A Year to Live – Permission to Live Boldly

I just got back from an intense and inspiring weekend retreat called Entrepreneurs Awakening led by my friends Michael Costuros and Bryan Bayer. One of the questions posed over the weekend was both simple and profound:

If you only had one year to live, how would you spend it?

Then we journaled for 10 minutes or so, just writing free form what came up for us. Sitting outside under the warm glow of the California sun, I reflected for a moment and this is what came up:

A Year to Live

With one year left to live, I would spend more time with my family, take a trip to Bali together  and reinitiate contact with friends I’ve fallen out of touch with along the way.

With a year to live, I would underwrite the cost of giving away Lifestyle Entrepreneur to thousands of people with a new prologue explaining the circumstances and encouraging others to live with the same ferocity and passion, as if they were in the same situation.

I’d jump on the international travel circuit for a month with my friends Jim, Andy, Andrew and Alex and the Project Rockstar crew of years past, and I’d approach every beautiful woman I saw with the thought constantly in mind that I literally have nothing to lose.

I would give talks at my old high school and college to inspire the next generation and spend time with my favorite teachers. I’d have dinner with my old professor Joseph Lough and discuss the history of time, the Chicago school of economics and the current global political economy.

Then I’d travel through China and Asia, remembering and learning more Chinese and rocking out at KTV bars at night singing pop songs in Mandarin and downing Tsingtaos

I’d get my old band Harsh Krieger back together and play a reunion show.

I’d spend a few weeks in Stockholm with my dear friend Elena and go drink wine with my old business partner Rachel.

Then I’d have my man Gabe (captain for Virgin America) fly me into space and take a last look at the world below before I shed this mortal coil.

A Year to Live by Jesse Krieger

I’d eat at all the Michelin star restaurants and complete a century ride (100 miles) on my bike.

And when it was all over, I’d die happy surrounded by people I love.

What is Missing From the List?

When I finished writing and looked back over the list, I noticed right away that work and career pursuits were nowhere to be found.

It’s funny how in the face of death, all the career planning, long-term thinking and planning just doesn’t mean a thing. The focus was entirely on experiences and spending time with friends and family.

To me, this is THE perfect clarifying question for how to determine what your interests and passions are.

What Would You Do?

I’m curious about what you would do if you only had a year to live. What would fill your days and hours? How would you spend you last remaining precious time and who would you spend it with?

Think about it for a moment. Try to really go there and reach deep.

When you answer the question fully and authentically, I’m guessing you’ll have a few moments of clarity about your priorities and what you could begin to change to live out these dreams now – sooner than planned and while you do still have your health.

Let me know below…


About Jesse Krieger

Jesse Krieger is the founder and publisher for Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press. International best selling author of Lifestyle Entrepreneur and Host of Bestseller Summit Live. Connect on Facebook, Google+, and YouTube


  1. What an epic exercise! I was almost afraid to try it. The best part, I’m doing everything I wrote down! Except for traveling to Europe and Africa. This is a great way to align what is important with what I’m actually doing – reassure myself I’m on track. I am so using this exercise with my clients – yoink!

    • It is epic isn’t it? When you really embody the feeling of having only a year left to live it puts a LOT of things in perspective and clarifies what’s truly important…and what is just busy work and distractions. I’m glad to hear that you ARE doing just about everything on your list. Honestly, the same is true for me – that is the upshot to being a lifestyle entrepreneur, we don’t wait to live our dreams, knowing that each day is a gift and tomorrow is never promised.

      To your continued success Dan,


  2. Small world! I know Michael… he’s a good friend 🙂

    After traveling the world for 2 years, I’ve been doing what I wanted to in the last year since, which was write a book. It has not been easy. But it is almost finished. I’ve want to build something bigger than myself – that can make an impact in the world and at this moment it’s more important than any thrill seeking I’ve done, or could to.

    • Nice Danny! Michael is a modern day shaman and an all-around awesome guy.

      Glad to hear you have been doing what you love, even without death staring you in the face. What is your book about? I’ve found writing Lifestyle Entrepreneur to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my adult life. And it’s true, a book allows a more expansive experience than simply checking off bucket list items bounding around the world.

