Finding harmony and balance during the constraints of a pandemic came to the forefront during the final Alumni Information Series of the 2020-21 school year.
Hosted by the St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) Alumni Association, featuring special guests Daryl Devonish '87 and Dr. Cassidy Preston '05, alumni representing seven decades at SMCS tuned into the virtual event.
"The principle of slowing down to speed up was the focus and goal of this Alumni Information Series. We need pit stops, we need time to transition, recover, and reenergize. I encourage people to develop habits in the morning, during the day, and in the evening that will help them slow down so that they can speed up,” says Preston, who received his PhD in Sport and Performance Psychology from York University and is the founder of Consistent Elite Performance. “Strategies such as setting intentions, reflection, mindfulness, exercise, or planning are the little things that when done consistently will make a big difference. Lastly, you will optimize your growth by sharing with an accountability partner or investing in a coach."
The panel offered specific tips on building self-confidence and provided advice on getting to the root cause of self-doubt. They introduced the concept of ‘BFS’ – body language, focus, and self-talk – and explained that confidence comes from how we present ourselves, what our focus is, and how we speak to ourselves.
“They provided proven strategies from their work in ways easy to understand and implement,” shares Francesco Bazzocchi '83. “It was a pleasure to listen to Cassidy and Daryl, just terrific!"
With over 30 years of experience from working in the fitness industry, Devonish discussed strategies dealing with adversity and the importance of breathing. He teaches ‘the 6-2-8 method’, inhale for a count of six – hold for a count of two – exhale for a count of eight, to calm stress and nerves and encouraged viewers to find a method that works best for them. Preston offered three strategies to start each day with purpose. He recommends starting each morning by setting your intentions, taking note of how you are staying present, and ending your day with reflections and a plan for the following day. Devonish refers to this method as mindfulness as he believes “if you have no direction and live randomly, you get random results.”
“I attended this awesome information series because I’m at a natural pivot point after recently finishing my master’s and I wanted to hear their thoughts on what to do at this point of my life,” says Alexander Mayhew ’14. “The conversation highlighted that if you are at a natural rest point then take the time to rest and invest in yourself. You can’t always be going at 150%, you need to reflect, think about who you want to be, and what you have to do to get there. The key takeaway for me was to remember you have choices, do not ever say I cannot do something because it will distract from your goal. You have the ability to make choices, so go ahead and make the decisions you know that will help keep you on track. Work towards your infinite game, it’s about making life-changing habits not just a 2021 goal.”
“An important idea conveyed by the speakers is that ‘success is a system’. To be the person you envision yourself to be, you have to ‘move slow to go fast’,” reflects Kenneth Aidoo '19. “Your success comes from planning and writing down your goals and making progressive decisions that lead to fulfilling those goals. Over time, habitually making good decisions has an effect, which compounded over several years will help you realize your dreams.”
If you missed this installment of Creating a healthy lifestyle, watch it here: