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The Hedgehog Tool: Align Your Vision, Unique Ability, and Wealth

hedgehog concept; good to great; life purpose

If you’re wondering how exactly you can use the hedgehog template to clarify your unique ability, wealth generation activities, and life’s purpose, this is the step by step guide for you. The hedgehog is used by high performing individuals to reach massive success through clarity of purpose.


Will you achieve big breakthroughs in your life?

The key to unbelievable results is taking massive action in one direction.

ANA MCRAE

The hedgehog concept is a tool that you can use to prioritize your time in a way that allows you to see unbelievable results by better understand three things:

  • What is the direction that you want to be heading in?
  • What unique abilities do you have that position you to get there faster?
  • What wealth generation activities can support you financially in your endeavors?

This tool is based on a concept identified by Jim Collins.

In Good To Great, Jim Collins studied the difference between the companies that were extremely successful, and those who were just average. (Hint: think Apple vs Blackberry: the top brand of choice across many consumers, vs the comparison company that rivals for a small share of the market or goes out of business.)

What he found is that there is a fundamental difference between successful people (success being defined as the mainstream definition of attaining popularity and/or profit): they don’t get distracted or spend time/money/energy on a whole variety of things, rather they are moved by one big thing.

The name of this tool comes from Isaiah Berlin’s famous essay: The Hedgehog And The Fox.

  • Foxes have a pulse on everything, are interested in every opportunity, and strive to have it all.
  • Hedgehogs have figured out the one big thing that is most important to them, and they have a laser like focus on executing it.

In other words, they don’t stray from their path.

Now, perhaps your version of success does not fit the standard American ‘rich and famous’ definition.

The hedgehog concept benefits everyone: whether you want to be the CEO of multimillion dollar company with corner offices in Manhattan’s sky rise, or you want to quit your job and travel the world with nothing but the boho chic clothes on your back.

Understanding your vision, what you are exceptional at, and how you can achieve your dreams financially is essential to living life on purpose.

ANA MCRAE

The reason this is so critical? It’s because…

You can’t be great at everything; there simply isn’t enough time.

In Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers, he writes of the 10,000 hour rule: to become an expert at something, you have to put in 10,000 hours of practice.

You can imagine this becomes difficult if you have multiple interests all competing for the same invaluable resource: your time.

Sure, you can be good at many things, but you can’t be world class at more than one or two. Everything takes a sacrifice.

That’s why prioritizing what’s most important to you is critical. Chasing dreams that bring you true happiness is non negotiable. Living intentionally in a way that brings you joy is essential.

Related post: Are You Working On The Right Goals?

If you’ve been struggling with having enough time to do the things that bring you joy, you can learn how to increase your productivity, optimize your environment for success, increase your focus, boost your motivation, prioritize effectively, and get ahead fast by taking our time management 101 e course.

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Luckily, living a meaningful, fulfilling, and successful life is simply about finding the common threads between what you’re excellent at, what brings you joy, and what makes you money.

It’s about uncovering the underlying values behind why you do what you do, and then living in alignment with them.

The tool we use for this activity is the hedgehog, which combines your passion, your talents, and your need to make money into one intersecting venn diagram which pinpoints the direction you’ll be most successful in heading.

Here is the step by step guide for using the hedgehog concept to clarify your purpose, talents, and financial requirements.

You can purchase the template for 5$ at our store, and print unlimited copies while you do this exercise!

hedgehog concept; life vision; tools for clarifying your life purpose

Step One: Clarify Your Vision

The first step in creating your personal hedgehog is to figure out your vision.

Ask yourself:

  • What are you deeply passionate about?
  • What lights a fire inside your soul?
  • If you could only change one thing in the world, what would it be?

Related post: Finding Your Purpose With 10 Questions

You don’t have to have any idea how to actually do these things. Don’t let that stop you from coming up with the kind of work that you would jump out of bed every morning for.

