Impossible. Who Said?

Built to Last.  Jim Collins best-selling book explaining why some organizations defy gravity.  And endure.  He introduced us to BHAG’s, short for “Big Hairy Audacious Goals”.


What exactly is a BHAG?


It’s a goal so daunting, so top of the mountain in its scale, it seems nearly impossible to achieve.  Dan Pallotta writes,


“no matter what you are trying to do, whether in business or charity or social enterprise, if the thought of it doesn’t scare the hell out of you – and if imagining the manifestation of it doesn’t make you cry – it isn’t worthy of who you truly are.”


The NASA mission to the moon was a BHAG, or believed by many to be impossible.


Here’s another “impossible” goal.


Sports Illustrated featured Lance Armstrong on its cover.  It’s titled, “The Next Stage”.  Cancer is the focus of the article.  The Director of the National Cancer Institute set the goal:


“Eliminating cancer as a cause of suffering and death by the year 2015″.  He states further, “Without the spur of a deadline, big goals are meaningless”.


This is disruptive, who said it’s impossible, thinking.


So, here is my BHAG.  My daringly impossible goal:




There are 1,100 (eleven hundred) of them annually.


Three, every day.


Most people will read right past this sentence.  I know.  This is my experience of 20 plus years in the mental health field.  Why then?  It’s not because people don’t care.  They do.  It’s because when it comes to this issue, most people think this happens to “someone elses student”.


Not my student.  Or, your student.


Please allow me to say this again.  Every single day, there are three students on college campuses across the United States who commit suicide.


Eleven Hundred backpacks with no students to shoulder them.


Eleven Hundred voices silenced.


Eleven Hundred untold stories.


Eleven Hundred students who will never wear their cap and gown.


Eleven Hundred futures lost.




We will always be haunted by what might have been.


Join me.  Help me start a movement ……….End College Suicides by the Year 2020.


Let’s put all the options on the table.  Let’s suspend disbelief about what can’t happen because of current realities.  Or, what anyone says we can or cannot accomplish.  Let’s instead think about what needs to be done, and pursue it relentlessly.


It is this humanitarian spirit that uniquely defines us.


And, if you ever think something is impossible, watch the movie Alive.

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