What Is Your Family's BHAG?

By Sarah Newman

What’s your BHAG? Have you ever heard that term?  Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Seems to be thrown out a lot these days in the personal development world. You may have gone to a networking group or conference where they challenge you to dream of your BHAG, create a vision board to remind you of what you are working towards, and tell you “don’t give up on that BHAG at any expense”.  

It’s easy to dream of a BHAG for myself. The goals I want to aspire towards for my professional life, for life as a mom, for life with my spouse, where I want to be in 10 years, my consistent workout routine, my 5 star meal planning, where I want to travel to, the clothes I want to buy, my pinterest house decor I want, the car I’d like to drive, etc.   

I know my BHAG wouldn’t be possible without the support of my family, which is great and all, but this BHAG that I have painted above seems a little selfish when I take into account that I’m raising 4 kids and prioritize a thriving relationship with my spouse. It’s not fair for me to call all the shots and control the entire direction my family life takes. Family life isn’t about us as individuals or parents vs. children, family life is about being a TEAM. Teams work together for the good of everyone. Right?

So with that said, I have a better idea for family life in lieu of a BHAG….now hear me out.

What about mission instead of a BHAG?  What if the family had a family mission statement visible in the house for all to see? 

A mission is a summary of the aims and values of a company or team. Think about it: most, if not all, businesses have mission statements. Why is this? Businesses need a strong statement that communicates and directs the movement of the company, in order to attain their ultimate goals and communicate to customers why they exist. The mission directs the movement of the company.  Mission statements are the umbrella BHAGS fall under. Families can have mission statements too! And when families operate in mission, we end up painting a portrait of life where goals are accomplished TOGETHER.

Family is the very foundation of civilization.  When a family is in mission together, it benefits us individually, and as a society. A family mission statement can remind us daily how to treat others and in what direction we want our family to move towards together.  A strong family mission statement is defined by using Character Strengths to project how the family will treat each other and others. Here is an example, “The Johnson family will act with integrity, be responsible, respectful, kind, generous and loving of others”. It could be that simple, but that specific and aligned. Then, when the Johnson family is evaluating goals together, they can ask each other if their goals align with their mission statement. Just like a successful business does!

A friend of mine told me that their family mission statement is framed and hung on the wall where anyone who entered the house could see. When his 7 year old had done something he shouldn’t have, nor were they proud of, the father lovingly asked him, “where does what you did fit into what you wrote on this mission statement?” The father said the child turned around and looked at him and said “it doesn’t, I’m sorry and I won’t do it again”. What I love about this story is that it clearly reflects that the family is a team and when one teammate falls short, the other teammates can step in and lovingly hold the person accountable in order to move the whole family forward together. 

The reality of family life today is that it is fast paced and non-stop. Because of the fast paced nature, it can be difficult to stop and think for a minute how to unite our family and create a team mentality that carries through for years to come.  Have you ever thought of your family outcome 20 or 30 years from now? A family mission statement can help you get there! I encourage you to try it.

What character strengths would your family like to live out?

Visit our blog “What are the 40 Virtues” to print the full list and brainstorm ideas to complete your Family Mission Statement. 

Jordan Langdon