When an author writes and crafts a book, he or she starts with the end in mind. I kept that in mind as I wrote my book Become an Award Winning Company. I carefully structured each chapter and section, and I had intention with each and every word I wrote on the page. I didn’t just start writing, see where I ended up, and then called that a book. I guess I could have called it a book, but who would want to read that?
When you go out into the world, being clearly defined and knowing what you stand for is crucial. Once you know this, it becomes imperative that you craft a vision for your life. You can not take something as powerful as your personal declaration statement and what you stand for and not do anything with it. Entrepreneurs must have a vision. Your business must have a vision. Your family must have a vision, and your life must have a vision.
Your vision is painting the picture of what life looks, acts and feels like 2, 3, 5, 10 years down the road. The power of vision happens in the mind. Your mind will give you what you focus on. If you have a clearly crafted vision talking about yourself in the “I am” in the present tense while you refer to the future, your mind has to focus its energy on attaining this. If you have no vision, then life will take you where ever it wants. Whatever you allow in your head at the given time will blow you around like a strong wind, and you will end up who knows where. Athletes vision the end of their race, game or competition. High performing sales people vision walking out of a closed deal. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream was his vision for a future. What is your vision? Do you have one? If not, why not? Here are some tips on creating a vision for your life.
• Get away from the noise and change scenery. Go to the mountains, the beach, or a quite and peaceful place.
• Turn off the phone, computer, social media and all distractions.
• Dream on paper, don’t worry about how things will happen, just put down what you are being blessed with.
• Do not worry about form, grammar or style, just brain dump.
• Ask yourself these questions: What am I enjoying in life? Whose company am I enjoying the presence of? What is the general feel of my life? What is not in my life? What am I doing in my spare time? What is happening in my business, my life, my family, my social life, financially, spiritually? What am I learning?
• Write everything in the present tense using the words “I am” and the tense of “ing”: i.e. doing, making, living, enjoying, practicing, vacationing, etc.
• No failure with honor words. Eliminate words like try, be able to, have to, need to, want to, will, these allow you to fail and be okay with it. Use strong and empowering language.
• Once you create the vision, edit it, and then write it out with correct grammar.
• Use pictures to associate with some of your aspirations and make a vision board. Post this vision board somewhere you can see it often.
These are just a few tips on how to create and craft a vision. Remember, without a vision, you will never be able to declare and decide the life you want to live. If you do not have a vision for yourself, chances are you will be helping someone else attain theirs.
Last week I wrote about the very first step and concept from The Circle of Impact which talks about defining yourself. In that blog, I discussed the difference between baggage and luggage and how those concepts play a role in defining yourself. Check last week’s blog out here.
As you work through the process of defining yourself, the next step of The Circle of Impact naturally occurs. This step is declaring and listing your values. As an entrepreneur it is crucial that we know what we stand for. Running a small business daily places us in situations where we must show our customers, vendors and community what we stand for. When I mention values, many entrepreneurs immediately start writing down some nice sounding words that seem as though they would be on a fancy poster in their office. When I ask somebody to share their values, I ask them what they stand for. So, what do you stand for? What are you willing to face adversity for? What are you willing to make a fool of yourself for? What are you willing to stand up and fight for, even if you are the only one in the fight? What if you are the only one in the fight and the odds and fight is stacked against you? What are you willing to die for? This is what I mean when I talk about values. Your values are your guiding principles that you live by and that direct you and ground you in decision making daily. What are yours?
Maybe you are having trouble discovering and declaring these. Here is a very effective exercise you can do to help discover your values. It is called the “Your 5 List”. Write down the five people that you spend the most time with in your life, or that have been the most influential to you. These are people that you must know well and that also must know you well. Just a side note, you will become the books you read and the five people you spend the most time with. Now that you have your five listed, write down 4-5 characteristics that best describe each one of these people. What would you say their core values are? Now, what would each one of these people say are your core values? Once you have this list completed you should have about 40-50 values listed out. Half are what you see in them and the other half what they see in you. What similarities do you see? Most likely what you value and see in others they also value and see in you. You associate with like minded and like valued people. This list of values could very well be the start to your list of values and what you stand for.
