The idea that a professional bucket list must be the big things we want to do (or learn or be) before we kick the bucket usually leads to a list of only, well, big goals.

What about the things that might not seem bold or unique enough to boast about, but can still be life changing…

Write a book? Yep, that belongs on a professional bucket list, for sure. What about mentor a newbie at work? That’s what I call an “oyster item.”

Many accomplishments amount to a big deal, eventually. But they might not appear to be so grand when they happen. It’s as if time and other life experiences are required before the luster and worth are evident. Think of a grain of sand that slips inside an oyster’s shell. As a result, eventually, the oyster can create a valuable pearl.

Oyster items do matter. So I think they’re worth tracking and shooting for in the same way as bigger, bolder or more obvious achievements.

I decided to sit down and freshen the list of oyster items for my work life. Some, I can already cross off. Others, not yet. (I have some biggies, too. And, yes, writing a book is there. But that’s a different list and post!)

Here are some oyster items I can cross off my list:

  • Make a huge mistake on the job and learn from it
  • Train people in a skill I’ve acquired
  • Mentor a newbie at work
  • Inspire a colleague
  • Start a company
  • Learn from an incredibly good boss
  • Learn from an incredibly bad boss

And here are some of oyster items still on it:

  • Become a Toastmaster
  • Teach a college class
  • Finish my Masters Degree
  • Acquire three skills this year (and each year)
  • Join another nonprofit board
  • Learn HTML

What about you? What are some of yours? I’d love to hear!