Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Don't Fear the BHAG

 Don't Fear the BHAG. Polymer Clay Mixed Media ©Marie Young (Young Creative)

Do you have a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal)?
Several years ago I was asked to read Jim Collins' book Good to Great as part of an organizational improvement effort at a previous job. It was to be our mantra, our call to move--well as the title says-- "from good to great." As with so many of these shiny things that catch management's eye in a huge organization, this effort flickered then faded.

That doesn't mean the book wasn't valuable. It's just that a big ship is hard to steer, even if the direction is solid. Personally, I gained a lot from reading this book. Much of what Collins talks about for organizations can be used for personal development. In fact, one of the concepts has been on my mind lately.

The Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal
Collins recommends that you set a BHAG; one that is inspiring, but pretty hard to attain. It isn't a New Year's resolution. It isn't something you can accomplish in a year. In fact, it should be something that takes a serious shift in how you do things (sometimes over decades) to accomplish.

BHAGs are scary creatures.
I have been afraid to seriously entertain a BHAG. I like setting "realistic" goals; goals that I can easily accomplish then cross off the list. BHAGS aren't that simple. BHAGS are scary creatures that require commitment to change.

They also open you up to failure. That's right. If I try, I might fail. Yet what I am beginning to understand is that failure is a stepping stone on the way to success. So really what is the risk?

Shhh, don't tell anyone.
I'll let you in on a secret. I do have a BHAG. I'm trying to find the courage to put it into writing here. Don't worry I will, soon, just not yet.
About the photo:
The word BHAG brings to my mind, well a hag; a scary hag. I created this wonderfully hideous beauty to represent the fear I initially feel in embracing a BHAG. Do you have a BHAG? Was it easy for you to say it out loud?
Don't Fear the BHAG. Mixed Media (polymer clay, fiber, and paper) © 2011 Marie Young (Young Creative)


  1. I love the word BHAG. Even even sounds big and hairy! ahhhhh c'mon. Put it in writing. I'd love to read about your BHAG. Maybe I'll do a link to your post and write about my own BHAG.

  2. Don't worry! It's coming, I'm building up the suspense first.

  3. HAHAHAHA!!! I love your BHAG!! She IS scary! I hope to never meet her in a dark ally.

  4. I've never heard about this before, but it makes sense that opening ourselves up like that would expand a whole new world and push us to try to learn and grow. You've given me something to think about. I've had BHAG in the past but I'm not sure I have one now. Time to put some thought into it and come up with another one.

  5. Love your wonderful visual BHAG and the ideas you have shared, especially when you wrote the following:

    Yet what I am beginning to understand is that failure is a stepping stone on the way to success. So really what is the risk? .

    I think that is such as healthy way to view life, one full of the promise of becommings.

    Two years ago I set things in motion in a quest for my own BHAG. Things may not have turned out exactly as I had dreamed, but very close, and I think that the journey part was the ultimate goal anyhow.

    May your journey in search of your own persoanl BHAGdom be joyful and exciting and full of wonderful surprises.


Ooh,a comment! How delightful.


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