James Collins and Jerry Porras, in their 1994 book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, introduced us to the phrase Big Hairy Audacious Goal, or BHAG for short. The BHAG was the HUGE vision that a company followed, in some cases to extreme successes. The book is written comparing two companies in the industry, one with a BHAG and one without. Having the BHAG, meant that the company had a focus, all of management were generally groomed from within (development of a corporate culture) and all decisions made had to be in alignment with the BHAG or was discarded. One of the clear points is not to go after everything and it is OK to say no. As Steve Jobs put it, “I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.” Great, that is a good corporate philosophy, but I am just Wayne, and while I understand this in terms of a business, does this thinking apply to me?
Simon Sinek, in his book Start with Why, he clearly makes the point that “People do not buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” This is a philosophy, or belief system, can apply to businesses, people and ideas. Understanding one’s WHY can lead to a personal BHAG. When I was involved in network marketing, they taught that your WHY should be so big it makes you cry, it should be what motivates you to achieve the success we all dream about. As Darren Hardy puts it, this should be what gets us out of bed in the morning. I believe that there are events in our lives that help us to find out WHY / BHAG. The WHY is never about me, but about a broader service to other people.
I know that I am a man of many hats – work, volunteering, family, writing, music, etc. I am not alone in being involved in multiple things. I have recently realized a coalescing in my universe, an overriding feeling that there is a thread that joins my different activities together and a larger picture that I wish to move towards. While I attempt to put my finger more firmly on the definition of this, I believe that my next WHY and a BHAG are standing just around the corner of the building – close enough to feel its presence, but I still need that step or two to see it. Maybe, just maybe, I really only wear one hat, it just seems to come in different shades depending on the circumstances.