Are You Dreaming Big Enough?
If your dream doesn’t scare you, then you aren’t dreaming big enough …
A 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
- 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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