The Sensational Shift with Susan Bernstein, MBA, PhD
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What I learned while dominating the world

I wasn’t sure I wanted to dominate the world.

But, while doing it, I learned a bunch of lessons about changing the world in positive ways. And I’d like to pass that wisdom along to you.

How I wound up dominating the world

photo-26I’d heard about the World Domination Summit (#WDS2014) since 2011, when a bunch of friends attended this Portland-based event for non-conformists, put on by Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Non-Conformity and The $100 Startup. I wasn’t quite clear what the event was about, but it attracted speakers like Brene Brown, a researcher I love who speaks about authenticity, and Pamela Slim, who I’d interviewed on her book Escape from Cubicle Nation when I hosted the Work from Within show on Hay House Radio.

But I saw myself as too sweet and mild-mannered and even too intellectual to be a “dominator.” It wasn’t until Bahadir, a graduate of my MBA alma mater, the Haas School of Business, emailed me in April and said, “Hey, Susan, do you know about the World Domination Summit? You should be there.”


Was it a sign? I took it as one. I looked up WDS and thought, “I belong there. I want to change the world in positive ways. I feel like it’s time to shake up my business, get super clear about what I mean when I talk about “The Sensational Shift,” and it seems like it would be fun to be around a bunch of innovators.

So, I trusted the impulse and on a Monday, decided I’d attend #WDS2014. Then, a whole bunch of logistics fell into place, almost magically. On Tuesday, I noticed on Facebook that a friend was selling her $400 ticket at the original face value, $150 below the going rate. I bought it. A day later, Portland friend offered a free place to stay for five days in Portland. When I checked on Wednesday, United Airlines magically had no blackout dates during the times I wanted to use my frequent flyer miles. The topper:  On Thursday, I opened my mailbox to find an unexpected check from Hay House for 2013 sales of the career reinvention course I’d recorded in 2011, Your Career Transformation Program. The amount of the check:  $397.60. So my out of pocket expenses were a mere $2.40.

Pretty miraculous manifestations, yes?

First #WDS2014 lesson:  Trust your instincts. When something feels right, follow the energy.

Before WDS even started:  What did I get myself into?

Honestly, I was unclear about what to expect from the event. #WDS2014 just sounded like so much fun! It started with an optional pre-event, The Great Namaste a world-record attempt for the highest number of people doing yoga together. Happily, after arriving in Portland at 11 pm, I figured my way from the northeast side to Pioneer Square at 8:30 in the morning to get my mat and my location. By 11 am, 808 of us had set the record. And had a ton of fun and laughter in the process.

WDS 2014 | The Great Namaste from Chris Guillebeau on Vimeo.

I found it soooo easy to meet people. In my experience, #WDS2014 folks are a friendly, outgoing crowd of people committed to three principles:  Adventure, Community, and Service.


Susan + Kelli Melillo, The Lady of the Loo

At a meetup before #WDS2014, I met uber-friendly Kelli Melillo, the self-proclaimed “Lady of the Loo,” who wrote The Best Places To Pee: A Guide to the Funky & Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland, and was looking to a creative WDS tribe of almost 3000 people to help her spread the word about amazing bathrooms. Yes, for real. Creating a community of people to talk about bathrooms was just not that hard, actually. People love to talk about that. No kidding.

At that same meetup, on event planning, I met Maia Akiva, a self-titled “motivational speaker / entertainer, a reality bender and an emotional researcher who dips into every flavor of human behavior and self-discovery using self-help fiction, magical realism and original visual storytelling..” Whew! I heard her Israeli accent and just had to connect. She had me in stitches, and it turns out she loves the same kundalini yoga teachers in LA that I love. Small world.

Those are just two examples of finding my tribe at WDS. How would I describe my tribe? Creative. Out-of-the-box. Originals. All coming together to share ideas, support, excitement, and really get our missions going in the world.

WDS, The Summit:  Mainstage learnings from wise souls

What if you saw your life as doing a bunch of experiments? Trying things out?

That’s what so many of the WDS mainstage speakers have done with their lives.

Rather than report on all the speakers, I’ll share a few (I confess I’d never heard of 90% of them before the event).

Jadah Sellner + Susan Bernstein

Jadah Sellner + Susan Bernstein

Jadah Sellner launched Simple Green Smoothies, which shares amazing healthy smoothie recipes and information. I adore Jadah for talking about all the business ideas she’s had in binders that she finally tossed, her ventures that didn’t make it, and her unexpected success. Thank you, Jadah, for the reminder to “take imperfect action.” Ah, that relaxes me!

