Everyone has a proverbial bucket list of experiences or material goods that they believe will bring them ultimate life happiness. I admit I have a long list of experiences written on my phone that range from "hold a panda bear in China" and "sleep in an over-water bungalow in Bora Bora" to "hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and yell "BOBBY! CINDY!" like Jan did on the Brady Bunch.
However, I have another type of bucket list. It's a professional bucket list that includes several personal and professional development experiences.
Entrepreneurs have an insatiable need for "more." We have to do more, be more, live more, learn more. We are burdened with a gene that prevents us from ever being fully satisfied. We are driven to see how far we can go, how much we can give, how many people we can meet, how much we can evolve intellectually, spiritually, and mentally.
We are also obsessed with our legacy. What will others say about us after we are gone? What type of trail will we leave behind for others to follow? How will we make our mark?
For many entrepreneurs, we also divide life into segments. We struggle with the guilt of being present for our families while pursuing our passions. Therefore, we must learn to be patient. We must learn to balance our need for growth and self-development with our realization that time with loved ones is temporary and fleeting.
Once our kids are "launched," we see this as our opportunity to take our growth to the next level. We've hopefully established ourselves financially so that we can invest in our growth. We're not impeded by our kids' activities, and the need to be home for carpool.
The average lifespan continues to climb, and so does the maximum lifespan. In fact, the maximum lifespan is now 125 years old! Upon hearing that, 50 seems quite young! Notably, here are 12 of the world's most successful entrepreneurs who started their businesses after the age of 50:
- Harold Stanley of Morgan Stanley (age 50)
- Chung Ju-yung of Hyundai Motor (51)
- Gordon Bowker of Starbucks (51)
- Joseph Campbell of Campbell Soup (52)
- Henri Nestle of Nestle (52)
- Yohisuke Aikawa of Nissan Motor (52)
- Estee Lauder of Estee Lauder (54)
- Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands (55)
- Ferdinand Porsche of Porsche (56)
- Kawasaki Shozo of Kawasaki (59)
- Amadeo Giannini of Bank of America (60)
- Charles Flint of IBM (61)
As I approach 51 and prepare to launch our youngest child, I've developed an ambitious professional bucket list that will (hopefully) bring me measurable and transformational intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and professional growth.
Here's how I built my professional bucket list:
- Apply to Leadership Greater Washington for the class of 2020
Deep Connection Opportunities
Deep Specialty Learning Opportunities
- Enroll in Michael Port's Heroic Public Speaking
Massive Educational Opportunities
- Attend Harvard's 3-year OPM Program
- Obtain my PhD in Organizational Psychology
Spiritual Development Opportunities
Two key reasons for my delay in pursuing these activities are time required to implement what I learn, and time required to build new relationships. With overflowing personal and professional plates, it's important to be mindful about how far we can stretch ourselves.
However, anyone can start a professional bucket list at any age or stage. The most important aspect of building the list is to be intentional, and to align your ambitions with your dreams. Bucket lists aren't etched in stone, so think big, knowing you can change them at any time.
Regardless of where you are in your life, have you given much thought to how you will continue to develop yourself?
Today is the perfect day to begin your professional bucket list. "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." ~Eleanor Roosevelt