Perhaps the things that we crave run deeper then merely a check mark placed on a bucket list. Perhaps there’s even a danger to blindly embracing the kind of societal notions that drive us, even encourage us, to go from one check mark to the next. Perhaps the prize that we seek is not a check mark after at all, but rather the experience itself.
In working with young, ambitious executives on a regular basis, one pattern almost always presents itself. The young man or woman seems to have it all figured out. Then I run into that same man or woman ten years down the road and they seem different. Still passionate, perhaps, sometimes not; but certainly less playful and certain. Reality has struck with it’s mighty hand. In helping them to find their way again, I ask them the same question. What types of experiences thus far in your life, have given you the greatest satisfaction, on and off the job? I have them get real clear on this, describing in great detail- what it was about those experiences that offered such meaning and value to their lives. And suddenly, the lights of hope and possibility begin to shine again.
My follow-up question is simply, what needs to change in order for you to bring more and more of these meaningful experiences into your life, while simultaneously reducing those experiences that bring you down?
I had always wanted to go to Hawaii. And the second I arrived, I felt my “check mark” had been achieved. Problem was, I was so totally exhausted from my work at the time, that I slept almost non-stop, the first two days I was there. But after that, as each day passed, Hawaii got into my heart, which in turn caused my heart to grow lighter and more joyful.
The experience of Hawaii was so much better then the check mark.
Food for thought-