.newsletter-form-body .last-name { display: none; } .collection-type-blog.view-item.transparent-header .banner-thumbnail-wrapper { padding: 180px 0 20px;

Lessons From the Road


This year was my first time attending the World Domination Summit and I have to admit, it was impressive. The production quality alone was far beyond any other conference I’ve attended (except maybe SXSW, but that’s in a different league altogether). WDS is exactly what the name entails: it’s a gathering of entrepreneurs, speakers, writers, leaders, humans, who are creating things that actually affect the world in big ways. The core themes of the conference, for those who aren’t familiar, are Community, Service, and Adventure. If you hate those things, you’ll probably hate this blog and I’ll bid you adieu now.

The truth is, it’s amazing what can be accomplished when you have [a budget] and a strong commitment to the attendees. Creating an unparalleled experience was a top priority for Chris G. and his team, and it showed in everything from the quality of speakers, to the world-record breakings, to the closing party.

My notebook is full of inspirational takeaways and action steps, but in this post I’ll narrow it down to 5 key takeaways. Five ways that WDS inspired me to live a bolder, more interesting, more purposeful life. Oh, and to dominate the freaken world.

1. Be Vulnerable.

Throughout the week in Portland, I’d see people hugging and sometimes weeping while they appeared to share a moment about something personal. This could be between two friends, or two people that just met that day. It didn’t matter. The reality was that WDS provided a safe, almost summer-camp-like vibe for the attendees to come as they are, and leave as they want.

Admittedly, the part of me that grew up in the “real world” where people don’t embrace strangers for long periods of time in public, would witness these interactions and start to get uncomfortable.Don’t they feel awkward that people can see?

It wasn’t til my own repressed bullshit spilled out my eyeballs did I think, hey maybe these people are onto something.

The truth is, it’s not until people start being real, that these moments of intimacy actually happen. When people start being vulnerable and realize that they aren’t even remotely “cooler” or “tougher” than anyone else, that’s when it gets good, and that’s when change happens.

The most memorable example of this (for me) was a speech by internet marketer, and former pro athlete, Lewis Howes. His presentation resonated with me for many reasons. He used narrative and humor so effectively—two things I strive to do—that 3,000 people couldn’t help but listen to every word he said. We were engulfed in his story so much, that when he finally stripped off his alpha male facade, we were completely rocked. ROCKED I tell you!

Photo Credit: Armosa Studios, WDS 2015
Photo Credit: Armosa Studios, WDS 2015

This successful, masculine, attractive man, (hey! I’m human.) stood on stage and shared incredibly personal details. An auditorium full of people, males and females, cried as Lewis explained that he had been sexually assaulted as a child by his babysitters’s son.

He spoke of the effect it had on his life and relationships, as he kept that secret for over 25 years. He told us of the overwhelming fear he had when he finally told his family, and then subsequently shared his story on his podcast.

He told us of the impact it had had on his followers. The overwhelming support he had received for being so vulnerable and for showing other people that they’re not alone. That by sharing our vulnerabilities, we can truly help others to be able to do the same and move past the traumas and the baggage in our lives.

If you’re squeamish about emotions, and honesty, and being REAL, then this blog is probably not for you.

There will be plenty of sass--fret not--but there will also be raw and sometimes vulnerable things shared, because only through that realness can real change be made. Both in ourselves and in others.

Vulnerability affects change
Vulnerability affects change

I became friends with someone recently (a very impressive young woman who I’ll cover in a separate post), but after we made it Facebook offish, I noticed this quote on her wall. I don’t know who Oceana Pleasant is, and it doesn’t really matter.

The point is that this message of vulnerability leading to a greater reach and a greater influence has been following me around ever since WDS. Hence this blog. And hence why Be Vulnerable is #1 on my list of takeaways.

So this week, try and look for opportunities to be vulnerable. With friends, with family, maybe even at the office. If you find it easy, dig deeper. You’ll likely experience what Brene Brown calls a ‘vulnerability hangover’ where you ask yourself “Why did I share so much? What was I thinking??” but she goes on to explain it’s in these moments of exposure that we can start to see profound change and meaning in our lives.

2. Treat Everyone like it’s their birthday.

11 yr old Kid President was one of the most charismatic speakers to grace the stage at WDS. I’ve never seen Obama speak in person, but I like to think he’d be just as suave and quick witted.

Kid president is known for his youtube channel where he encourages people to be better humans through humor, dancing, and general awesomeness.

One of the simplest, yet most impactful, things he said was to “Treat everyone like it’s their birthday.”

Treat Everyone Like It's Their Birthday
Treat Everyone Like It's Their Birthday

It’s so easy to be grumpy cat when you’re out running errands and it’s a million degrees, or you’re at the doctor’s office because you have an ear infection for like the billionth time. But what if you bucked up a bit and instead oozed generosity in all those situations?

