Every fall, the organization I work for holds a region-wide professional development day. With roots in Silicon Valley and tech start-ups, my charter school group is forward thinking, technology-driven, and business minded. Last year’s theme was the importance of reframing failure as a welcomed opportunity for improvement.
This year, the theme was BHAGs, Big Hairy Audacious Goals. The idea, you have to dream bigger than you can imagine in order to succeed beyond your wildest dreams. You have to think decades, not just years. Then, you have to create an actionable plan to bring these goals to fruition. The more seemingly outlandish, the better.
While I applaud my charter organization for having BHAGs, I decided I needed to also have my own big hairy audacious goals. Usually, I think just one year at a time, maybe five at the most, stretching for what is within reach. Instead, this evening, I pushed myself to imagine the kind of over-the-top success I usually only let linger in my brain for a few minutes before settling on smaller, more seemingly attainable goals.
So, here you go. My BHAGs.
1. Be an internationally published author with readers around the world. I am currently living vicariously through Eowyn Ivey, author of the Snow Child, on her trip around the world to market her book and visit her foreign publishers. To achieve this BHAG, I need to write, write, write, and write some more.
2. At first I wanted to have a blog following of 1,000, but that seemed minuscule in the shadow of a big hairy audacious goal. Instead, I want to establish a following of 10,000. Why not? The more readers of my blog, the more potential readers of my books, and the more likely I can sustain myself as a writer. 10,000 definitely feels big and hairy. Again, I need to write, write, write, and put myself out there.
3. Live or have a vacation property overlooking the ocean. It’s easy to say you want wealth or any number of things that come with it, but I think specificity is important to achieving goals. I want to wake up to the ocean, write with the sound of the waves, do yoga on the beach until I’m a little old lady who can’t do yoga anymore, (aka dead). Again, sounds like I need to write, write, write, because teaching certainly isn’t going to buy that dream.
As writers, I think we’re often discouraged from dreaming big because most of us will never get there. However, as long as your happiness doesn’t depend solely on whether or not you achieve your goals, I disagree with all the disillusioned souls who say it’s too hard, too unlikely. As long as someone out there is doing it, it’s possible. Might as well be me, or you, or better yet, both of us.
Reminds me of my beloved Marianne Williamson quote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
So shine on and be free with me.
I’m sorry I’m stealing BHAG #3.
I figured as much. 🙂
Sometimes I think my need to live on the coast of Oregon is going to cause my head to explode. I so desperately want to live in a place where I have a view of the ocean … the Oregon kind of ocean, not the SoCal kind of ocean. I don’t care if my home is nothing more than four walls and a barbecue pit. I want that daily experience of the ocean, watching the waves, smelling the air, feeling the wind.
Yes, I definitely hear you. I feel like I write better by the ocean, too. 🙂
I have yet to have the opportunity to write by the ocean. Although I frequently feel it in my head while I’m writing … sounds weird, but …
On a totally different subject, don’t know if you know about Sacramento Bloggers yet, but if you don’t check out sacramentobloggers.com.
Nope, thanks for sharing! I’ll check it out now!
So stealing the Marianne Williamson quote. Makes me realize I’ve strayed off my path and have been playing very small. No, it does not serve me or the world. That’s going to change – thanks for the reminder!
Happy it resonated! I love sharing that one… Been guilty of including it in previous blog posts at the risk of becoming repetitive 😉
Re #2 – here’s a tip – The quickest way to get a readership of up to a million readers everyday is to place an ad selling a second hand Volvo in the classified section of the San Jose Mercury!
Not sure that will buy me a house on the beach… 😉
Depends how much you get for the Volvo. 🙂
So what is the next project? You’ve got to write, write, write, right?
You’re dreams are lovely, and in no way hairy. 😉 Now all you have to do is make them come true. If only it were that easy…
I have a couple ideas in the works, need to get this one completely out the door first. Very excited to start something new, I feel like whatever it is will automatically be better with the experience gained through this first one. And, yes, the making it come true is the hairy part 😉
I love this! I hope you achieve all of your BHAGs – it’ll certainly take a lot of work but you certainly deserve the success and happiness!
Thanks Melinda. Would love to hear your BHAGs sometime. You’ve always inspired me to dream big. In fact, you were the first person I knew in real life that worked on a book, inspiration at its finest 🙂 (PS. Start that blog!!!)