Director Rob Reiner’s 2007 comedy-drama, The Bucket List, about two terminally ill men (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) who set out on an adventure to see and do the things they desired before they die, inspired people around the world to take action on their dreams.
Nearly a decade later, the term bucket list continues to be a popular phrase used when referring to experiences someone desires and intends on accomplishing, knowing full well there is an expiration date. However, the term bucket list makes me cringe because it reminds me of my great grandmother’s metal slop bucket filled with food scraps that sat on the doorstep of her farmhouse in the Canadian prairies. If this is ruining the idea of a bucket list for you, I have a better alternative:
Turn your bucket list into a love list.
Having a love list, that is, a list of loves, gives you a different visual and, with that energy and vibe, might serve you better. Whether your hearts’ desires are world travel, writing a book, creating a blog, speaking to groups, starting a family, rock climbing or attending Burning Man, turn them into a love list – and toss away the bucket.
Words give thoughts their shape. – Goethe
Writing a love list is a powerful exercise that enables you to get clear on what is high on your values. Whenever you act on what is high on your list of values, you are doing things aligned with your heart. How do you know what is a high value? You will use words such as “I know,” “I am,” “I can,” rather than “I don’t know,” “I am not,” and “I can’t,” which point to lower-ranking values.
Knowing what are values are and prioritizing them is key to having a fulfilling life and manifesting our heart’s desires. Our life purpose is an expression of our highest values, or, in the case of business, the highest priority. Leaders live by their highest values, and usually love what they do. Take Richard Branson, for example, who is one of the biggest entrepreneurial thinkers of our time and who is making a significant contribution to society, and loves to have fun while doing it. Mother Teresa, a different kind of leader and whose ashram I recently got to visit while in Kolkata, India, loved her work and was fully dedicated to helping the poor.
Review your list of loves as often as possible and visualize your life’s purpose. Do this daily, or several times a day if you can. By continuing to focus on your love list, you minimize distractions, which is an ever growing problem in our society today. Focus on the details. Fine-tune. Re-write. And fine-tune again.
The idea of writing down your loves is not new. Even the ancients knew the power of writing and today we intuitively know its value. But sometimes we need a reminder or gentle nudge.
And so, with the fresh start of the New Year upon us, here are some of the top items on my list of loves for 2016:
1. Travel to at least a dozen beautiful and inspiring destinations in the world, and write about my experiences to inspire others to experience more of this amazing planet offers.
2. Speak to many more groups of people around the world, to share messages of love and wisdom
3. Get paid handsomely to do more of what I love to do.
Finally, I would love to hear what some of your list of loves are. Please leave me a comment or tweet to me at @Shannon_Skinner.
Shannon Skinner is a Toronto-based television and radio show host, speaker, author and writer. To hire me as a speaker for your group or organization, please contact me at shannon (at) shannonskinner.com.
* photo courtesy Freeimages.com/Alexander Redmon