How To Build A Bucket List - Coach Joelle Prochera

Building Your Bucket List

Twenty year from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.

 ~ Mark Twain

Well hello!

A month ago my good friend Leslie called in an impassioned state.

She had just come from a business meeting where they’d created “bucket lists” and having left with only “3 measly things” on her list she was looking for a way to bulk it up a bit.

She asked me to facilitate a Bucket List Party at her place and I was a HUGE “YES!” A bucket list designed around your passions can powerfully support you living an extraordinary life and, of course, I’m all about that! (It also didn’t hurt that Leslie promised to make her signature Cosmos.)

The 20 women who joined us enthusiastically embraced the challenge and in two hours of creativity, play and cosmo-infused bravado they produced some amazing life adventures!

The best part of all was to see Leslie, beaming, proudly waving her robust list in the air. Mission accomplished.

I wrote my own list that night and no sooner had those dreams hit the paper, the opportunities began showing up all around me. (Life rocks that way.)

Are you ready to build your bucket list?

Building Your Bucket List

1) Name It

Let’s face it. The term “Bucket List” is, at best, a little uninspired and, at worst, downright morbid. When I hear “Bucket List” I immediately generate images of crotchety old men and even the phrase “kick the bucket” seems a crass and insensitive term for the end of a life.  Step 1 is to name your list something that excites and moves you.

Perhaps it will be your “Extraordinary life list” or “My Top 100 “or “Living life to the fullest”. Your list, you name it.

2) Dare To Be Bold

To make a juicy list worthy of your life, you will want to come at this with an open mind, flexibility and a willingness to be bold.

As ideas come to you, don’t label, judge or doubt them. If you want to do it, write it down.

Dare to be risky and think big. Write down stuff that excites you and simultaneously scares the heck out of you, and you have the beginnings of a list that will change your life!

3) Don’t Worry About The “How”

Now is not the time to worry about how you are going to make your list happen.  Trying to figure it out is only going to block your creative flow, so skip it.

It is not your job to know, you have a whole lifetime to figure that out and you cannot imagine what will transpire between now and then to bring the items on your list into being.

I would go so far as to say that if you only put down things that you already know how to do, the things you are certain you can make happen, then you are missing the point and robbing yourself of a real opportunity to add juice to your life.

4) Embrace Your Awesomeness

Enough prep, it’s time to get those juices flowing.

On a blank piece of paper write down 3-5 amazing things that you have already accomplished, seen or experienced in your life.  These are things that, had you made a bucket list in 2nd grade, they would have made the list.

It may be:

  • Finding the love of your life
  • Going to Disney World
  • Having a baby
  • Seeing the Great Wall of China
  • Parasailing
  • An uninterrupted hour with your own thoughts (Girl’s gotta dream ;-))

One of mine was definitely the up close and personal moment with two Killer whales in British Columbia last summer. (We were in Kayaks, they were within 15 feet of us, it was AMAZING!)

5) Let it All Out:

Now you have an inkling of your capacity to do amazing things, it is time to start coming up with items for your list. You likely already have ideas mulling around in your head, those long seeded dreams, that trip through the Australian outback by camel, that shiny red Corvette that has been calling to you since you were seven. Write anything that comes up.

Remember: Your bucket list is not just for exotic travel locations or bungee jumping, it is the list for everything that you want to become, experience and create in your life.

Just let it all out. Get to it!

6) Engage in A little Mind Expansion

Question: How many of you think I can turn a drinking glass into a convertible BMW?

When I asked this question at the bucket list party I did not get too many votes of confidence (ouch!)

So I went on to tell the story of a remarkable young man I interview the other week who turned a novelty red paperclip into…. Get this…. A HOUSE!

Yep! Kyle McDonald began his adventure with one red paperclip on July 12, 2005 and 14 trades and one year later, on July 12, 2006 he got a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan!

Kyle’s story is remarkable while at the same time it is something that anyone with a big idea, passion and gumption can do.

(You can learn more about Kyle and his amazing story in the Make Your Life interview here.)

