Keep your eye on the task

The old adage about taking things one step at a time seems too simplistic to be of any use. Yet, many great truths have a comforting simplicity about them. Picture this. You come up with a big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG). Your BHAG is so great that it sometimes scares you. That’s the point of a BHAG though. It has to be a kind of go big or go home idea. You have a perfect vision of the end product of your goal yet you fail to achieve that goal because you could never get started.

Many times, what stops us from working towards a goal is fear of the unknown. We know what we want, we are just not sure how to get there so we keep procrastinating and the goal never gets achieved. In Eat that Frog, Brian Tracy describes how it is possible to drive across the Sahara by following oil drums 5km apart. This is the maximum distance at which two barrels could be seen such that during the day, a person driving would be able to see two drums, the one in front and the one behind them. In this way, they could safely drive across the sahara one oil drum at a time.

Vast expanse of desert
One oil drum at a time

The analogy is a powerful one. Break a goal into as many small tasks as possible. Keep your focus on the current task. You don’t always need to have the full picture to get started on a goal. In a rapidly changing world, it is not always possible to have all the information you need at the onset. Instead, like the person driving across the sahara, you should try focusing on one oil drum at a time.

The only task you need to keep moving towards your goal is the current one. Once you know what that is, work towards it. You can define what the next task is after the previous one has been completed. In this way, you will slowly but steadily inch towards achieving your BHAG. It won’t happen overnight but as long as you are moving towards it, then you are making progress.

A linked chain
Like links on a chain, they add up

Do you have a BHAG for 2019? Have you been working towards achieving it? Has the process stalled? What’s the next task you should work on to continue moving towards your goal? Focus on that.

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