The “Un-Bucket” List

Written by Susan Hatten

I’ve long been a believer in operant conditioning and the theory of an appropriate reward following success. Operant conditioning and my credit card found each other, as I made the decision to check one longstanding goal off of my personal bucket list: relishing the twinkling lights of Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

December flight, booked. Brooklyn stay, confirmed. Bing Crosby on Spotify, starred.

Although I’m excited about the trip, I’ve also realized something else after taking some time to reflect on the past few months of my life, which have brought a new career, changed relationships and greater community leadership opportunities: My personal bucket list filters have expanded. While I never would have said that passing a state property and casualty insurance exam would be on my bucket list, it is something that I am proud of and can now say that I’ve accomplished. I recently took the exam as part of my professional development at Holmes Murphy & Associates.

No, this wasn’t the bar exam, nor did I receive a doctorate degree (in fact, I don’t think that I will even be issued an automated certificate of completion). But passing the test was an accomplishment, especially given that I challenged myself to embrace something new, and succeeded. Up next: the health and life exam.

My newly created “un-bucket” list includes those life events that may not be sexy or popular, but they force me to stretch beyond routine, step outside of my comfort zone, and evaluate risk and reward.

I will maintain my more traditional bucket list, of course, and will continue to check those items off, but I now have another list to add to and work from. And I suspect this un-bucket list may just create even greater expectations—and rewards.

susan hatten

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