Jim Collins coined the acronym BHAG in his book Good to Great. BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Every professional needs at least one BHAG. Whether it is in the office, in your personal development, at home, or maybe it’s a dream. You should have one.
We don’t need to let BHAG’s scare us. I find myself daily responding differently to the big things I want to accomplish. You have probably heard the phrase that you “eat the elephant one bite at a time.” I often want to make things happen immediately. I will work hard like I’m in a sprint just to get it done. However, most of the time the big things and most meaningful require hard work over time.
I also find myself paralyzed by the audaciousness of the goal or dream and get stuck. My ADD kicks in and I struggle to take consistent steps. But, the great thing is that it doesn’t take much to get motivated again. A small win or a simple “yes” can create a tidal wave of motivation.
5 Ways to Conquer Your BHAGs
1. Think Big. BHAGs push you beyond normal. Claude Bristol said “thought is the original source of all wealth, all success, all material gain, all great discoveries and inventions, and all achievement.” You have to learn to think big and dream. It’s better to dream big and make great strides than to never chase after greatness. You will never regret thinking big.
2. Focus. You need to chart a course and focus on what is in front of you. Focus moves you take action.
“Every time a person puts an idea across, he finds ten people who thought about it before he did– but they only thought about it.” Alfred Montapert
If you only think big and not focus on what you need to do next you won’t make your BHAG happen. Focus gives clarity.
3. Growth. You have to push yourself to get better. If it’s bigger than you, then you will have to grow into it. You may not be prepared to make the BHAG happen, YET!
If you are leading a team to overcome something big, think about the people you are bringing on to the team. Don’t recruit or hire for what you need today, think about what you will need as you are making progress or when you get there. Think about how much potential a person has and look for people who have untapped potential. The leader should not always be the smartest person in the room.
4. Discipline. Focusing on what’s next is one thing, having discipline to take consistent steps is another. Jim Collins addresses this idea in his book Great by Choice. He references a race to the south pole by Roald Amundsen in 1911. Amundsen committed to a 20 mile march everyday no matter what the conditions.
Discipline moves you forward. I have great discipline some days and other days it is hard. Find a routine for you that keeps you moving forward on your BHAGs.
5. Be Desperate. There is nothing wrong with being desperate to accomplish big things. As a matter of fact, sometimes that is the only thing that keeps us going. Desperation can push you to your best work. When you want something so bad you will find a way.
Find some thinking to time to discover your BHAG or some focus time to determine what to do next.