Does setting BHAGs scare you? Let these 3 easy, actionable tactics give you the confidence to identify your Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Listen now and take action!
Ever heard of the term BHAG?
If you’re a regular listener, you’ve probably heard me talk about this in previous episodes. (See episode JimHarshawJr.com/302)
BHAG or Big Hairy Audacious Goals is a concept developed by authors Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book, “Built to Last.” It is one of the key characteristics and traits of visionary companies— a “powerful mechanism to stimulate progress.”
Setting goals is a familiar territory, but if you want to take it to the next level, a BHAG is the way to go— but where do you start? How do you identify a BHAG?
In this episode, we’re going on a deep dive into how to confidently identify that BHAG, especially for people who are unclear or who feel stuck. Here are the 3 things that you need to do to confidently identify BHAG… Hit play now.
If you don’t have time to listen to the entire episode or if you hear something that you like but don’t have time to write it down, be sure to grab your free copy of the Action Plan from this episode— as well as get access to action plans from EVERY episode— at JimHarshawJr.com/Action.
Download the Action Plan from This Episode Here
[00:00] Your BHAG has to inspire you. If it doesn't, then it's not going to wake you up early in the morning. It's not going to keep you up late at night. It's not going to have the energy and momentum behind it. You're not going to be able to deal with the failures when you have an effective BHAG. It's inspiring.
[00:17] Welcome to another episode of Success Through Failure. This is your host, Jim Harshaw, Jr. And today I'm bringing you a solo episode and we're going to be talking about how. Confidently identify your BHAG, even if you're not sure what. So, what is it? BHAG Jim Collins and Jerry Porras wrote the landmark book.
[00:37] It was published in 1994, titled built to last successful habits of visionary companies. And in that day identified one of the key characteristics and traits of these visionary companies is they had something called a BHAG big, hairy, audacious goals. Now. You probably wouldn't have clicked on this episode, if you didn't know what a BHAG was.
[00:58] So you probably already know if you're living under a rock. Maybe you've never heard of these things, but that's what it be, I guess. And the reason why I want to talk about this again, I've addressed this before in different episodes, but we're going to deep dive today into how to actually confidently identify that BHAG, especially for people who are unclear or they feel stuck and not sure how to identify it, or they may be a little bit afraid of identifying it, but the reason why I wanted to do it.
[01:24] Failure is such a critical part of this process. In fact, it's, it's nearly a hundred percent guaranteed that you're going to fail along the way. Whenever you set a BHAG in and we need to address that, we need to face that head on. So back in episode 300 in two, so 46 episodes go almost a year ago. I published an episode about why most people won't set a BHAG.
[01:48] All right. So this is, it's a great sister episode to this episode that you're listening to right now. So you can go back to episode 302. In that episode, we talked about 10 reasons why most people want. Set their big, hairy, audacious goals. It's things like fear and doubt and lack of clarity and imposter syndrome, but also how to overcome those.
[02:10] All right. This episode is more along the lines of how do you actually identify. The BHAG right. Not necessarily overcoming the fears, but identifying it itself, like the process that you can go through to identify it. So if you enjoy these episodes, make sure you give this a share. This is episode, like I said, 348, you know, one person in the world who would love this kind of episode.
[02:34] So please give this a share, tell them to check out episode 348 of the success through failure podcast, where we talk. Big hairy, audacious goals. Now, if you're listening to this, go ahead and take a screenshot of it right now, and then post it on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook or LinkedIn, and tag me in it.
[02:51] I'll give it a share and we can interact over there. I love to connect with you. I love to connect one-on-one with my audience, so I know you're out there listening. I mean, Ratings and reviews go a long way to growing this thing. So if you want to give me a rating and review, I'm going to try to get these onto the podcast.
[03:08] So I got a rating and review from John at P T w. He said this, he said, Jim is an excellent speaker and motivator. I'm learning so much from this podcast about focusing, setting B hags and mastering the mental game. Jim always brings great tips to help you be more productive, efficient. And if you start looking.
