Nobody lives forever.
We know…it can be sobering to think about your eventual death, but it’s empowering, too.
In fact, accepting this truth can be a turning point in your life.
That’s because it can move you from putting off your dreams to actively planning them.
But what if you don’t know exactly what dreams to pursue or what kind of experiences to seek?
That’s where a powerful tool that we call the Treasure Map comes into play.
It’s the cornerstone of an experience-rich life because it helps you identify what you truly value.
In other words, the Treasure Map helps you define your experiential treasure.
Without its clarity, you might just bob around in the ocean of life, never doing what you truly want.
We first tested this exercise on ourselves over a decade ago.
Since then we’ve done it with many others, and it never fails to produce powerful results.
Before you start, know that this exercise can stir up deep emotions.
Let that happen.
It means you are getting to the core of how you want to live.
In fact, if you’re not feeling much at all, you probably aren’t digging deep enough yet.
To create your Treasure Map, set aside about 30 to 60 minutes of quiet time.
Make sure you’re in a place where you won’t be interrupted.
Then, grab an ordinary sheet of paper and a pen.
Fold the sheet of paper into thirds to create three columns.
In the first column, write “One Year” at the top.
Then list the top 10 things you would want to experience if you only had one year left to live.
Give this some real thought; only list things you could realistically do within the year timeframe.
In the middle column, do the same for one month.
Some overlap with your One Year column is fine.
Again, take the time to think deeply, and be realistic.
The third column is for one day.
What would you do if you knew it was your final day?
With the three lists completed, look for patterns.
How many experiences overlap and appear in all three columns?
That’s a flashing red light saying these are what you value the most.
These should be your top priorities to pursue going forward.
Finally, post your Treasure Map in a place (like your fridge or mirror) where you’ll see it every day.
After all, these things are your future.
They matter, so look at them daily.
That will remind you of your priorities and help hold you accountable for making them reality.
About Bridget Hilton
Bridget Hilton creates tools to help teams and leaders connect in the workplace through rich experiences and shared goals. Her keynote helps Fortune 500 companies navigate topics of mental health and wellness, burnout, employee belonging and connection, inspiration, motivation, and goal setting. Her book Experiential Billionaire and card deck Treasure Maps is out now. She is located in Los Angeles, CA and is booking keynotes and workshops worldwide now.