Today is a solo-cast to chat about one of my favorite things – BHAGs. Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Today we’ll talk about why I love ‘em, who they’re for, accountability, and the importance of plans supporting the goals. As fodder I’ll recap what I set out for 2019, wins and lessons, and what’s on the radar for 2020. And in the process I’ll give you the 3 most important things you need to be successfully in your own goals.

I’d love to hear about your 2019 results as well as your 2020 BHAGs! Put them up on Instagram and tag @themanofmastery or better yet, guys, apply to our private Facebook Group also available through @themanofmastery and in addition to a means of visibility and accountability, you’ll find a high quality peer group who are there to learn from each other, and challenge each other to new heights.


  • BHAGs – Whey they’re so awesome & who they’re for
  • How to plan..and reach them…and when you don’t
  • 3 most important elements for success
  • 2019 Wins and Lessons
  • Sample spot drill from our private Facebook Group


Michael is a father, husband, author, and corporate consultant, specializing in business strategy, process, and technology for start-ups and growth stage businesses as well as large enterprise transformation projects. He founded and is building the Man of Mastery community to form an exclusive peer group of high achieving men who live in concert with their values, reject mediocrity and status quo in continual pursuit of even better versions of themselves as fathers and husbands, and are willing to train and do hard things to be ready to serve their families, friends, country, and world.

Michael is dedicated to life-long learning and has been studying peak performance for over 20 years. He hosts the Man of Mastery podcast to be your guide and resource to the best, most effective information available from the top of the corporate world, elite military teams, educational institutions, speakers, and authors.

If you find the site and content valuable, please click below to subscribe and hear more on a regular basis. The Man of Mastery Podcast is here to help unlock the secrets of elite-level life performance – align happiness, fulfillment, health, wellness, productivity, and peace. Succeed harmoniously in family, relationships, career, finance, fitness, emotional control, and mental toughness. Discover and live your unique, authentic purpose.

We will learn from executives, athletes, entrepreneurs, academics, relationship experts, wealth managers, and warriors. Embrace success as a process – not a singular event – achieved through grit, resilience, and perseverance. Study strategies to achieve extraordinary results through simple consistent actions, accomplishing what others deem impossible.

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Michael [00:00:00] Goals plans and lessons what's up guys?

Michael [00:00:22] This is episode 41 of the man of Mastery podcast where we were putting purpose and passion into Ash and where we Embrace getting out. Of our comfort zones to grow and we stand ready to learn and ready to lead. This is your resource to discover and learn from others and their Mastery journey and apply the yours looking for happiness aligning fulfillment Health Wellness productivity and peace the show notes for this one can be found at man of

Michael [00:00:53] 0:41, man of mass slash 0 41 Okay, we're getting on into today's episode flat-out. I am late way late in getting it released and that is completely on me. I could tell you why give you excuses but in the end, it doesn't matter bottom line.

Michael [00:01:13] You're going to see this one hit and then another one on its heels on the standard Thursday Cadence. So in the best interest of your time, and I think it probably makes sense just to apply a quicker topic and quicker episode on this one so it won't be too long. It's a So low caste and I just want to chat about one of my favorite topics be hags big hairy audacious goals.

Michael [00:01:36] So today we'll talk about why I love them who they're for accountability and the importance of plans that support your goals. And as fodder, I'll recap what I set out for 2019 my own wins and lessons and then what's on the radar for me in 2020. So in the process, I'll give you the three most important things.

Michael [00:01:56] I think you need to be successful in your own. Own

Michael [00:01:59] goals

Michael [00:02:00] before we jump in here's a call to action. If you're a guy looking to get a kick start or maybe kick it to the next level. Then I would strongly encourage you to join us on Facebook at the man of Mastery go there and apply to join the private group where I share additional information Beyond what's released publicly provide additional thoughts tips hints and the idea is to get a community going a tribe that goes Way Beyond just myself.

Michael [00:02:29] Support and serve and drive each other one of the things we started doing there are monthly and spot challenges they vary and they're not all physical but I wanted to give you something to try and here's a small taste. Okay find a song. That's maybe three three and a half minutes long or if you prefer you could just set a timer get into a high plank.