[03:26] You will start the process of leveling up your life. So thank you, John. If you want to get your review, read on the podcast, go ahead and leave it on whatever platform you're listening to this on Spotify or iTunes or apple podcasts I should say or otherwise. All right, let's get into today's topic first.
[03:44] I want to show this like when I was starting this business, right? The podcasts and the speaking and the coaching that I do. And now more corporate consulting leadership development. What else? Starting with. I felt like I had to get it right. I felt like I had to have the right business plan and the right model and everything had to be perfect before I press the go button.
[04:03] And that was one of my failures. It really held me up for awhile in starting this because this business has not evolved exactly how I kind of thought it might. I really didn't know what it would look like at this point. I eventually developed a vision for it, but it has taken a winding path to get here and it looks a little bit differently than I thought it would.
[04:23] Now a lot of things are in place right now that I visualize and I did envision, but I just waited till. To start. There's a great quote by the founder of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman, who said, if you're not embarrassed by your first iteration, you've launched too late. Now he's talking about software, but it's the same concept with you in your business idea or your new career or the thing that you want to evolve into.
[04:47] Like just get started now, episode 124. One to four. I talked with Stanford design professor, Bill Burnett, and we dove deep into how people can make career changes. And everybody thinks that they have to have, you know, just the right plan in place and they have to quit their job and go into the next one.
[05:07] Well, he introduces this concept of prototyping right in the design world when you're designing stuff. You don't build a million widgets and just launch them to the market and hope people like them. No, you have to start with a prototype. And that's what he suggests. Is it starting with these prototyping conversations, prototyping, experiences, you know, these tests, these trials, maybe it's just having a cup of coffee with somebody who's doing the thing that you want to do.
[05:32] Right? Whether it's. This business idea you want to start, or this new career, or maybe in some company that you want to move into, or maybe they're, training for iron Nan's and you want to do that as well. Right? You don't have to go all in on it. You can test it out, right. Create prototyping experiences.
[05:47] So that's the first thing that I wanted to share before I get into three very specific things that you need to do to confidently identify that BHAG right. So the first one is. Think back on times in your life, when you were in a flow state where you were in your zone, I think back in my life. So I'm going to give you some examples here in my life.
[06:07] Like when I was coaching youth wrestling, I was absolutely in the zone. I loved coaching. I got my master's degree in teaching from University of Virginia. So teaching in coaching is in my soul. It's in my blood, it's in my DNA. So I've always loved doing those. So teaching and now what I do, personal coaching and consulting, they're very much in alignment.
[06:28] These are things that when I'm doing them, I'm in my zone, right. I'm in a flow state. Another one is, you know, when I'm working on my. No, not necessarily always working in my business, but I'm also in a flow state when I'm working on my business. Right. So let me give you an example yesterday. I actually did a productive pause, and if you're not familiar with a productive pause, it's a short period of focused reflection around specific questions that leads to clarity of action and peaceful.
[06:56] And we'll have that definition in the action plan. You can go to Jim harsher Jr com slash action, to make sure you get the actual plan from this episode. But I did a productive pause yesterday. I was actually driving to my son's soccer game. It was about an hour away. That was just me in the car and I kept the radio off and I decided to do a productive pause.
[07:16] So I do this thing where in between coaching conversations with my coach, I will do this thing where I, I have this out loud conversation with myself. Yes. It's kind of weird. And people probably driving by me or see me at red lights, wondering who the heck I'm talking to. I guess these days, it doesn't really matter.
[07:32] They can think I'm talking to somebody on Bluetooth. So it's, it's cool these days, but I would have this conversation. I was, I was. On a couple of things. And through this hour long conversation, I essentially had out loud with myself. I had three huge breakthroughs in my business and how to structure my business and how to do things more efficiently and more effectively.
[07:53] And I'm super excited about these things because I was stuck on them for. And, and, and just doing this, having this conversation, like working on my business, rather than in my business, I was in a flow state. I was super, super excited. And, and, and in my zone when I was doing this, so that's another area for me when I'm in my flow state.
