The moment you have an idea, you identify a goal, or you encounter a new desire, you have already been set on an adventure. When Joseph Campbell mapped out the Hero’s Journey, he began with the Ordinary World—this is the status quo, the known, the predictable, the life you have lived for many years. This is where we all start, right? Which is why the next step is the Call to Adventure, the divine invitation to something greater. Your new idea is that call and to ignore it is to ignore the hero within you. Saying no to your vision, for whatever reason, is saying no to who you’re meant to be and, I can tell you from personal experience, declining the call doesn’t make it go away…
So what do you do? You have this dream but it’s so far off and the path to achieving it is long, arduous, and filled with all manner of dangers. It is exactly like scaling a mountain.
As you stand at the bottom of the mountain looking towards the top, it seems insurmountable— how could you ever get from here to there? It will take a plan, it will require help, and it will call for precise and methodical preparation. As you take these steps you begin to see that what once felt overwhelming is becoming more and more doable. Slowly and steadily you make your ascent, you heed the advice of your mentors, you follow your plan, and eventually you get to the top of that mountain. You will certainly encounter unexpected obstacles along the way and the journey will be difficult and challenging, but in the end, you will achieve what once seemed impossible: this is what I call the culmination of connecting your values with high endeavor.
You will have accomplished what I call your BFG—Big Fucking Goal.
The BFG has its roots in the work of Jim Collins who coined his own term—BHAG or Big Hairy Audacious Goal—in his book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies co-written by Jerry Porras, and I instantly knew I’d be borrowing the term. A BHAG is a very ambitious and bold long-term goal set by a company that drives them to their vision of success. The goal may seem nearly impossible to achieve, but with planning and determination, the company moves slowly and steadily toward this goal, not giving up until it is achieved.
A BFG is more personal and takes you out of your comfort zone. It is big, bold, and exciting. It is fraught with uncertainty. Since it seems close to impossible to achieve, it will need to become an obsessive focus for you and the company. The goal may take 10, 20, or even 30 years to achieve, but it is so exciting, so engaging, that you will want to keep going no matter how long it takes. Along the way, the company will have to maintain a level of excellence, along with focus and intensity, in order to keep their sights on the achievement of the goal.
Collins addressed the demands and needs associated with his definition of a massive goal pretty succinctly: the input creates the output. By inputting disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, and sustainable systems the output is superior performance, distinctive impact, and lasting endurance beyond the present.
What is true for a company can be applied to a person. Your input toward your dream is what will define and create the output. Your discipline in thought and action and the sustainability of the systems you build around this dream will inevitably lead you to success.
To reference the great Joseph Campbell again, the Hero’s Journey is precisely that: a journey. It involves growth, challenge, pitfalls, setbacks, and even a dark night of the soul. The hero’s journey is a dramatic, transformative experience—no wonder we love watching and reading every possible iteration!—and while it comes with its fair share of uncertainty and difficulty it also includes help. Mentors, allies, and a guiding higher power are all an equally important part of this journey.
In order to achieve your BFG you need help. The same way that I have been supported on every climb I’ve ever attempted, you too need support to climb the literal and existential mountains in your own life. Providing this type of mentorship is not only a passion of mine, it is a way that I am able to pay forward every bit of help I have along my hero’s journey.
If there is a dream or a vision calling you to adventure, let’s map out your BFG and create a path not just toward achieving this goal but toward becoming the person you’re meant to be along the way. My first step in supporting you as you define your own BFG is to get clarity on your Personal Values vs. Action assessment.
Want to explore this in more detail? I am offering a free masterclass on BFGs and High Endeavor next Thursday, February 16 and you can reach out to me directly firstname.lastname@example.org for direct support.