With their feet firmly planted on the floor, eyes closed and hands on their hearts, high school students silently reflected on one thing they were too hard on themselves about. Listening to the voice of Rachel Simmons, a best-selling author and self-proclaimed “recovering overachiever,” they learned strategies for navigating the pressures and demands of an overachieving society.
During her visit on Feb. 28, Simmons discussed with the students how to avoid overthinking and putting too much pressure on themselves to be great at everything they do. She urged them to push back against the demands of society and shared ways they can practice mindfulness and self-compassion.
“Do the things that you love, not just the things that you have to do,” Simmons said. “When you know why you are enough, you can push back. [You are enough] because of the person you are and [the reasons] why people love you. That to me is the ultimate success – when you know you are enough.”
Simmons – co-founder of Girls Leadership, a national nonprofit organization that is dedicated to developing leadership skills in girls – also spoke with Bronxville School faculty, as well as parents and community members during separate sessions at the auditorium. Her visit was generously sponsored by the Bronxville School Foundation and PTA b*Well Committee and coincided with her new book release, “Enough As She Is.”
“Rachel’s message was that we can and should want to achieve, and there are helpful strategies for coping with inevitable setbacks and associated pressures in ways that don’t compromise our integrity, our relationships and our mental health,” Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Mara Koetke said. “The ability to name these feelings and having our students know that they are not alone is key. I have talked with faculty, students and parents who learned practical strategies from her sessions and enjoyed her style and candor, which came through with each constituency group.”
In addition, Simmons’ visit aligned with the Bronxville School’s work with Challenge Success, the Bronxville Promise and middle school advisory.