P is for Performance.

Updated: Feb 6

In the next few blog posts, I will share more about the PRIDE coaching model segments. I gave an overview of the whole thing in my first blog, and now, week by week, I will unpack the concepts a little more and give some examples of how they work in practice.

P is for performance; the aggregate of internal and external behaviour, alongside the inventory of possessions, career status, the immediate environment, relationships, and so on. It is summarised more specifically as the 'Performance of self in everyday life'. Incidentally, this is the title of a book by Irving Goffman whose work has influenced my thinking.

Within the PRIDE model, we look at performance as objectively as possible and often begin by cataloguing thoughts on paper. By no means is this a new idea. Many of my teachers have taught me to do work of this sort in different ways. Everyone has their spin on it, though they each request something specific.

You might recognise Thought Cataloguing as Morning Pages, a Thought Download, or a Brain Dump. I've also heard it called automatic writing, free form journaling and thought-streaming. Whatever approach you take, the point of the exercise is to get thoughts out of your head and on to a page where you can see them. This creates awareness of what's going on in the brain and helps us understand how we currently relate to life. A person can then acknowledge their own performance and figure out whether it is happening by default or deliberately. You may sometimes think 'life is happening to me' (default) or you may think 'I've got this, I'm gonna nail it'. This will all show up in the catalogue where you will start to see that both thoughts are optional, then at that point it's time to start choosing.

As simple as it seems the work is challenging, it took a few weeks for me to be able to catalogue my thoughts honestly. I've written before about my embarrassed of the things I found in my mind. And I would censor them. Eventually, I was able to separate myself from the thoughts, and as they hit the paper, I began to see the absurdity of them.

I noticed that in the same way that the lungs have the capacity to breath on their own; the brain also does a lot of thinking independently and unsupervised. And in the same way that I can take control and be deliberate with my breathing; I can also be more purposeful with my thoughts. Cataloguing is the supervision that my brain had been missing for years, easy to do alone but mindblowing with a coach along side.

From an LGBTQ+ & Neurodiverse perspective, this practice was especially enriching and satisfying. It helped me recognise that many of the thoughts I had about myself were based on what I believed my family thought about homosexuality. I realised that a lot of my fears and worries belonged to my mum, and I finally saw imposter syndrome as being made up of concerns about what other people are thinking. That was just the groundwork, revelatory in itself but revelations require action. Revelatons invite me to be deliberate about my performance. That's where the rest of the model comes in.

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