Is Your Bucket List Getting Rusty?

bucketlist-listI don’t have a bucket list and if I did, it would have to be written in pencil with a large eraser and room for substitutions. Not that long ago bungee jumping was something I pictured as an exciting, adrenaline fueled experience. Yet after watching one in real time, it became abundantly clear that it was not a good match for me. On the other hand, when the opportunity for a tandem paragliding flight off the Grand Tetons was a possibility, I jumped at the chance. It was an amazing moment in time with a seasoned pilot and yes, I suppose it’s something to add to that “non-bucket” list of mine and cross off as completed.

The total experience of seeing the gliders overhead as they dipped and hovered like giant winged birds was magical. I knew that I also wanted to fly. Had I given it too much thought with my practical side considering costs, fear of a crash landing, injury and long term disability, I would have dismissed it out of hand. Unknown to me, my husband had also been captivated by the same scene earlier so when I broached the subject with him, he was on board. In an hour we were registered and paired with our pilots. Having credit cards committed, there was no time for second guessing and only the tingle of anticipation as we rode the gondola to the top. My husband recorded my take-off, and between the pilot’s camera and on ground photographer, there were multiples to review and listen to afterward.

Each time I watch the video, it’s a reminder of the pure joy and adrenaline rush from doing anything so out of my comfort zone. After the flight we signed up for white water rafting and fly-fishing. Why not? And when I feel anxious about presenting a new workshop or trying something closer to my freak-out zone, all I need to do is pull out my phone, watch that video and feel confident that this other stuff is a cakewalk.

What’s on your list of activities to try, places to visit or new skills to learn? There will always be time and/or financial considerations. I would love to fly to Paris in first class yet coach will suffice if Paris is my true, ultimate goal. Fill that “bucket” with exciting adventures ready to be plucked out and experienced, not buried with excuses in the graveyard of “Memories I Wish I Had”.


The Accomplishment List

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“The bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you refuse to make the turn.”

Oh, it’s always easier to be the Monday quarterback and see what you might have done, could have prepared better or managed under challenging circumstances. The reality for most of us is that we could always do better and that we beat ourselves up over the “shoulda, woulda, couldas” in life. Hopefully we learn from the experiences and add these new insights to the mini-arsenal of skills needed to succeed or sometimes just survive in the future.

Job loss can be an exceptionally demanding time for anyone. A serial entrepreneur who made millions before losing it all and then creating success again related an idea which worked for him during particularly stressful times of uncertainty. What got him through the most difficult periods was a list that he kept with him at all times; a list of his accomplishments. In such circumstances, many of us refer back not to our list of plusses, but rather to our list of failures and what we don’t have, rather than recalling our successes and what we have done well. Like any behavior that we are willing to change, this became a beacon for him to refer to and remind himself that he was indeed a man of accomplishments.

What a terrific tool for any of us to use and how simple to create, carry and refer to! Who couldn’t benefit from a confidence booster and reminder of their potential? When was the last time you took time to review your life through the lens of success? Would you be able to list 10 of your accomplishments right now? Is your mind a complete blank? If you are stuck because you have yet to master the piano, publish a book or cure cancer, among other feats, I urge you to stop. Take this moment to sit down and make your own list. Some examples of accomplishments you might include are:

• I completed my college degree
• I have a successful marriage
• I have raised good and healthy children
• I have worked in a field that I love
• I started my own business
• I bought my first car, home, etc.
• I learned to play an instrument
• I have traveled to many interesting places
• I wrote a book, song or poem

Now that you have the idea, you can take it even further. Begin by creating a file in your computer or dedicate a notebook to being your accomplishment “basket” list holder, not to be confused with a “bucket” list. This is the expanded record of those things you have already done. Challenge yourself to get up to at least 15 examples and add more as you please. Remember, this list is infinitely expandable; a work in progress. Print it out, keep it with you at all times and refer to it daily or as frequently as you like. After all, this IS your track record of successes and no matter what you are experiencing at the moment, you have a solid list of accomplishments that is yours alone.

©2015 Maureen Weisner