What if everyone you encountered each day, it really was their birthday, wouldn’t you wish you had been nicer to them?

The cashier at Target, the receptionist at the doctors, the guy that checks you in at the Jiffy Lube. Your girlfriend or boyfriend. Your teacher. Your mom.

James Altucher, one of my favorite writers, puts it like this: Treat everyone like it’s their last day on earth. Not your last day. This isn’t about ballin’ out, and flying to Rome to eat gelato. This is about them. If everyone you encountered, you knew it was their last day on earth, how would you act differently?

3. Share what you know.

Jeremy Cowart was another speaker that really spoke to me. Both literally and figuratively, I supposed. His presentation was unique in that the entire speech was expressed using photos and mixed media. He put every word on the screen in a way I had not seen before. He’s a true artist.

Jeremy spoke of his early struggles to see himself as a photographer (he is world renowned and has worked with hundreds of celebrities, artists, musicians, etc.) and he spoke of his philanthropic efforts through projects like Help-Portrait and Voices of Haiti.

But the thing he said that was profound enough to take make my list was something that hit a bit closer to home. Jeremy told us that he and his brother Mike, also a fellow photographer, had attended a Father Daughter dance in early 2014. There his brother snapped an amazing picture of Jeremy and his daughter in a snow machine that they had brought out on the dance floor. The picture would be the last one that Mike ever took of Jeremy as he died suddenly a few weeks later.

If you follow Jeremy’s blog, he shares the full story of grief through images.

Through his brother’s death, Jeremy was able to grasp the fragility of life in a way that he hadn’t before and he realized that he owed it to his children, and to his brother’s children, to share what he could with them before his time on earth was up.

So he created SeeUniversity.com, where he has loaded dozens of videos on every possible topic from photography, to business, to personal development. Everything he knows and everything he has learned, he has shared so that his children (and any followers who apply to join his list) can learn from it.

He preached that you are always ahead of someone. There is always at least person, if not hundreds or thousands, who can benefit from your knowledge and your unique perspective. No matter how insignificant you think your skills are, share them. They could open a door for someone else, and they could change their life.

Are you really good at coming up with recipes? Do you have a knack for writing jokes? Are you an excel wiz? It doesn’t matter what it is, you are better at something than someone else.

So write it down, record a video, compile the content through images. Whatever medium works best for you, just share what you know.

4. When you see people as just your platform, you eventually stand on top of them.

In the entrepreneurial world, I can tell you, it’s really easy for people to get caught up in the numbers. How many people are on your list, how many conversions did you get, how many downloads?

It can be easy to forget that every data point is a person. Someone that bought your product, joined your list, or signed up for your course because they trust you and they think you can provide value to their lives.

Jon Acoff hit the nail on the head with this quote, "When you see people as just your platform, you eventually stand on top of them." Instead of looking at people as a platform for your business, ask yourself how can I help? Am I doing what I said I would? Am I actually making people’s lives better with what I’m offering?

The same applies in the corporate environment. Rather than prioritize our own personal agenda and trample each other on the race up the corporate ladder, instead we can work to raise each other up. Celebrate each other’s successes, and constantly ask, how can I help?

5. You can do anything.

I wish I could convey the energy that exists when you get a room full of people who want to positively impact the world. It may sound cult-y but the truth is, I can’t imagine a better koolaid to be drinking.

The reality is that anyone who has ever created something that radically impacted the way we all live today was just a person like you and me. The difference is that they took action and worked hard. Really hard.

With technology what it is today, our reach is faster and farther than it’s ever been before. People can source materials, or get funding easier and from more sources than was possible even 5 years ago.

Want to start a foundation to put kids through school in Africa? You can. Want to write a book and sell it to thousands of people on amazon? You can. Want to create a piece of luggage that charges your phone? You can!

You Can Do Anything
You Can Do Anything

Jeremy Cowart's speech emphasized not only that we teach the world all that we know, but also that our ability to make an impact is literally limitless.

We are capable of anything if we can conceive of it.

There are countless quotes and texts that serve to inspire us with this same message. I'll give you one, just to prove how easy it is to google these things. Nelson Mandela said, "It always seems impossible until it's done."

Point being, it's true. Whether Jeremy Cowart said it on stage at WDS or Tony Robbins said it on stage at one of his conferences, or Napolean Hill wrote it in a book about getting rich, if you can think of it and set your intention to make it reality, then it is inevitable.

Another speaker at WDS said that we were 'a room full of wizards.' With the power to change the world. The truth is that we all are.  Not just the 3,000 people who attended WDS.

Whether you grew up on Harry Potter and can appreciate a good wizard metaphor, or not, you are capable of doing ridiculously amazing things. So go do it already.

