Do you have something monumental you’d like to achieve? A goal that is SO BIG…it would alter your life forever?
That, my friend, is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal or ‘BHAG’ – an idea conceptualized in the book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by James Collins and Jerry Porras.
For you, a BHAG could be: to shift the direction of your career, to spend 3 months trekking South America, purchase your first house, put on a charity event for a cause you’re passionate about, write a book, or start your own business.
Whatever it is, you’ll know it’s a BHAG if it scares you, if it pushes you out of your comfort zone, and if you don’t quite know how it’s all going to come together.
A BHAG is not a New Years Resolution. It’s not a SMART goal. It’s not an “I wanna lose 5 pounds” goal. Achieving a BHAG is very special – it shifts your perspective, builds your confidence, makes a real impact and gets you closer to living your authentic life. It’s worth getting damn excited about!
I bring up BHAGs because Aaron and I recently achieved a HUGE vision of ours – to throw a festival for our wedding.
Yes, a festival. Complete with live DJs, food trucks, jumping castle, lounge areas, silent disco, giant jenga, bonfire, camping, portaloos and a truckload of lights. We called it “Wedfest 2019: The Mythica Dance Kingdom”.
Check out our short aftermovie:
Creating this festival was a HUGE undertaking and involved collaborating with many people. The end result was spectacular – I couldn’t have asked for a more magical, joyful, rewarding and exhilarating day.
Upon reflection, I realised creating this festival taught me many lessons we can all apply to our big life goals, whether for our personal, business or career lives.
In this episode, I share the story of how the festival came together, as well as 7 lessons learned. I hope my story inspires you to perhaps create your own BHAG and to start taking small steps to make it happen! A summary of the lessons is below:
Christina’s lessons on how to achieve your BHAG:
1. Make sure your BHAG is BIG enough.
Your goal must be SO BIG, it scares you. But it also gives you that tingle of excitement, that tells you this must be worthwhile doing. When you set yourself a goal this big, it forces you to start thinking differently, using new ways of thinking to achieve it. Like Marshall Goldsmith said: “What got you here won’t get you there”.
2. Be passionate about your idea, and communicate this passion to others.
Enthusiasm is contagious! Having passion and a strong ‘WHY’ for your idea will not only keep you motivated when times get tough or stressful, but will also help others to buy in to your idea.
3. Understand your strengths and your weaknesses.
Aaron and I had huge plans and ideas for this festival, but…execution is not our strength. We’re very good at ‘big picture’ stuff, but not so much the detail. We learned this very early on, and quickly went about outsourcing the tasks that were difficult for us.
Don’t try to be a hero and be good at everything. It’s just not possible, or enjoyable.
4. Ask for help.
When I was a kid, there was no collaboration; it’s you with a camera bossing your friends around. But as an adult, filmmaking is all about appreciating the talents of the people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself.
– Steven Spielberg
I can’t emphasise this enough. You need to put away your ego or fear of being rejected, and get out there and ask for help. Achieving a goal this big is IMPOSSIBLE to do on your own. If Aaron and I didn’t ask for help, the festival would not have been a festival. It would have been 30 people dancing in a paddock with a bluetooth speaker and a packet of chips.
We asked for help with: graphic design, sign painting, event co-ordination, equipment and supplies pickup, setup and pack down, live DJs, music programming, borrowing fairy lights, costumes and equipment…the list goes on.
Seriously. If you want to achieve your BHAG, ask for help.
5. Stick to your guns
You will encounter people who tell you it can’t be done. Or that it’s too hard. If you feel strongly enough about something, you’ve gotta stick to it.
I have to admit, when Aaron told me he wanted a He-Man / Castle Greyskull-themed bar where drinks were served out of the Castle’s mouth and hip hop music played all night, I told him it was a bit far fetched. “Really, Aaron?” I remember asking him. “Is it really necessary? Surely we’re doing enough already?” But he was determined to make it work. And this is what happened:
6. Let go
This may seem contradictory to ‘stick to your guns’, but it’s about letting go of control. When you enlist help from others, you need to let them do what they do best and avoid micro managing. This is why you asked them for help – because this is the area they are skilled!
When planning something as big as a wedding, it’s very tempting to want to have oversight and final say on EVERYTHING, but I found doing this just got me super stressed. So I had to let go.
I remember sharing my ‘unicorn art car’ idea with Bowie. I gave them a rough sketch of how I wanted my Dad’s John Deere buggy to be decorated. Two days before the wedding, Bowie approached me and said “So I’ve done the unicorn head. Is this ok?” I went and had a look. I was expecting a cardboard cutout. And what I got was the most scarily-realistic looking giant unicorn head I’ve ever seen. It was the work of a genius.
7. Have fun
Even though the best thing about my life right now is NOT having to plan a wedding, I am glad to say the entire planning process was very enjoyable. Connecting with people, sharing ideas, getting creative, working together, and seeing other people’s excitement for the idea was such a rewarding experience.
Working towards BHAG isn’t quick. It can often take years. So why not enjoy the process too? If you’re stressed and miserable, it can lead to burn out, giving up or just becoming a real shitty person to work with. And that’s not what I want for you 😉
So those are some of the lessons learned from the life-changing event that was our wedding. I certainly learned a lot about myself – especially knowing that I CAN achieve something monumental if I put my mind to it. And that in itself is incredibly empowering.
I would love to hear from you: What is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal you have? Or what is your advice for achieving a BHAG? Comment below 🙂