So what do you stand for? This is a question rarely asked in society, business, school, or the playground. Because it is rarely asked, it rarely rolls off of anyone’s tongue. There is power in being able to stand up and declare who you are and what you stand for. When faced with a tough decision, adversity, or you are tempted to go off track from your purpose, having values like fight, faith, family, action, accountability, giving, gratitude, love, service and excellence (these are my top 10) will bring you back to your purpose and allow you to do you be.
Tune in next week when I share how to take who you are defined to be and combine it with your values to frame this into a vision for your life.
My journey and story as an entrepreneur always leads me to share this: I never was taught about finance, business, or street smarts in high school or college. I learned about all of these things by doing. I learned by failing and learning from my mistakes. I also learned from watching and hearing about other’s mistakes. I constantly seek advice from entrepreneurs, other speakers, coaches, and business thought leaders. As I seek knowledge and share mine with others, one of the things that is very evident is that culture, school, relationships, and the world’s environment in general never asks one to DEFINE THEMSELVES. When was the last time, if ever, that somebody said, ‘Hi, I’m Matt. I am a leader, encourager, inspirer, warrior and a visionary. I value fight, faith, family, giving, gratitude, action, accountability, love, service, and excellence. Who are you and what do you stand for? Defining yourself gives you and the world clarity and certainty as to who you are.
What? Is this person crazy? Define myself. Imagine if every time you met someone in a business or life setting, they were able to clearly, confidently declare who they are and what they stand for? How much better would the world be? How much easier and more impactful would business be? The reality is that this concept is not normal to teach, to learn, or for culture to demand.
The one thing I always find in common with entrepreneurs who are impactful to the maximum degree is that they have a clear understanding of who they are (Define themselves) and what they stand for (Values). You may be saying, “That all sounds great Matt, but I have never been asked to so this, so tell me how the heck do I even start?” That is the reason behind this week’s blog. To catch you up to speed check out last weeks blog “Do Your Be: Six Steps to Intentional Impact”.
Before I get into the exercise I love to use to help individuals define themselves, let me first explain what defining yourself is not. This is not stating a role or responsibility you have (I am a father, I am an entrepreneur, I am a wife). Defining yourself is not what the world, culture, your family of origin, friends, or peers think you should be. Defining yourself must never be done with dis-empowering, unclear, and uncertain language. Defining yourself is not stating what you are doing, or how you are getting it done. Defining yourself is declaring with 100% absolute certainty who you are. What value do you bring to the world? What naturally flows out of your DNA? What gifts has God blessed you with? What innate skills, abilities, and superpowers do you have that make you, you? Defining yourself is a journey. It can not be done overnight. It is also a moving target. How I may have defined myself using the Circle of Impact coaching model in my 20s, is most likely different in some areas then it is now in my 30s, and I am sure it will change in my 40s.
As humans, we have life experiences. As we live life, we plot out memorable and impactful points, experiences and things that have taken place. When we do this, we associate a negative or positive emotion and energy to the experience. We also consciously or subconsciously shape the way we think, feel, and believe about certain things based on these experiences and how we decide to react to and perceive them. Living life is what allows us to define ourselves. I walk all of my coaching clients through the following exercise called the “Suitcase Dump”. Effectively, it is unpacking your suitcase of life experiences and deciding is it is baggage or luggage, then deciding if it is good baggage or luggage, what you will do with it, then repacking your suitcase. (I must thank and give credit to Graham Cooke for sharing the concept of baggage vs. luggage with me.)
Baggage usually has a negative connotation with it. You may hear somebody say, “Wow! That girl has some baggage”. Think of baggage as someone else packing a suitcase for YOU to take on a trip. Let’s call this trip a vacation! Life should be a fun, exciting, challenging, and empowering journey. Now imagine that you get to your beach destination, dump your suitcase on the bed, and realize that other person packed you snow boots, snow pants, and a big thick hoodie. How not cool is that? Baggage can also be a positive thing. The one thing to remember is baggage is something that somebody places on you. Example, did your friends at school growing up always tell you that you were not fast enough to play varsity football? What did you do with that information, experience and data point? Did you decide to pack it in your suitcase or not? A piece of good baggage may be this. Your father, who is a dentist, “encouraged”, “pushed” and “influenced you to become a dentist. You are a successful dentist with a thriving practice, yet you have taken something up that somebody else pushed, influenced or gave to you.