[08:13] Another one, a third one. I'll give you this last exam. I think about last summer when I was in Montana, we were hiking to avalanche lake. It's a short hike, a pretty easy hike, just a couple of miles to this amazing lake. And we got there and then most people kind of stopped at the near end of the lake where we hiked the whole way around the far side of the lake, where there were no people and you're in this base and, and you're looking up, hundreds and hundreds of feet above you.
[08:38] And they're these glaciers and they're melting and the water is pouring off these massive. Cliffs and faces and filling up this lake. And we went swimming in this lake. It was terrifyingly cold, but it was amazing. It was just this whole experience. It was just breathtaking. It's a, it's a place that when you go there, if you've ever been, you know, but like it's, it's hard to believe you're even on planet earth.
[09:02] Like you're, it's hard to believe that this is even real it's so stunningly amazing. Well, that's for me. That's another place where I'm in my flow state. So identifying these will help you identify your BHAG right. These should be part of the life of that vision of when you achieve your BHAG. Like these things should be in there.
[09:22] Like these times when you're in your flow state, not only should they be there then, but they're also going to help you get. Okay. That's why this step is so important. This first step and identifying your BHAG by identifying the times when you were in your flow state and are in your flow state and your current life or in the past, it's so important because you have to be inspired.
[09:42] Your BHAG has to inspire. If it doesn't, then it's not going to wake you up early in the morning. It's not going to keep you up late at night. It's not going to have the energy and momentum behind it. You're not going to be able to deal with the failures when you have a, an effective BHAG it's inspiring.
[09:58] And when you fail along the way, it doesn't change. What's important to you. It doesn't change. The things that are exciting to you, it just is information and data, and you can still move forward. You can be resilient, you can be consistent in the face of. And for me, you know, shoot, living in, working from Whitefish, Montana was absolutely inspiring.
[10:21] This was part of my BHAG and now I'm developing newbie hags. And for me, you know, it was, this was part of my vision for my life is going to Whitefish, which is super cool town. I should probably be. Edit that out of this podcast episode, because I don't want anybody to know about actually it's already, it's pretty much already discovered now, LeBron James built a house out there.
[10:43] So I think people have already figured this out, but it's such a cool town out in Montana. And I got to spend the last two summers working out there and, you know, I would work four days a week, sometimes less. I would take days off and take time off out there and just go on these amazing excursions with my family.
[11:00] That's inspiring for me, those are all things that vision came from me identifying when I'm in the flow state, when I'm in my zone. Right. And for me, you know, knowing that, guiding people to live their best lives and set and achieve health goals and career goals like that is inspiring to me. So are entrepreneurship and building a business like those things are when I'm in my flow state, they were part of my life getting.
[11:27] And they're part of my life now, as I live this out in, in develop these next level, the hugs for myself. Okay. So the first of three identifying when you were in your zone in your flow state, the second one is this. When I was building this business years ago, right around when I was probably in the first dozen or 15 or 20 episodes, I was working on the podcast one morning early when I still had a full-time job.
[11:50] And I had to work on my podcast in very small. Snippets of my life. And one of them was early in the morning. I would wake up at like 4:30, 5 o'clock and I would work for about an hour and a half on the podcast and other business. Well, one morning, my daughter, who very young then came down the stairs way earlier than she normally would choose, I think three or so at the time.
[12:14] And she comes clunking down the stairs and. I was like, oh no, like this doesn't work for me. Like this isn't good timing for me. Like, I need to be working on a podcast it's supposed to be published. I think it was due to be published that day or the next day it was, had to be published. And I had to finish things up and it was kind of an under, a deadline.
[12:34] And I was just going to plunk her in front of the TV. And go back to work and let her, you know, be entertained by the television or the eye parent as we call it the iPad, you know, you know, just put her, let her watch a show, but I said, wait a second. This isn't part of like my core values. This is not part of who I am and how I want to live my life.
[12:54] And so I didn't turn on the TV instead. I sat down on the floor with her and. We played a game called Zingo. It's like this like little kind of bingo game and say, if you, if you have young kids, you might have the game yourself, but it's like, we, we sat down and we played that and it was so much fun. Like I'm so grateful that that's how I spent my time.
