When you have a BHAG (Big Hairy ... Audicious ... Goal), it tends to be fairly all consuming. You think about it and you work towards it for a very long time. As I'm sure you know, I'll be doing Ironman Canada Whistler on Sunday and for the better part of three years, this has been my BHAG. As the nerves roil around deep in my cockles (wherever that is), I feel the anticipation of the race. But another part fears the unknown, the realization of my BHAG, Monday morning when that Big Hairy friend is gone.
I'm often told that people don't understand how I can do long course triathlon. And for those that know me well, they're less concerned about the race and more so the training. I love the training and the knowledge of sports physiology and training science that I'm beginning to develop. To some extent, I'm sure I've become an addict to the cycles of endorphines, testosterone and other yummy chemicals that the training delivers. I know I've become addicted to the meditative nature of a long bike ride on Alberta's country roads. But at least part of the appeal is having that goal. It informs many life decisions, and gives my life a long term purpose.
I suppose that's what entrepreneurship is all about too. You have dreams and goals that will take immense amounts of effort and time to realize. You have to commit to it body and soul. You have to adjust your lifestyle to accommodate the goal. Today's media would have you believe that we are a society purely focussed on short term realization of wants. But in the same breath the media expounds on the explosion of entrepreneurship and startup culture. Anyone who's been in the trenches of that culture knows that it is a grind with no shortcuts and only a laser focus will sustain you for the length of time it takes to get a business off the ground. The same laser focus is required to sustain the training to get to Ironman.
And so on the eve of Ironman 2014, I look with fondness and a bit of sadness on the passing of my BHAG. It has inspired me and driven me a long way. I will revel in the freedom from its tireless expectation on Monday, but you can bet that by Tuesday I'll be starting to think about my next one. Once you've become used to a long term view, it isn't easy to give it up. See you on the flip side.