Luggage is what you have put on yourself, told yourself, and given to yourself for the journey. Luggage you pack, take ownership of, and have brought along for your journey. Luggage can also be positive or negative. In the same examples above, did you tell yourself you were never fast enough for varsity football? Did you place that negative thought, energy, and idea in your suitcase? Again, same example, have you always dreamed, strived, and been passionate about becoming a dentist?
Your suitcase is packed so full of life experiences, good and bad baggage, good and bad luggage, that it is necessary to unpack it all to take inventory of what is there. I am not here to say what you should refill your suitcase with, but I will say that unpacking, inventorying, and deciding what items to repack your bag and go on your journey with is what is most important. Should you keep some baggage? Should you throw away some luggage? What percentage of your bag should consist of the two?
When you take the time to step outside of your experiences, unpack your suitcase, and view it from another angle, this empowers you to decide what you will take along, what you will discard, and what you may just want to leave alone and not bother with for right now. At the end of this exercise you should be able to stand up and declare with absolute certainty what is in your bag, what it means to you, and who you are.
I encourage you to do this exercise. If you have any questions, please let me know. This is what I do day in and day out with entrepreneurs, CEO’s, executives and leadership teams. If you would like me to come out to help you with this one-on-one, fill out the request form on my coaching page.
I would also love your comments and feedback about the baggage vs. luggage concept and the suitcase dump.
Tune in next week, when I will share tips and an exercise to declare what you stand for.
I recently wrote a blog about being impactful and using the one shot you get in life to leave a meaningful legacy for your family, business, community and those around you that you care about. If you have not read “Forget About Success for a Minute” check it out! Impact transcends success. You can be successful and not impactful, but if you are impactful you are always successful.
One thing that strikes me as interesting is that to be impactful, live and pursue your passion and purpose, you first must have a 100% clear understanding and declaration of who you are. You must DEFINE yourself. Culture and the common everyday conversation with peers, co-workers and those close to you never challenges a person to define themselves and declare it to the world. It is a difficult task to accomplish, and since nobody is ever asked, nobody ever explores this most important step in making an impact.
As I coach and consult entrepreneurs about growing their company, their sales, marketing, and social media base, hiring employees, strategic development, and all other business growth related topics, I find a common theme of many of my coaching clients have never been forced or asked to define themselves. This is the first and most important part of my Circle of Impact Coaching Program.
After defining yourself you must also declare what you will stand for, fight for, work for and even die for. These things that build up your VALUE set combined with you DEFINING yourself, must feed into a VISION for your life. A vision is the story of your life that you have the power to write and create, then go live.
In order to live out this vision, you must act. You can not just sit there and declare who you are, what you stand for, and what vision that creates in your life. It is boots on the ground time. There must be a HOW, a game plan, a road map, with crystal clear directions, landmarks and achievements along the way to tell you that you are on track. One more thing: This journey can not be taken alone. When you load your vehicle of purpose and jump onto the highway of being impactful, take passengers along with you that support and encourage you, your vision, what you stand for, and will ultimately hold you accountable to staying on track and accomplish your vision.
Check out “What Happens when you Decide to be Impactful” from a few weeks ago. You will definitely want to surround yourself with people that support what you are doing, as some people may all of a sudden “not be supportive of your crazy vision”.
The last and most important thing once you align with the right people and load them into your vehicle is that you spend every single minute of every single day effectively and efficiently using your TIME (something you will never get back). The WHAT part of the Circle of Impact is the last and crucial part of the impact equation. You can have everything else in place, but without action, doing, filling your calendar with the effective things that must be done, and then doing them.
When everything you do, supports and aligns with everything you are, you value, and you vision for your life and the lives of those around you, that is when you are impactful to the maximum degree. Is everything you are doing right now, 100% supporting, aligning with, and relating to all that you are, what you stand for, and vision for your life? If not, why are you doing it? Are you 100% clear with absolute certainty who you are? Do you know what you will stand for, work for, live for and die for? Can you state it at the drop of the hat with 100% confidence, power, and positive energy? If you die tomorrow, can you confidently say that you have left behind an impactful legacy and a story that you truly wrote, crafted, and lived? If you have answered “no” to any of these questions, let me share that I answered “no” to these questions for a long time. That is why I created the Circle of Impact and now coach and speak on this topic to entrepreneurs all over the world.