If you could dream bigger than you’ve ever let yourself dream before, what would be your vision for your life?

Step Two: Identify Your Unique Ability

Your unique ability (you can also think of it as your value proposition) is all about the value that you bring to the world and the people in it.

We live out our purpose by solving problems for others. That’s what brings joy and meaning to our lives.

To uncover your unique ability, you need answers to the following questions:

  • What are you the best in the world at?
  • What do people count on you for?
  • What could you do all day long?
  • What gives you energy?
  • What is your superpower?

Often times, it takes asking OTHER PEOPLE these questions so that they can show you something you don’t see in yourself.

Your unique ability is often something you’ve been doing your whole life. You don’t see it as anything special.

When I asked some of my colleagues these questions, I was shocked that they believed I was phenomenal at bringing a group of people together to focus on a common goal, leading meetings and workshops in an energetic manner, and figuring out tiny logistical details without losing sight of the bigger picture.

Doesn’t everybody do that? The answer is no. You might need someone to help you see that.

The other shocking part I found in this exercise was that people who had never met before said the exact same things about me.

Your unique ability will radiate into all aspects of your life.

People who are strangers to each other, but know you well, will likely point out very common qualities in you. It might be a bit disturbing. 🙂

What are you exceptional at?

Step Three: Determine Your Financial Model

This is about getting a holistic view of all of the ways you can finance your dream.

What are your current income streams? What are potential income streams you could tap into? If you were living out your vision, where would the money come from? What drives the economic engine behind your dream?

First, set a goal for how much money you want to be making.

And remember, money is good! There is no shame in wanting to make a billion dollars. Money is one of the greatest tools we can use to make an impact in the world! More money for you does NOT mean less money for somebody else. Wanting money is not greedy. I could go on and on but I will save it for a separate post.

Figure out exactly how much money you would like to make to be able to live the life you dream of and to have the impact you’re striving for.

Then, brainstorm all of the different ways you could make this money.

After a quick process of elimination, identify the top 2-5 income generating products/services/activities you will create, deliver, or participate in to achieve your wealth goals.

Step Four: Finalize Your Hedgehog

At this point, you have a rough idea of your vision, value proposition, and wealth plan.

Step four is the most important: getting crystal clear on each of these areas and removing any ambiguity is what will allow you to take effective action and build the life you love.

So, in really concise but specific sentences, fill in the hedgehog:

  • What is your vision for your life? The one thing that you want more than anything else?
  • What is your value proposition? What’s something you could be the best in the world at that would allow you to play at the level you envision?
  • What’s your financial model? How will you be making the money you need to live your dream life?

Once you find the answers that support each other, you’ve got your hedgehog.

It will be your north star in your personal growth journey.

It will provide the clarity you need to make decisions during a fork in the road.

It will keep you focused on what really matters and what you have the best chance of succeeding in.

It will prevent distractions from taking over your time and energy.

Keep in mind that when the good-to-great companies finally grasped their Hedgehog Concept, it had none of the tiresome, irritating blasts of mindless bravado typical of the comparison companies. “Yep, we could be the best at that” was stated as the recognition of a fact, no more startling than observing that the sky is blue or the grass is green. When you get your Hedgehog Concept right, it has the quiet ping of truth, like a single, clear, perfectly struck note hanging in the air in the hushed silence of a full auditorium at the end of a quiet movement of a Mozart piano concerto. There is no need to say much of anything; the quiet truth speaks for itself.

JIM COLLINS

If you’d like more guidance through this process, I would love to work with you one on one to help you get it right. As an experienced life coach, I challenge high achievers to overcome perfectionism, procrastination, and indecision so that they can create an unbelievable life exploding with joy.

Don’t forget to purchase your hedgehog template!

If you found this article valuable, I’d love for you to share it on Pinterest. Together we can inspire more people to live their dream lives.

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What is your vision for life? Let me know in the comments below!

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