Can I tell you something I’m a little ashamed to admit? About a month ago I decided I probably wasn’t going to go to the World Domination Summit.
Yes, I’d already gotten my non-refundable ticket. Yes, I’d booked a hotel. Yes, I really did want to go.
But there were just as many nagging reasons to hold me back. I didn’t know anyone else there. I should save money. My family would be in town & I’d have to cut their visit short.
So I’d decided I wasn’t going.
Staying home would be the easy, comfortable thing to do and my brain had justified the decision several times over.
And then I got the email. I sat down at my computer to cancel my hotel reservation when I read the words:
“Hi Bo- I’m so excited to tell you that your Attendee Story has been accepted as one of the few stories for our stage this year”.
I was being asked to get up and speak for 3 minutes in front of 2800 people.
Cue the gut-punch of fear that happens when you realize you’ve just been given a huge opportunity that you can’t say no to, but requires you dive head first out of your comfort zone into the waters of doubt and vulnerability.
What on earth am I going to say to 2800 of the world’s most incredible people? There will be hundreds, if not thousands, of people there that deserve to be on that stage much more so than I do. I’ve never spoken to 100 people, much less 28 x 100.
They must’ve made a mistake. Surely they’ll find somebody else who will be a better fit for this than me.
But I sat down and started writing. I wrote a bunch of crap that didn’t make much sense & started drafting an email telling them I was getting the flu or something.
But I kept writing until I’d written about my dreams and fears and vision and giant squid. When I saw the words “giant squid” on the paper, I figured I had to be on the right track.
So after throwing in one more instance of “giant squid” for good measure, I sent a draft of my speech to Jolie, one of the organizers. I assumed this would probably be when she would tell me they found somebody else.
But she didn’t. She sent me the most encouraging response ever and for the first time I thought I might actually get the chance to stand up and talk.
And I did. At 11:18 on Sunday morning, 4 other attendees and I walked out on stage and got the chance to tell our stories. I snuck a picture of the crowd during one of the other speeches, but the picture doesn’t do the beauty of the theatre justice. It was gorgeous.
I was later asked if I was nervous. Looking back it’s a total blur, but I think I was so focused on not urinating myself there wasn’t much time to get nervous about the crowd.
And the crowd. They were amazing. I’m not sure I’ll ever get the opportunity to speak publicly again, but even if I do, a better audience will never exist. There were no critics. Everyone there absolutely wanted the speakers to succeed. It was a beautiful thing.
As far as my speech? It could’ve been better & it could’ve been worse, but more than one person stopped me afterwards and told me that it somehow inspired them. I can’t begin to explain how this makes me feel.
I learned that all of our stories matter. Even mine.
We all have the ability to dream.
We all have the ability to inspire.
I’m not sure if video exists of the full speech, but I managed to acquire a bootleg portion of it (sorry @ChrisGuillebeau!) I’ll include below.
I want to thank the amazing, gracious people that make up the #WDS community for forcing me out of my comfort zone and helping me check #1 off my bucket list. Y’all are incredible and I can’t wait to see you next year!
Bo is currently living in Orange Beach, Alabama working towards checking #31 off his bucket list. If you’d like to be a part of the adventure, consider sponsoring a mile.
[Video should appear below. If not, click here]