The B.A.C.K. Technique is a four-step, fast-acting process that Michelle DeAngelis developed to help you solve everyday problems while still enjoying the moment. Important! This process helps you choose how to respond to problems or situations instead of reacting without thinking. It is based on data from research conducted by Benjamin Libet at UCSF back in the 1970’s, when he proved that there is a delay of .2 to .5 seconds between stimulus and response (between when you hear “you’re fired” and when you say “screw you.” Oops). This one-half of a second is very important: it lets your reptilian brain get out of the way (the one that says and does things we often regret) and puts your sophisticated neocortex in charge, so you can CHOOSE how to respond to any urge. ANY URGE.
The BACK Technique is designed to take advantage of this one-half of a second. THAT is when you “hit the brakes” and get BACK on track. Practice BACK so that it becomes your default response when problems or urges come flying at you.
- Kick into gear
Breathe. Don't react. Just notice that this is a "wow" moment and know that you are officially on the first step of a Joyride.
Acknowledge what you feel as a result of that "wow." That's right. You can react now, on the inside. Feel it. Wallow around in it. But don't set up camp there.
Choose to feel differently. You may think your feelings choose you and they "just are," but how you feel is a choice. You have some important choices to make: What is your desired outcome? And what do you NOT want to happen?
Kick into gear. Act on your choice by asking yourself, "What would the best me do to get that desired outcome?" and then do it.
Here is an example of how to use the B.A.C.K. Technique from Get A Life That Doesn't Suck:
You've just treated a new client to a great dinner at one of your city's finest restaurants. The evening has been a great success, and you're feeling really jazzed about all the positive potential that this client brings to the table. Just as you have the final toast to your future endeavors together, your server brings your credit card back to the table and says, "Is there another card you'd like to use?" Translated, this means, "Your credit card wasn't accepted."
Hit the brakes! Get BACK on track.
B = Breathe.
What the hell? It definitely should have been accepted. Breathe... dammit! Why didn't I bring another card as backup? Breathe...
A = Acknowledge how you feel about the situation.
My credit card wasn't accepted - sucks - but I know I have at least $10,000 more available in my credit line. Something other than the balance must be blocking the charge.
C = Choose: What is my desired outcome? And what do I want to make sure does NOT happen?
I want to pay the bill within the next 10 minutes. I don't want my client to think I'm disorganized or financially irresponsible. I definitely don't want to ask him to pay the bill, even though I could write him a check and reimburse him tomorrow.
K = Kick into gear. What would the best me do?
I set my embarrassment aside. I tell the server I'll meet him up front to take care of it in a few minutes. I excuse myself and call the toll-free number on my credit card to find out what's up. It turns out the bank's computers are down and none of their credit transactions are going through. They said it could take hours to get all the systems back up and running. I explain the situation to the restaurant's manager. She agrees to run the charge again later that night. I leave the credit card and my passport with her and agree to pick them up the next day, after the transaction has gone through.