[13:15] I didn't spend my time working on my business. I spent my time living out my core values. Okay. So this is number two. You have to identify and live by your core values. And those core values will help you. Your BHAG now, how do you identify core values? I'm not going to go directly into it in this episode because I went deeply into that in episode 3 24.
[13:37] So three to four. I highly recommend you use that as your sort of go-to episode next after this. So go directly to episode 3 24. The other one I mentioned is 3 0 2, which is where I talk more about the bee hags. Again, you don't have to remember these numbers. We're going to have these in the action plan at JimHarhsawJr.com/ACTION. Quick interruption. If you like what you're hearing here, and you want to learn how you can implement this into your life. Just go to JimHarhsawJr.com/APPLY to see how you can get a free one-on-one coaching session with me. That's JimHarhsawJr.com/APPLY. Now, back to the show. Last example of how my core values helped me shape my bee hags and my vision for my life.
[14:22] Fun or adventure is one of my Corvette. And for me, fun and adventure. That's part of going to Montana in the summer and going on these, these hikes and overnight backpacking trips and all the excursions that we go on out there, like that was part of it, but also running Spartan races. I've competed in a couple of Spartan races since I quit my job several years ago and have run a marathon.
[14:44] These are things that I've wanted to do, but I had to put them off until I got to a certain point, but they were inspiring enough to. Like, because they were part of my core values. They were inspiring for me. This was part of my vision, part of my BHAG, but they came from my core values. I knew what my values were.
[15:02] I knew what my core values were and all of these things, this life, this BHAG aligns with those core values. Right? One of them is like I said, fun or adventure. Another one is fitness and being healthy. So that's number two, identify and use your core values to confidently create and identify that. All right.
[15:23] The third one. when I was working at my last job, which was the Virginia athletic foundation, it was a fantastic job, a fantastic place to work as it, my Alma mater, university of Virginia was a major gifts, fundraiser, raising millions of dollars for our athletics program. One of the top athletic programs in the country, by the way.
[15:41] Consistently top 20, if not top 10 athletic department in the country, in terms of championships one, we just want our 30th national championship or women's swimming and diving team, won another championship this year. And it's just an amazing place to work year round. All these world-class coaches and world-class athletes who come out of there.
[16:01] but I was having a conversation with one of my colleagues, a fellow fundraiser, and they've low and low asked me. Early on maybe six months into the job. He's like he was a fellow former entrepreneur and he said, he asked me if I would ever be an entrepreneur again. And my answer was yes. Yeah. I want to be an entrepreneur again low and I can see myself in business.
[16:22] And, and, and at that point, like it was this seed, this, this sort of speaking into existence, this, this dream that I wanted to have my own company again. And I had a successful company, which I had sold, and I started another company which failed. And I learned so much out of both of those experiences, more out of a failure to be honest than, than a successful one.
[16:43] hence success through failure has been a theme in my life, but I began to dream and I started visually. This, BHAG this big, hairy, audacious goal of doing exactly what I'm doing. Now. I visualize the day and visualize what I'm doing right now, talking to you. And I would, I would visualize this driving to work.
[17:01] Some days I would visualize myself quitting. Like I would visualize myself quitting a great job, to be honest, it was, I was making six figures and, Boston, love the idea. I got to fly on private jets all around the country with the top coaches and national championship coaches, et cetera. But I was so inspired by my vision by this big dream that not only did I enjoy the job that I had, I was so even more excited and inspired about this next level.
[17:33] So here's number three, allow yourself to dream, like take the guardrails off. Yeah. Maybe things are okay right now, but don't settle for. Okay. I take the guardrails off, like dream, allow yourself to envision the next level. It's that? That might be a little scary. I know, I know it's a little scary, but that's, that's how, that's how you get there.
[17:54] Like visionary. Who achieve absurd goals, you know, thinking Elon Musk and Steve jobs, you know, I think, those aren't maybe perfect role models for everybody in terms of parenting and other things. But we do identify them as visionaries. I think that's sort of a, an accepted term to label those guys by, but, you know, they feel fear too, but they move forward anyway, in visualizing having these grand visions, it doesn't guarantee their success.