Michael [00:02:54] So if you know what that is, it's like the top part of a push up and just hold it there. Hold that position for the whole duration of the three three and a half minutes. So, you know how long you'll be in it. Just breathe go with it and observe not just your physiology. But also your thoughts. You know, what do you think about you think about how much time is left?

Michael [00:03:17] Do you start thinking about whether it's possible or not? What's your frame of reference? Do you have something from past experience or can you simply just be there be present think about Your breath your next breath think about holding the best possible plank that you can think about tucking your belly button in towards your spine think about breathing intentionally think about keeping a flat back thighs pressed together glutes engaged.

Michael [00:03:45] Can you make this the best high plank you've ever done and hold it for three or four minutes. I'll give that a try and in hindsight think about what happened we're able to do this thing's If not, why and why not? How'd it break down? All right, so give that a go and really put in the quality and the awareness and that'll give you a good idea of the intentionality.

Michael [00:04:12] I'm bringing to the Facebook group and also with which you should view setting and getting after today's topic be Hags. All right, first and foremost, what's a be hag? So it's a big hairy audacious goal. It originates that acronym from a Jim Collins book. Some people call him stretch goals.

Michael [00:04:34] I definitely think they should be at least a bit scary and probably at least a little bit unrealistic and and that very nature is why they're really they're just awesome. So we talked a lot here about post-traumatic growth or Said differently getting outside of your comfort zone to grow pushing.

Michael [00:04:55] Our perceptions of what we think is achievable or completely Reinventing that vision and that's why the scale and The Audacity Of be hags is so powerful and this just works well with not only adults but but kids so we talked a lot about Parenthood and fatherhood here. I mean, I just think about what more perfect time in life to give somebody the gift of instead of learning.

Michael [00:05:21] That's or perceived limits. Why not just go out and create challenges and growth opportunities that completely open up the imagination and reinvent what we think is possible and then and then achieve the impossible right and you kind of reset around that so that power that pushing the limits that reinvention is is to me what makes behaves so incredibly awesome.

Michael [00:05:48] And as I said bottom line therefore, Buddy, but particularly as a dad. I've seen the value in working with my son to help him set big goals talking through those and and then at the same time give him transparency to mine. So can be done as parents. It can even be done collectively as a family for family goals.

Michael [00:06:09] So let's also talk about the importance of accountability. And also once you've set those goals how to get there how to reach them. So once you've set appropriately big scary goals in my experience, there are three really important elements you need for Success. So one is being tangible one is being visible and one is having an action plan.

Michael [00:06:33] So the first one tangible meaning literally write them down. So not only is this solidifies A connection for you and make them real in your mind. It also makes them a lot harder to forget or change or sneak away from which you know, if you just have them in your head I guarantee they will morph they'll hide they'll be forgotten.

Michael [00:06:54] They just have a way of slipping away and that goes directly to the second Point as well visibility. They must be visible. They need to be somewhere that you can refer to them often see them remember them preferably day. Daily and more so they should be visible also to others whether that's on a whiteboard at home for the family whether that's on Facebook or maybe like in my case, you put them out there the world in a podcast or on a website.

Michael [00:07:23] This is the accountability piece. It's way too easy to let ourselves off the hook. I mean in most cases we do that right. We let ourselves off too easily. But once you put it out to the world and I believe this is true because I believe you're the kind of person People that once you tell your friends your family your tribe that you set out to do something.

Michael [00:07:44] Then you work like crazy to hold fast to your word. So this is an indirect means to hold yourself accountable because you broadcast it, right and then you can also create direct accountability. If you want to this could come in the form of a coach training partner or anybody else who has a direct stake in your journey, you know, maybe you sign up for an event along with somebody else.

Michael [00:08:09] And they become not only registered for that be hag together, but your training together and you know, if you don't show up for training that day, then you've let your you let your partner down, right? All right, and third is the action plan. This is the third most important element. You need to succeed in your be hags. So it's great to have those big goals and you put them out to the world, but the fun in setting out to achieve the hard maybe even unlikely stuff is in breaking down.

Michael [00:08:39] On a plan that gets you there or even gets you beyond their so I'm talking down to the Daily level. What's an example. Let's say you Endeavor to climb Mount Ranier next summer. Well, you need to find out what skills Fitness other development you need to support that goal. And then you work backwards with progress or results Milestones on a quarterly and then monthly and then even divide those into a weekly basis and those progress miles.

