By Shelley



Just like you, I’m balancing being a parent with business. Okay, I am not balancing at all; I’m embracing my full crazy life and learning. Truly, that is all I can ask of myself. Fall is a busy season and an excellent reminder to be compassionate with not only our clients but ourselves as well! Autumn normally brings a flurry of activity, so times for quiet reflection, breathing and adjusting to our new schedules are essential. The changing season invites different emotions, from the anticipation of Halloween, back-to-school events and of course, family Thanksgiving! This year was a September full of changes for our entire family. My son changed schools, I revamped my website, narrowed my niche, started a new exercise regime and on top of that, embarked upon another marketing course. I felt an incredible amount of pressure, so I decided to take time to reflect. I came up with a plan to increase my walks, for both exercise and calm, while savoring the color, smells and sounds of fall. Meditative walks usually give me a more positive outlook. During these walks, my usual flurry of emotion evolved into a nice sense of peace, as my mind chatter began to decrease. Instead of lamenting the disappearing summer and upcoming hectic schedule, I began to appreciate the changes of the season just as they are. Often just being present and grateful for the here and now brings a sense of happiness and increased optimism. So what is optimism? I will define this according to Dr. Laura Belsten.

“Expecting success rather than failure, seeing an opportunity rather than a threat; seeing others positively; expecting the future to bring positive change, that things will be better.”

After one of my walks, an unresolved issue kept arising. Without intervention and accountability, this would have turned into wasted energy and worry! I mentally reached into my CALM Power toolbox for a strategy that helps gain conscious control over my thinking, while also building new behavioral patterns. It is called the ABCDE method (The EQ Edge – S. Stein & H. Book). I’ve trained my brain to use this as a means of gaining awareness into what I am feeling, including false beliefs or negative self-talk. This exercise can be used after you are calm to gain perspective, or as a tool to stop you from reacting in ways that are unproductive or harmful to yourself or others. I’ve used this with countless clients and they tend to report huge insights. You can try this with your kids, as well!

Here’s how it works:

The letters are an acronym designed to help you remember the sequence of events to use when feeling overwhelmed or negative:

A – Activating Event

B – Belief

C – Consequence

D – Debate and Dispute (the belief)

E – Emotional Effect (of debate and dispute) = Energy

Think about a time when you reacted negatively or self-critically to a comment made by a colleague or family member. As a result, the conversation took an unproductive turn and you may have become frustrated, defensive or angry. You could feel it happening, but felt powerless to pull yourself out of the reactionary pattern.

Now use the ABCDE method to either re-evaluate that incident or in the future when you are experiencing a negative situation. Here’s a simple example from my life:

A – Activating Event– My husband promised not to work on Wednesday night so I could catch up on paperwork. He forgot and booked an appointment

B – Belief– He is not supporting my business and does not see how hard I work to be both a great mom and business owner! The negative self–talk fest begins!

C – Consequence– Anger, resentment, anxiety and a possible argument.

D – Debate and Dispute (belief)- He has always been very supportive in the past. I have also mixed up dates and scedules, no one is perfect. I bet he feels he let me down. It is not the worst thing to have happened. I certainly can make up the time; it was not an emergency. Forgive and move on.

E – Emotional Effect (or debate and dispute) also called ENERGIZATION– I felt calmer and was able to regroup. I had a nice night with my son. This time was very peaceful and I realized the paperwork was not vital, just something that was in the background worrying me. I felt that I increased my competency of not only optimism, but flexibility. Pat on the back!

Feel free to share your examples of when you have used (or wish you could have used!) the ABCDE method. I’m using it today because my computer has a virus! Just breathe first Shelley.

Learn more about Shelley Cox at I’ll introduce you to 4 Key Leadership MINDSET habits and competencies that will transform your leadership tantrums into CALM Power, to attract more money, visibility, and business growth.