My mother moved from Spirit Lake Iowa to St. Paul to live closer to her grandchildren. It was on her Bucket List. She's 80 years young, and looking forward to getting out of bed in the morning.

My mother moved from Spirit Lake Iowa to St. Paul to live closer to her grandchildren. It was on her Bucket List. She’s 80 years young, and looking forward to getting out of bed in the morning.

This past Sunday, I shared a delightful conversation with my 80-years-young mother about her Bucket List. What I learned from her was amazing: it’s not so much what we have on our Bucket List, rather, it’s all about having something to look forward to on our Bucket List. In other words: at every stage of a good life, we need a compelling reason to get out of bed every day and get going. No matter what.

The Bucket List Book

While my friends Paul Hillen, Jeri Meola and I are working on the Goodness Pays book research, my impatience was getting the best of me. The Goodness research is well underway, with interviews nearing completion and quantitative surveys in design. But it’s been six years since the What Really Works book was first published and three years since we re-published the second edition. And my most recent ebook: Good Leadership Today, was published two years ago. Even though I write 50-some blogs a year, and 24 American Business Journal columns…the book-writing itch needs to be scratched!

The “bucket list” idea was crystallized into society through a movie fittingly titled: The Bucket List. The storyline was brought to life by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman playing two terminally ill patients, who venture outside their hospital care on a journey to experience things on their “bucket list” before they “kick the bucket” (die).

My Bucket List

The Bucket List Book will feature the aspirational story of Mark Bergman, inventor of the Handy Paint Pail - what we affectionately call The Bucket of Good Will.

The Bucket List Book will feature the aspirational story of Mark Bergman, inventor of the Handy Paint Pail – what we affectionately call The Bucket of Good Will.

So last week, with the help of my friends Chloe and Tasha, we launched the project to produce the micro-book: The Bucket List Book. It’s the first book in a series we will call Good Leadership Press – building this publishing label is one of the things on my Bucket List!  The inspiration came from three sources:

1. My friend Mark Bergman – the inventor of the Handy Paint Pail. His story is the main subject of The Bucket List Book. Yes, we are building on the double-meaning of his “pail” as a “bucket” because he taught me so much about dreaming as a source of motivation for starting my own business.

2. My friend and former colleague Delane Wetterlin – this book was her idea. I miss her joyous energy in my life…and I hear her devilish laugh underneath every idea in this book.

3. My friend Darin Lynch, the founder of Irish Titan, who once said to me: “Even though I’m living my dream of owning my own business…some days the key to my success is just getting out of bed and coming into work, no matter what!”

Good Leadership and the Bucket List

Goodness Pledge Spark followSo what does a Bucket List have to do with leadership? People only want to follow aspirational leaders – people who have compelling goals and magnetic dreams that help us get out of bed in the morning and come to work. The opposite of an aspirational leader is someone who is “stuck.” In my work, we repeatedly encounter leaders, teams and entire organizations who are “stuck.” We are exceptionally good at helping them get un-stuck. One of the ways to get started is personal visioning – including working on a Bucket List.

Bucket-list thinking works at any age: we don’t need to be terminally ill, checking things off before we kick the bucket.

Good leaders have magnetic ideas that create positive momentum in their lives. And they have plans that help them get out of bed in the morning and keep going – no matter what.

We are seeking your insights as content for the book: Please share with me – What’s on your Bucket List?