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Are You Dreaming Big Enough?

2013 June 24
by Marquita Herald

If your dream doesn’t scare you, then you aren’t dreaming big enough …

Only those who dare to riskA few days ago I decided I should probably spend some time on a “mid-year” review of my goals. Things are looking pretty good, but I couldn’t help feeling like something was missing. It seemed like I should feel more upbeat about the whole thing since I was pretty much on track … shouldn’t I?

Then I watched that breathtaking footage of Nick Wallenda wire-walking across the Grand Canyon and just as I was thinking how thrilled I was for this man who DID IT – he made his BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) come true – I GOT it. I suddenly realized why I wasn’t all that juiced about my own goals. There are a few stretch goals, but they are now outnumbered by the “shoulds” – and worse – there is nothing-nada-zip on that list that is BIG enough to take my breath away just thinking about making it happen!

The real problem with shoulding all over yourself

Some shoulds are necessary of course; after all we are adults and have responsibilities. The real problem is that the more we focus on all the things we should be doing, the harder it becomes to make time to focus on the things we want to do. Worse yet is when we become comfortable with a life of shoulds. After all, it’s a lot easier to point to responsibilities and commitments as the reason for not attempting to make a BIG dream come true, than it is to admit that we just didn’t have the courage to risk trying. Oweeee!

Life shrinks or expands in direct proportion to one’s courage. ~Anais Nin

Do You Have a BHAG?

The notion of BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) was conceptualized in the book, “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by James Collins and Jerry Porras. I first heard about it from Jack Canfield several years ago at the Maui Writer’s Conference, and I love this term so much it still makes me smile just thinking about it.

The BHAG principal is that it conditions our minds to push our boundaries and limitations; in the process eliminating any comfort zone boxes we may be living in. The beauty is that as we achieve each BHAG it gives us the courage to go “Bigger and bigger!”

Two of my original BHAGs were:

  • To stop working for other people – done, making a living and loving it!
  • To write and publish a book – done and about to publish my 7th!

Do you have a BIG dream that you’re working on now, or maybe one that’s been neglected a little lately? If not, it’s never too late to create one!

Begin with a Vision

The first step is taking the time to think through and conceptualize a goal you can aim toward that will change your life for the better. Let go of limitations – perceived or otherwise – and allow your imagination to take charge; your BHAG should be overly ambitious and seem unattainable. Here are the other criteria of a BHAG to keep in mind:

  • Minimum of a 10-year plan
  • Action-oriented
  • Innovative
  • Compelling and exciting

This is probably the most difficult part of creating a BHAG because there are going to be pesky internal limiting beliefs that keep throwing up barriers to prove to you all the reasons why you are foolish to even contemplate your BHAG.

Take a Reality Check

Once you have your BHAG in mind, ask yourself if it’s really one that you can dedicate the next decade to achieving. Some questions you may want to ask yourself include:

  • Will it require you to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone?
  • Is it measurable and life changing?
  • Does it create momentum?
  • Does it excite and stimulate you?
  • What if others don’t approve of your BHAG?

Yea, that last one was kind of a trick question, but it’s still something you need to consider. The reality is that all of those near and dear to you may not be prepared to cheer you on when you proclaim your BHAG to the world. Sometimes our desire to change – even for the better – makes other people anxious. It’s better to be prepared to offer a little assurance and help others understand why your BHAG is important to you, than to risk feeling hurt and defensive if you don’t get the response you were hoping for.

Commit to Your BHAG

Just like you do with any goal, you will need to commit to your BHAG and start taking action immediately. You can break it down into as many smaller, measurable chunks, or mini-goals as you wish. Just make sure you check-in on your progress regularly (at least monthly) to stay focused on your BIG goal.

In the spirit of the late Steve Jobs, just a reminder that focus isn’t just about paying attention to what you need to do to achieve your BHAG, it’s also about NOT doing all the other things that will vie for your attention and prevent you from making progress.

Finally, 10 years may seem like a long time, especially when you experience that first rush of adrenaline at the thought of making your BHAG a reality. But if you’re BHAG is really powerful, you are going to need every bit of that time to create a solid plan, and make progress consistently and systematically. Just be sure to enjoy the journey and celebrate even small victories all the way.

How about you? Do you have a BHAG that completely frightens you but is something you want to pursue? Plan it out now! It’s time to make it happen and plant that seed. And remember, it’s okay to be scared.

