The First Step is To Ignore Reality — 5 Lessons From the Summit Series

What happens when you put leading thinkers and founders together on a boat? You get sunburnt and realize the possibilities are endless...

Well over a week after Summit at Sea, I find myself wanting to high-five strangers and dance to music in public. When I got the invite back in January it was shocking given how early stage my start-up was but by the time the ship left port in Miami it all made sense: the world is serendipitous.

On the boat the energy was incredible, you had leading thinkers, founders, artists and philanthropists all in one place and eager to chat. Ideas were brainstormed from various perspectives and soon a small feature could turn into a new product buildout.  Even at one point a few passengers jumped from a ferry boat while near a island stop and I couldn’t help but wonder what rules were actually enforced on the cruise ship and would in fact this group of people who made a living from defying logic actually listen?

Sun burnt, voice gone and with techno music blaring in my mind I had one day to recover before going to a radically different conference. While sitting on my next flight out of NYC I realized even the way I looked at people changed from Summit Series.  The open possibilities, the stories behind people’s lives, the knowledge to be shared. Ever since Summit Series I’ve gone from focusing on the who but the how.

Sure enough, like a bottle of happenstance corked with destiny, it became apparent on the boat the laws of attraction. You would run into the same person a hundred times but never meetup with someone you tried desperately to. When all was said and done and even as the techno music plays on, the lessons I learned from cruise ship packed with leaders I plan to follow for the rest of my life.

#1) The World is Small

Not in the “you should pick up trash small” but in the “your best friend married my investor small.” Especially in terms of being an entrepreneur the mere fact that you were drawn to start your own company already puts someone in the top 1% of any given population or category. Friends, investors, colleagues – it all becomes small. Even though Summit Series had close to 1,000 participants quite often a new acquaintance heard of or uses your product. Be nice, but most importantly, listen.

#2) Smile at People

Simple but true. The boat was filled with such happy people it was common to see both friends and strangers randomly throwing around high-fives.  Why?  Why not! Just walking around with a smile puts out to the universe the message that you are ready to be happy. The universe will listen. Try it.

#3) Pack Light

This is more metaphoric.  An investor once told me “take twice as much money and half as much baggage” and its true. On the boat there was essentially two things being done: dancing or networking near the pool. I packed for an adventure filled weekend but at the end of the day all I needed was a good pair of sandals and sunglasses which reminded me about life: pack light.  Bring two or three necessities and rock it. Everything will be fine.

#4) Stop Limiting Yourself

We always hear it, your mind is your worst enemy but in truthfulness imagination is key to growing and building. If you set a limit then a limit has been set. On a boat with a bunch of maniacs who coordinate all kinds of activities with minimal resources is a gently reminder that a lot can be done with very little. Stop limiting yourself.

#5) Everyone Loves Energy

Again simple but if you expel energy, energy will be attracted to you. Its pretty hard to not be attracted to positive energy.  For a few days after Summit Series, besides my sunburnt glow, others could pick up on my Bahamas high energy coming from all the other people I had been around for 4 days and the responses were incredible. Even in the grocery line or at the bank I have been able to make new friends and connections. Why? Because I’m smiling and throwing around high-fives.  You should try it.