In the film, “The Bucket List,” Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson are terminal cancer patients who create a list of things that they want to do before they die. It’s a familiar premise, and one that I often hear people reference when they talk, sometimes wistfully, about their aspirations.
To me, the expression “bucket list” is too negative… “Kicking the Bucket” makes it sound like it was a life not worth living, and it’s finally (and thankfully) over. This should not be…our dreams, goals, and aspirations should not be relegated to something as mundane as a “bucket list.” So I have instead decided to create my “dream list.”
I’m going to share some of my dream list with you, exposing my soul a little bit…but before I do that, I need to ask: Have YOU created a dream list? Do you have a list of dreams that you want to accomplish? And if you have that list, is it just a mental list? Or have you actually put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and written them down? I would like to challenge you with this thought: if you have never physically written down a list of dreams that you would like to accomplish in your life, then you don’t have a dream list…or a bucket list…or any other kind of list for that matter. All you have are some nebulous ideas floating randomly through your skull with no place for them to land and move toward reality.
In his best-selling book “Platform,” Michael Hyatt says, “Wonderful things happen when you commit something to writing. I don’t fully understand how it works but I have experienced it firsthand again and again.” Hyatt goes on to explain step-by-step how to make your dreams become a reality. I am personally engaging in these steps as I develop my list, and seeing my dreams written out in front of me has given me a level of confidence in my ability to accomplish them that I did not expect.
Some people have hundreds of dreams that they put on their list. That feels intimidating to me, so I decided to list just 25. Before I knew it, I already had 23, and I didn’t even have to work that hard to come up with them. After all, they have been floating through my mind for years…I just haven’t taken the time to write them down.
For some, 25 might still seem like a lot, so I would like to encourage you to identify just ten dreams that you would like to accomplish. If you come up with more, that’s fantastic, but just try to list ten for now. I am going to list ten of mine, just as a starting point to help stir the pot. These ten are not necessarily my top ten, but they are all definitely things that I dream of accomplishing in my life:
- Lose 135 pounds (I have already lost 90; 2/3 of the way there!).
- Go skydiving.
- Scuba Dive the Great Barrier Reef.
- Have 10,000 subscribers to my blog.
- Take all of my sons on a canoe trip to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota.
- Scream “We’re Debt Free” live on the Dave Ramsey Show.
- Speak at the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast.
- Take my wife to Ireland and Wales to explore her heritage.
- Complete a 5K race.
- Walk to the top of the Great Wall of China (I was there once, but I was too overweight to make it to the top, so I need to go back!).
I am already working on some of these…for example; I ran a full mile today without breaking stride for the first time in my life. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but for someone who used to weigh 360 pounds and couldn’t walk up a short flight of stairs without gasping for air, this was a huge moment. I actually shed tears of joy when I crossed the one mile mark. I never really believed that I would ever be able to run a mile. When I did, something inside me was released. All of the self-doubt that I have been harboring since I was a kid went away when I realized that I could actually do something I once thought impossible.
So what about you? What are your dreams? What are the things you dream of doing but think that they are impossible? I have just two pieces of advice for you:
- Write them down! List the things you want to do, read them, savor them, and imagine yourself doing them.
- Get Michael Hyatt’s book, “Platform.” It’s an Amazon.com best seller, and you can pick it up from any number of online retailers for well below cover price. And then read chapters 8 and 9 (heck, read the whole book!) and follow the simple steps to realizing your dreams.
You’ll be glad you did…and your life will never be the same.