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Setting Big Hairy Audacious Goals and Why You Should Do this Now

My sister Mychele isn't afraid to set BHAGS. Here she is crossing the finish line for the 2013 Disney Marathon with her friend Tina. This was her first marathon!

My sister Mychele isn’t afraid to set BHAGS. Here she is crossing the finish line for the 2013 Disney Marathon with her friend Tina. This was her first marathon!

Recently, my very talented sister, Mychele, started a blog. Her goal is to work out her own business offerings and discover her own place in the world. She’s a multi-talented entrepreneur and one of the most creative people I know, but sometimes that makes focusing a challenge. Lately, she has spent a lot of time zeroing in on her goals and I am so proud of her for taking this big step. Starting a blog is something I often advise people to do when sorting out their passions, their dreams or perhaps their future business. But starting a blog is only the beginning. Blogging makes you vulnerable by urging you to reflect and share your goals with the public. It adds a level of pressure to overcome obstacles and meet those goals, which is both scary and challenging. Even once you are an experienced blogger, it can be challenging to tell the whole truth about your goals. Remember, there is power in setting big hairy audacious goals (BHAG) and sharing them.

I am fortunate to know a few BHAG setters and have watched as they set their goals and work to achieve them. The power of this type of goal setting is phenomenal. I have learned a lot from this process and in this post I will share a few key things with you and share my own BHAG. That’s right, I am becoming a BHAG setter too! I am still working up to sharing, so you will have to read to the end to find out my own BHAG. Now, onto that advice:

Setting big goals: How to start

My sister decided to tie a BHAG goal into her blogging by committing to an immediate 30 day, 30 post challenge. Wowza! is all I can say to that. As a 5 year veteran to blogging and a social media coach and trainer, I can testify to the difficulty of blogging. New bloggers are often surprised at how much work it is. 30 posts in 30 days right out of the gate is a bit insane, but why not? When you set your BHAG, be sure that you are realistic yet stretch yourself beyond what is comfortable. I recommend coming up with a contingency plan in case you get derailed. With BHAGs, you may fall off the proverbial wagon more than once, and you need to be ready to get back on it.

Sharing your big goals: This makes it real

Mychele created this goal, but it wasn’t solidified until she shared it. On a phone call, she mentioned “I set this goal but I’ve been sick all weekend. I think I will miss today and have to just write something tomorrow and tell my readers what happened.” I asked whether her readers knew of the challenge, considering I am one of her readers and I hadn’t heard about it. Mychele said that she hadn’t formally announced it on her blog, so I suggested that she write a quick post focused on her goal. I encouraged her to explain her goal, including which day of the challenge she was on and that this post was dedicated to sharing her goals. I also recommended that she explain that it was a challenge to write that day due to illness, but that she understood it was important to keep going. Mychele wrote a short, powerful post that summarized her goals beautifully. Now that her readers were clued in on the challenge, it helped make the goal real for Mychele. Once she realized that even a short post was meaningful, she was not derailed from her goal because she didn’t have to write a novel for each post. Lesson: Share your big hairy audacious goals! The more you share them, the more real they become and the easier it is to accomplish them.

Sticking to a big goal: Failure is not an option?

We all face the same conundrum: If we set a big goal and publicize it, what happens if we don’t reach it? In Mychele’s case, she decided “Oh well, I will write a post tomorrow explaining my challenge with being sick and that I am still at it even though I missed a day.” Great attitude, but I pressed her not to wait. We all fall down and we can’t always avoid failure, but sometimes we can help it. In this scenario, Mychele was able to write that post and get it published, even with two small kids, a husband and the stomach flu. By staying on track in the beginning, it propelled her to continue during challenges. When you do fail, it is important to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward. Failure is only an option if you decide to take a new direction or you allow one fall to completely bring you down. You control your own actions and responses. I say, don’t allow a temporary setback to rule your dreams and goals. And remember without failure there would be no success.

Sharing your successes and your failures along the way

Mychele’s BHAG is time-based and relatively short. When you reach a success, share it! Don’t hesitate to tell others what you have accomplished.  Share updates during the entire time you work to reach your goal, including both successes and failures.

Too often, we hide our failures because we are ashamed. But where does that get us? If we don’t share failures, we don’t have anyone to talk to and we don’t help others from making similar mistakes. The only time we truly fail is when we don’t learn from an experience. Failures are often the last steps before reaching our idea of success. Some goals are much bigger and they require a longer lead time and more tenacity to achieve them. I have a BHAG to build a great online social media course that will come to fruition in the next year or so. It’s a fairly long way out and there are a lot of things I have to do to get there. Given that it’s still in the early stages of growth, I have not publicized it a lot. But I’m taking my own advice and I am sharing it with you! My daughter, Abby, has a multiple-years-long goal. She wants to be the first astronaut to Mars, and she is sharing her journey online at Astronaut Abby Tedx Tampa Bay

Cultivating constant support

The thing is, big, hairy and audacious long-term goals that are years out still need support everyday. An individual is only as powerful as their support network. The bigger the goal, the more support you will need. Even though Abby’s goal is years out, she shares her daily journey on social channels, which includes everything from schooling, exercise, events she attends and her world wide outreach program. She has an online audience of over 130,000 people cheering her on and coming along for the journey. Now that’s powerful! Watch her TEDx talk that she gave last year and learn more about her BHAG and how she has brought the world into her dream and helps inspire other people to do this as well.

We all need to talk about our dreams and seek support to get there.

Join me now and share your big hairy audacious goals below in the comments.

Let’s come together to build a safe place to talk about dreams and support one another! To stay in the loop on Nicole’s big, hairy, audacious goals as well as join our discussion as we continue to talk about making your goals a reality – sign up for The SocialKnow! Photo Credit

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