[18:22] I mean, in fact, if you read Elon Musk's book, I mean, This guy, isn't a massive, massive failures. One of the biggest failures of all time. I mean, the level of failure that this guy has experiences is absolutely unbelievable. How far off the, he was in some of his projections in terms of how long it would take to build Tesla and to build a rocket for space X, like, oh my gosh, his, his timelines were absurdly off.
[18:52] His budgets were absurdly off. The number of failures and setbacks were just unbelievable, but that's, what's required to get there. So having the vision doesn't just mean like, oh, I'm going to be successful and it's going to be easy to get there. No, like you're going to fail along the way. That's part of it.
[19:09] Larry Page, one of the founders of Google said, if you fail at something ambitious, you usually succeed at doing something. Think about that, even if you fail in achieving your BHAG, you're going to succeed at doing something about. One of my client's names, Dr. Isaac Greeley interviewed him actually on the podcast because he's such an incredible person, episode 156.
[19:33] And his story is just, just very relevant to success through failure. But I think you'd really enjoy that, but I want to share a story about, Isaac. he's a chiropractor has multiple offices, but he also is a, an MMA trainer who was a NCAA runner up wrestler. But he he's a trainer. He trains his fighters who have fought in Beltour and the UFC, and one of his guys up and coming guy, Cody law is his name.
[19:57] So if you're in MMA, plant that seed in the back of your head, Cody laws, six and O right now, coming up through a bell tour, crushing people. Well, he knocked a guy out in a minute and 17 seconds of the first round in his last fight. Isaac, Texas. A bunch of us, you know, some of the other clients and myself, and he said, this is what Cody wrote in his journal last night.
[20:17] And he actually posted Cody wrote down one minute, 17 first round knockout. Like this guy visualized it. He visualized, he envisioned it. He planned it and now he could very just as easily. But that's what this guy's doing. And I have, this is one of the reasons why I've no doubt that this guy's, you know, he's, he's going to be on top of the world very soon.
[20:38] Conor, McGregor's another one in MMA. Now. I think he's kind of a jackass. He's done a lot of stupid things over the years, but he, he started out as a poor broke, nobody driving around in a beat up old car that he had to push. And pop clots. If you ever had a, an old car that wouldn't start, you know, I've done that a few times and old cars, but when I was younger and, and he used to do that in his car and he, but he would visualize himself driving around LA in a drop top Bentley.
[21:07] Guess what he's doing now, driving around LA and drop top Bentley. He made it to the top of the world because he visualized himself there. He allowed himself to dream. So that's number three, allow yourself to dream, take the guard rails off the ass. It's going to scare you a. But take the guardrails off.
[21:23] Allow yourself. And I'm going to share something here that I don't share a whole lot in, in my podcast episodes. I'm gonna share a whole lot about my faith, but the way I came to my Christian faith is through subtle hints from people who I respected. I'm not a Bible Thumper, but I do like to share it and plant the seeds with people when and where I can.
[21:42] And so here are a couple of things, whether you're a Christian or not, I think would resonate with you in John 15 seven in the Bible. Jesus says, if you remain in. And my words remain in. You ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. Right? And so there's this level of faith. You can achieve big things.
[22:03] If you have faith, here's another one, Proverbs 23, 7, as he thinks in his heart. So is he, as he thinks in his heart. So is he, I mean, Christian or not? I mean, my goodness, you know, that's true. You know that as you think. Right. Here's another one, mark 1122 have faith in God. Jesus said, truly. I tell you if anyone says to this mountain, go throw yourself into the sea and does not doubt in their heart, but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.
[22:36] Therefore, I tell you whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have already received it and it will be yours. This is a level of faith, right? This goes right along with the beat. All right. So I gave you three clear ways to confidently identify your BHAG. I've got a few more notes I want to share with you, but then I'm going to review these three things real quick.
[23:00] Number one, when in your life were you in your flow state, in your zone? When do those times happen for you? Number two, identify and use those core values. Right? I go deeply into that in episode 324. Number three is to allow yourself to dream, take the guardrails off, take off those limiting beliefs and just allow.
