    #WDS2013 was full of people who were at different stages of achieving (or chasing) their dreams. We’re like a dreamers support group – maybe we should have a Meetup on the Astral Plane.

  5. Geoff Walsh says:

    Hi Carrie,

    This was a great post you put together. It’s funny how inspiration and motivation can come from the story someone tells about the story someone told them…lol..I just blew my own mind. BOOM.

    Seriously, excellent read and I’m glad you enjoyed your time at the summit.

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