      Interested to learn more!

      • Actually, death has always been present because my father passed away a year and a half ago. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t be “dare to do” to such an extent if he hadn’t passed away. Before then, I was playing it safe – being conservative… even as a business owner, taking the easy path versus risking greatly.

        My book is similar to yours in that it’s about lifestyle design – but mostly how to achieve the mobile lifestyle, how to dream big, and make it happen. If you want some feedback on your manuscript feel free to send it over (my e-mail is in the comment signature), and I’d be happy to help.

        Michael is also writing a book, and I’m pleased to have connected him with a few people that he’ll be interviewing for it 😀


  3. Rachel O'Reilly says

    Jesse- This is beautiful, clear, inspiring and simple. Thank YOU for sharing! In an instant it certainly did help bring more clarity into my view of what a year means… Especially if it were my last. I love your vision and desires, and I support them all the way! I’m honored to be mentioned in this, and I think I can fulfill that request easily and over and over again 😉 I love who you are.

    IF I had ONLY one year left… Damn, I get emotional at just the thought. As we all should. This mortal coil, as you call it, is precious and fleeting. We should approach every situation with the same gumption you thought of when you reflected on approaching beautiful women. None of us, really, have anything to lose at all- In some ways, everything already is lost b/c it inevitably will be.

    Enough with the psycho babble… But thanks for making me think deeper and gain a wider perspective on this sunny Tuesday by the bay.

    • Thanks Rachel, and so great to see you on the blog, you arrived at a fortuitous time, being featured in this post and all 🙂

      Now this is part of my morning meditation, simply reminding myself that I have nothing to lose and that it is helping anyone to play small in the world. Watching your growth, and continual stream of new exciting initiatives, activities and contributions I know you resonate with this message and I’m so thrilled to see you doing ever bigger and better things!

      Now, about those glasses of wine…

  4. Spend almost all my time with my family and friends. Relationships are what’s important to me and the main motivation for being a lifestyle entrepreneur. The freedom and flexibility of schedule means I get to spend my time with who matters most.

    • Hey Scott, nice so it sounds like you set up your work and lifestyle to allow maximal time with friends and family. That is very admirable.

      Also, I checked out your blog, you’ve got some solid stuff on there man!

      Keep it up and remember to play all out everyday!

  5. This is Really Good Information!!! Thanks

  6. Timely topic because…

    Ironically, one year ago on April 20th I was told I had stage 4 metastatic renal cell carcinoma and had a year to live. On may 20th as I was waiting at Kaiser in /riverside to be admitted to a program consisting of 56 organic chemo treatments that may have a 1% chance of affecting that outcome I was told that the results of the scans taken a few days before that were to serve as a baseline in monitoring my progress during that treatment program showed that my cancer was declining and that I no longer qualified for that program. I was healed by the Grace of god and remain cancer clear as of today. Knowing we will all die, it was then I decided what I should be doing with the rest of my life. Cherishing my relationships, such as with you and Anahar and your father and on have become a big part of that.

    May God bless you in your life and in your pursuits. BTW April 20th falls on Easter this year…


    p.s. in light of the light I have received, life is much brighter, lighter and joyful most of the time. I pray that I may live in gratitude and gratefulness willing to do the will of the object of my affection, first Jesus and then my family. May He bless you too!!!

    • Hi Paul, thanks so much for sharing your story here! It is such an inspiration to see you stare down death and come out the other side stronger and more alive. Last time I saw you, you honestly looked younger and healthier than I remembered from anytime before.

      It’s powerful that you had the ACTUAL experience of being told you only have one year to live, while what did was an intellectual and emotional exercise. Regardless, we seem to have come to the same conclusion; that relationships are what’s truly valuable in life and that much else falls by the wayside when facing the prospect of death.

      Much love to you and continued health for years to come!


  1. […] with family, re-form your old rock band and travel the world talking to beautiful women? Jesse has a great post asking what you would do if you had one year left to live. It’ll help you realize what goals […]

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