I’d heard of Michael Hyatt, and wow, I loved his in-person energy and enthusiasm and candor. He made a super-important distinction between “the driven life” (you know, A-type personality, always on the go) and “the drifting life” (letting things happen to you). Both are default lifestyles that can land you in a destination you didn’t choose. I know. I did the driven life for years. Instead, he recommends the designed life.

Michael offered three powerful questions for designing your life:

  1. How do I want to be remembered?
  2. What is important to me?
  3. What’s your priority?

photo-24I have a new love, Gary Hirsch, co-creation addict, of Just when I was starting to feel nervous about how I’d create and launch the next phase of The Sensational Shift, he told us about his “bots,” little monster-like creatures, which he made to help people through fears, including a young lady who had to be courageous and give herself insulin injections. If she could be courageous, so could I, right? Every participant at WDS2014 got their own totally unique bot. I love mine so much, and carry it with me to infuse me with courage.

Gary, I’m still noodling (or, checking in with my heart, really) to fill in this blank.  My one brave thing: _______  Hmm…it’s something to do with my much bigger mission for The Sensational Shift.

I could go on and on about the World Domination Summit and how a sponsor-free, intensely friendly, awe-inspiring, wildly imaginative, crazy fun event it was. Yet it’s got to be experienced! So I hope you’ll join me for #WDS2015, as I’m already signed up to go (if you attend 2015, you can do early registration for 2016). Visit for the whole she-bang of info.

How I will dominate the world…

So, I returned to the Bay Area from super-friendly, public transit dream, foodie-heaven Portland, and honestly, cried my eyes out for two days. I missed being with such dreamers who are also do-ers and do-good-ers.

And I got regained my energy and clarity. No more being so ultra-serious with The Sensational Shift. No more struggling to decide what I do.

A new mission is born. This is what I do. I help you….

“Dissolve the stress so you can radiate your best.”

I had this epiphany (thank you to a dear friend who listened to me through my tears and helped me see this):  I love, love, love helping people let go of stress. It’s what I’m meant to do.


I grew up in an anxious family (I think it’s part of being Jewish, honestly, like it’s in my ancestral DNA). I’d rather be a warrior than a worrier. At heart, what I loved about my PhD program in mind/body psychology, or the kundalini yoga I’ve been studying for nearly a year, is how they make me calmer. And I adore sharing the perspectives and practices I’ve learned with others.

So you’ll be seeing me shift out of helping people in career transition and reinvention. I’m good at that.

But my true love is blasting stress.

So I intend to dissolve stress in a creative way, one that brings in the WDS elements of:

For now, I’ll be focusing on creating highly sensory (sensational, get it?), wildly practical stress-shifting experiences in companies and organizations. And of course, I can’t leave out my PhD side, so I’ll be sharing the geeky but glorious science and wisdom behind why the tools I’m sharing dissolve stress so well.

So…do YOU want to be part of the new direction for the Sensational Shift community?

For the immediate moment, I’ve got two ways for you to keep up with what I’m doing:

(1) Bring me to create a sensational stress-shifting experience for your company or organization. I’ll be custom-crafting these, based on very successful presentations I’ve been doing for the last six months. But this will be a low- or no-PowerPoint zone, but more like a PowerPlay experience…fully sensory, like a big game.  So if your organization could do with less stress, and you’d love people to have fun learning to let go of stress, contact me. You can use te contact form or call me. I’d love to connect and dissolve the stress!

(2) Tell me your biggest stressors. I really want to know. You can make it super anonymous on this quick two question survey.

I’m excited to make my own sensational shift…into doing what feels so, so right…helping dissolve stress so we can all be our best.

So, what do you think of how I’m planning to dominate the world?

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment here on the blog, or contact me directly.

4 Responses to “What I learned while dominating the world”

  1. Excellent! Love the clarity, Susan. I’m looking forward to watching the waves of positive change you create!

  2. Thanks so much, Curt! That means a lot, especially coming from you! ~ Susan

  3. Bahadir says:

    Wow, what an inspiring summary Susan, fantastic! Like Curt said, looking forward to the waves! :)

  4. Thanks, Bahadir! Yes, yes, waves forming now. I so appreciate your support, and your WDS nudge! ~ Susan

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