By Kathleen Winsor-Games
NABBW’s Associate for Women and Work
What are some meaningful accomplishments that you would like to check off your career bucket list before you retire?

If you don’t have a career bucket list yet, now is the perfect time to set about creating one. Think back to when you started your career.

  • What seemed important then?
  • Are there areas you haven’t explored yet that have always been on your career wish list?
  • Why not engage in some wish fulfillment, and transition into an area of passion and untapped strength in your next chapter?
You could begin with a modest list initially, and grow it to encompass endeavors that are more ambitious.

It could be as basic as learning a new skill, such as how to read a profit and loss statement.

On the other hand, it could be something daring like inventing a new product and launching a resoundingly successful business out of your garage.

Whether your goal is modest or bold, creating a career bucket list is a great way to get out of your comfort zone while boosting your confidence and enhancing your career mobility.

Start building your list now, as we enter the waning months of the year. You can launch your initial action steps this year, and have a few things checked off before 2015. Your list could include some “stretch” career milestones, from the simple, to the adventurous and daring. Whatever you choose to include on your list, make sure that each item is actionable, inspiring, and challenges you to a new level.

Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Position yourself to ask for a raise
  • Make a spectacular speech
  • Lead a visible project at work
  • Start a blog
  • Publish a white paper
  • Get a promotion
  • Learn a new language aligned with your global business interests
  • Get a patent on your invention
  • Start a small business on the side
  • Buy a business franchise
  • Live and work abroad for a year
  • Get your Ph.D.
  • Make your first $100,000 per year
  • Get a mentor who is influential and inspiring
  • Make a ground-breaking documentary for your industry
  • Raise funding for your new invention
  • Start a sustainability initiative for your company
  • Make your first $ million

Use the list above as an idea generator and add a few of your own; set your vision and then go for it. Build your career bucket list based on your strengths, values, and meaningful goals that you can be proud of when you retire. By focusing on areas of passion, you will find that work no longer feels so much like work.

One inspiring example of someone acting on her career bucket list is a woman I will call “Jill.”

Years ago, I hired Jill, an experienced and gifted desktop publishing expert to join a department that I managed. Jill had a secret love for antiques, and a talent for uncovering the treasures that typically were buried in the dust and neglect at family estate sales.

  • antique shopOver the years that Jill worked with me, it was delightful to watch her build her weekend antiques boutique in a rented space on the popular “antiques row” in our town.
  • She computed precisely how long she needed to work at her “day job” and how much she needed to invest before retirement.
  • She also calculated how much she needed to invest each year in the growth of her fledgling antiques business before transitioning full-time to that exciting phase of her life.

It took Jill five years to execute her plan. The best news: She was an impressive success. Both her reputation and her section of the antiques store experienced healthy growth year after year, until she decided to retire on her terms.

Take some time to daydream about what’s next for you.

  • Write out your list and keep it where you will see it daily.
  • Write an action plan for achieving your career bucket list items, and get an “accountability buddy” to keep you on track.
  • Review your career bucket list quarterly to monitor your progress and identify any obstacles or breakdowns.
  • Revise and adjust your plan by integrating your newfound wisdom and insights.
The benefits of developing your career bucket list and checking off items as you go along your career path are many. The boost in your self-confidence, career mobility, compensation and satisfaction are just the beginning.

Kathleen Winsor-Games is the principal of The Winsor Group, a Denver-based boutique firm offering high-performance career, workplace, and business coaching. Her blog is at www.thewinsorgroup.com/blog

 

Kathleen Winsor-Games brings over 20 years of experience as a coach, strategist and confidential advisor to professionals and executives from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States.  As an innovative thinker and published author, her programs integrate powerful techniques, processes and practical tools to promote positive change and encourage dynamic workplace communication and collaboration.