The Year of Confidence

At the beginning of this year, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to achieve in 2011.  I thought hard about what I could focus on that would have the most substantial impact across my life as a whole.

I kept coming back to one word: confidence.

When you’re confident in what you do, everything becomes easier.

Growing up, I was confident in small aspects of my life, but I wouldn’t necessarily say as a whole I was a confident person.  When it came to skills I was good at such as tennis, skiing, or guitar, I could hold my own. Aside from that, I was pretty content to just follow what others were doing, not go out of my way to speak up, and make the easy decisions.

Over the last two years I’ve noticed the greatest positive change happen when I was confident in what I was doing.

In January I was down in Los Angeles visiting my friend Markus and others, and as I was getting ready to hop on a train down to San Diego, he asked me what I wanted to embody this year.  What one word captured my essence and everything I wanted to be.

I had a hard time answering.  We stood there for 20 minutes before anything came out.

After wracking my brain, two words finally came to mind that really captured the spirit of what the year should be about:

Freedom and Confidence.

So at that point, I dubbed 2011 “The Year of Confidence”.

I’ve kept this in the back of my mind for the last five months as I’ve gone about life, but it wasn’t until this past weekend where I really put serious thought into how far I’d come.

Most of you probably know that this past weekend marked the inaugural World Domination Summit here in Portland.  Our team has worked our asses off for the last year to ensure the event went off without a hitch.  And you know what?

It did.

There wasn’t a problem we didn’t have an answer for, and if there was anyone that wasn’t happy, I couldn’t find them.

World Domination Summit

Marching to the next spot after #WDS afterparty

However for all the fun that was had, I had a more profound realization.

The year of confidence is working.

It started on Thursday night.  There were a variety of meetups going on as people showed up in town, and after wrapping up at the venue around 5, Chris, Adam and I began making the rounds to the various meetups.

This culminated with a group of about 30 of us crashing what was supposed to be a 10-15 person meetup.

Long story short, we had way too many people and nowhere to go.  So being one of the only locals around I marched 40 people down the street to a local restaurant that I figured could hold us, and everyone proceeded to have an incredible time.

What sets this story apart is that similar things happened probably half a dozen times.

You can replace “restaurant” with bar, or “Sunday night event that shall remain nameless”, but the point is that people began to turn to me for plans, and rather than shrug it off, I embraced the role and proceeded to have a hell of a time doing it.

Later on Thursday I actually sang karaoke.  Which I don’t do. Not only that, I kind of rocked it.

However, there were two highlights that really brought this full circle and allowed me to realize just how far I’ve come.

The first was actually due to an unfortunate event where one of our main stage speakers became ill less than 24 hours before the event and wouldn’t be able to go on.  The team sat down and in half an hour we came up with a suitable alternative.

This ended up being an interactive session focusing on taking the bad, turning it into the great, and remembering the awesome little things in the process.

Through this process, I was actually given the opportunity to take two minutes and share my transformation story.

Yes, I got to get on stage and speak in front of the entire conference. Even if it was only for two minutes, it was still enough to allow me to cross off #97 on the bucket list: Speak in Front of a Large Crowd.

Sean Ogle at World Domination Summit

However for as incredible of an experience as that was, it was the talk that would come directly after that which is what really made an impact.

Andrea Scher and Jen Leman gave a talk about dreaming big, and thinking about the impossible.  They had a course called Mondo Beyondo, which after hearing, I thought was pretty corny – so I wasn’t sure how to react.

However, what this led to was having everyone in the audience write a word on their body that they wanted to become a part of them.  For as simple as it sounds, you know what? It worked.

This is also where it comes full circle.

For the next two days I would have a large “confidence” scrawled down my forearm.

Each time I looked down at it, I was reminded by it’s importance and why I should embody it in all that I do.

So all of that said, am I still the most confident person in the world? Not by a longshot.

In the last 5 months have I become more comfortable with who I am and the path I’ve chosen?


So, what is your word? What is one thing you want more of in your life, that you want to make a conscious effort to to strive for?  Think about this question, because I promise, it will have more of an effect than you think.

