Last Tuesday night, Joe Erwin addressed our Successful Entrepreneurship seminar with powerful testimony of what he feels has given Erwin Penland national prominence in the advertising field. Going from zero to 400+ staff members and hundreds of millions in marketing business is a compelling story, especially when the speaker is telling the story in the first person, and he is named Joe Erwin. Afterwards, the crowd was more than simply motivated. They just could not stop talking about it—even a week later—because Joe’s story was such a clear example of achievement and overcoming all types of setbacks. Exactly what is a BHAG? In Joe's words, it’s a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.” Specifically, a BHAG is a concept put forth in the 1994 book, “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by James Collins and Jerry Porras, which challenges businesses to set a 10- to 30-year goal, similar to a self-challenge when your current status quo is nice, but you can stretch yourself to achieve something big and special. The morning after Joe’s presentation, my partner and Serrus CEO, Steve Mudge, called all of us together. Basically, he told us that we are doing great, but he had a question for everyone: what is our BHAG? The whole team was excited! We are all goal-oriented, and these folks have created most of the value that we have built. Immediately, we formed a group that will meet to discuss our business’s culture and set a BHAG. Our new big goal is starting to be framed up here at Serrus, and we all feel the energy and motivation. I love it. Also, this morning I got an e-mail from Elliott Davis managing partner Rick Davis containing a press release about Clemson being named the 21st Best Public University in America by US News & World Report. Rick wrote, "This demonstrates the power of a vision." In fact, I remember when Clemson President Jim Barker brought out this BHAG. Back then, folks made fun. There are far less doubters this morning. Finally, last week, a 64-year-old woman named Diana Nyad became the first person to swim without a protective cage from Cuba to Florida across 100 miles of ocean. It was her fifth try. When she got out of the water, exhausted and exhilarated, she said this: "I’ve got three messages. One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team." Her BHAG seemed ludicrous to others when she set it and seemed more ludicrous after each failure. Ms. Nyad, however, kept reaching for that Big Hairy Audacious Goal until she made it. Businesses should take note. In my humble opinion I believe that leadership is from the front. Winners like Joe Erwin, Steve Mudge, Jim Barker, Rick Davis, and Diana Nyad lead us by example. It challenges our spirit and we dream again. What's my Big Hairy Audacious Goal? Stay tuned because I have one that I've been working on and will share. There's a pretty good chance I will embarrass myself, and my timidity causes me to first convince myself that it’s a possibility even before I fire off the rockets. The only hint is that it involves a bicycle. So, in the spirit that life is not a dress rehearsal: what's your BHAG?