Tune in over the next six weeks to learn a little more about each one of the important pieces of the Circle of Impact concept. Looking forward to you tuning in. Please leave me your comments, feedback, and let me know how I can support and serve you better.
PS. Be on the look out for the Circle of Impact Workbook coming soon!
I remember the first time I tapped out in a Jiu Jitsu match. If you didn’t read it yet, go back to the April 9th blog, “Choked Out by a 15 Year Old: Being Humble in Life and Business.” This blog shared the example of when I first experienced what it was like to be in a physical position of being so dominated that if I did not call it quits, then I would be severely damaged. In this case, it would have been being choked unconscious by my opponent. Three minutes later, as I rolled with him again, he placed my shoulder in a shoulder lock and I was forced to tap out again.
Nobody wants to jump up and down and share to the world “Hey, I gave up”, or “I quit, woooohooooooo”. It is humbling, it can be embarrassing and it can create some negative emotions while going through the process to make that decision. The truth is that there are times in life and business where you should call it quits to avoid damage.
I am not encouraging anybody to give up easily. If you go read last week’s blog, “Position before Submission”, it talks about the times you do not want to quit. There are times when there is pressure and it is heavy. But there is also that point where you can push past, wait it out, change position slightly, make an adjustment and you will be perfectly okay. In Jiu Jitsu, if your arm is in an arm lock and about to get broken and you do not tap, you will have your arm broken. I have seen it before, and it is nasty. Was the result of not tapping worth what you were fighting for?
In business and life, one must ask the same question. Is the result of not tapping, giving up and regrouping to fight another day worth what you are trying to accomplish. With greater goals and aspirations, some may say “yes”, some may say “no. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward always comes into play. Just know what may break your arm, choke you out and possibly not allow you to fight another day. If it is worth the risk, then go for it. This is not about being a quitter.
It is okay to tap out. If you do, there are lessons to be learned, and you can come back stronger than before. You will be there to fight another day and most likely will not make the same mistake twice.
I hope you have enjoyed my “Lessons from the Mats” series. I look forward to your feedback and comments.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Jiu Jitsu, here is the objective: Two opponents face off with each other and start a fight standing up. The goal is to take your opponent to the ground using some kind of throw, takedown, or redirection of their energy. Once on the ground, your task is to get into a dominant position and submit your opponent with an arm lock, leg lock, choke, or various joint manipulations. While doing so, you must avoid your opponent gaining the upper hand and dominant position and submitting you. Your opponent “taps out” to call it quits and to avoid being choked out or having a joint, arm, or leg broken or strained. Sounds fun, doesn’t it!
While practicing Jiu Jitsu, there is an important lesson I have learned. My instructors have always mentioned and taught the idea of “position before submission”. This means that you have to get yourself in the correct position before you can apply a choke, arm lock, or hold that will submit your opponent. Before that, you must also ensure that you are not in any kind of dangerous position where you risk being submitted. So even before “position before submission”, one must think to stay out of danger and then fight for a dominant position that allows one to submit their opponent.
Many times in Jiu Jitsu, I have shot straight in for a submission and was not in the correct position to do so properly. Because of this hastiness, I put myself in harm’s way as well as gave my opponent a change to put me in a position to submit me. How does this example play out in your life, business and hats you wear? Are you making sure that you are out of danger before you position yourself to win, succeed, or close a deal? Are you just shooting in hastily and putting yourself in harm’s way of potentially being submitted or placed in a bad position?
Another point to make is this: Many times in Jiu Jitsu, I end up in bad positions. They are not comfortable, they are not fun and they push my comfort zone to the max. Even being in some of the worst positions (having a 6’8”, 360 lb. opponent lying on your rib cage for instance) while grappling, one thing I remember is that it is just a bad position. Many times, if you ride it out while properly working through and defending the situation, you will not get submitted. However, I see many people submit only from being in a bad position. Are you in any bad positions right now? Does the pain, pressure and discomfort weigh on you like a 360lb. monster? Are you about ready to tap out, give up, throw in the towel and call it quits? Remember, you are just in a bad position. You are not being submitted. It may feel uncomfortable, it may feel tough, it may feel like you can’t breathe. Can you ride it out? Can you make just one small adjustment and put yourself in a better position? What are the little things you can do to get some breathing room, create some space and ultimately get into a better position?
