Redefine Normal. Act Accordingly. Be Remarkable.


This article was originally written from 30,000 ft. in my notebook. Analog, baby!

World Domination Summit 2013 is in the books. Here I am on a plane, sitting, thinking, and reflecting. Reflecting on an absolute blur of a weekend. One full of inspiration, curiosity, laughs, tears, affirmation, and fulfillment. World Domination Summit has many definitions, but at its foundation it is simply a gathering of remarkable people doing remarkable things.

It’s easy to feel pretty unremarkable. It’s easy to give in to the conventional. Tess Vigeland, described during her presentation (which was absolutely one of the highlights of the weekend for me) the roller-coaster she experiences day to day – one that universally resonated with the nearly 3,000 hustlers and dreamers sitting in Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, including yours truly…

One day, you feel unstoppable. Like a total badass. Like you can do absolutely anything and nothing, nothing, will stand in your way. And yet the next day you convince yourself you’re a total fuck-up. That you’ve been kidding yourself all along. That you should pack it in and pack it up and just give up.

“What the hell are you doing?” – I ask myself this literally almost every day. If the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one, then here I am publicly admitting I have a problem: I am a self doubter. I ride the roller-coaster Tess so poignantly identified. One day, a total badass. The next? Feeling worthless. Worried, no, downright terrified that everything I’ve built will all come crumbling down. That it’s all been a big mistake.

Now let’s be clear, a little doubt and fear can be and is an incredibly powerful motivator. As I’ve been coined with saying, “Fear of failure keeps you humble AND hungry”. It grounds you, keeps your ego in check, and drives you to do great and wonderful, epic shit. Fear is natural. Fear is healthy. Let’s all repeat that together until we actually start believing it.

Who believes in me? Do I believe in myself?

The problem, truly, is simply believing in yourself. I have a family who believes in me, friends who believe in me, co-workers who believe in me, and as I learned this weekend at World Domination Summit, a slew of folks that, up until a couple days ago, I’d only known through a blog or from Twitter, who really, truly believe in me.

But with all these amazing people in my life who tell me they’re amazed by the work I’m doing, the things I write, and the stuff I have to say. While I think I’ve answered the question, “Who believes in me?”, the question I’m left wrestling with is “Do I believe in myself?” 

How do I get out of my own way? How do I discover what makes me remarkable? How do I believe it? How do I embrace that I’m living a remarkable life?

The new normal.

Alexis Grant summarized her thoughts post-World Domination, saying the following:

“By surrounding myself with go-getters, I have shifted my own reality, and because of that, my normal has changed.”

She goes on to say,

“It feels normal to dream, and then actually act on those dreams…Once things feel normal, you begin to act differently, too. You push the boundaries more. You go bigger. You realize even more is possible, and then you set your sights on new, bigger goals.

A lightbulb I’ve been trying to run on for years suddenly exploded in my head as I read this. I realized that my struggle, as it comes to believing in myself, in really, truly getting out of my own way, is embracing the “new normal”.

The normal I’ve been stuck in is the one that says I’m too young and inexperienced to run a successful business. That I’m too out of shape to run marathons. It says that I have a great wife, a house, no debt, and an amazing company – but it’s all too good to be true and something’s gotta’ give.

The normal I’ve found myself stuck in keeps telling me this is all a big joke and that I should stop kidding myself.

But then there’s the new normal (also known as reality). The normal of having run a successful company for three years that’s continuing to grow well. The normal of having the freedom to work with who I want, when I want, from where I want. The normal that allows me the opportunity to travel and see new places, speak at events, enjoy new cities with my wife, and share my insight with the world around me. The normal that’s seen me run four full marathons and three halves in the past 18 months, when previously I couldn’t run a few blocks.

I have created a new normal for myself. I’ve raised the bar. I’ve totally changed the idea of what it means to “go back to reality” on a Monday. I’ve got a great job and a great life sitting right in front of me that I’ve managed to lose sight of. I’m doing and have done remarkable things. I am remarkable. And for the first time, I’m actually starting to believe it.

We are all remarkable people.

If this is sounding very Jack Handy (gosh darnit, people like me) – let me redirect the focus back to you. We are all remarkable. But maybe, like me, you’ve been struggling to recognize and discover what truly makes you remarkable. Maybe, like me, you’ve simply lost perspective on the remarkable things you’re doing.

So let me remind you: You’re hustling. You’re working hard. You’re trying new things and coming up with new ideas. You’re writing blogs, pouring your heart out for others to see. You’re starting amazing companies. You’re inventing new ideas and improving upon existing ones. You’re traveling the world and experiencing new things. You’re falling in love. You care. You do. You matter.

World Domination Summit was a conference. A gathering of people who listened to speakers share their stories and insight. And when you put it that way, this sounds pretty unremarkable.

What was remarkable about World Domination Summit was that this convergence of passionate, curious, motivated, remarkable individuals brought out the best – the absolute best – in each other. We shared ideas, expressed fears, opened up about failures, and most importantly, recognized our successes. Together, we began to redefine “normal”.

“Normal” and “ordinary” get a bad rep – and perhaps for good reason. None of us want to do anything or be anything less than remarkable. No one is excited about living a normal, ordinary life. Normal represents giving in to fear, being weary of risks, and doing what we’re “supposed” to do.

But something pretty amazing happens when you redefine normal, and more importantly, start living your new normal.

So I leave you with a few questions:

  • What is your normal?
  • What will be your new normal?
  • How can you bridge the gap between normal and new normal?
  • What will you do today to start?

When it feels normal to dream, you’ll start pursuing your dreams. When it feels normal to try something new, you’ll take action on your ideas. When you believe that you are, in fact, remarkable, you’ll do remarkable things.

Thank you, World Domination Summit, and all the wonderful people I met, for reminding me of how great life can be, and how great life is. I’ll see you all again next year!

Here’s to, in our own unique, distinct, exciting ways, redefining normal and being remarkable!