Embrace your inner Hedgehog!

As I was sorting out my office and getting new furniture setup I came across some scratch notes from when I listened to the audio of Jim Collin’s Good to Great book last year.

The notes were about the hedgehog concept in particular and it is a pretty interesting concept. I strongly believe it was one of the motivating factors in my going independent in the SQL DBA world, starting my own company and getting more involved with the SQL Server communities.

The whole concept is based on the intersection of 3 circles in your life (or a company’s life):


hedgehog     1) What you can be the best in the world at: What is that thing deep in your genetic programming you feel you are meant to do?

2) What best drives your economic engine: What do people pay you to do?


3) What in the world are you passionate doing: What would you do if money was no object and you would still be happy doing the work.




Beware the blinders!


They key to the Hedgehog concept is that 2 out of 3 are not good enough. There are a lot of people out there with blinders on thinking that just having 2 of 3 is good, and I can agree that it seems that way. but I can almost guarantee that if you get all 3 you will feel a lot better about things.

If you have just 1 & 3 and not 2, you wind up frustrated. It is very hard to be very good at something, and love doing it, yet not see any profit in it for you on the monetary side. Sure, there are some people that seem to be very happy doing this type of thing, but I bet there is a little thorn in their side about their economic situation.

1 & 2 without 3 just isn’t worth it. Do you really want to be the best at what you do, and get paid well, but have no passion about what you are doing? I got into this situation with BI work. I spent a lot of time getting extremely good, and well paid for the reporting and data analysis I could do, but after many, many years, I lost the passion for it. It became tedious. I dreaded getting up and and going to do the same thing just to maintain.

Just having 2 & 3 leads to another imbalance. Believe it or not, it gets worrying & frustrating being passionate about what you do, and to be getting reimbursed well for it. If you aren’t the best at it, what is keeping you where you are? What is preventing the powers that be from replacing you with someone that is the best in the world at what they do that will accept the other conditions you have.


Be a Happy Hedgehog!

Pascal, 18 days old

The goal is to have all 3 situations happening and to live in the intersection if possible. The best way to get to this point is to get a concept together over a series of years and then implement it. The notes I have say plan for 4 years to get the concept and 7 years to implement to get to the happy middle ground. It is a long time, but I know I started working on it.

I started by asking people that I trusted to help determine what my Hedgehog intersection is. Well, at least what they see it as since they can see in me what I can’t see in myself. I never did ask directly, but rather indirectly through a series of questions over time.

While writing this post I realized I am almost  2 years into the concept phase. I am surprised at how much there is to be done, but I am also amazed at how far I’ve come along personally and professionally in getting this phase together. I doubt I’m patient enough to make it drag out to 11 years, but that number is a suggestions, a guideline, that I am hoping I can beat. Darn that competitive streak.

In summary, I highly recommend getting the book and reading through it. It is amazing the difference it can make in your life, even if you just take the basic fun concepts from it.


Time to share!


How about you? Are you in the Happy Hedgehog intersection? Share your questions, thoughts or experiences!

As a bonus to motivate you & since stores are already into the Holiday mode, here is a video with some Hedgehogs singing Christmas Carols to help motivate you!

(created by Bird Box Studios, they do make some crazy fun things!)



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