Bucket lists and vision boards are becoming a hot entity with those who understand the power of deliberate intention.

More and more evidence proves just how impactful our minds and imagination can be.

And yet, most people think of bucket lists and vision boards as something way out there — something that will impact the distant future. In the fast paced world of business, taking time to lay out an in depth bucket list can even feel slightly “woo woo” in the context of what is going on “today”.

I would beg to differ.

True, today may not be the day when it feels realistic to sell the house and travel the world. You may have to pocket a few more bonus checks before booking your ticket into space. Yes, you may have to wait a few years before spending 3 months meditating in Nepal.

However, the clues that hide within your bucket list might very well unlock the secret of increasing your productivity, avoiding burnout, amplifying your enthusiasm and raising the bar on your overall level of happiness. TODAY.

By taking a deep dive into our bucket lists, we can discover what makes us tick. Is it feeling a sense of adventure, a sense of contribution?

When we compare our bucket lists with the rest of our team, we can also discover which team members naturally feel more comfortable with (or even crave) risk. We can uncover all sorts of important clues about ourselves and our team that can then translate into increased productivity.

By asking ourselves which elements of our bucket list can we incorporate into our routine today, we set ourselves up for more engagement and sense of fulfilled purpose. We also can more easily assess which team members might be a better fit for specific types of projects.

Here are 5 powerful “mind hacks” that I not only incorporate into my own life but that I have been using successfully with my clients who are looking for something more from work and from their lives in general:

  1. BREAK YOUR BUCKET LIST INTO 3 CATEGORIES — EXPERIENCES, GROWTH, CONTRIBUTION. This is a concept that I first discovered when listening to Mindvalley founder Vishen Lahkiani. As you create your bucket list, just let the ideas flow. Don’t over think them. Separate them by category. Things like a home on the ocean, traveling to an exotic location, biking across Europe or appearing on the cover of Forbes Magazine would all land under experiences. Things like learning Spanish, losing 25 pounds, becoming proficient in yoga would fall under growth. Starting a foundation for female entrepreneurs in South America or leaving a financial legacy for your children would land in the contribution category.
  2. TAKE A MOMENT TO LOOK AT YOUR CATEGORIES. WHICH CATEGORY IS NATURALLY LONGER? WHICH CATEGORY WAS EASIER TO FILL WITH IDEAS? Now look at the things that you wrote in that category and ask yourself WHY you picked that? Maybe you say that you want to jump out of a plane? It’s actually not the physical act of jumping out of a plane that you want to experience. It’s the way that you believe that you will feel when you jump out of that plane. Your deep desire may actually be to experience the moment when you throw caution to the wind. You may long to see the day where you decide to act in spite of your fear. Maybe you have a yearning to finally feel like you can respect yourself because you just did something that most people wouldn’t have the courage to try. Maybe that’s the real reason why you want to jump from that plane.
  3. ONCE YOU HAVE IDENTIFIED THE “WHY” BEHIND THESE CHOICES, WRITE THEM DOWN. Using the jumping from the plane example, maybe what you’re looking for (the thing that exhilarates you) is facing a bit of a challenge/adventure. Maybe it’s taking on the unexpected. Maybe it’s being willing to do what no one else is willing to do. Maybe it’s acting in spite of your fear. Look at those things on your list and really dive deeply. See which underlying motives seem to resonate with you. As you do this, you discover more deeply and richly who you are and what will bring you more joy.
  4. NOW THAT YOU HAVE YOUR “WHY”, MAKE ANOTHER LIST WITH TWO COLUMNS: HOW CAN I IMPLEMENT THESE QUALITIES AT WORK AND HOW CAN I INFUSE THESE QUALITIES AT HOME. Consciously think of ways that you can incorporate, for example, more adventure in your business. Perhaps you brainstorm and explore an approach that is innovative and new. When you face a particular challenge, maybe instead of stressing, you can remind yourself that you like adventure. You also love to feel like you can act in spite of your nerves. Instead of perceiving that moment as stressful, what if it’s actually exhilarating? If you are someone who likes to feel variety, maybe set a reminder for yourself to do something unexpected — randomly. It could be surprising your family with an impromptu dinner or simply buying groceries for the person behind you. If your passion is contribution, you may not be able to start an entire foundation right now but is there a smaller version of that dream? Is there one family that you could help? Is there another charity that you could help on a monthly basis? Have fun with your bucket list. Have fun planning ways that you can feed those parts of your soul that tend to get buried. At night, before you go to sleep, write down 5 ways that you succeeded in bringing your personal “why” into play that day.
  5. FIND OUT YOUR TEAM MEMBERS’ BUCKET LISTS. COMPARE. IT CAN EVEN BE MASSIVE TO DO A TEAM BUCKET LIST WHERE EVERYONE CONTRIBUTES TO ONE LIST. Team bucket lists offer so many hidden benefits. We connect with each other through our stories. We understand and appreciate each other through our stories. By knowing who on your team likes adventure and who prefers calm security, we can craft more productive teams and maximize each other’s strengths. Often, when comparing bucket lists, you will find that other team members share your dream. You may find that you suddenly have a group that would love to travel together to ski in the rockies or a partner who would love to start a volunteer organization with you. You may create a climate for brainstorming BIGGER than you ever would have imagined. Challenge each other. Are you playing it too “safe” / too “realistic” on your bucket list? Are you only dreaming what you “realistically” believe that you are capable of achieving?

Every single day is a moment — an important collection of breaths that we will never get to breathe again. By committing to understanding more about who we are and what makes us great, we give others the opportunity to also be great.

Every moment in your day should be a reflection of your own personal bucket list. Every challenge holds potential opportunity.

By living fully and by being present in all that we do, we not only create more tangible riches. By living in our full brilliance, we create an intangible richness that even eternity can never take away from us.

To living fully and remarkably!



Originally published at meridithalexander.com