Much is said these days about having a bucket list. That is, a list of things you want to do before you die. In many cases people list places they want to visit. I cannot seem to come up with a complete list that fits the normal expectations of a bucket list. Instead I occasionally feel an internal drive to do something unusual that feels very important. The things that come to me have nothing to do with travel and much to do with relationships and legacy.
Two years ago, for example, we held a family event with all our children and grandchildren. In that event we created the foundation for a set of rituals that increase the probability that my great grandchildren will understand some deeply held beliefs that have greatly enriched my life. Afterwards I felt as if I had checked off a huge item on my bucket list.
During the last year I began to feel that I should go and visit a mentor. Finally, last week, I did so. He is 93 and gets around with a walker. Yet he still goes to work every day and spends one day a week at the gym. His mind is impressively sharp.
For the first half hour we reminisced. I would mention something that happened and he would fill in the details as if it happened yesterday. Suddenly I interrupted the flow of the conversation. I told him how much I loved him, and how most of the things I have accomplished in my life can be traced directly back to things he taught me. I felt like I was speaking from the very center of my soul and that each word was filled with deep, spiritual meaning. I felt as if some great, eternal circle was suddenly completed. My heart filled with overwhelming gratitude and my eyes filled with tears.
When I walked out of that building, I felt as if I had just placed another huge check mark on my bucket list. I continued to think about the concept of bucket lists and what will really matter to me when I am gone. As I did it occurred to me that I should also create a legacy of positive relationships and choices more often at work. In that moment I began to think about work a little differently. I started to construct an organizational bucket list.