Achieving BHAGs, Big Hairy Audacious Goals



BHAGs

We all want to be successful and happy in our lives, both personally and professionally. We all have dreams that we run after daily. Hopes are high and we believe we can achieve these big dreams despite the busy schedules we all have. Unfortunately, most of us are distracted by many shallow tasks through out the days and weeks and before we realize it, months and years have already gone while we haven’t made good enough progress towards our dreams and goals.

There are many reasons to this. Few of the key and often heard reasons are

  1. I don’t have time

  2. I’ll do it tomorrow

  3. I’m really busy

How do we come out of this and achieve our goals?

Even though most of us say and think we have dreams, most often these are very vague. It’s a thought which passes by always but we never really thought about it to build clarity. This is where we would want to start. By discovering and solidifying our goals with CLARITY!


Here is how one could build and solidify a goal which is achievable.

Start by thinking and visualizing what exactly you want to achieve in 3 years. Answering the following questions can be helpful in doing this.

  1. What do I need to become and achieve in 3 years? (this can be 5yrs, 10yrs, even 50yrs)

  2. What tangible outcomes will I have when I achieve my goals?

  3. What milestones do I need to achieve in orders to ensure I fulfill my goals?

  4. Who is going to help me to achieve my goals? Who are the key stakeholders? Unique Collaborations

  5. What bottlenecks prevent me from achieving my goals? How am I going to overcome the bottlenecks?

Once you have answered these questions, the answers themselves form the BHAG. Review this during the morning routine discussed below to fine tune. You will just know when you have arrived at the final BHAG as it’s a discovery process.


Unique Collaborations

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together ~ African Proverb

Achieving some of the goals is easy when you work alone. Specially when the goals are short term. But achieving BHAGs cannot be done alone. It needs collaboration. To be very specific, it needs Unique Collaborations.

These unique collaborations can be made with various types of individuals and/or organizations who wants the best of you. People who wants to be successful together.


Finding these collaborations can be tricky but to start, following can be useful.

  1. Find a mentor to whom you are responsible and accountable to achieve YOUR goals.

  2. Subject matter experts who can add value to your goals while you can add value to theirs.

  3. Build followers to whom you openly and publicly commit to achieve your goals. Then it becomes a forcing function where you must achieve your goals in orders to fulfill your promise to your followers. Followers can be your family members, your friends, your collogues or even a large community like FB followers.

These UniqueCollaborations must be built to achieve win-win situations. How each party wins will depend on what each party wants to achieve and how they want to achieve it.


Executing Milestones

Once you have set your goal in to the future, it’s then needed to know what milestones you need to achieve in order to fulfill your BHAG. Break the time line in to smaller pieces which are long enough to tackle uncertainties and short enough to build up the urgency within yourself.

If you have set a 3 year BHAG, then defining the following milestones would make it much clearer for you to understand what needs to be done to achieve your BHAG.

  • 3 year BHAG — you already know this

  • 2 year milestone

  • 1 year milestone

  • 9 months milestone

  • 6 months milestone

  • 3 months milestone

  • 2 months milestone

  • 1 month milestone

  • 1 week milestone

  • Tomorrow

  • Today

This is a lot of information to keep in your mind. Chances are that you will forget most of it and won’t even have time to reflect them. It’s best to put them on paper. Store it somewhere you can refer to and adjust when necessary easily.

Using something like Notion, Apple notes or even Google sheets will make your easy.


EXECUTION

Regardless of how big and exciting your goals are, if you don’t do what matters to achieve them, you are not going to achieve your goals. If you do not work and get things done with fanatic discipline, then you are setting your self to failure. You will of course achieve something just like any other ordinary individual, but it’s not gonna be where exactly you wanted to be at the beginning.


How do we make sure that we do what matters the most to achieve our BHAGs?


Daily Morning Routine

The mornings are the best to get the most important tasks done. Its the best time to create value, to be creative and solve problems.


Waking up at 6am or before will change your life in ways you never imagined. Let’s do some math. If you wake up at 6am and “deep work” till 10am, then you have worked 4 hours. This is equivalent to half of a work day. By the time others are just starting to work, you have already worked for half day. Then you have the full day again go and do whatever it takes to achieve your goals.


Another very strong activity to do is to visualize and write down your big picture goals. Every day! In the Morning! Living in that moment when you have achieved your BHAG mentally can boost the motivation levels significantly. Be the future self you want to be NOW and act as if you are already there. Imagine coming to this mentally strong and exciting state before you work. You got all the motivation in the world to move mountains. By 6am!


Morning is the time where you need to create value. Do the work which add value to your BHAG the most. Become a “Deep Worker”. Don’t even touch your phone for few hours. have 60 to 90 minutes blocks which are dedicated to get the most important work of your day.


You can’t actually do this if you didn’t have a great and calm evening the day before. Where you reflect and plan for the next day. If you don’t plan for the next day morning, you will spend the most valuable morning hours struggling to decide what to do.

Design Trumps Willpower ~ B J Fogg, Stanford Psychologist

Design your evenings to enable you to design your mornings. In return you will be achieving 3X or even 10X more than what you could ever imagine. Imagine two instances. In first, you wake up and spend so much time thinking what to do. By the time you decide what to do, it’s already few hours in to the day and all the distractions such as calls, emails, SMS, FB alerts start coming in. It’s gonna be full of distractions and you have not achieved anything yet.


