Martha's Dare inspiring you to achieve your dreams

Going on a BHAG hunt !

BHAG’s are BIG, Hairy Audacious goals. They are scary, often cause your heart rate to speed up at the thought of going after them, and take a lot of courage. BHAGs also serve as amazing motivators and launching pads to a more courageous, self confident YOU !

My BHAG hounds me each day. It taps me on my shoulder each morning saying “what workout are you going to do today Martha ?” It makes me nervous when I hear it say “93km is a LONG way, you aren’t biking enough.” But most of all, when I think of my BHAG, I hear this confident, steady voice that says “if you can complete a half Iron Man, you can do anything.” This July I will embark on completing my first ever half Iron Man triathlon – my Big Hairy Audacious Goal. The race consists of a 2 km open swim, 93km hilly bike and a half marathon . All total, it should take me close to 7 hours to complete and it scares the crap out of me.

I was first introduced to BHAGs in 2005 by my dear friend Terra. I met Terra when I was 11 years old at the Global finals for DestiNation Imagination where we agreed to be pen pals and have been friends ever since. Terra is an positive, outgoing, inspiring, caring, and kind person. She had a purple polka dot BHAG – she wanted to run a marathon. You might say to yourself, what’s the big deal ? Lots of people run marathons ?! Yes, but Terra was NOT a runner. Prior to embarking on this goal she had only ever competed in ONE high school relay and in May of 2005 she was in the worst shape of her life. Completing 26.2 miles would be the milestone marker of the next phase of her life. It would be the event that would fill her with courage and positive energy to re-define her life following a broken marriage. She enlisted me to join her in the race to motivate and encourage her each step of the way. We signed up for the Richmond Virginia Marathon that took place in November, and I booked my flight from Canada to meet her in DC for this big adventure.

While Terra was not a runner, I was. The summer of 2005 I was in top form having completed my first half marathon in May. However, I did not plan on having insomnia for most of September and October. I remember calling Terra two weeks before the race to tell her that I wasn’t well enough to run with her, but I would be there with signs and loud cheers to ensure she completed this BHAG. This is when she told me that she couldn’t do this alone. That she needed me to run it with her.

So I did.

While both of us had been doing our best to get training in, neither of us had run more than a 10 mile run in the months leading up to race day. Completing 26.2 miles truly was an Big Hairy Audacious GOAL ! However, driven by Terra’s BHAG, I didn’t feel pain and I believed, with every ounce of my body, that we would complete the race. Throughout the 26 miles we celebrated each mile with a cheer, we sang “ain’t no mountain high enough to keep me from you” when we saw a scary hill, and we listened intently to the stories of other runners along our day’s run. How long it took us to finish didn’t matter, it was all about completing the race. I remember the last mile with great fondness, looking over at Terra who was smiling, a look of peace and pride on her face as we approached the finish line. The polka dot purple BHAG was hers. On November 12th, 2005, on a crisp autumn day in Richmond, Virginia, Terra and I completed that marathon.

Finishing the Race

What I have learned from Terra and my BHAG hunting experiences are the following:

BELIEVE: Taking on a BHAG means believing that somewhere, deep down inside yourself you have the strength and skills to take it on. Believe it and remind yourself that you can do it each and every day.

MILESTONES: Break your BHAG into digestible milestones. Start your BHAG hunt by going after that first milestone – the first step is often the hardest to take.

CELEBRATE. Celebrate each milestone. Whether it be a night of “beer and burgers”, a new outfit, or merely a high five with a friend, reward yourself throughout your journey.

SUPPORT. Enlist a support team. Friends, family, children, and neighbours. Have a team of people who are going to cheer you on each step of the way and give you a pick-me-up on low days.

This July, I WILL complete my first half ironman Triathlon and as a result my new mantra will be – “If I can complete a half ironman, I can do ANYTHING!” Thank you Terra for inspiring me 6 years ago ! Happy BHAG hunting.

About Martha van Berkel

Martha is the co-founder of Marketing Technology company - Hunch Manifest. She likes to fire up customer adoption and disrupting industries! She is a entrepreneur and a Mom!

13 Responses to “Going on a BHAG hunt !”

  • I’ve never had a BHAG… but Mom does and she’ll be reaching her BHAG in September!!!! Sooo excited for her and her big trip!

  • […] the life you want and then going after it with fierce passion. Whether it be in defining a Big Hairy Audacious Goal , taking a leap to start a business, or sitting down and just picturing what life looks like in 5, […]

  • Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you ever been running a blog for? you make running a blog look easy. The whole look of your website is great, well the content material!
    My website is on Healthy recipes.

  • Loving the info on this website , you have done great job on the content .

  • I was going to switch my plan to run a half mile walk a quarter mile and then just aim to run a full 5k later in the fall.

  • There is some a lot garabage on blogs nowadays that it is challenging to come across the true diamonds. Glad i just found 1. thanks:)

  • Brilliant, cheers, I will subscribe to you RSS later.

  • Cool post . Thanks for, posting on this blog page dude! I will email you some time! I did not know that!

  • When are you going to post again? You really inform a lot of people!

  • This blog site has got lots of really helpful info on it. Cheers for informing me!

  • When are you going to post again? You really entertain me!

  • Have you considered adding some videos to the article? I think it might enhance my understanding.