One term that’s used in goal setting is the BHAG—that stands for the Big Hairy Audacious Goal. (No, I’m not making this up.) Even if your goals are neither hairy nor audacious, the principle of setting goals and maintaining awareness of them aligns well with choice theory.
Let’s see how awareness of her BHAG might affect Missy. Although still young, she already has a history of unsatisfactory work experiences. Her unhappiness doesn’t stem from the work; it is always related to difficult relationships with coworkers.
In Missy’s eyes, she could work just fine if others would only “leave her alone.” Her perception is that she is singled out, picked on, even bullied, until she becomes so stressed and discouraged that she is forced to quit.
Missy’s BHAG is simple. She wants her own apartment in a new town. That is, she wants to start over, where no one knows her. That goal requires money, of course, so she needs a permanent job.
Missy’s goal may not seem big or audacious at all to you, but to her, it is! How might this goal affect her choices?
Missy now has a job opportunity. She’s comfortable with the type of work; she’s done it before. However, she has a serious concern, and considering her history, concern is warranted. Will the other workers accept her? Will she get along? Or, as she perceives has happened in the past, will they drive her out?
From a choice theory perspective, no matter what happens, Missy can control her own responses. Consider her worst fear: her coworkers hate her instantly and they let her know. If that happens, what can Missy do?
She may choose to leave, as she has done before. However, if she keeps her BHAG at the top of her mind, she will remain aware that she needs the job. She’s working to provide the money that will lead her to independence. If she leaves, she would once again be hurting herself; putting a barrier between her and her goal.
With that cause-effect relationship clear to her, Missy may choose to not take the first piece of negative feedback that she receives as an indication that she must leave!
Along with this cause-effect relationship, it would be helpful for Missy to consider how she forms her perceptions.
It’s certainly true that there are people, in workplaces and everywhere else, whose goal seems to be to try to “make” other people miserable. However, it’s unlikely that any workplace will be jam-packed with only folks who have that mission!
Missy could try adopting an attitude of, “No matter what happens, I am going to choose to believe that people like me, and I’m going to behave as if they do.”
This attitude won’t hurt Missy, and it may well help her, particularly during those early days before she has made friends. Keeping her BHAG in mind will help too, as she will have a constant reminder of why she is putting herself through the fear of working with strangers.
Do you have a BHAG? You are welcome to share it with me