Michael [00:09:09] Stones need to become a specific action plan. I mean we do this in our work lives, right we project plan and you got to have big goals and big milestones and then break them down into tasks. Well same deal, right but let's say we're talking about a physical conditioning plan. It needs to break down into daily workouts the very and then build and build by day and by week to develop the kinds of strength stamina aptitude and ability.

Michael [00:09:39] Hoodie that you need for the task at hand such as climbing a mountain. And again, this is a great place. If you have the resources to rely on a coach or somebody else who's been there and done that and it can truly help you accelerate time and results. All right, great. So you've set out behaves you've got a plan to build to achieve them and what happens when you succeed right?

Michael [00:10:05] So you get there then what happens well in my experience in every case where the goals have been big enough challenging enough audacious enough scary enough at least two things happen one is unexpected unintended benefits and the other is sort of a reset higher.

Michael [00:10:27] So about the unexpected. So in every case again in addition to what I've expected to experience or enjoy there's always been something unexpected something realized or enjoyed that and I mean to the upside, right? So there's always been a surprise benefit beyond what I thought I would enjoy or anticipated getting out of one of these big scary things.

Michael [00:10:51] And I think that also leads directly to the sort of reset higher concept. So the other thing there is and it's a lot like our friend Joel Runyon at impossible talks about is that once you've sort of been there done that the impossible literally is now possible. It's in bounds as possible.

Michael [00:11:13] And then naturally there's a drive to raise the bar. So maybe to illustrate let's take a couple examples and let's dig into some of my 2019 be hags. They're out on the website and these are a few that Did I did finish or achieve successfully? So let me list a few a for our Spartan.

Michael [00:11:32] Hurricane Heat. Did that back in February of 2019 the seal fit 12 hour? It's called 20 x it's the 12 hour overnight Crucible or boot camp event. Did that in July of 2019 a Spartan Trifecta weekend specifically in Hawaii just epic and challenging and its own way is rain humidity heat.

Michael [00:11:57] That was August completely year with six Spartan trifectas did did that and I think a few Races here and there and inclusive in that my first Spartan Ultra Beast, which is the 31 mile format. So just going through those the for our hurricane.

Michael [00:12:18] He was a part of my build up plan. And so remember we just talked about plans. It's also useful to have be hags compounding and building on be hags. Right? So the for our hurricane, he was A build-up for me to the SEAL Fit. 12-hour overnight event which was a physical and mindset prep for the 31 mile Spartan Ultra in Lake Tahoe.

Michael [00:12:42] Right? Well, even the for our Spartan hurricane heat honestly had me pretty intimidated and pretty stressed out going into it. I mean, I really expected it to be something that took me to a Breaking Point and would test me with you know, that kind of resolve and what I found out with this one and even the 12 hour You'll fit Eve at was that I was very reasonably prepared.

Michael [00:13:09] I mean, I planned a worked I prepped and by no means that I crush or or even excel at either one at least in in whole there were definitely Parts where I felt very very well prepared and I had the chance to be I don't know be a strength for my team with the 12-hour SEAL Fit overnight.

Michael [00:13:30] You know, I felt I felt strong on the Rock. I was carrying somebody else. Has packed for a while. I kind of pulled, you know more than my weight on on some of the team component of that and then there are certainly other cases quite a few of them where I had to lean more on my teammates, but in both cases, I surprise myself. I had worked the plan I had prepared and I very very ably survived and then it just raises the question now, so what's you know, what's next?

Michael [00:13:57] What's the next level? Well, let's also talk about what happens when you don't meet that be hag when you fail or If we phrase that more positively and accurately let's call them lessons. So when you've tried and learned, so what was that for me this year that was back-to-back Spartan beasts and Big Bear.

Michael [00:14:19] I'd laid that out for 2019 and summiting Mount Whitney. So I picked these two in particular because they were tried and they were not achieved. So breaking them down Mount Whitney. It was actually snowed in. So we made it up as far as was possible without crampons without technical mountaineering gear and protection.

Michael [00:14:41] So there's nothing we could do about whether and nature certainly be as prepared as possible and and respect it. I mean as our friend Laval Saint-Germain shared and encourages it It's a form of risk management when you're out there doing hard things and particularly in nature, which is extremely unpredictable and volatile.