I share this with you to open you up to allowing yourself to write down what you really want, even if it is bizarre or seemingly impossible.

The airplane would not exist if the Wright brothers hadn’t wanted so desperately to fly.  What do you want desperately? What do you want to experience? What of this world do you want to see?

Write it on your list!

7) Get Your Google On!

To beautifully round out your list it is time to get your “Google on!” or Yahoo or whatever your search engine of choice might be.  Pull up a web browser and try searching for some of these:

  • “Bucket List Ideas”
  • “100 things to do before you die”
  • “Top 100 travel destinations”

Get creative…

  • You like personal development? Google that.
  • You like sports and athletics? Google that.
  • You like quilting? Google that.

An intimate hour with you and your Google search and you are certain to have enough items on your list to keep you vibrant and adventuring for a lifetime.

Final Thoughts On Your Bucket List:

When my husband turned 40 he wrote a list of things he would do before he was 50. It was a short list that included things like the bachelor party he never had, scuba diving and “lots more whales and dolphins”.  A little background on Jeff – when we went on our honeymoon 3 years ago he abandoned his snorkel buddy (me) because he was just not all right “swimming through the shark’s living room” as he so creatively put it.

I share this with you because less than a year later, while I was facilitating this bucket list party, not only was Jeff out on a boat with “lots more dolphins” but he actually got into the “shark’s living room!!” Repeatedly!

He dove no less than 6 times, two of which were open sea shark dives (you heard me, no cage, scuba diving with sharks!)  To top it all off, while he was there checking off items from his list he was invited on a trip to swim with humpback whales in the Dominican Republic!  And if you look at item #2 on my list below ( I call dibs on manifesting that one!) you know I will be joining him.

You write it down and the universe starts delivering.

It’s time to start writing!!

With Love,


My Kick-Butt Amazing Life List

  1. See a blue whale
  2. See humpbacks breach DONE!
  3. See humpbacks bubble net
  4. Buy my dream house on the lake/ocean DONE!
  5. Experience my 50th wedding anniversary and be more in love that I am today
  6. Understand the very nature of life YEP!
  7. Have a 10 year wedding celebration/vow renewal that is magical, beautiful, moving and transformative
  8. Do a wine and food tour of Italy
  9. Stay for 2 weeks – a month in an Italian Village DONE!
  10. Write a book that touches lives and makes the world a better place IN PROCESS STAY TUNED!
  11. See my husband thoroughly and deeply passionate and fulfilled in his work DOUBLE DONE!!
  12. To see my mom find love again AWE DONE!
  13. Learn to dance (ballroom, hiphop, whatever) and perform regularly on stage
  14. Be part of a fun contemporary “up with people” experience or “glee club”
  15. Experience my body strong, lean and radiant YES!
  16. Have someone make my clothes
  17. Have an out of body experience
  18. Compete on The Amazing Race
  19. Create inspiring/empowering jewelry (and it be a HUGE hit!)
  20. Have a healthy happy baby
  21. Dance fabulously with my husband
  22. Ride horses regularly
  23. Go indoor skydiving
  24. Bungee jump
  25. Ropes course  DONE!
  26. Go fire walking
  27. Experience weightlessness
  28. Have a meaningful conversation with Alanis Morrissette
  29. Go white water rafting  DONE!
  30. Share a ski vacation with Jeff
  31. Learn how to sew my own clothes
  32. Attend a Tony Robbins event  DONE!
  33. Have an organic garden or participate in a community garden
  34. Leave a valuable contribution in your area of personal development and life creation  ON IT!!
  35. Find  a spiritual community
  36. Have an outdoor hot tub
  37. Road trip up the west coast of America – 2-4 weeks camping and B & B (some major wine tasting in there) DONE!
  38. Find a spiritual mentor
  39. Attend a TED Talk  DONE
  40. Speak at a TED talk

What a fun read! This was from years ago and I just went through to see all that has manifested. Enjoy making your list and living into the adventure!

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