Sunday 25 February 2018

Dr Eddie Murphy: Your big hairy audacious goal

Dr Eddie Murphy: Photo: Kip Carroll
Dr Eddie Murphy: Photo: Kip Carroll

Business and some political leaders like their 'BHAG' - Big Hairy Audacious Goal. The phrase was originally coined by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.

Essentially it involves setting a clear, definable target and going for it. It needs to be a stretch to take you out of your comfort zone. They are in effect long-term goals.

For me, this notion of BHAG is not just the preserve of big business or government. We all need a Big Hairy Audacious Goal in our life. This goal can achieved by consistently working outside of a comfort zone and displaying commitment and confidence.

Out of reach but not out of sight

I like this notion when it comes to identifying your BHAG. True vision is a balance between these two ideas. If you cannot picture or imagine achieving your vision, no matter how hard you try, it is likely that it's 'out of sight' or that it doesn't fit your passions, purpose, values and beliefs.

On the other hand, a vision that is easily achieved and can simply be grasped tomorrow, within the next month, or next year, is not really a vision. Your vision needs to be a future-oriented goal that is exciting, inspiring, motivating and challenges you to achieve more. I think your BHAG needs to be rooted in your core values or your core purpose as a person. This takes you to the heart of the matter.

Examples may include:

• Having a positive relationship with your children for life

• To live by the sea or in a particular location

• To be debt-free

• Educational goals - degree, masters, doctorate

• Seeing your grandchildren born

• Learn a new language and live in that country

• Starting a charity that accords your core values

Now think of a big hairy audacious goal that you might want to pursue now or later, and write it here:


Then use these questions to figure out whether your BHAG is worth it:

1. How important is the goal to you?

2. Does this goal fit with your passions?

3. How beneficial would its substantial achievement be to your self, family, friends, and society?

4. How likely are you to achieve the goal?

5. If you fail, how big a price would you pay? What's the worst outcome that realistically could occur, and is there a way to reduce the risk while still allowing for the benefits?

Your next challenge is to list out five milestones for your goal. These might be five steps you need to take in order to reach your goal.

Building your big hairy audacious goal on your strengths is a great starting point to personal growth. Your strengths are a mixture of your talents, skills and knowledge. We all have resilience and personal resources. Achievers spend most of their time using their strengths. They focus on developing strengths and managing weaknesses.

Irish Independent

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