#131 How's Your Hedgehog?

3 Circles on What You’re Here to Do

Jim Collins is arguably the greatest business thinker alive. He’s written classics like Good to Great, Built to Last and Great by Choice in which he applies rigorous research to what makes great companies great.

One of my favorite ideas from his work is what he calls the Hedgehog Concept.

Here’s my super quick take:

Jim tells us that great businesses have figured out three key things: They know what they LOVE to do. They know what they can be GREAT at. And, they know how they will SERVE—meeting a need while creating a strong economic engine. We need to do the same thing for our personal lives. (And, of course, for our businesses if that’s our thing.)

So, imagine three Venn circles.

Our first circle represents what you LOVE to do. You love doing this so much that you’d actually PAY to do it. You pinch yourself that you get paid to wake up and crush this stuff.

The second circle represents what you can be truly GREAT at. Not merely competent or even really good at but world-class. Even, perhaps, the absolute best in the world.

Our final circle represents SERVICE. What need are we going to meet and how, specifically, are we going to meet that need? And, if we’re talking about a business, how are we going to get paid to meet that need?


The magic circles of purpose-driven greatness.

Today’s +1:

What do you LOVE?


What can you be truly GREAT at?


How will you SERVE? (And, if you’re in business, get paid to serve?)


Where do those three things meet?

Note: When I go through that model, I do so from a family perspective AND a professional perspective. From a family perspective, I’m the ONLY one who can be a great husband and father to my wife and kids. I love that role and I love them. I am committed to being great at it and the need is clear (although, obviously, there’s no “economic engine” to that facet of my life).

Professionally/creatively, I LOVE helping people Optimize their lives. We’re pretty much the only ones trying to create a platform that integrates Wisdom + Community + Engaged Virtue so we have the chance to be the absolute best and truly GREAT. Finally, there’s a big need and we’ve figured out the economic engine to help us SERVE as profoundly as we can.

How about you?


+1 + 2 + 3.