Brian, Bear Creek’s Co-Founder, recently completed the Grindstone 100 Mile Trail Race. A grueling, massive elevation gain, foot race with a time cut off. Competing in it is a BHAG.
The term BHAG was originally coined by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, first published in 1994.
BHAGS are so big, hairy, and audacious, it is a long term goal that really energizes and focuses the goal-setter, leading through a process of transformation.
For Brian it started in 2019, as he began training for the Richmond Marathon. As Victoria shared in a post last year: Come As You Will Be. Which means to look ahead a few years, currently they use three years, and write out a vision for what they want their lives to be. They look at various areas of life that are important, from spiritual life, family, work, relationships, finances, personal health, etc. Then they look at: where am I now and what do I need to do next to move closer to that vision for my life. It is goal setting with a strong “why” behind it.
For Brian, that meant a lifestyle change that would allow him to live strong and healthy, to be prepared for adventures with Victoria in empty-nesting and for the joys of grandparenthood, Lord willing and whenever that came to be. It was a full overhaul from his current state. But the way you tackle a 100 mile race, one step at a time. He ran the Richmond Marathon that year and kept on running. Then he slowly tackled various trail races and other literal milestones in his quest for the 100 Miler. Each month and passing season, the goal becoming more in focus and attainable. Not completely void of setbacks and challenges along the way, but each one faced with steady and unwavering focus and support along the way. Until he toed the line and step by step propelled himself 100 miles.
A great BHAG is as the name suggests:
- (B)ig—It’s so big that it’s not something that you can necessarily accomplish in a year, it might even take three to five years.
- (H)airy—The goal seems wild and crazy because it’s so transformational and maybe even a bit out of the box. Such thinking comes when it’s something you’ve never done before.
- (A)udacious—It should have a gasp factor. It makes you sit up and listen when you first think about or hear it. The next emotion should be that it’s exactly the right idea for you to pour your heart and soul into.
- (G)oal—It must be a clearly articulated goal (or milestones along the way) which can be measured, so that success can be defined and celebrated.
But it doesn’t have to be a long distance running race. Creating your own BHAG requires some soul-searching. The first question to ask is what are you passionate about? What do you want life to look like in a few years from now? What is your compelling “why”?
It must be compelling, exciting and action-oriented. There will inevitably be process steps and milestones to hit along the way. There will be a team of people that surround you and cheer you on as your wild goal may sometimes even seem unattainable to you. There will be setbacks and hard days, these people will help cheer you on as you keep pressing on toward the goal. They will believe in you when sometimes it’s hard to believe in yourself.
So, what is your BHAG? What do you passionately desire to accomplish in the next few years? We would love to cheer you on.