Desert Highway
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Sustaining the Journey

Developing Self-Directed Leaders and Learners - Identity

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative

Date:

July 13, 2015

The third edition of the Cognitive CoachingSM text is scheduled for publication in July. For the next two weeks, Sustaining the Journey will offer a sneak peak into Cognitive Coaching: Developing Self-Directed Leaders and Learners.

Costa and Garmston open the third edition with a new chapter on identity, challenging each of us to consider how identity shapes our lives.

Identity is the mental model each of us constructs of who we are as a unique self. This is an important concept because identity informs decisions and behaviors. The most powerful way to change behaviors is to change identity. The self, writes neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, is fluid. It is not a thing; rather it is a process (Damasio, 2010). One’s identity is in a constant and imperceptible gradual state of transformation. We create meaning from our interactions with others and with the environment. Identity emerges from the web of those interactions. It is not only how I see myself, but also the meanings I make from how others see me as a result of my interactions over time. There is no identity in isolation.*

What questions does this passage raise for you about your own identity? How has doing the work of Thinking Collaborative shaped your identity? What might be some things others would say about who you are? What might be some identities you want to hold that are still developing?

* Excerpted with permission from Chapter 2, “Identity.”

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