Michael [00:15:02] And so while we didn't hit the goal, I mean this one really turned into all kinds of other success. We had a blast enjoyed a week in nature unplug from technology, and it was really an incredible growth experience for my son. And then Big Bear again, whether canceled the second beast it did the first one on Saturday and then snow rolled in and clouds and they canceled the Sunday beast and they modified this the Sprint but in truth the Saturday when crushed me and I'd already said no to the second one before it was even canceled.

Michael [00:15:37] So not only did I take myself out of it mentally at that point in hindsight. I just really didn't have the right training plan in place. To build up to that kind of vertical gain at that altitude factoring in cold and snow and doing you know, those two 13-mile events back-to-back.

Michael [00:15:58] So that's definitely a lesson learned and it went into some of the later 2019 events and it's definitely going into prep for 2020. All right, and and also on the list if you go out there and look at it from 2019, there are a few that I Mark is failures, but I actually just did not Even attempt, so maybe there's some element of subconscious fear and avoidance that play but most of all I mean quite simply life got busy and and these didn't happen or more specifically. I

Michael [00:16:29] didn't make them happen. So the lesson learned and I would take it back to planning is that now I'm getting things on the calendar very early in the year. I'm burning the boats, you know, I'm making non-refundable reservations and putting it on the family calendar and although 2020. You're very very busy one. I think in doing this I am definitely looking forward to a much higher success rate than in 2019 simply by again laying out the plan and work in the plan.

Michael [00:16:59] Alright and to talk a little bit more about wins and lessons just talking about some of these here a little bit earlier. The winds are really just a reset to take the bar higher and the failures again. They truly aren't they are progress. They are lessons. They aren't tan and state and in hindsight.

Michael [00:17:19] I actually probably got even more out of the events where I tried and didn't succeed didn't yet succeed. Let's put it that way. But in addition to the most three important elements I mentioned for setting out to accomplish be hags. Let me add a fourth overall, which is the feedback loop the feedback to Lessons Learned, right if if you try and you don't succeed.

Michael [00:17:44] Well, there's really no point in learning if it's Not taken and applied in action at that point. It would simply be academic so lessons and applying them forward in a new action plan is really key. So that's what I'm remembering from 2019 as I look ahead and going into 2020 and let's wrap up with that.

Michael [00:18:05] Let's talk about 2020. So we're well into the year and it's speeding along faster than ever. If yours is anything like mine. I've got an extensive and busy schedule so So it's taken some planning and I'm really just now getting it done down to the Daily level. So two months into the year. I'm definitely kind of building the plane as I fly it but maybe some of these things that I'm planning to do can help Inspire some thoughts of your own be hags for this year or you know, if any of these particular events are meaningful or exciting for you then maybe we meet up and one of these and get out there and get after it together.

Michael [00:18:44] Let me know. Alright, so here it goes. For 2020 so one very big and very busy one for me is 13 Spartan Trifecta. So remember I talked about six Spartan Trifecta is in 2019 13 for 2020. So that's a minimum of thirty nine races and in all likelihood.

Michael [00:19:08] I will probably land closer to 50 that will culminate in sparked Sparta Greece and a return to the trifecta. World Championships, so I'm doing that with a goal aiming to get my name carved in a marble wall at they have their in Sparta. So it's the Spartan Race Trifecta Wall of Fame so that all involve at least three hundred and seventy eight miles of Spartan Racing.

Michael [00:19:34] The reason I mention that it's symbolic of the 378 kilometers it King Leonidas and his Spartan Army marched to Thermopylae to inspire the the Greeks in defending against the Invasion and if you're not aware of 20 20, March the 2500 year anniversary of that battle so the country and particularly the town of Sparta should have some really cool stuff planned.

Michael [00:20:00] So my Endeavor to that my symbolic 378 miles plus of Spartan Racing will also entail at least thirteen hundred or so obstacles as well. So and just keep in mind. That's all race day race course only. Obstacles in Miles not counting training miles training obstacles or of course burpees and within that so within those 39 250 or so races, I need to 413 trifectas. I

Michael [00:20:31] need 13 Spartan beasts the 13 mile race format, but there's a there's a bit of a gambler's option that Sparta offers so you can substitute an ultra Beast for a beast and have it count. The in the trifecta count the catch is now you're going after a thirty one mile race instead of a 13-mile race, and there are cut off time.

