Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking to 90 girls at Iona College who are graduating today or are moving into their last year of high school. The school’s motto is “Empowering Girls for Life” and that is what they do.
Preparing youth for adulthood is one thing and just getting through youth is another. The demands and pressures from all sides have caused a dramatic increase in stress, anxiety and depression in our youth around the world.
Iona College is doing something about it. They believe it is their moral responsibility to teach youth a skill set in how to handle stress and the pressures of modern day society, supporting them to perform better and preparing them for life.
A small school of approx 350 girls age 10–18 years old, with more than half of them boarders, they have studied…
- An 8–10 step mindfulness course.
- VIA Character Strengths course.
- Positive psychology e.g. Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset.
The results have been outstanding. Not only has the girl’s hockey team gone onto win their first national school’s championship, but there has also been a decrease in anxiety and an improvement in relationships, gratitude and joy.
My talk, based on The Evolutionary Leader – 5 steps to dramatically develop people and performance, covered three topics:
- Mastery of Mind
- Mastery of Emotions
- Presence equals Performance
They learnt techniques that are used by professional athletes to lead their thoughts and feelings, reduce stress, still their mind and perform to their best. We also focused on climate change and what their role is in making their mark in the world.
High Schools and Colleges around the world have a lot to learn from this small in size but big in character all-girls school in New Zealand. The future is bright when the future leaders of the world are learning to lead themselves first.