[23:19] To dream, right? Those will help you create your BHAG. Now a couple of footnotes. Don't think this is just going to happen in a day. You have to do the work and then you have to let it set and then come back to it. This might be an evolving document for, for a few months evolving worksheet project.
[23:36] That's okay, because your unconscious mind is working on this while you're sleeping while you're going through your day. as you read different books, as you interact with other people, as you see how other people were living their lives, you go, oh yeah, that's what I want. Or no, that is absolutely what I do not.
[23:52] Right. So this is not something you just sit down and do in an hour, and this is kind of an ongoing project. So get started on it today. And number two, another footnote here is there were some test questions from Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, his book built to last and there are eight of these. I'm going to have all eight of them in the action plan at JimHarhsawJr.com/ACTION. But I'm going to give you a few that are most directly relevant to individuals. Cause this is a business book written about companies. Number one is, do you find this BHAG. This is a test question. Like, do you find it exciting? And I address that already here. And if it's based on your core values, if it's based on when you're in your flow state, if it's based on dreams that you have these wishes, these hopes.
[24:33] It's a BHAG okay. Number two is, does this BEHAG somehow connect to the core purpose, right? That's for our company, but for you, your core values, obviously we address that as well. Another one is, do you believe the organization has less than a 100% chance of achieving this? BEHAG 50 to 70% chances ideal yet at the same time, believe that the organization can achieve it.
[24:54] If you're fully committed, right? Change that organization for yourself. Right? This is not something that should just be easy to do. 50 to 70% chance, but if you're fully committed, you really think you could do it. And two more I'll share with you real quick will achieving the BHAG require a quantum step in the capabilities and characteristics of the organization in this case will be of you.
[25:17] Right. Is it going to require you to jump to your next level then? It's a BHAG last one is in 25 years. Would you be able to tell if you have achieved the BHAG. All right, so there's more here, but I'm not going to read. Some of those islands are not quite as relevant for you, but there'll be in the action plan.
[25:34] These are test questions for you. Now, all of this requires you to stop, right? This doesn't happen in your regular flow of your day and your work to set your behind. You have to actually stop. You have to hit the pause button, right? And I mentioned the productive pause. If you go to my website, JimHarhsawJr.com/PRODUCTIVEPAUSE, actually, /PRODUCTIVE-PAUSE. I have an article about that. And there's a podcast episode embedded in there where you can learn more about the concept of the productive pause. And now you're saying, okay, Jim, I get it now. What now? What this all makes sense? What do I do now?
[26:08] What's my next step. After I'm done with this podcast episode, you could go back to checking emails or scrolling through social media. No, take out. Identify that 10-year vision net three-year vision and then your one-year goals. And then your monthly goals. We call those micro goals. And I talk about micro goals in episode 294, we talked about micro goals, right?
[26:31] Breaking these big, hairy, audacious goals into smaller bites of three years in a row down to one year and down to monthly micro goals, the things that you can put on your to-do list, put on your calendar, set an alarm for on your. Put a post-it note on your desk for, so you make sure to do it today, tomorrow this week, right?
[26:53] Better yet. Stop trying to do this by yourself. If you want to talk about how to do this with a group of amazing people and a coach go to JimHarhsawJr.com/APPLY. Again, JimHarhsawJr.com/APPLY. Don't sit on your hands. Don't waste another minute. You know, there's another level inside of you, you know, you're leaving too much on this.
[27:16] And there's no time left under perform. Take action. Thanks for listening. If you want to apply these principles into your life, let's talk. You can see the limited spaces that are open on my calendar at JimHarhsawJr.com/APPLY where you can sign up for a free one-time coaching call. With me. And don't forget to grab your action plan. Just go to JimHarhsawJr.com/ACTION. And lastly, iTunes tends to suggest podcasts with more ratings and reviews more often. You would totally make my day. If you give me a rating and review those go a long way in helping me grow the podcast audience. Just open up your podcast app. If you have an iPhone, do a search for success through failure, select it, and then scroll the whole way to the bottom, where you can leave the podcast, a rating and a review. Now I hope this isn't just another podcast episode for you. I hope you take action on what you learned here today. Good luck, and thanks for listening.
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