In the second, you already know what to do the moment you wake up. You straight away get to work to create value. By the time you start to get distracted, the most important work is done. You are already ahead of everyone else, moving fast towards you goal.


Design the evenings to better design morning. Design the day to design your life the way you want it to be.


Daily Evening Routine

Having a peaceful and calm evening is critical to be successful in your life. It’s time where your brain is most active logically. It’s the best time to reflect and plan things than actually creating things.

  1. Think about what you did today. Write how your day went on. Think about how tomorrow can be improved.

  2. Answer the following questions;

  3. What did I complete today?

  4. What bottlenecks did I encounter today?

  5. What am I gonna do to overcome and resolve the bottlenecks?

  6. Who can help me resolve bottlenecks?

  7. What am I gonna complete tomorrow?

based on your answers to above, define your next steps. It can be adjustments to tomorrow’s plan or the week’s plan. It can even be a change to your 1 year milestone. Whatever it is, store it!


Finally make sure you go to bed early. take at least 6hrs of sleep everyday. Stop using screens at least 30mins before you go to bed. Drink a glass or two of water before bed. Maintain a book/Journal where you keep all these records so that you can reflect how you thought in the past and improve how you will think in the future.


Weekly Review and Planning

At the end of the week you would want to review how the week went by. Answering the following questions will trigger your brain and mind to be a better person and make better decisions compared to last week.

  1. Did I achieve my week goals? If yes, pat your self. If not, adjust your next week goals.

  2. What am I gonna achieve next week? Who can help me achieve my next week goals?

  3. What are the current bottlenecks which prevent me from achieving my weekly goals? Make sure you identify distractions which have become bottlenecks and avoid them, extensive usage of social media for an example.

  4. What am I going to do about the bottlenecks? Who can help me overcome my bottlenecks?

  5. Finally think about whether you are in alignment with your BHAG. Did the last week contributed to achieve your BHAG?

When answering these questions be BRUTALLY HONEST. Otherwise you are cheating your self and ultimately will fail in achieving your BHAG.

To make sure you successfully have a productive weekly planning session, book the time in the calendar in advance. Having a repeating event would just do. But make sure this is TOP PRIORITY. Never compromise this for anything else. It doesn’t matter where you are, whom you are with or what you are doing, DON’T SKIP IT.


Monthly Review and Planning

Just like a weekly review and planning, it’s important to reflect and review the month as well. Adjusting next months goals based on last months achievement is key to keep the direction right. The same questions you answer in the weekly planning can be answered in a monthly context. Instead of next week, now you are thinking about next 90 days.


In addition, this is the place where you look at next 90 days and its goals to be achieved. Answer the same set of questions you ask your self during weekly review planning. Instead of next week, now you are thinking about next 90 days.


9Mile Sprint

My father used to be a soldier during the most critical fights in Sri Lanka against the terrorism. When he come home for the holidays he would always tell me the stories of how his life had been. I remember few stories out of which “9 miles run” is the most memorable due to its practicality and relevance even in our own lives.


In SL army, during the training period, the soldiers are made to run 9 miles every day. A military truck will be moving in front of them at a constant speed and all soldiers run behind it at a constant speed, AS A TEAM. No one can or will run slower than the truck (minimum accepted performance level) and no one can or will run faster than the truck (maximum allowed performance level). In a 9 miles run both minimum and maximum performance levels are the same BY DESIGN. It’s designed to fulfill a purpose. “No one is left behind, no one is sacrificed”.

This is a well designed performance mechanism which we also in our lives can adapt to achieve our goals.


Instead of a run, let’s call it a sprint. Sprints are much more energetic in real life and can be tracked and monitored for performance improvements faster. To achieve our goals let’s do 9Mile sprints.


9 Mile Sprint is a performance mechanism which is rigorously followed to achieve goals within a certain period of time with fanatic discipline.

It has a minimum acceptable level of achievement to ensure we don’t lose momentum and a maximum level or results we would push for to ensure we don’t get exhausted.


The time period has to be long enough to tackle unexpected problems and short enough to have teeth (urgency to get things done)

How to set up a 9Mile Sprint in our own life.

  1. Define the duration — this is called the sprint. A sprint can be a week or two. having longer sprints will cause distractions and shorter sprints will burn you out. Recommended sprint duration is 1 week. But you can adjust over the time if it needs to be changed.

  2. Agree on what results should be achieved within the sprint. Don’t be complacent and too ambitious in agreeing the expected results.

  3. Define who is responsible to achieve each result if you are working in and with a team. If it’s your own sprint, you are the only one accountable to achieve the results.

  4. Have daily stand ups to discuss if you are working with a team. If it’s your own sprint, Evening routine is the time where you do this. Start by asking the questions such as;

  5. what was completed today?

  6. what is going to be completed tomorrow and who can help?

  7. what are the bottlenecks?

  8. what you are going to do about bottlenecks?

  9. who can help you overcome bottlenecks (UniqueCollaborations)

Conclusion

We all need to be very clear on what we want to become and what BHAG we want to achieve. To achieve a BHAG, you need to know your milestones and unique collaborations. Having a consistent morning routine will keep the motivation levels up and enable you to create the most valuable work of your life. Evening routines helps you review what you did, what needs to be done and how to resolve bottlenecks. Most important thing is sprinting with fanatic discipline without excuses. Have that 9Mile Sprint! Everyday!

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