The Hedgehog Concept for Individuals

How can you give yourself the best chance to do good work consistently and set yourself up to do great work?

That’s what The Hedgehog Concept is designed to do, an idea originally presented by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great and revisited in his conversation with Tim Ferriss, where he applied this concept to individuals instead of just businesses.

At the core of this idea is a Venn diagram that has three components to it:

  • Finding work that you’re passionate about. You have to care about what you’re doing and care about the impact that work has on others.
  • Doing work that you’re encoded for. That is, work that uses the strengths of your unique combination of nature and nurture.
  • You have an economic engine to support your work. If you’re not able to pay the bills and put food on the table, it’s going to be hard to keep devoting time and energy to this work that you care about.

The goal, then, is to land at the intersection of this diagram.

The Hedgehog Concept for Individuals

The Hedgehog Concept is a way to visualize what it takes to make the leap from good to great.

I’m about 10 years into my journey trying to land at that intersection. It was about a decade ago that I first got into sketching out ideas, initially as a hobby then slowly making it my career.

I’m passionate about this work because I enjoy learning. I enjoy sharing interesting ideas with others and teaching folks these skills, the skill of sketching out ideas.

It feels like something I’m encoded for because tutoring and teaching have been part of my life since high school, and I’ve always been a fairly independent person so creating my own career that I can shape myself feels natural to me.

And over time I’ve built up an economic engine to support myself with this. My economic engine comes partly from YouTube, not yet the new Doug Neill channel but the first one, Verbal to Visual, as as well as the courses and community where I teach these visual note-taking skills.

That’s not to say that I’ve figured everything out, or even that I’m at the very center of this intersection. I’m probably somewhere around the outside of it right now, but slowly over time I’m trying to work my way more and more towards the very center.

You can learn more about The Hedgehog Concept here.

Learn How to Take Visual Notes

If you’d like to learn how to take visual notes like those I shared above, come join us inside of Verbal to Visual.

There you’ll find a full library of sketchnoting courses and regular live workshops to help you build your skills:

You can learn more and sign up here.