Big Fat Hairy Audacious Goals

Has anyone ever taught you about goal setting? 

It is my experience that most people make two critical errors when goal setting.  For short term goals people often set goals that are unrealistic.  For long term goals they make the opposite error by setting goals that are too realistic.

Let’s talk about short term goals first.
Perhaps you have already heard about SMART goal setting.  SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound.  It’s a start.

Now let’s add realistic.  If you do not have pull ups or ring dips yet then framing your goal as “Getting my first muscle up by 2022” is premature.  First target a more realistic step such as working toward your first pull ups. 

Now you have a realistic goal you can work toward but to be effective your goal must be process rather than outcome-oriented.  So rather than saying “My goal is to get my first pull up by June,” you would say, “My goal is to practice pull up strengthening drills three times per week starting this week.”  You do not control the outcome and will be discouraged if it doesn’t go your way in the time you had hoped.  You do however control the process.  So in short term goal setting I would base your goals upon the process of working toward your desired outcome and let the results be the product of your efforts.

To be successful with short term goal setting set realistic goals and make them process oriented.

For long term goal setting my advice is exactly the opposite!

For long term goals most people pick goals that are too realistic.  The problem is that none of us can see the future and it is difficult to imagine a future far different than our reality today.  But the fact is that the world, circumstances and we ourselves change in exciting and unexpected ways so that what may seem impossible today becomes reality a decade from now.

Back in 2001 we were living in a rented basement suite in Surrey expecting our son to be born.  My athletics had been cut short due to chronic pain and injuries and I was no longer working out or playing sports.  I was working a desk job as we struggled to pay off my $40K student debt plus the car loan for our 2000 Cavalier at an annual salary of $20K.  Yet I had the gumption to write down in my notebook my Big Fat Hairy Audacious Goal of one day living above a gym that I owned.  There was no obvious path leading to that goal and no reason to expect it to be possible.  I didn’t set out to achieve it.  I simply closed up that notebook and went to work becoming a father.  But that year I met a therapist who helped me overcome my debilitating pain and pushed me to get active again, first in the gym and a few years later returning to judo.  I learned more about the business I was working in and eventually took it over from my father.  We paid off our debts and received seed money from relatives and a loan from our former Surrey slumlord to purchase our first house.  Returning to Judo I met new friends who invited me to join them as a business partner and instructor in opening our own Judo dojo.  I collected personal training and kettlebell certifications for personal interest eventually discovering CrossFit.  Leon came to our dojo and we became good friends.  I realized my passion for CrossFit.  My business fell upon hard times.  We closed the business, sold our home, moved back to Vancouver and enrolled in CrossFit Vancouver’s brand new Coaching Apprenticeship Program.  In 2008 we affiliated as CrossFit Empower.  In 2013 we opened our Dunbar Street location.  In 2014 I overheard the tenants in the residential unit above the gym on a phone call regarding purchasing a new home.  I jumped at the opportunity contacting the landlord and a month later we found ourselves living above a gym that we owned and operated.

We didn’t set out to accomplish that goal and we couldn’t have predicted the chain of events that led to its realization but having that goal certainly impacted – if only subconsciously – the decisions we made when opportunities presented themselves. 

Life rarely plays out the way you expect it to and opportunities manifest in unexpected forms.  Unfortunately, if you’re living into small realistic dreams you rarely spot the big opportunities that can dramatically shift your life direction. 

That’s why I encourage you to dream big when setting long term goals.  Do not be afraid to have Big Fat Hairy Audacious long term goals.  You don’t need to know how to achieve them, just set your sights and let the universe unfold as it will.  As Seneca supposedly said: Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity“.  Keep your eyes out and be ready to jump at the opportunities when they materialize.  They will rarely look the way you had imagined.

I’ve got a lot of BFHAGs but here’s the biggest:
CrossFit Empower will one day own its own space which will possess not only more square footage, it will also provide a pool, sauna and hot tub.  It will include a pro shop and cafe lounge.  It will have ample outdoor training space.  And it will boast the same amazing community!  In fact, it will be owned by our founding members who will be stakeholders and directors ensuring the Empower vision and spirit of community live on. 

Looking at where we are now there is no obvious road map to achieving this goal, there’s no reason to believe it is even possible.  The financial unlikelihood of it alone, never mind the zoning challenges, could convince any reasonable person that it is impossible.  Luckily I’m not a reasonable person because I can see a very faint glimmer of possibility for how it can all come together if the universe plays out in a certain way.  Then again, maybe it goes a totally different way and my vision is achieved in a completely unexpected way.  In either case, in the meantime, I am working hard to make our business ready to rise to the occasion when the possibility arises to live into my Big Fat Hairy Audacious Goal.

My day to day work is dictated by my realistic, process-oriented short term SMART goals but even while I keep my eyes firmly on the road directly in front of me, my long term navigation system is guided by my BFHAG which keeps me motivated to get through the daily grind knowing that today’s labours will lay the groundwork for tomorrow’s unknowable possibilities.

How about you?  What is your BFHAG?

Friday Make Up Day

1) Run 3000m

2) 20 min Emom
5 burpees
if you completed last time add a rep

3) Lyla

4) 21-15-9
Wall Balls @20/30#
Cal Row

Empower Reset #19
1 min face down breathing
30/30 sec head nods/rotations on belly and elbows

1 min upper body roll1 min lower body roll

3 mins
10 heads-up cross touch dead bugs
10 head pressed down windshield wipers

3 mins
10 cross touch plank bird dogs
10 judo push up rocks

5 mins
Max Hanging Hold
Max Leopard Crawl

10 Full Body Rock
400m KB Suitcase carry @1/1.5 pood