3 Years Ago on the 4th of July

Today is a special day for me.  And not because it’s the 4th of July.  Although the day is filled with celebration and patriotism, for me it reminds me of a goal I set three years ago today which has made a difference in my life for the better.

Have you ever set a goal and achieved it?  Have you ever set a goal that is so big that it is more like a dream; one in which you aren’t sure you could ever accomplish, but want to try anyway?  Jim Collins, in his book Built to Last, calls them BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).  No this isn’t about business, but rather about setting your mind on something and accomplishing it.

It was early in the morning on the 4th of July three years ago that I set a BHAG of my own.  I was out on a typical 4 mile run on that steamy, southern Missouri morning when in the middle of my run I thought of a friend of mine, Bret Dorton, who was training for his first marathon. My talks with Bret had impressed me since he wasn’t a lifetime runner but rather just picked it up for health reasons and set his mind to it.  I remember talking to him at church and was always amazed at the fact that he could run 8 miles or more for his long run.

It was in that moment when I got into my head a BHAG.  I wanted to run a marathon too!  As soon as the idea entered my mind, so did a laundry list of questions and doubts…I wondered if I could do it?  How long would it take to train?  How would I be able to do it?  Could I even complete one?  After all, I reminded myself, I was not a runner and I wasn’t even sure running longer than an hour even appealed to me. But this BHAG had hooked me, and I committed right in the middle of my run I would give myself a few years to work up to a marathon.

My BHAG?  I wanted to complete a marathon by the time I was 45 years old.  That would give me seven years to work at it and become a runner, or at least one who runs.  When I arrived home I took the final step of owning my BHAG, I shared my dream with Kendis.

Now three years later, as Kendis and I got up this morning at 4:40am (on a holiday) to exercise at the gym, I realized that the 4th of July will always be a day of celebration, not just for our nation, but a celebration of setting goals.  She started another round of Body for Life, and me?  Well, I’m three weeks into training for my second marathon and loving it!

Big Hairy Audacious Goals?  I’m working on a new one… a marathon a year… until I’m too old to complete one.  🙂

Celebrate today by daring to dream and set your own BHAG!  Why?  Because there are two kinds of people, the ones who come to the end of their life and say, “I wish I had,” and the ones like I choose to be who say, “I’m so glad I did!”

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