If you enjoyed this post then be sure to check out our Twitter stream, Facebook page, and my free ebook Location Rebel Arsenal!

Ben June 9, 2011 at 7:00 am

Coalescing all of my dreams, desires, hopes and wishes into one word? One word to focus on for an entire year? It’s something I’ve been working and planning around for a long time. But to have just one word? Something I can scribble on my arm?

I realized it while I was finishing reading the post. The word that encompasses everything I need to be focused on is Freedom. 7 little letters that are driving my existence right now.

NomadicNeill June 9, 2011 at 7:05 am

Great stuff. I can identify with taking the lead in situations where I previously would have waited for others to do so.

My word for the past 5 months has been Authenticity.

Being authentic makes my communication more congruence and gives it more impact. It makes me more confident and as a value it guides me when I need to make decisions.

Andrew June 9, 2011 at 7:31 am

Nice one mate, do you think the confidence under fire thing might have kicked in? I mean, there didn’t seem to be an alternative in either situation? (Late night booze festival or the guest speaker..)?

Either way, hats off to you.

This is worth another mention – “Not only that, I kind of rocked it.”

Put karaoke on the bucket list, then cross it off! The song?

Sarah Kathleen June 9, 2011 at 9:26 am

SHA-NOGLE! Having just met you this weekend, I must admit that I had no idea! – I saw confidence written all over you and I pretty much took it for granted as part of who you were. GO FIGURE! I LOVE this post because I often feel exactly the same way; there are things that terrify me, adventures that scare me, and crowds that get my palms all sweaty.

And yet, this weekend, with all of the amazing people around, I felt like we could *confidently* do anything, and that feeling was priceless. The best thing about growing confidence is that you can use it to build over time. Confidence is not arrogance, it is not superiority, it is not a need for attention; confidence is being comfortable knowing that you’re going to do great things, or that you’re going to do your best at doing things you’ve never done before.

Great post!

Peter Zink June 9, 2011 at 9:40 am

Good choice, definitely a word that applies to every aspect of your daily life.

You know during that exercise I don’t if I really got the word I wanted out of it, but I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about it for a while, and I think mine is “Autonomy.” The ability to create and do what I want without interference from other people. Once I’ve got that going on, I think overall confidence will follow.

Matt June 9, 2011 at 10:15 am

I’d been struggling to find the word that really summarized the feeling I had coming off WDS. My word at WDS was Freedom but I think in order to obtain that Freedom we need to have the Confidence. After reading this post I realized that the thing I gained the most was Confidence. After connecting with so many awesome people and hearing the fantastic stories of success and adventure I came away more confident than ever that my sabbatical plans can actually succeed. And that is a great feeling to have because it’s motivating and energizing.

Sophia June 9, 2011 at 10:22 am

The entire WDS planning team rocked it and congrats for being able to cross something off of your life list! Looking foward to the 2012 event.

Jeffrey Trull June 9, 2011 at 10:34 am

What I really want is “mobility.” To me, it’s related to freedom but more like location independence, which I know is something that’s talked about on here a lot. Simply put, I hate feeling like I’m not able to move freely because I’m tied to something in a certain place. I’m always thinking that if I could work from wherever I want, I’d never have to miss out on doing something I really want. I don’t necessarily want to be in different places all the time, but it’s important to me that I always have the ability to move as I please.

Marina Reede June 9, 2011 at 10:43 am

my word is liveagain. haha i’m a writer so i can create new words. i have been so energized by following you and others (the minimalists, joel runyan, chris g) at WDS…realized something. i love that people like us who are truly alive can connect, even if its online. i’m truly happy all of you are so young (i’m 41…single mama now but by age 31 had travelled to 20 countries:)). i miss that part of who i used to be, so i’m reclaiming it! thanks for sharing your journey! you know what’s great about doing what you love? the older you get, you sink into yourself with happiness that you’ve been blessed with life! thanks again!

