“Instead of perceiving fear as an obstacle, I choose to see it as an opportunity.”: Michelle Poler at WDS

Next month we’ll release the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

But first, we’re rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event. Following our first speaker, Jonathan Fields, we welcomed courageous video blogger, Michelle Poler, to the stage.

Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela to a family of holocaust survivors, Michelle was accustomed to living with fear. It kept her safe and comfortable. But when she moved to New York to pursue a Masters in Branding at the School of Visual Arts, Michelle quickly realized that NYC was not for the fearful.

In efforts to re-write her definition of fear, Michelle completed a project where she faced one fear a day for 100 days. She recorded each day’s challenge, from holding a tarantula and skydiving to posing nude for a drawing class.

Check out the video below to hear her message on how you can live a more fulfilling life through understanding and overcoming your fears.

“The truth is, every time we face a fear, we’re opening a door to the unknown. And the unknown can be scary, but it can also be mind-blowing.”

“Saying yes and living life outside of the comfort zone will not only allow you to open a world of possibilities and make your life feel longer, but it will also allow you to tap into your full potential.”

“If only we could see ourselves from the outside and see our imperfections—because we may not fit society’s beauty standards or ideals, or our tastes and interests may be far from what’s considered normal. What we expect from ourselves may be different from what others do. Maybe labels can’t define us, and no description fits all of who we are. That is amazing—let’s cherish it and allow ourselves to be defined not by the things that make us normal, but by the ones that make us stand out.”

“So many people spend their entire life avoiding failure—for what? I realized that every time we fail, we learn, we improve, and ultimately succeed.”

Want to know more about WDS and how you can join us?

Every summer, thousands of people travel from all over the world to Portland, Oregon for this immersive experience in life, work, and travel. With main-stage keynote speakers, hundreds of attendee-led meetups, more than a dozen workshops known as “Academies,” two big parties, and a ridiculous number of new friends high-fiving you on street corners, it’s a truly engaging and life-changing experience.

Tickets usually sell out far in advance of the actual event. If you’d like to come, don’t hesitate!

Find out more on the website, and sign up to be notified when tickets become available.

Stay tuned for more speaker videos!


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