Why Public Nudity is Like Chicken Soup for the Soul

Spanish Nude Beach
Spanish Nude Beach

It started in Berlin. I was living there for the summer and my boyfriend and I were having dinner with some friends we’d known in Chiang Mai. We were sitting outside at one of my favorite Turkish restaurants in Neukölln (This one, it’s delicious. You’re welcome.) and they were telling us about all the different things they’d already done in Berlin that day. They ate burgers, here, saw a statue there, went to a nude bathhouse. A coed. Nude. Bathhouse.

Hold the phone.

Now these are two grown heterosexual American men. Call me a prude, but I was shocked. Mostly intrigued, but also shocked.

What did they do there? They said they had gone for over 4 hours. Were they just sitting around holding their junk in a steam room that whole time? Not possible! They’d die. (Don’t fact check me on that. I don’t actually know the length of time a human can physically spend in a steam room before kicking it.)

Throughout the conversation, they seemed perfectly at ease with the whole thing, and were even talking about going back before they left town. There were apparently multiple steam rooms, and saunas, and cold plunge pools, and even a DJ and a bar!

Needlesstosay, I was sold. I needed to go to the coed nude bathhouse.

My boyfriend (bless him) was always open minded about these things, and supported any opportunity that came about where I could celebrate my womanhood and my body without shame. He was in.

So the next day we looked up the Liquidrom Bathhouse, and hopped the U-Bahn. When we got there, we forked over our credit cards, and headed to our respective changing rooms. Well, not until after I grilled the front desk man about every possible detail.

Where was nudity mandatory? In which pools were swimsuits mandatory? Was there a limit to the number of drinks a person could order? Was he sure there wasn't a limit?

I was such an American.

So we go into our change rooms, and immediately something feels off. My boyfriend had walked into the room next to me, but I could still feel his presence. Not in like a “he’s always with me” kind of way, this isn’t that kind of post. But in that he was literally. Still. Right next to me.

I looked up and realized that I could see in the entire men’s changing room. And that they could see in ours. There were no walls! What was the point of the whole separate door charade??

We laughed awkwardly, and gave each other that “We got this” look of support before stripping down to our skivvies and heading out the other side of the locker room to the unknown.

What we found was incredible.

Everywhere we looked, men and women were lounging naked, drinking cocktails naked. Sitting in glass-walled saunas naked. And no one seemed to give a DAMN that people could see their naked bits, and they could see everyone else’s.

Liquidrom Saltwater Pool
Liquidrom Saltwater Pool

We spent the next four hours canoodling in the hot tubs, on the lounge chairs, and in the saltwater pool room with the DJ.

Other couples all around us seemed to be doing the same thing, so we didn’t feel like it was taboo to show affection. Remember, NO ONE CARES YOU’RE NAKED. It’s Europe. They have advertisements on the subway showing more skin than you do at the beach in the states. Bless your heart.

The liberation we felt after that experience was hard to shake. And why should we?

A year later, we found ourselves in Spain and decided to venture out to a nude beach to bare it all once again. Spanish people are not new to the concept of going topless, much like other parts of Europe.

That being said, you’d think it would be easier to access the nude beaches. We took a train an hour or so north of where we were staying, and then hiked a good 30 minutes along the coast. It was beautiful, of course, but damn the sangria from the night before was showing her face with every minute that the sun beat down on us.

When we finally reached the stretch of shore deemed naked-territory, we ditched our sweaty suits, and cuddled up under an umbrella. Groups of Spanish people chatted around us as we all just hung out with our stuff out. It was refreshing and liberating and one of the moments I’ve felt most alive.

The ocean breeze, the gritty sand. My white ass out for the sun to scorch. The sheer amount of fucks not given. It was awesome.

I look back on my time in Vietnam, when I would go to the sauna and cold plunge pool at my gym. All of the women there were butt-ass naked. Except me. I wore a bathing suit. They would sit in the sauna giving each other massages—naked-- and I would sit there in my Victoria’s Secret bathing suit, hiding.


They had lady bits. I had lady bits. Who carrrres?

I feel regretful that I was so embarrassed. How good would that cold plunge pool have felt without my bathing suit as a barrier? How much more relaxed would the sauna have made me feel if I wasn’t so busy trying to sit comfortably with a stick up my ass?

I feel grateful for having had such a supporting partner to usher me through those moments of liberation. And for always supporting my desire to be nude behind closed doors, and sometimes outside of them.

There are enough things in the world to be anxious about, our bodies don’t need to be one of them. (Pssst, half the world is working with the same goods you got. It’s nothing they haven’t seen before!)

Does this mean I’m one of those "free-spirits" who walks around all my American friends in the nude now? No. I respect that people have boundaries, and societal norms would have me wear clothes in most social situations in America.

