July 18, 2013



I just returned from Chris Guillenbaum’s World Domination Summit in Portland Oregon.

The conference was especially remarkable because of this year’s speakers. I especially was moved by Nancy Duarte visually mapping out the worlds greatest speeches, Jia Jiang talking about rejection,  and Danielle La Porte firing up the audience with her search for Desire. This is a remarkable conference that seems to attract super creative people from all over the world. Unconventionality is a theme that runs throughout the conference. The part that seems unconventional had to do with the questions being asked of those attending.

How can we do what we love and also work towards a positive change in the world?

A common theme  of many of the speaker’s talks was this circling back around to the idea of service. Are you going at the end of the day do something that is useful? Yes, of course, we all want to create amazing occupations for ourselves, do meaningful creative work that we are handsomely rewarded for …. but never before had I heard this idea about what you can do for others, come up again and again. One of the tenants of creating viable business is the usability of what you concern yourself with and how relevant it is to others.

I was super busy before leaving for this conference. I had the usual regrets—what was I thinking that I could free up this time to fly off to Portland for some conference I knew so little about? I forgot why I had signed up in the first place so many months before. On the plane I tried to remember that one of the main reasons was so that I possibly could connect with and find other people who also are also interested in the confluence of creativity, communication and passion.

Then somewhere high up in the sky above California I realized I forgot all my business cards.

When the  conference begins, they give you a cool little 4 x 5 blank notepad. Since I didn’t have my business cards I decided to make some on the pages of this notebook. I spent my time in the auditorium, while I was  listening to the speakers, drawing imaginary animals and thoughts. I figured I could at least  tear them out and give them to people with my email scrawled across the bottom as a stand in for a business card.

I actually apologized when I handed out the first couple fake business cards. Very quickly, however, I realized that not only did people not care or want another business card but that they really, really preferred getting a drawing of mine torn out of my WDS notebook. I ended up having quite a stockpile of drawings, so I could actually find the picture that I thought would most perfectly fit my new acquaintance.

The total appreciation people expressed for having this artifact of a few moments of my time really moved me. It certainly made me reconsider my whole approach about what I give people in terms of a business card. It struck me as related in a way to one of the primary themes of the conference…

That sometimes we don’t really need to know what it is that others are going to find valuable in what  we offer or put out in the world. Maybe we shouldn’t try and figure it out ahead of time but rather just start something and see what happens. The important thing is just to begin.

Handing these handmade business cards out to those I met made me reconsider what a business card is and how much value they are capable of holding for others. Handing them out to were some of the best moments of the conference for me.

I am curious. Have you ever started something that others saw more value in than you initially did?


In gratitude,


PS Please leave your comments below. Thanks.


Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.

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