Sunday night at Bible study we watched one of my favorite presentations from Catalyst.  It wasn’t that this guy was the greatest speaker there.  It wasn’t that he was so dynamic that I wouldn’t ever be able to forget what he had said.  What it was?  He said something that changed my life.


I had written in June here for my birthday list that I wanted to run a half marathon.  In all honestly, I didn’t really plan on following through with the idea.  But sitting at this conference in October in Duluth, Georgia, I decided that I was going to follow through with it because of this presentation.

Jim Collins was the gentleman who spoke, and he closed his presentation with a few suggestions.  In this presentation he spoke about BHAGs or Big Hairy Audacious Goals, and our need to set them in our lives.  He said, “Set a BHAG that makes you useful.”

I’ve set goals in my life that were just kind of fun.  I’ve set goals in my life just for me without any thought of how they might affect anyone else in my life.  And I’ll admit that when I set the BHAG of running a half marathon on April 28 that I thought I would get in shape, lose a little weight and be able to tell everyone I’d run a half marathon.  And while I will be able to do all of those things, those are just the tip of the iceberg with the benefits I’m seeing play out in my life.

Here’s the thing.  It’s not just about running.

I went out to play with my nieces and nephews while they were here over Easter…and I didn’t get tired.

I’m now getting up before 5:00 a.m. three days a week to go work out…I’ve never seen that time of day this many times in my whole life as I have these past couple months.

I get stuff done.  Like really.  So far the only thing I can’t bring myself to do on a regular basis is clean my house.  Everything else is done one time and with some sort of efficiency that I’ve never really had in my life before.

Almost 11% body fat…gone.

I’m almost always in a better mood, even when I’m tired, than I was before this training.

I have new friends.

I’m finishing something .

The thing about setting goals?  It makes you useful.

In a conversation that Jim Collins had with his mentor Peter Drucker, Mr. Drucker told him this:

I can see that you are very worried about your future and all the uncertainties in your life.  I have some advice for you.  You spend a lot of time worrying about whether you will survive.  You will probably survive.  And you seem to worry a lot about being successful.  That will probably happen, too.  Why don’t you go out and make yourself useful?

We spend a lot of time running.  We’re running after goals that get us nowhere.  We’re running in circles chasing our tails because we really don’t know which direction to go.

Find something you want to do.

Find something to do that means something.

Find something that makes you useful.

And go do it.

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  • Michelle

    Thanks for this post