Back-Bucket List

September 25, 2018



Written By: Thom

By Thom Peters

Have you ever had the “bucket list” conversation? You know the one. People share their list of extraordinary things to do before they die. It’s a conversation I have resisted. It isn’t the list part; it’s the die part.

While I really haven’t spent time thinking about and planning for fabulous goals, I believe I still have achieved some of them. Most recently I met one of those non-goals through an adventure with my two sons. As we stood in Iceland looking out at a glacier, I found myself saying, “I think this is on my Back-Bucket List*.” Interestingly enough, both my sons understood what I was saying. While I didn’t plan this adventure on any particular list, once it was done, I realized that it was something meaningful and memorable. It could have been on that kind of list and thus was worthy of celebration.

How does this apply to organizations? While it is important to be strategic and have clear goals, back-bucketing may be a good thing. Here’s why:

  • Capitalizing on opportunities you didn’t see coming. Have you ever planned out your goals so specifically you didn’t see the new opportunities in front of you? Or did circumstances change in your community and suddenly there was something new to do? That’s a perfect thing for your Back-Bucket List.
  • Counting the small wins. Many of us are taught that goals should be big (BHAGs anyone?) and often that means completions can be few and far between. Back-buckets don’t have to be huge. They can be done in a season. They may be a step toward a bigger goal, or just a worthy, necessary accomplishment in and of themselves. Small wins are perfect for the Back-Bucket List.
  • Acknowledging unexpected impact. Sometimes, you don’t realize how important a project will be. Maybe the impact went farther and deeper than you planned. Maybe it ended up being transformative. Either way, if it was a game-changer, add it to your Back-Bucket List!
  • Celebrating more. Most of our organizations – and our families – don’t celebrate enough. Back-bucketing allows us all to have joy in the moment that will sustain us in the future.

So this is my challenge for you and your organization: plan well, but keep an eye out for the Back-Buckets in your life.

* ©Thom Peters 2018 Yes I made this word up. My blog, my words.

Me and my sons, Daniel and Jared. Iceland 2018.





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4 responses to “Back-Bucket List”

  1. John C Alexander says:

    Thanks for sharing your old-man wisdom, Thom.

  2. Thom Peters says:

    Good point John, some of us do think we get smarter when we get older…..

  3. Kevin Bush says:

    Yes sir. Good advice. Have a plan but make sure you are living in the moment.