I am however much more inclined to bare it all, and not think twice about doing so. I’m much more inclined to support anyone who feels comfortable with their body enough to bare it, or who wants to feel that way.

Life is short, go swim naked once in awhile.

The 3 Things I Learned at 8,500 Ft.

Climb that Mountain
Climb that Mountain

I took this photo last week on Bear Peak Trail in Boulder, Colorado. Since I was pretty sure I was going to black out and fall off the mountain, I wanted to make sure the whole thing was well documented so they’d have pretty pictures to show at my funeral. My iphone case is seemingly sturdy so I was confident it would survive the fall and rescuers would be able to salvage my photos.

I agreed to go on the hike for my friend’s birthday under the pretenses that we would be back by 6pm, and I’d be in for a mild to moderate workout. I had work to do, and I wasn’t trying to exhaust myself to such a point that I wouldn’t be able to function.

Can you see where this is going?

After stopping at Sprouts to grab some snacks and Bhakti we headed for the trail. Side note: if you haven’t had Bhakti Chai, you’re missing out. It’s a crazy combination of ginger and chai that tastes exactly like it sounds.

I was told that the trail is mostly flat until it juts up and that’s where shit gets real. After 40 minutes of “flat” I was worried that the altitude and my inability to do “fit” would pose a problem. I was struggling to breathe and the real hike hadn’t even started.

As we got closer to the flatirons a storm rolled in that threatened the entire mission. Since getting struck by lightning on these peaks is a legitimate concern, we hid under some trees and ate hummus while it passed. I’m pretty sure I was taught that “under a tree” is not the best place to be during a storm, but who am I to question these things.

Eventually the rain stopped and we picked up our packs again. I was sure we only had an hour or so left to the peak and I was excited!

After what felt like DAYS, and a dozen “we’re almost to the first landing!” I was starting to get skeptical. And by skeptical, I mean impatient. This was not moderate. This was hard as shit. I took it upon myself to ask another hiker who was headed down the mountain, how much time is left? Really?

He said 20 minutes to the first landing, then another 20 to the summit. Okay, finally some numbers that mean something. Thank you for managing my expectations kind stranger!

I should note that this stranger also told us, he’d been up on the peak when the storm passed and had to hide under a rock to avoid the hail that was raining down. These Colorado storms don’t mess around.

It should come as no surprise that we did not reach the first landing after 20 more minutes. Eventually we did and it was beautiful, but DAMN was I getting stressed.

Bear Peak Trail
Bear Peak Trail

At 5 o clock (4 hours into the hike), we still had not reached the summit. By this point, I had cycled through every motivational cliche I could think of.

“You can do anything.” was my flavor of choice and I had it playing on repeat. I knew if I just kept up with the 22 yr olds a little bit longer that it would all be worth it. Think of the social media opportunities at the top!!

Despite the fact that my legs were surely about to stop working and I was seeing spots, I was feeling anxious about the fact that work was becoming less and less likely. I don’t like letting my clients down, and I don’t like being in situations I can’t control. The reality was that I was trapped on a beautiful mountain in Boulder and I had no idea when I’d be getting off it. (I know, life is tough).

The closer we got to the summit though, the less I cared about pushing work to the next morning. This view was something I would never forget, and I doubt that the project management back at my laptop would really stick with me past the weekend.


So 25 hours into the hike, we summited. (okay it was more like 5 hours). I hadn’t died!

I was confident that I might, sitting there on the peak, but I hadn’t yet!

If you’ve never summited a peak--and I hadn’t--it’s pretty badass. Once the trail fades away, there’s nothing left at the top but rock. Rock on rock on rock. Which somehow doesn’t budge out of place and send you careening to your death. Or maybe it does sometimes?

Either way, there we were. Perched on top of these precarious rocks at 8,500 feet just staring down the side of a mountain. I had no regrets.

I had told myself “you can do anything” and I was right.

So what did I learn?

Well, I took from that experience [yet again] the fact that I really value people managing my expectations. I feel anxious and chaotic when it doesn't seem like people are giving it to me straight. All I can do with this knowledge is try to manage the expectations of others. Show them respect by always being upfront and then letting them decide for themselves how they want to proceed.

I also reiterated to myself the value of just living. Getting outside. Away from my desk and just living. The truth is that I tend to be really good at pushing work for the pleasure of the moment, but the hike supported my instincts to do so. I was right where I was supposed to be.

The biggest takeaway for me though was my ability to do. anything. Have I mentioned how hard the hike was? Because it was hard as shit. But I did it! It’s comforting to have that knowledge for the next time I want to do something and feel like I can’t.


  1. You can do anything. Seriously!
  2. Manage Kim’s expectations whenever possible.
  3. Go climb a mountain. There’s a slim chance you won’t learn something along the way.