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10 Responses
  1. Fatima from cable ties permalink
    July 11, 2013

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article since I’m also a firm believer of dreaming big and making sure to accomplish my goals. Although there are times when my faith begins to stagger but deep inside, I klnow that if I succeed in my goals, the sense of fulfillment will be priceless.

  2. July 7, 2013

    I was always told this little saying by my dad (For the choices you make determine the life you lead). This article is beautifully written, I always look for inspiration and there is no better than dreaming big. I set goals and if i don’t achieve them i just move the goal post’s. When you think about it how much have we all achieved within our life’s. I have a lovely family and lots of friends big dreams are something i don’t just have for myself anymore i also have them for my kids and this has become part of my dream too. Thanks Rachel x

  3. Aayna from gazebo kits permalink
    July 7, 2013

    Dreaming big is the first step to make big. When an individual starts dreaming about big , this is where he starts thinking on how to reach that big goal.I really liked the concept of BHAG, it is refreshing and twisted with an aim to focus on the goal once set. I personally can never define a goal for myself, as I keep changing my mind. I hope one day I also achieve that much stability to define my stable goals. I loved this share. Thanks for pouring such great thoughts through this post.

  4. July 2, 2013

    Your mindset makes all the difference. You need to be willing to commit to doing things differently. As the saying goes, you need to be willing to give up what you are for what you can become. The first step in creating a personal vision that is a BHAG is to determine your goal for the time frame you choose. As you see, I’ve created a one year and five year goal. Your goal should be very focused. It should be difficult to achieve – or it’s not a BHAG. Your personal vision should stretch you past your comfort zone. It should be life changing. It should build on the momentum you have going. It should excite and stimulate you. It should be something that is really worth accomplishing.
    Renee Patel recently posted..No last blog posts to return.My Profile

  5. June 25, 2013

    This is great Marquita! I love BHAG’s as well. Unfortunately, my own BHAG seems to change from day to day and mood to mood.

    Sometimes the dream is to be a successful blogger helping to change people’s lives for the better. Other times it’s to own my own small artisan bread bakery. And yet other times it’s to run a classy natural foods/liquor store.

    I’m all over the place.

    But each of them has one thing in common . . . working for myself. Yeah, that sounds pretty damn nice.

    Oh, and I guess they have another thing in common too . . . each one intimidates me in its own unique way. But then I guess that’s a good sign. Right?

    Thanks for the awesome article Marquita! And for reminding us to always push the envelope.

    Trevor recently posted..Harnessing Pavlov’s Theory to go from Worrywart to a Fucking SuperheroMy Profile

    • June 26, 2013

      Welcome back Trevor – some pretty impressive dreams you have! Why don’t you work on combining all of those? You could have a classy foods store with a small bakery inside, and a blog that promotes it and even gets into entrepreneurship. Sounds like a winner to me! :-)
      Marquita Herald recently posted..Are You Dreaming Big Enough?My Profile

  6. June 25, 2013

    So true! I think that’s why it is so inspiring to watch the feel good movies where said main character overcomes obstacles and carries out his or her own BHAG (even though it isn’t necessarily called that). It reminds me of the movie ‘October Sky’ which is based on a real life story of Homer Hickam and how he overcomes adversity in a small West Virginia mining town to set his own goal and carry through on it despite what most everyone around him believes.

    Your advice and insights are spot on and provide a crystal clear reminder that we need to take control of the life we want to live and make it happen. I know my inner self is itching to bust out and do something big. Inertia is our enemy when at rest and our ally when we are moving towards our goal. Perfect timing … thank you :-)

    Shoot for the moon … even if you miss, you will still land among the stars. ~Brian Littrell
    Dave recently posted..Discover and share your wisdomMy Profile

    • June 26, 2013

      Hi Dave, so glad you enjoyed the post. I also love those movies where people overcome obstacles and I think my favorite of all is Shawshank Redemption – man, that last scene on the beach still brings tears to my eyes. And, thanks for the quote – that’s one of my all time favorites!
      Marquita Herald recently posted..Are You Dreaming Big Enough?My Profile

  7. June 24, 2013

    Great Stuff Marty! I have a vision that is in dire of need of more structure…Gracias, Thanks, Mille Grazie, Danke, etc, etc… :)

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