In 2007, the movie “The Bucket List” was released starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. It is about two men who, terminally ill with cancer, escape from the hospital with their wish list so they can fulfill the list before they die. The title is derived from the term “kicks the bucket” a phrase that dates back to at least 1785. The lesson of the movie is that it’s never too late to live your dreams and desires.
We all have unfulfilled dreams and desires. Why wait till tragedy strikes? Psychologists will tell you that creating a bucket list is actually very good for your mental health!
Even for very successful people, resentment, anger and/or regret may set in when they begin a life review of what their heart really wanted to do. It could be things like “going to Paris,” “kayaking down the Colorado River” or “learning to sail.”
Developing a bucket list is a great way to allay those negative feelings as well as put those wants and dreams onto a big “to do” list. It’s also a visual way to “see” your dreams on paper and start making them a reality. For many people, just making their list is cathartic and can help to put their mind and their thoughts in a better place. Collaborating on a bucket list with your spouse or significant other can also be a great way to get to know each other better. Indeed, some of the things that you find out about each other might be quite surprising.
This week, create your own career and life bucket list. Even if you’re not close to retirement, I highly recommend setting yourself up for success by thinking long term. Think about your career, what you want to do after your career, and how your current professional life can help support that. Whether it’s through savings, a promotion or changing industries. Perhaps there is an encore career you wish to pursue.
Creating Your Bucket List
Use this exercise as a visioning, creative process. While there are really no set rules when creating your list, below are some helpful tips. Remember the more specific you are, the more likely it is to happen.
- Find a quiet place to think and reflect.
- Take three slow deep breaths and ask yourself “Three years after working non-stop my entire life, I will…”
- Sit and wait for inspiration to flow through you. It may take time, be patient with yourself.
- Write down everything that comes to you. Just let your thoughts flow, think big and small. This is your list so do not hold back your desires or edit your thoughts at this point.You can use pen and paper or your tablet or smart phone.
- You may want to take several days to complete this list as new, more exciting ideas may keep popping up.
- Once you feel your list is complete, you may want to use a numerical system to denote how important an item is. For example, “seeing Paris” might be number five on the list while “learning to speak French” might be number one.
- For greater clarity, break it down into years one, two and three.
Creating Your Action Plan
- Ask yourself what steps need to be in place in order to make these dreams come true?
- Capture your “activation steps” beside each bucket list item. This turns it into action vs. a static list.
- Create a timeline for each item. Is it to be accomplished in a few days, months or longer?
- Keep your list handy. Think of your list as a work in progress. You will always be adding to it over the years.
- Share it with others. but only with people you trust will support you and your dreams. We all have naysayers in our lives. It’s important to keep them away from crushing your dreams. This also gives you more accountability once it’s public.
- Finally, be sure to keep your list in a visible place so you can revisit it daily and stay focused on accomplishing what you want.
Have fun with this exercise! Remember, if you’re stuck getting started on any part of your career/life journey, you don’t have to go it alone. Please contact me for a FREE Strategy Session. It’s time to put LIFE into your dreams and desires!
To Your Career Success,