I just returned from the Successful Online Business Conference (SOBCon) and I have far too many takeaways to even try and share them all in one post. Instead, on the drive home today I searched for the most significant takeaway; the one that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Big Hairy Audacious Obstacles
Perhaps you are familiar with the term Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG). The folks who attend SOBCon have achieved and are striving for BHAGs. I was struck by the fact that most of the goals in the room are focused on a higher purpose. Sure most of us are there to figure out how to make more money, but that doesn’t mean the goal can’t be non-financial.
If you are striving for big goals, then you are going to run into big hairy audacious obstacles. Stories were told in the SOBCon room over the weekend that made the problems I have faced seem small. The specifics aren’t mine to share but I can assure some of the most successful people in that room had overcome very large obstacles.
Maybe it’s as simple as “if you aim high, you’d better be prepared to fall far.” This is a feeling I know and my story, unlike those of my SOBCon friends, is mine to share. So here’s what my big hairy audacious obstacles can look like.
The rut and losing my way
In the 26 years since I graduated from college, I have only collected a paycheck six of those years. I realize now that the goal I set at the age of 16 to be a millionaire by the time I was 30 was in fact the wrong goal. My personal BHAG has really been to stay self-employed forever. That’s it.
Simple as that sounds, I’ve had to shut the business down once and go back to collecting a paycheck. I’ve had to face, embrace and confront my own personal demons that threatened to destroy everything I’d built with the help of some pretty awesome people. I’ve faced near financial ruin multiple times and enjoyed a few really good financial runs.
About three and half years ago at what I now realize was a low point in my life, my father passed away. I was already on a downward course and that event pushed me to the brink of failure. The rut bottomed out in the summer of 2009 and, from that moment on, I’ve had my eye on never working for someone else again because with that freedom I can strive for goals that change the world.
Finding my way and recognizing the BHAG
It has been the obstacles in my life that have guided me to understand the goals I want to achieve. Now that I clearly understand not working for others is important to me, I’m reenergized and am treating ColorMetrix like a startup again. A few days at SOBCon have helped identified the BHAG for us and I’m excited to share this goal with the team.
So don’t ignore your problems. Embrace them and use them to help you understand what you really want to be doing and who you really want to be. The path to success lies in owning your own problems and working through them.