How well do you know your ABCs?

Friday, 25th February, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 25

Before I start, just to clarify … this isn’t about knowing your alphabet, or spellings!

Rather – consider this scenario …

James is sitting in traffic on his way to deliver a seminar at a regional conference. He’s thinking “If this traffic doesn’t move soon, I’m going to be late. There are lots of people expecting me. Why didn’t I leave half an hour earlier or take the train?” He feels completely helpless; the more he realises he can’t do anything, the more angry he gets. His anger turns to dread, which turns into panic. He starts to see the business he’ll lose as a result.

Craig is about 4 cars behind in the same queue. He’s also going to the same conference, and is giving the keynote speech. He realises there’s nothing he can do about the traffic, that there’s no point worrying, and realises a better use of his time would be to practise his speech.

Anne is 4 cars ahead of James. She’s one of the main conference organisers. She has spent the last 10 minutes on the phone (hands free, of course!) to the traffic helpline trying to find out how big the jam is. She’s left a message at the conference centre telling the staff about the situation, and suggests other conference attendees may be in the same queue. She’s asked if the morning can be rearranged to move the informal networking session to first thing, allowing people more time to get there.

3 people in the same situation, each with different ways of dealing with it.

James isn’t dealing with it at all. Craig has a different reaction, deciding to relax rather than stress about it. Whilst Anne has decided upon a problem-focused strategy. She’s looked at what she can do practically, and started to implement a plan.

So what are the ABCs?

We are often faced with pressures; how we perceive them is down to us. We can choose to see them positively or negatively, and the choice we make is down to what we believe about ourselves. Dr Albert Ellis, an American psychologist developed the ABC Model which explores this behaviour pattern. He suggests we don’t go through hard times because of the actual events that happen in our lives, but because of the negative ways we react to them.

A = Activating event (e.g. the queue of traffic)

B = Belief about this event (e.g. lots of people will feel let down; loss of business)

C = Consequence (emotional) of having this belief (e.g. feeling stressed, panicked, anger)

In tomorrow’s blog I’ll be suggesting a few tactics you can use for dealing with pressurised situations. In the meantime – consider the different responses you could have about an event that puts you under pressure.


debbie019 fThank you for taking time to read this blog.

I’m Debbie Inglis, a performance coach, mentor and trainer, working with Heads, Principals, School leaders and their teams to maximise leadership performance, create more effective, confident, and motivated teams … in a way that brings out the best in you.

If you’re interested in my services, please get in touch, and you can read more here.