The Hidden Power of Your Life List

Christi Hegstad October 10th, 2013

If you had unlimited money, time, and energy, what would you LOVE to do, see, experience, try? Who would you love to meet? Where would you travel? What causes would you champion?

This question prompts the creation of your bucket list or, as I prefer to call it, your Life List. What would we find on yours?

Last year, I asked our ASPIRE members to each create a “List of 101 Dreams”. Yes, you read that correctly: 101! I instructed them to focus on the WHAT, not the HOW.

Items on their lists included the creative, meaningful, daring, legacy-building, even outlandish :-) And most had no idea how their dreams would play out.

Last week at Spark, we heard story after story from some of these ASPIRE members who made their lists without any CLUE how they would act on them – and who have since reaped the benefits in unexpected ways.

Brenda shared how her “Run a 5k” a few years ago has resulted in her now running many 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, and IronGirls – and even achieving her ASPIRE Bold Goal of becoming a Certified Personal Trainer!

Kim offered how she learned to make wine (of which I am a lucky recipient ~ see photo at right), asked a chef to teach her to cook Indian food, and will soon be traveling to Norway!

Life Lists are powerful, focusing, and energizing tools. It’s fun to dream and to spark conversation with others about their Life List ideas.

But did you know they can also lead you to your purpose, connect you with your values, and help you determine your true work?
If you haven’t created a Life List, start one today. You can include whatever you want – dream big! Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Include both personal and work-related items.

Take all of your Life Dimensions into consideration: health, career, finances, spiritual, and so on. Would you love to become the CEO of your organization? Start your own business? Exhibit your art? Complete a triathlon? Triple your revenue? Maybe you share my dream of becoming a TED Talk speaker? Make your Life List holistic, incorporating professional dreams as well as personal.

Include both specific and vague items.

As you likely know, the more specific you become, the greater your likelihood of reaching your vision. When it comes to Life List dreaming, however, it’s o.k. to have some open-ended items on there, too. For example, a few years ago I put “Make a significant contribution to charity” on my Life List, not knowing how that would play out. About a year later I grew my hair out enough to have 10″ cut off and sent to Locks of Love, so they could create a wig for someone who was experiencing hair loss due to chemotherapy or other reasons. The openness of that item allowed me to fulfill it in a way I wouldn’t have predicted.

Include both you-focused and other-focused items.

It’s not selfish to dream for yourself – think of how your experience can inspire others to follow your lead! But also have items that include others in your dreams. One of my clients wanted to start a vocational school that would train youth who struggled with traditional schooling to succeed at work. Another client dreams of helping women in prison become successful forces for positive change once released. What about paying college tuition anonymously for a deserving student? Supporting your child’s dream of playing piano at Carnegie Hall? Creating a community garden that brings people together in service and feeds the hungry?

At Spark, I challenged our participants to create a List of 101 Dreams – which they started during our time together. That was less than a week ago, and I’ve already received emails from Sparklers sharing items they’ve set in motion!

So now I challenge YOU to create your List of 101 Dreams. Be silly, deep, fun, off-the-wall. Engage others in the conversation and see what they’d include. Just create the list, focusing on the WHAT and not the HOW. You will be amazed at how this will play out in your work and life – plus you’ll have a lot of fun doing it!

What’s one thing you’ll include on your Life List? Leave your idea below, on Facebook, or via Twitter!

Dr. Christi Hegstad helps you successfully do what you love! As President of MAP Professional Development Inc., she coaches professionals to get unstuck and reach Bold Goals with clarity, confidence, and meaningful action. Learn more at and follow Dr. Christi on Facebook and Twitter.