Sharon Ogle June 9, 2011 at 11:40 am

Thank you. I think I will use that word for a future tattoo. :o)

Liz | Two Weeks to Travel June 9, 2011 at 11:41 am

I think my word for 2011 has been hustle. Since this year I finally decided to stop talking and thinking about how I wanted to work for myself, and started taking steps to do it. I’ve had a ton of stuff going on, been able to be inspired by a ton of people (like Sean), and is the word to use to remind me why I am doing this all for, freedom (hopefully my 2013 word).

Laura Roeder June 9, 2011 at 11:48 am

Beautiful post. And ALMOST as thrilling as “Sunday night event that shall remain nameless”

Rasheed Hooda June 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Ogle, You Rock!!!!

‘Nuf said


Yamile Yemoonyah June 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm

(financially, location wise and in every other sense of the word)

Janet June 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm

I can actually see you doing more speaking engagements should you wish to go down that route. 🙂 just sayin’! amazing journey you’re on, Sean!

Rick Mulready June 9, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Great post, Sean! This really resonates with me because my word (or phrase in my case) was “confidence in the unknown”. It’s a focus of mine everyday now.

You did an amazing job over the weekend. And thanks again for all your hard work.

Brandon Sutton June 10, 2011 at 4:52 am

Thank you for sharing, Sean. It was great meeting you this past weekend and getting to spend some time with you. As one of the people that was part of the Thursday crowd that crashed the Ace, I really appreciated you stepping up and taking charge. The entire weekend was flawless. You guys created something truly special, and I can’t thank you enough.

Oh, and I agree with Janet; I can definitely see you speaking publicly more often. Great job!

Hugh June 10, 2011 at 6:18 am

Although I wasn’t at WDS, I’ve had an awesome, and inspiring, time this week following all of related blogs, tweets, summaries, etc. It sounds like an amazing event and I will definitely be there next year.

I’m going to share Nomadic Matt’s word: Authenticity. I am jealous (in a good way) of my friends and acquaintances who love what they do on a daily basis. It’s so attractive and that is a state toward which I am working this year.

Violetta June 10, 2011 at 7:40 am

My word is Liberty.

Either I’ll extract myself from the situation I feel trapped in, or I’ll die mired in it. When looked at that way, the choice is clear. I don’t need anybody to give me the green light, or approve my choice. I’d forgotten that, but no longer. No one else’s unhappiness can hold me back unless I let it.

I’ll be at the next WDS, you can be sure of it.

Niall Doherty June 12, 2011 at 5:52 am

Great job speaking on stage, Sean. You totally rocked it. I didn’t even realize until now that you had so little time to prepare for that. Kudos.

As for my word? I wrote connection on my arm, and that’s definitely big for me, but my word for the year has to be freedom. And I definitely feel like I’m moving in the right direction.


Steve Errey June 12, 2011 at 6:12 am

Love this Sean.

I wouldn’t have known that “confidence” was your word, because you always seemed to be in your element, having fun, making decisions and helping to steer the ship.

That’s the thing with confidence – it’s not big and shouty and noisy, it’s quiet and gentle and graceful. But it makes the biggest difference to a person that I know of (which is why I chose to specialise in it!).

Natural confidence is simply being able to choose your behaviour with implicit trust in that behaviour; not in the outcome of that behaviour.

You rocked it.

Chas June 16, 2011 at 6:13 am

What Ben said, only, I prefer Liberty.

Brian Tomlinson June 16, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Great word Sean. Just making it know to yourself and thinking about that all the time will have you living your life and growing in “confidence” day after day. Truly a great word to embody your evolution.

Annie Andre June 20, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Hi Sean,
I was contemplating confidence the other day. I’m a super shy person probably due to lack of confidence. Most people don’t know i lack confidence because i fake it (confidence) until i feel it.

I have a new motto that has been working. if i’m araid of doing it or lack the confidence than i HAVE to do it as long as it’s not dangerous.
So last week i visited my Brother in-law in Virginia. He lives in this town called Floyd and it is small. anwyways, like you i don’t do karaoke. In this town they had a festival and there was a HOLLERIN contest. YUP a bunch of country folks got up to yell their pig calls. I signed up and low and behold i won first place. After the contest i felt over the moon with confidence. I plan to do more fear factor confidence builders. No matter how corny they are.
LOL just had to share..

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