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Big Hairy Audacious Goals

Everyone has goals and I do too. But I also have Big Hairy Audacious Goals or BHAGs for short. I first learned about BHAGs when reading the work of Jim Collins. He references BHAGs as one of the differentiators for great businesses. BHAGs are visionary goals that are more strategic and inspiring than a simple goal. Since great businesses do this and I want to be great, I decided to do this for myself.

My BHAGs are:

To be a happiness scholar, ambassador and activist.

To be a (s)hero for moms and babies.

These BHAGs help to drive me and the work I do, both personally and professionally. They are part of the reason I decided to create this blog.

Here are two exercises from the book We: How to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement that helped me identify my BHAGs.

The Letter

Imagine you receive an envelope in the mail and open it to discover a long handwritten letter. It’s from someone who is writing to thank you for all that you’ve done. They explain in great detail how you helped them and how you’ve impacted their life. Imagine the positive Rush of emotions you feel as you read each sentence, knowing you have truly made a difference.

Who would you want the letter to be from?

What did they say that you did?

The Award

Almost all fields offer awards for highest level of contribution. The Nobel committee offers Nobel Prizes in the areas of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, peace and more. The U.S. Medal of Honor is the highest award given by the US to a member of the armed forces. The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding player in collegiate football.

Now imagine sitting in a ballroom, surrounded by people who are gathered there to honor you. They have come to celebrate your success and your contributions to their field. Tonight is your night; it marks the culmination of your lifetime achievement. You feel humbled and grateful for the opportunity to have made a difference.

Who are the people gathered to honor you?

What did you do to earn the recognition?

What is the name of the award you are receiving?

I hope these activities helped you to identify your own BHAGs. Once you have, please feel free to share them.

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