Michael [00:20:55] So if you get cut off or you just don't simply finish you don't get to count the first 13 miles and count a beast and get a metal and counted towards your Trifecta you either completely finish and succeed and get your Ultra buckle and your credit towards a beast for your trifectas or you don't it's a complete dnf with regard to the trifecta.

Michael [00:21:16] So I'm going to roll the dice on that one and I'm looking at somewhere in the in the order of three to four Spartan Ultras this year within my Trifecta hunt and that's coming on top of my first one ever in September, right so building on on on that and again still around Spartan. I think I'm still looking for my first sub 1 hour Sprint, or I might be real close to it.

Michael [00:21:42] I'd like to get it down to really about 45 minutes this year. Have stepped up into a competitive category that is is honestly pretty impressive. There are some incredible competitive athletes fast at every age out there, but I'm going to go out there and and and on a limb and just say I'm aiming for a Podium which means a top-three finish and well, yeah talk about audacious.

Michael [00:22:08] Like I am very far from it right now. I think I'm a few competitive races in and maybe 39th is my best finish so far. But hey, that's that's the good stuff about behaviors right get audacious. I have a plan and now I'm working the plan. Around that volume of Spartan Racing or supporting it and and really this is just kind of good for everyday life.

Michael [00:22:33] Anyway is I'm back determined on the Paleo and and additionally keto eating hydration and supplements. You know, I've got I've got daily check marks for myself on that the state to that plan quality and quantity of sleep absolutely need that to support this pace this year yoga.

Michael [00:22:55] And Mobility I'm hitting at least a few times a week for training and for recovery and you know, there has to be some mental rest all this to so mindfulness and meditation practice. Okay, what else for 2020 besides a boatload of Spartans? So Krav Maga I missed I missed that one in one of the goals. I

Michael [00:23:19] had set out for 2019. So I'm refocused. I just you know, it's one that I just let Keep quite frankly. So refocused on getting back to regular practice there and just simply scheduling it out and doing it in a frequency and a Cadence that gets me towards qualify qualifying. Excuse me for another belt test.

Michael [00:23:40] First Skydive that was another one from from 2019 again just just didn't happen did make it happen. So I got to put it on the calendar and get it done. I got several unbeatable mind events coming up including sheep dog training. I'm super psyched about that one finishing out. My unbeatable mind coaching certification.

Michael [00:24:00] We've talked on here a few times about the Relentless Martha's Vineyard event and the incredible guests and topics that are going on there. That's part of this year's sort of goals and development SEAL Fit, you know, the 20x the 12-hour overnight was an incredible experience and I kind of walked away going. Yeah, like I've done that but in hindsight, I do it again.

Michael [00:24:23] I might do another 12-hour maybe maybe even looking at a 24-hour International travel so I got some really cool trips plan for 2020 and well, you know Josh Guerrero was just on recently from the all-around Adventure podcast, and we talked about the importance of growth through international travel. So that's part of this year's plan and then service.

Michael [00:24:46] So in addition to putting coaching into service my family and I did a local food bank session that was super rewarding. So we are looking at setting out a regular. Schedule to continue doing that as well. Okay. So while that was a lot I think that's all that I've got on be hags for today. And that's all I've got on my plan so far for 2020 again the show notes for this one can be found at man of 0 4 1 4 episode 41.

Michael [00:25:17] I will also get the the be hags updated out there on our website which you can find at man of mass slash about so out there on the about page you'll find Find my 2018 through 2020 be hags and I guess now it's your turn. Right? So I've put my 2019 results and I've put my 2020 behaves out there and your turn to reciprocate so I'd love to hear about yours.

Michael [00:25:46] I'd love to see it maybe see it on Instagram. So throw something up there and tag at the man of Mastery or better yet guys apply to our private Facebook group also available. At at the well at the man of Mastery on Facebook. However, you say that and in addition to a means of visibility and accountability what you'll find.

Michael [00:26:09] There is a really high quality peer group over there to learn from each other challenge each other and push each other to new heights. So with that that's it for today and this week. I am super excited for you. I'm super excited for 2020 look out for the regular. Thursday episode coming up where we'll talk about.

Michael [00:26:31] Well, I've got to guess to talks even further about the importance of coaches and how they can literally speed up time.