Do you have a bucket list like Coach Holtz?



Many know of the legendary Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz, but what fewer know is his quest to do 107 things before he dies.

Now he’s a retired Hall of Fame football coach, but at age 28, he was an out-of-work assistant coach whose wife was pregnant with their third child.

He decided to get out of his mental funk and start setting some big, bold life goals.

By most 28-year-old’s standards, he aspired to some lofty goals — be a guest on the Tonight Show, have dinner at the White House, land a plane on an aircraft carrier, coach Notre Dame Football, win a national championship and meet the Pope.

After reading the book “The Magic of Thinking Big” by Dr. David J. Schwartz, Holtz came to the realization that by writing and setting life goals, he would find a way to achieve them.

According to the last known account, he had achieved 102 of his original 107 goals.
I’ll admit, I don’t have reservations at the Kremlin, Jay Leno isn’t calling me to fill the Bieber vacancy and the Pope isn’t writing me to discuss religious doctrine.

However, in writing this column, I, too, am accomplishing a life goal.

When I turned 21, not unlike many other college students, I planned to celebrate with a night out on the town with friends. Prior to engaging in the age-old tradition, I wrote down 30 things I wanted to accomplish before age 30.

I recently re-discovered this list and laughed.

Here were a few of my goals:
Run with the bulls in Pamplona
Have a mint julep at the Kentucky Derby
Sky-dive
Tutor/Mentor inner city children
Wear a kilt in Scotland
Complete a sprint triathlon
Graduate college in four years while making the dean’s list
Golf at Pebble Beach
Bike the Golden Gate Bridge
Admire Stonehenge
Pray in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican
Live in a foreign country
Send my parents on vacation
Be published in a newspaper
Watch a sunset from the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro
Become a Freemason like my grandfather
Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain in Rome
Play catch at Wrigley Field
Have a drink on Bourbon Street
Get accepted into a top-20 MBA program

For a 21-year-old with limited athletic skill, no trust fund, mediocre intelligence and no historical name or connections to rely on, it was naïve to think these were attainable.

With the pressure and time commitment of school and a career, it would have been easy to put aside the list for a more convenient time.

As of this writing, seven years later, I check off the last item on my list and complete all of my written goals.

Accomplishing any worthwhile goal means having a plan, thinking big, making sacrifices and believing in you.

­— jhollfel@indiana.edu
Follow columnist John Hollfelder on Twitter @jhollfelder.

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