What Does it Mean to be a PRO?

In the Narrative Coach model developed by Dr. David Drake, we have something called the PRO model.

This is one of the simplest and most useful everyday practices. PRO helps us come out of autopilot mode. Most of us are on autopilot mode most of the time. We are in reactivity. When we are ready to react, we are in stress.  For most humans, this happens 70% of the time.

So, with the PRO model we start to interrupt the cycle of becoming stressed and we regain control and power in an authentic way.

What does PRO mean? 

P stands for Pause. It’s like pressing the pause button on a TV remote. Why do you pause when you’re watching tv? Probably because you need to see a detail, or because you need to get up to do something. You pause because you want to pay attention, you don’t want to miss anything.

This first step in the model is powerful. Try pausing several times a day. Pause to smell the roses or pause for no reason. Set up an alarm on your phone to pause as often as you want —mine is set up to chime hourly (there are many apps available, I have the one offered by Plum Village since it includes many features and it is totally free).

Just pause. Take a moment to step out of the whirlwind of life.

R stands for Rest. We live in a society that is sleep deprived. We need more sleep. Period. However, this rest is an invitation to live in a regulated way. We all know how it feels to be regulated. We know when we make decisions or say something that makes us feel well and have positive results.

If we’re shaking or if our heart is beating faster, it might mean that our body is showing us we’re not regulated.

I also like to think of the R as Relax. To be relaxed is the opposite of being tense. Can we live more relaxed? Can we work more relaxed? Can we make decisions more relaxed? How can you relax? Perhaps pausing and releasing into a few breaths will do it. Perhaps taking a walk. Perhaps getting up and moving a bit right in front of your desk.

It can happen that after you’ve paused and feel regulated, you realize that you need more time to decide, you need to sleep on the decision or the issue.

When we’re regulated, we reach a point in the decision or interaction that we could have not reached in a state of tension. Coming from a rested and regulated place feels spacious, not contracted.

Lastly, the O stands for Open. When we can pause and rest and truly stay in the moment, we’re able to notice other possibilities. We’re also able to open to those possibilities, those we cannot notice if we’re inside the whirlwind of life —if we’re stressed and tense.   

Can you think of the next time you can practice being a PRO? This practice is like building a muscle. Start small. Perhaps in a low stakes situation or with someone who does not typically trigger you. It might be particularly powerful to practice PRO while doing something enjoyable, like having a cup of coffee. Pause, release, open.

With practice, you will be able to apply it in more complex situations and continue until it becomes second nature.

Happy PRO!