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Good Leaders: Why keep your Bucket List a secret?

Researcher Jeri Meola made her Bucket List public in our newest book. She wants to throw $1 bills off the Empire State Building. That’s living generously!

“What surprised me the most about the Bucket List research we did, was that most people prefer to keep their Bucket List a secret,” said Jeri Meola. She’s the CEO of SMS Research who designed and interpreted the research behind our new book: The Bucket List Book. We hired Jeri because after searching online databases, we couldn’t find any research on the concept.

What are we afraid of?

A twenty-something woman I had lunch with shared her perspective with me: “What if I fail?” she said. “What if I let myself down?” My coaching: “How can anyone help you if you won’t share what’s on your Bucket List?” 

Jeri Meola is a passionate fundraiser for the Animal Humane Society.

Jeri and I confirmed that fear about our Bucket List is not about death. More than 400 people participated in our research. Only 7% said their Bucket List was about accomplishing certain things before they die. Which means 93% have created a Bucket List to help them get the most out of living their lives now.

Travel, Treasures, Experiences, and Accomplishments

The Bucket List Book Bundle
Purchase book bundles to join us for the book launch party hosted by the Minnesota Vikings.

It was fun to learn Bucket List items fall into four categories. 35% of people list travel as their #1 item, which includes visiting a specific place, like the Taj Mahal, or Eiffel Tower. Treasures include keepsakes, tools for hobbies or collections, like a rare baseball card, special car, musical instrument or artwork. Experiences include adventures or things that bring extra meaning or fun to life like skydiving, creating family memories or going to the Olympics. What surprised me that most was that people use their Bucket List for identifying accomplishments – including goals or endeavors that require commitment over time: write a book, earn a PhD, starting/selling a business, or philanthropy. It’s the career accomplishments that directly connect the Bucket List concept with Good Leadership.

Other fun facts

● Men and women are equally likely to have a Bucket List

Jeri Meola is a golfer who has “golf in Scotland” on her Bucket List.

● 54% of people have their Bucket List “in memory” while 46% have it written down

● People who are not married (single respondents) are more likely to have something adventurous on their list, like bungee jumping or whitewater rafting

● Empty-nesters (people whose children have moved away) are the most likely to have accomplished significant things on their Bucket List

The rest of Jeri’s Bucket list is:

1. Golf at a links course in Scotland, 2. See the Pope conduct Easter Mass in Rome, 3. Visit Barbra Streisand’s home, 4. Throw one-dollar bills off the Empire State Building, 5. Take my family on a cruise in honor of my mother.

So…if you have a Bucket List – are you keeping it a secret?

You can register here to receive free sample chapters of The Bucket List Book. And you can pre-order your copies of The Bucket List Book here. We are taking bundle orders for the book launch party on June 23, hosted by Kevin Warren at the headquarters of the Minnesota Vikings.

Next week I will share the story behind how this book came to be – inspired by my friend Mark Bergman.

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