For my entire life, my father, Alan Burkhard, has been my best mentor. At every turn he would share sage advice on seemingly anything – business, life’s obstacles, career crossroads, really any damn topic that the rest of us knew less about than him.
Today, Alan is a 75 year old retired grandfather who spends his time with his family and his racehorses. Over his lifetime, he was a teacher and coach disguised as an 11-time serial entrepreneur. Obviously, I am smitten with him and am a student of this master’s life lessons.
Alan’s credo in one sentence is: most of us don’t bother to get to know who we are.
Either we simply don’t know how or, worse, prefer to run through life with our head down to maintain a blissful ignorance of what is really out there.
We don’t take the time to figure out what we stand for. To define our values and principles. To understand our thoughts. And to design a future in harmony with them all. With no internal compass to navigate this beautifully crazy life, it’s easy to feel a bit aimless. How much time do you pour into planning two weeks of PTO every year vs. making the other 50 weeks just as exhilarating?
We’ve all been guilty of it. And all of us want to change. The first step? Take Alan’s advice. Understand who you are.
If you know who you are, it’s easier to make decisions. You know where to funnel your energy without second thoughts. You know who you want to keep in your circle without a backward glance. This takes practice, and it’s not always easy.
Throughout my personal and professional life, I have challenged many people to start living intentionally – in a way where every day brings them closer to their goals, big or small. I’ve found that creating a Life List can be instrumental in defining and achieving this personal definition of success. Inspired by the book, The Dream Manager, and with my own customization over the last 10 years, I’ve developed a self-discovery exercise called the Life List Plan.
The Life Plan includes a series of questions to help you recognize where you currently are and where you want to be. You will establish a routine that is designed to set you free! It will help you align your bucket list, or Life List Items, with the rest of your life. The hope is that you will take control of your story and learn how to align your short-term to-do list with your big life dreams – the dreams that are pounding beneath the surface and with every day becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.
Below is a link to access the exercise – print it, bookmark it, email it to a friend or family member. The exercise is for everyone because the lessons gleaned come from within the individual – the plan merely provides the framework.
Here are a few starter questions to get your thoughts flowing and to help you start your day feeling extra inspired. Ask yourself:
- Where do I want to travel?
- What do I want to do? Learn to play guitar? Write a book? Etc.
- What material things are important to me? Why is that?
- What is important to me physically? Running an ultra-marathon? Getting off medication? Taking control of my health?
- What are my true spiritual beliefs?
There’s much more to discover about yourself on this journey. Download the Life List Plan. Take your time, but understand that life doesn’t wait. There’s no better time to start living intentionally than today.
Reply and let me know what’s on your Life List? What have you always wanted to accomplish but haven’t had the time? Let’s talk about how to make it a reality!
By the way, my dad had a memorable Life List item – to replace the 1957 Thunderbird he sold in order to feed and clothe me when I was growing up. This past month, some good friends and close family made his dream a reality as we took him to Mecums in Harrisburg, PA, to the car auction for an old-fashioned boys’ weekend! Alan did the bidding and the check-writing; his entrepreneurial success made that part easy. We did the little things like coordinate the hotels, transportation, and the fun. Helping someone fulfill a Life List Item is better than crossing off one of your own – truly. And that Thunderbird is one sweet ride!