I remember one time while grappling with this above mentioned 360lb. monster; I ended up on my back with him on top of me crushing my rib cage. I could breathe just enough to not pass out. He was crushing me like a ton of bricks; however he was not advancing to submit me. He held strong amounts of pressure, but I stayed calm, made small adjustments and did not allow him to submit me. I wanted to tap, it would have been easier to just relive the pressure, stand back up and grapple another opponent. I refused to do so. The moment I saw a small opening as my opponent moved, I was able to place myself in a slightly better position. I could now breathe easier. I gained a little more confidence. I advanced slightly. He got tired, he made another mistake and I capitalized again. I was able to squirm myself into a dominant position. A minute later, I submitted him.
Life, business, parenthood, being involved in the community, whatever the role may be can be a lot of pressure. There are just days when I want to flat out give up, call it quits and let my opponent win. But then I remember that I am just in a bad position. There is nothing worth “tapping” over at this point. So remember to relax, breathe, be patient, wait for an opportunity to advance little by little and you will see that opening to get back up again.
Last week I shared the humbling and funny story of how I was taken down to the mats, thrown around every which way, and then tapped out (basically I cried “uncle” and gave up) by a 15 year old that was 60 pounds smaller than me when I first stepped on to the Jiu Jitsu mats in 2007. If you have not read that blog post yet, read it here to get a good laugh. Since then I have been practicing the art of Gracie Jiu Jitsu. There are many examples of how the sport works that I am excited to share and how they resonate with life and being an entrepreneur.
In Jiu Jitsu, as well as Judo, there is an idea about pushing and pulling. If somebody pushes against you and you push back, then the stronger person will win. If somebody pulls you and you pull back, the same thing happens (think tug of war). If somebody pushes against you, and you pull them as they push, you expend their energy and get them to go where you want. There are times to push and times to pull. When I went up to grapple that 15 year old, I came pushing at him hard, he knew I was stronger, so he just pulled me, redirected my energy, and threw me to the mats. In entrepreneurship, there are times to push, and times to pull. There are also times to stand still and wait to see what happens next. For many years, I went charging into business, and I was able to steamroll situations effectively. However, when I approach situations where my pushing will allow me to be pulled possibly to the mats, I sit back, am patient and wait for the time to move. The same is true when I feel like I am pulling too hard. Leaders do not need to pull, an impactful entrepreneur does not need to pull, they leverage the energy, creativity and passion of others while guiding their energy towards the goal, climbing the mountain and winning! A leader will effectively use the team’s momentum to propel them forward. Leaders are also aware to not let their own energy to be used against them. There are times they must stop, wait, evaluate to see what to do next and then act.
Are you pushing or pulling in your business and entrepreneur journey? Are you pulling or pushing too hard? Are you pulling and pushing at the right time? Are you leading correctly? How are you using momentum and energy in business?
I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog. Next week I will share a few more lessons learned from the mats. Until then, be impactful in everything you do.
I remember the first time I stepped into Infinite Mixed Martial Arts Academy in late 2007. I had spent the past decade weight training and the last four years training under another martial arts system. The Ultimate Fighting Championship has been on the rise and I took a liking to the sport of MMA through the growth and popularity of the UFC. My family and I recently moved to Loveland, and I remembered driving by the Infinite MMA Academy on my way to weight train at the local Gold’s Gym.
One day I stepped into the gym and tried a free trial class of kickboxing. That was pretty fun, although the few times I walked into the gym to see what was going on, I kept noticing these people rolling around wrestling on the ground in what looked like Karate Gis, they were tossing and turning, arm locking each other, choking each other and many times I saw one of the two people competing against each other (also known in the Jiu Jitsu World as “Rolling”) tap out. Tapping out is submitting, calling it quits, which tells your opponent you are done rolling. One would tap to avoid being choked out or have an arm, leg, or joint broken or injured form an arm, leg or joint lock.
This may sound barbaric and crazy from somebody who has never been exposed to the sport. It is all about two people getting on the mats, imposing their will on each other and going until one person quits.
