The Business Transition Blog

What Do You Really, Really Want to Do?

New Possibilities

What about you? If you had six months off, what would you really, really want to do? The possibilities are endless. You could:

  • volunteer overseas;
  • learn to paint, take photographs, cook, fly, write poetry, surf;
  • take university courses; get an Executive MBA;
  • climb a mountain or a series of mountains;
  • ride a bike across the continent;
  • hike the West Coast Trail or the Camino de Santiago;
  • live in Paris and learn French;
  • start a rock band;
  • spend unforgettable quality time with your children, grandchildren, or parents;
  • get in shape and run a marathon; or
  • read the stacks of books you’ve bought over the years but haven’t had time to open.

There’s no shortage of options. The problem may be having too many options from which to choose. In my book I describe a process we call Getting Your Life on a Roll — GYLOAR™ — that helps you to explore what’s important to you in the big picture and then brings it back to your day to day activities and changes you need to make to get closer and closer to your ideals. After doing the exercise, look at what you said was important to you in that process, then ask yourself if it would be wise or feasible to accelerate the time line on that and bring it closer.

The Bucket List

If you haven’t already done so, watch the movie The Bucket List starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. It is as funny as it is poignant. It chronicles the final weeks of two men who meet in a cancer ward and decide to do all the things they wished they had done earlier in their lives. They sky-dive, drink expensive wine in the world’s finest hotels, travel, and spend some quality family time. Their “bucket list” included all the things they wanted to do before kicking the bucket.

What’s on your bucket list? If you knew you only had six months left to live, how would you consciously spend those last six months? Now ask yourself this: How do you know for sure that you do have more than six months left?

What I learned with my disease is that life is short; we can be struck with death, disability, or disaster at any time, and we absolutely must make the most of every moment. Within reason, we should do what’s important to us now so that we have no regrets. Even though my businesses did not run the way I had planned or expected when I left, I have no regrets about taking the time off. None. Neither does my wife, who tends to be the more practical one in our partnership. There is no question that it was the right thing to do at that time. And if things didn’t go as well in my business as I planned, then I learned from the unexpected, ascertained what needed to be improved upon, and have become a wiser, more seasoned businessperson in the process. We make mistakes and we learn our best lessons from them.

Southeast Brook Falls, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland