100 Before 100: Get Un-Stuck with this Simple List-Making Exercise
When was the last time you sat down to think about your dreams?
When a child is asked what they want to be when they grow up, they don’t answer with all the baggage we have as adults. They dream without obstacles. When was the last time you allowed yourself time to imagine such possibilities? The daily to-do list almost always takes precedence. Check off one task and another three appear.
This is a recent theme I’ve found with my clients. They feel stuck, either in their careers or in the routines and responsibilities of their particular life stage. This isn’t an age-related phenomenon: from new university grads to retirees, everyone reaches a point where things aren’t working as well as they’d like.
When I encounter the feet-in-cement feeling, one of the things I do is make a “100 before 100” list. Yes, many would refer to this as a “bucket list” but I think “100 desires to fulfill before turning 100” sounds a little more palatable. It’s an exercise of dreaming big and being allowed to answer the question “what you want to do when you grow up?” no matter how old you are.
Looking deep inside the heart and mind can be daunting, frightening and maybe even paralyzing but it’s the place your soul’s desires reside.
When I ask clients to experiment with this exercise, I often see the fear in their eyes. Some of them don’t feel they have time to dream. For others the list feels like another list of things to do. And overwhelm is not the goal, my friends.
But if you can take your practical hat off for a bit and find the freedom to dream, this list can be a game-changer. The point is not necessarily to create a list of things to accomplish, although that can indeed be motivating for some. The real purpose of this exercise is to look for clues and patterns that uncover what you really need out of your life – not tomorrow, but today.
My list includes a lot of walking.
Walking in tulips fields, along the cliffs of Ireland, and in lavender fields of France. (Which is perhaps fitting as my passion project is The Walking Book Club.) What is the meaning of these thematically-linked desires? On closer reflection, they reveal a desire for peace and connection to nature, which is something I can bring more into my life right now.
Ready to give it a try?
- First, find a comfy spot where you can spend 10-15 minutes in a luxurious day-dream, undisturbed.
- Second, take off your symbolic practical hat and toss it to the side. I promise it will be there when you’re done.
- Next, think big. Blue sky, no hurdles (you’ve got to take off the practical hat here–trust me.)
Once you’re done, consider stepping away to let the exercise settle. The clues may need some time to reveal themselves. When you’re ready, try to gain some high-level perspective on the items you included. What themes do you see?
Let’s look at some themes your list may reveal.
Does climbing Mount Everest reveal a desire for adventure? Maybe climbing Mount Everest is out of the budget, but hiking in Colorado may be completely doable.
Does uncovering your family tree reveal a desire for connection? Uncovering your complete family tree may be tough to do in a day, week, month or year, but reaching out to a relative to learn more isn’t.
Does competing in the CrossFit Games reveal a desire to push your physical limits? Competitive CrossFit may be pushing the physical boundaries a bit too far, but a 10k race might be perfect for right now.
Does camping among the stars of the Northern Lights reveal a desire for awe? Lying on a blanket in the backyard on a starlit night could be an easy way to find wonderment.
Go ahead, give it a try. This easy exercise may help you get unstuck and just might leave you feeling inspired and energized. And please share with me what your list reveals in the comments below.
As always, if you want to delve deeper, set up a discovery call with me.
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