So here was the first lesson I learned and what made me fall in love with the sport. I will share this story and lesson this week and then share more stories and the rest of my lessons next week.
The first Jiu Jitsu class I stepped into, I remember very clearly. I brought in my gym bag and placed it under the bleachers in the front of the gym. I took a drink of water and stretched before I walked onto the mats. The beginning of class was lead by a warm up, some stretching and then learning some basic techniques. At the end of the hour long class, we would partner up and “roll” or grapple with each other. AS class was nearing the end, our instructor informed us it was time to partner up to roll.
At the time I was 215lbs, and very strong. I spent most of my time at the gym lifting weights, and though this translated into something useful as I stepped onto the Jiu JItsu mats. My instructor asked me to go roll with a young, very tiny, and very unassuming looking kid across the mats. I asked, “are you sure?” I thought to myself that I outweighed him by at least 60 lbs, and he has to be about 15 years old. This match was not going to be fair. I didn’t know much about Jiu Jitsu but I did know that this was about to go bad. I confidentially walked across the mats and locked up with this little kid. I charged forward with the thought I was going to take this kid out in about 10 seconds.
About 30 seconds later, I thought I was going to cry. I was thrown to my back, spun every which way this kid wanted me to spin, then eventually choked and arm locked multiple times. Each time I tapped, I became more upset, frustrated and just plain couldn’t believe what was happening. I was tapped out by a 15 year old. His technique, skill, and leverage beat the bigger opponent. He used my force and momentum against me. He imposed his will until I gave up, and he was left standing. I was left in the fetal position on the mats.
I learned a very important lesson that day. In life, and in business, never judge a book by its cover. Technique, skill, and leverage will beat brut force, muscle, and false confidence. To become a master of life and business, we must learn the proper skills and techniques and apply the right leverage to master and control a situation. Be careful charging forward into a situation where your force may be used against you. And remember that imposing all of your will, focus, energy and determination into a situation combined with the correct skills and techniques will allow you to win.
Over the coming three weeks, I will share more of my lessons learned as I have continued my journey through Jiu Jitsu, business and life.
Being an entrepreneur brings great responsibility. It also brings great reward. We have the responsibility of supporting, encouraging and being impactful to all of those whom we serve. These people are our customers, team members, the community at large and anybody we come in contact with, share our vision with and affect through our business. We also have a responsibility to our family, children, spouses and other life commitments outside of business. This is a grand responsibility to be placed on our shoulders. With this comes the satisfaction of seeing those around us get lifted up and succeed while having their lives made easier, better and safer. With this comes the satisfaction of being able to leave an impact and legacy for the people around us.
Entrepreneurs and business owners spend a lot of time, energy, thoughts and focus on others. This is required to be both successful and impactful. One thing that I know I forget to do, and that others forget to do, is to have some “ME” time. Yes, I said it. It is 100% okay and 100% required to have some time to yourself to relax, recharge, rejuvenate and just plain unplug from the world. As a busy entrepreneur, I often forget to do this and to intentionally plan time for it. I have seen and experienced firsthand the consequences of not doing so and the burnout that comes with it.
If any of this resonates with you, here are some tips from my experience that I have used to deal with getting some good “ME” time.
• Intentionally plan time on the calendar to not do any business, meeting, calls, emails, etc. Set this time to reoccurring, to whatever degree and frequency you need.
• Make sure during this time, that others know this is time for you and it is not to be interrupted. Do not allow it to be interrupted. Turn that phone off, and hide it !
• Know what helps you to recharge and reenergize. Maybe it is a long run while listening to some of your favorite music, maybe it is a drive through the mountains or some hours on the river fishing. For me I find ability to recharge and relax by going to the gym and practicing Jiu Jitsu
• Do not let this time make you feel bad or like you are being selfish. In the case of getting “ME” time it is okay to be selfish. Make this about you. You are important, you deserve this and you should be enjoying things you enjoy.
• Remember that one can not pour into another’s cup when their cup is empty. Keep your cup overflowing so you can fill the cup of others.
I hope this week’s blog was helpful and that it encourages and inspires you to keep making an impact. Don’t ever forget to schedule some “ME” time.
What’s on your bucket list?
