What's On Your Career Bucket List?

08/12/2010 05:09 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

You may remember the hugely popular 2007 movie,"The Bucket List" starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman about two terminally ill men who decide to do all of the things on their wish list before they "kick the bucket".


For many of us, there is a similar bucket list of things that we want to do in our career before we retire. The career bucket list has less to do with promotions and career advancement. It's more about unique things you would like to try and experiences you would like to have in your career at least once before you retire.

As you develop your list of the one or two or ten things you'd like to accomplish, put a time frame around it so you're more apt to get it done.

Here are some of the more common things we hear people say during coaching sessions:

Living and working internationally -You've probably fantasized about this with your spouse: after work taking a long walk by the Seine or down the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Enjoying weekend getaways to Italy, Spain and Switzerland and taking in the sights. Experiencing the charm of learning a new language and gaining a real appreciation for another culture. If you're part of a global company, chances are this may be an option for you. Many people dream about an international assignment but don't take the necessary steps to make it happen. If your spouse works or if you have kids, there will be other considerations, all doable. There are thousands of families living abroad while working for US companies. If this is something you've always wanted to do, start the wheels in motion now. The sooner you begin the process the sooner you'll be packing your bags!

Starting your own company - Who hasn't dreamed about being the boss, and we're not talking about Bruce Springsteen. Maybe you have an idea for a product or service which you think is unique and different. Things may be holding you back from taking the leap even though you believe in its potential success. Starting a business is a major consideration. As a first step you may want to do some research and evaluate your idea. Then see where that leads. If starting your own company is a dream of yours, it's important to take the initial steps or it will always remain a dream.

Giving a big talk - How many of you have been part of a huge audience, impressed with a captivating speaker and thought, "I wish I could do that." The thought of being able to inspire hundreds of people is exhilarating. There are organizations like Toastmasters that can help prepare you to be a dynamic speaker. The speaker you want to emulate didn't start with an audience of 2,000. Most likely they started out by speaking up in meetings, then running meetings, giving office/client presentations, being a panel member, speaking at small conferences and working their way up to large events. As scary as it may seem, most people's reaction to their first big speech is, "I can't wait to do it again."

There is no greater feeling of satisfaction than accomplishing things that really matter to you - things that may not be connected to financial gain, but give you a terrific feeling for having done them. People tell us that achieving things on their career bucket list gives them a sense of fulfillment that lasts long after they have retired.

Tell us what's in your career bucket, "I've always wanted to....."

Fred & Gladys
Whelan Stone
Executive Search and Coaching
Authors of GOAL! Your 30 Day Career Plan for Business & Career Success