When it comes to getting excited about your future, you need to have big goals.
Many people will have a list of goals and, as we talked about last week, that is a great place to start. However, if your goals are always small and easily achievable, they aren’t going to lead towards anything in particular and, after a while, you may end up losing momentum.
In this article, I’m going to outline the importance of being more ambitious, aiming higher and setting bigger, more audacious goals in life.
What are BHAGs?
Ever since I have been setting and achieving goals, I have always started with some small, realistic goals, followed by one or two large, seemingly impossible ones.
I have run the London Marathon.
I own a Harley Davidson 1200 Custom Sportster.
I earn £100,000.
For a long time, I left these big goals (written down as though I had already achieved them) alone and didn’t think much of them. However, in recent years I have come to see that these bigger goals were fundamental to achieving what I wanted in life.
In his excellent book Built to Last, Jim Collins talks about the importance of setting BHAGs or big, hairy, audacious goals in business. He states that a BHAG is a clear and compelling target for an organisation to strive for, creating momentum and stimulating progress.
Although BHAGs were initially coined for organisations, we can also benefit greatly by applying them to our personal and professional lives. These big, sometimes crazy sounding goals can keep you on track and focused on the bigger picture whilst working your way through all those smaller goals you have set.
BHAGs vs SMART goals
I like to think of BHAGs as the opposite to the SMART goals acronym that we hear so much about these days.
When you first set a BHAG, it may not look measurable, achievable or realistic in the slightest, and that’s ok. These goals go beyond what you think is possible or normal and, in many ways, are your biggest dreams written out on a whiteboard or a piece of paper.
What’s the point in setting BHAGs?
No matter our level of success, we all need something to strive for in life. Setting out smaller goals and achieving them is all well and good, but each one needs to take us one little step closer to achieving something incredible otherwise we start to lose focus on why we are doing what we do.
Even though I have sold my business for a handsome sum and am in a fairly comfortable position now, I still need to have some big, overarching goals to aim towards because without those I have nothing driving me forwards.
My personal BHAGs
Good examples of what BHAGs might look like are some of my own.
I want to help at least 100 people into a “work optional” lifestyle 5–10 years before they think it’s possible.
Alongside that, I want to help at least 2,000 people start their journeys on the path to this work optional lifestyle too.
And finally, I want to positively impact at least 20,000 businesses in the financial advice, insurance, and mortgage broking business.
Those are my current BHAGs, and if I didn’t have them moving me forwards, I’d be bored to tears!
How to set your BHAGs
Before you can set these big, hairy, audacious goals, you first have to believe in the power of goal setting.
This means you need to take a step back and start out with some smaller, more realistic goals to get you into the right frame of mind to receive the bigger goals to come.
If you jump straight into a big, wild goal without setting up your mindset first, your brain is going to say something like, “Hold on, loser, what are you on about??” and will crush that dream before you even get started!
Start with baby steps
The key to setting BHAGs is to do it in baby steps so that you get used to achieving goals and jumping over hurdles gradually. In many ways, it’s like training a muscle. Nobody in their right mind would start their first session at the gym lifting the 50kg weights or start their first run with a 42km marathon, right?
Just like you need time to develop those muscles and gradually build up to the heavier weights, you need to keep developing your self-belief to move on to the big, scary goals.
Developing your self-belief
The thing is that so many of us are barely scratching the surface of what we are capable of, and most of the time, what’s holding us back is our lack of self-belief.
However, the beautiful thing about all of this is that once you have built up that self-belief and finally reached that BHAG you set yourself, there’s going to be a newer, bigger goal in the distance to aim for, and now you have done it once, it gets a whole lot easier.
It took me about 10–12 years to get to the level of client money I wanted to manage, that was my first BHAG. Now, within the next 18 months, I expect to double that number that took me over a decade to reach!
The exciting thing here is that once you have developed that muscle of self-belief, you never know where it’s going to take you!
So, when it comes to setting BHAGs, think about what it is you want, and work backwards from there. There’s always going to be that first step, but remember that this is just one small part of a massive thing you are trying to do.
Just get started! It might be scary, but as Jim Rohn says, “Action cures fear.”
Let’s take action!
If you’re keen to learn more about goal setting, seizing on opportunities or just getting the most out of life, I’d love to hear from you.