The title of this blog suggests and assumes that you have a bucket list, so let me start off by asking: Do you have a bucket list? Let me explain that: A bucket list is a list of things you will do, see or accomplish before you “kick the bucket.” If you do not have one, I will explain why making a bucket list has been important to me and then explain how to create one. If you do have one, it is also very important to remember WHY you have one, what’s on it and WHY that list is important to you. What will it mean when you get to cross another item off of your bucket list?
For years I have had a bucket list: It has been very inspiring, empowering and amazing to write out my list, build those dreams and, when they finally arrive, cross them off the list while living out that dream. I remember my first bucket list which I created when I recently graduated from Colorado State University in 2003. I had just purchased a condo and married my college sweetheart. I remember sitting down in my condo one morning and taking a yellow piece of paper out and writing out some short, medium and long term life goals I wanted to achieve. I declared these things that were important to me and wrote them down on paper. I revisited the list frequently and, over the years, I remember crossing and checking these dreams off of my list as I kept living life.
I now keep my bucket list on my computer and frequently update it. A few of the items I have recently completed were: A month long trip to Spain with my family, A daddy and son trip to Spain (that I am currently experiencing), visiting the Grand Canyon and speaking in Sevilla, Spain (which I believe will happen on this trip). For those of you who are wondering, I have a deep passion and obsession with Spain. Feel free to talk to me about it anytime if you want to see me get giddy and talk for hours.
So why has this been so important to me and why should you care? I will explain below. If you are reading you may not have a bucket list, so read this with the goal of getting one started. If you do have a bucket list, this will hopefully give you some ideas on how to keep building your list and remembering why you started it.
• Having a physical bucket list, where you declare what you want and write it down. Mentally seeing it, feeling it and putting it in the universe immediately creates an energy, focus and drive to these things. The law of attraction works in interesting ways.
• My bucket list inspires me and drives me to do what I do every day. I love what I do, and my list results in the fun things that will be the end result of all of my hard work.
• Having this list has made me realize how far I have come in life. Looking back and seeing some of the first things I crossed off, compared to what I am crossing off now, shows how much I have grown and what I have achieved. It also gets me excited about the new items on the list which seem HUGE and nearly unattainable. For example: One of my first items I crossed off was to start my own company. Now that I have been doing that for a decade, I see how important and big that goal was back when I was 22. Now, at 32, I look at a goal of speaking in front of 10,000 people with an inspiring message that reaches millions as a very big, hairy, audacious goal (also called a BHAG) and an item on my list. I also have to put into perspective that starting my own company 10 years ago was also a very big thing, and now I do this everyday. What will I be doing when I am 42? What is your BHAG right now? What was your BHAG 10 years ago?
• Remember that the bucket list is the thing, experience or action that you want to have happen. You must work backwards from that item, thing or experience with a clearly defined plan and goal to make it happen.
• Don’t compare your list to anyone else’s. Your list is YOUR list and it is only for you. It must be from what inspires you at the heart level. Create the list, love it, share it and focus on it. Revisit your list often and don’t ever let anybody tell you that you can not achieve anything on the list.
• Here’s the last and most important thing about your bucket list: Let’s say you accomplish everything on it. Ask yourself, “So what? Who have I impacted, and what legacy have I left behind? What will my story be in terms of the lives you have impacted, and what will that mean to me and them, as well as to the greater good of the world?” Remember that crossing off items and doing them alone is never as fun as doing them with the ones you love.
Here are a few tips to creating your list:
• Go to a quiet, undisturbed place where you will not be distracted by social media, internet, phones, people knocking your door down, etc.
• Get into a space physically, emotionally, and mentally where you can dream. Maybe you need to go to the beach, the mountain, a coffee shop, throw on a pair of headphones and jam to your favorite music. Maybe it is the quiet solitude of somewhere early in the morning. No matter what it is, make sure your space allows you to dream.
• For me, being in a new environment has been very helpful. Getting out of the norm of my office and just changing up the scenery has been very impactful
• Write, write, write! Let whatever you are dreaming flow out on some paper, a screen, a notepad, etc. Don’t second guess anything you write, just write it out!
So what’s on YOUR bucket list? If you don’t have one, when will you make one? If you have a bucket list, please share it in the comments. I would love to hear what is on YOUR list!