What's on your bucket list?

Over the weekend, I cleaned out an old work bag. Included in the paperwork I found was a piece of paper from one of the best ice-breakers I had ever done in my corporate career.

It was called Bucket List Bingo.

On the paper were 9 blank boxes. The first part of the task was to write down 9 things you want to do before you die. The second part was to walk around the room and compare notes with others specifically to find people who had already achieved something on your list, then add their name to the corresponding box.

On my list (dated Jan. 2015) were the following:

  1. Live abroad
  2. Spend 1 year on a boat
  3. Have a house on a beach/by water
  4. Start a company
  5. Skydive
  6. Play the saxophone (this has been updated to a violin)
  7. Have my paid photography published (I had written “create something to help people” in the box but crossed it out - I didn’t think it would translate for the exercise.)
  8. Master meditation
  9. Learn to speak fluently in French (I was told by the Frenchman who signed my box that this desire had no value - I explained that it didn’t have to, the idea made my heart happy).

While a few of the items on this list have shifted; they are all still very important to me.

I’m happy to say that as we kick off December I’ve managed to cross one off the list - I started this company. (Technically I’ve accomplished two as I’ve also created something to help people.)

Each of the above desires serves a much larger purpose; to imagine myself doing each of these things makes me feel completely alive.

During the ice-breaker I got 7 names on my paper, in 5 boxes. That means in the audience of about 50 or so people, most of whom were relative strangers - 55% of my list had already been done by somebody in that room.

Since then I’ve surrounded myself with people who have done all 9.

There are two reasons I thought this exercise was exceptional. The first was that in a corporate setting, I got a chance to connect with my colleagues on a personal-life level; this is a powerful game changer. Second, I found it extraordinarily motivational to find others who have done I want to do.

It was like finding an instant subject matter expert to ask all of my questions to about accomplishing a life’s dream.

It’s also important to recognize that there are two parts to the exercise: the clarity of your own list and the ability to connect with others and share. 

Applying this concept to your life today:

  • Do you know what’s on your bucket list?
  • Do you have anyone in your circle of friends that has accomplished things on your list?
  • If so, how can they contribute to helping with your dreams?
  • Have you asked?

I’ve had a bucket list since high-school. 50% of the list above can be found in the original and 45% of the original has been accomplished at this point in my life. Those are numbers I’m proud of.

Of course there were some petty things on the original list that I can appreciate with perspective of my youthful naive self and some of them don’t really matter or are no longer possible as they were very time/person specific.  

What does matter is that the list exists and that my dreams and goals are on paper- documented almost 20 years ago.

It’s definitely time to give the whole thing a pretty good scrub and create some additional layers of clarity; I realize now that “why” it’s on the list is just as important as “what”. 

So, over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll sit with my aged notebook paper from high school and imagine myself fully realizing each item on the list. If the vision doesn’t feel right and good, I’ll take it off. If feels amazing to dream about - chances are it will feel even better to accomplish.

What's on your list? I'd love to collect a list in the comments below. Please feel free to share!