4 Steps to Achieving Your BHAG - Big Hairy Audacious Goal!

4 Steps to Achieving Your BHAG - Big Hairy Audacious Goal!

Swati Agarwal 18/04/2018 7

They say, "failures can be forgiven, but aiming low is a crime to do". So we must aim for the moon if we want to go really high in the sky. This sounds great though, but what does it really mean to us?

I remember my brother introduced me to this quote when I was a child. And ever since this quote has inspired me, and hence I learned to love aiming big, really BIG. However, I also feel that most times I set my goals too high or unrealistic that I never achieve them, and get really disappointed somewhere in the path, losing everything achieved during the journey.

So I have been wondering how to address this? And after years of putting efforts in hundreds of things I have attempted, but not finished, I recently realized that the happiness should not be tied to only in achieving the Goal, but also in pursuing that Goal, that B H A G - Big Hairy Audacious Goal. So I figured out that the journey should matter as much as the destination if I really want to live life to the fullest and not just run after some BHAG.

So I am trying a different approach now, and I have broken it into four simple steps:

Step 1 - Take decent amount of time to assess your current situation, and then set your BHAG.

Step 2 - Define a series of Sub-Goals for that BHAG.

Step 3 - Track your Sub-Goals. And make corrective changes wherever required.

Step 4 - Celebrate EVERY Sub-Goal you achieve. And get super charged for the next Sub-Goal.

Step 4 is really important. I have experienced that if I don't treat myself well for the small milestones I achieve, I start feeling exhausted and desperate. I lose focus, and eventually put it aside and move on.

Step 3 is crucial. It helps you stay relevant and reconcile the whole process. We need to know during the journey itself if we are on the right path or not, or if we need to make any changes in our approach. Most important is to assess the BHAG every once in a while to see whether it is worth pursuing anymore or not.

We should not blindly follow a BHAG, just because we set it or because friends/ family told to pursue so. Sometimes goals become irrelevant, especially in an era in which things are changing every second. For example, if you are a student of graduation course today, and set yourself a goal to crack the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) paper, you don't really know if the process will be same, or if you would really be interested an year down the line. So assessing the goal in the current context is really important.

Step 2 is an art in itself. If you skip this part, as I said earlier, the chances are very high that you would feel distracted and lost in the journey. So we should give this step significant time and thought. The sub-goals can be different in nature than the BHAG. For instance, if my BHAG is to visit a new country this year, the sub-goal could be linked to savings (financials).

I don't really need to talk about Step 1, but setting right BHAG is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the whole journey. We all have goals in life - they change with age and time. As a child, my goals mostly revolved around my marks and rank, but I didn't make that mistake when I became a teacher. Thanks to Teach For India training which I received throughout the 2 years of the fellowship. I learnt that goals should be linked to personal development and self-satisfaction. We should set goals based on our own strengths and areas of development.

We should also seek a mentor who could really nurture this part of our journey, setting BHAGs well; And of course, on the further steps too whenever needed.

Now how does this look in practical?

Well, I feel privileged to share my small sub-goal that I am achieving today.

Picture: Credits to Image Studio.

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  • Himanshu Agarwal

    Nice systematic way of pursuing your goals.It sounds really sensible but too practical to follow,I believe.
    The fun part while reading this piece was that I kept reading "girl" for goal and kept assuming what would that phrase mean :)

  • Swati

    In reply to: Himanshu Agarwal

    Haha. That would be funny.. you gave me an idea to write next piece. Thanks!!!

  • Himanshu Agarwal


  • Kumar Mohit

    Insightful !!!

  • Oliver White

    This is inspiring

  • Carl Simson

    One day I will achieve my goals but I am too lazy.........

  • Peter Nilson

    I admire your mindset.......

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Swati Agarwal

Social Development Expert

Swati is the General Manager of Social Venture Partners (SVP) Hyderaad, where she builds powerful partnerships with non-profit organisations to tackle India's most pressing social challenges. SVP is the world's largest network of engaged philanthropists, with over 3,200+ investor-donors across more than 40 cities worldwide. Swati is a Teach For India Fellow - she has taught 100 girls for two years in a slum community in New Delhi. She has previously worked with Hedge Funds for four years as a consultant in New Delhi and New York. Swati holds a bachelor degree in Computer Science from the Institute of Engineering and Rural Technology.

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