Looking Beyond 2012 – Making Big Hairy Audacious Goals

Big  Hairy Audacious GoalsGoal setting is a way of life for me. I am a firm believer in not only planning ahead, but also in writing it down so it is real and actionable.  I recently had a conversation with a colleague about setting goals for the New Year, and he responded, “I don’t write down goals, they are in my head.” Does this sound like you? I can’t tell you how many people I talk to that have this approach – keep it in my head and it will happen. Setting and writing goals needs to become a habit; but most people never form this habit and limit their success.  Change takes a willingness to embrace the unknown in exchange for attaining a higher level of success. So change your habits and write down those goals.

For 2012, I am not only writing this year’s goals, I am also thinking about my BHAGs – Big Hairy Audacious Goals! These are the long term goals that I strive for – and usually write them down every few years.

I first starting writing BHAGs in the early 1990s. But what is more telling is how they’ve shaped my life and career and what’s happened because of them. My story of how I started my business is because of a BHAG. And there are other BHAGs in my past as well that have come to reality.

In July 2002, I was unpacking some boxes. I had just moved into my new condo on the beach and was settling in. As I cleaned out another box. I found a legal sized yellow sheet of paper with my goals listed on it from 1994. In addition to my yearly goals, I had three BHAGs listed – 1. To own a home on the beach, 2. To get my Master’s degree, and 3. To have my own business.

Fast forward, and here I am with my own home with an oceanview. So, in 2002, I had accomplished one of my BHAGs. Finding this list inspired me to put the other two BHAGs back on my list. In 2005, I received my MA from Monmouth University in Corporate and Public Communication.  In 2008, I started my business. Recession or not, it was time.

The recession has kept many of us from thinking BIG. It’s hard to get beyond today, this month, or even year when confidence is low and fear is high. But, I believe because of this, it’s even more of a reason to write BHAGs. These are long term 3, 5 or 10 year goals, but you must have the vision first so you can move in that direction.

Prepare, plan and take action for 2012 – and add a couple BHAGs to your list. One of mine is to travel cross country by car. What are some of your BHAGs? Please feel free to share and comment.

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  1. Lisa: Love the article about the BHAG’s! It got me thinking about my divorce mediation clients who are in the middle of quite possibly the worst time of their life and can’t see 3 feet in front of them let alone into the future. When I ask them to think about what their life will be like in the months after they are divorced they can’t seem to quite grasp it yet for some reason if I ask them where they want to be 3-5 years from now, they always have an answer. I think a real benefit of setting BHAG’s is that they are so large, they seem attainable because you don’t have to do them right now. By giving ourselves time to consider them, plan for them and achieve them, oddly enough the big things actually seem easier!

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