101 Things!

I just delivered a Team Training session for my NRCan friends in Ottawa. To prepare for it, I hauled out some of my old training materials, but also ventured into some newer research about teams and team building. Before I knew it, I had found a reference to Rolf Smith http://www.fastcompany.com/62628/rolf-smith. Somewhere in his site, I learned he had his “students” create a list 101 things they want to do before they die. A bucket list of sorts.

Making music with friends is truly priceless
Making music with friends is truly priceless

I decided to create my list.

I sat down with my journal and a pencil, and started writing. The first items on the list were easy. But by the time I got to about 15, I started to really think about the idea of WANT itself. By the time I reached 20, I was running out of things to write. How bizarre is that. Does that mean I’m actually happy with my life as it is now, or that my vision and outlook on life is just too narrow to see beyond my immediate borders?

What I found really interesting were the questions I would ask myself in order to try to fill up the 101 blank spaces on the page. This is how I approached it:

  1. What do I want to do?
  2. What do I need to make my life better?
  3. What do I want to make my life better?

My answers to the first question seemed like they would be straight forward. Okay, I want to fly fish in Patagonia. I want to keep skiing in Whistler. I want to travel to Russia and Mongolia. I want to visit a place with a radically different culture from the one I live in, like China or India.

Headlamp sometimes necessary while cooking on fishing trips.
Headlamp sometimes necessary while cooking on fishing trips.

Do you see a pattern emerging there? Apparently, what I want to do revolves around where I want to go. So where do I want to go, other than Patagonia, Whistler, Russia, Mongolia, China or India? Ummmmm. Well, places where I can fly fish, where I can ski, where I can hike and where I can experience different things. (This was enlightening in and of itself, because I realized that traveling was obviously very important to me, almost to the exclusion of anything else.)

Okay, what do I need to make my life better?  I’m stumped. My father is alive and loves me (thankfully), my children amaze and delight me more each day, my friends hold me close in their hearts every day. So what else do I need? Really, nothing.

What else do I want? Now that’s a loaded question. And here is where I really stopped to (like Winnie the Pooh), think, think, think. Sure, I want to have a lot of Port Ellen single malt whiskey. And some good skis. I want to play the fiddle really, really well and make music wherever I go. And I want to be able to fish on the Margaree River. But do those things that I want make my life better?


What do I want to make my life better? Here’s my list:

  • Patience – I want to learn to be more patient, with others but more importantly, with myself.
  • Impact – I want to make a positive impact on as many people as I can.
  • Joy – I want to be joyful and share that joy with as many people as I can.
  • Understanding – I want to be loving enough to understand others’ perspectives, and not impose mine on anyone.

You see, I can’t buy any of those things. I can only continue to live and learn and move along that path. Wish me luck.

And I challenge you to do the same – start and finish your list of 101 things. Find the commonalities and discover what is really, truly important to you. You may be surprised.

(Of course, I’d like to find all those things while I’m fly fishing in Patagonia, or hiking in Ireland, savouring single malt and making music with my friends!)

Sharing laughter, single malt and a Steamwhistle with my most wonderful pal Gail!
Sharing laughter, single malt and a Steam Whistle with my most wonderful pal Gail!

Published by Susan Gesner

A skilled professional with a wealth of experience in a variety of facilitation, consultation, education and research fields. I am known for my leadership, strong interpersonal skills and my ability to bring teams together for a common goal. I strive to incorporate my own and other's passion for the environment and sustainability for the future. Oh, and I love to run, fly fish, ski and make music!

One thought on “101 Things!

  1. Love this post Susan. Intend to try that exercise as well !

    FYI — you MUST add New Zealand (particularly South Island) to your list. Skiing and flyfishing can both be found there in an amazingly beautiful landscape.

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