About

We are experts in the field of mindful performance.

A performance "of the first water" is a performance of the finest quality, brilliance and resilience.

When pushing our limits, the accomplishment of an intended aim or purpose is never guaranteed.

A whole cast of characters come along for the journey, including but not limited to fear, overwhelm, anxiety, doubt, uncertainty, complexity, setback and failure.

Through mindful choices, we help individuals and  teams optimize themselves to help navigate these inevitable challenges.

Whether you are lining up for an Olympic final, getting on stage for a big performance, navigating strategic change, improving team performance, launching a bold initiative, or simply showing up every day with more presence, compassion, and equanimity, First Water clients have one thing in common: a willingness to be the change in the world.

Mindfulness is how we “get to possible”.

We know, all too often, that when up against a big goal requiring individual and team change, rather than being motivated by the high bar, we can end up by giving up, or avoiding the risk out of fear of failure.

By making intentional shifts in our focus, narratives, experience, and perspectives, we cultivate the ability to live with greater possibility and once we can do that, anything can happen and the outcomes will take care of themselves.

Our Approach

Three elements are at the heart of First Water’s approach to designing innovative solutions.

Accessing your inner calm space helps reduce anxiety and improves your ability to focus and skillfully respond to stress or difficulty with  acceptance and awareness.

Understanding what makes you unique and authentic – much like the characteristics of water or a diamond – allowing you to be more resilient and in realizing your best self.

Experiencing happiness in moments of challenge. “Being like water” is to yield, flow, and to trust emergence with courage, playfulness, and grace.

Founder & Principal

Based in Montreal, Canada, Derek Covington is a certified mindful performance enhancement (mPEAK) instructor through the Centre for Mindfulness at the University California, San Diego. Through First Water Performance, he works with individuals, groups, and teams to help them live and perform mindfully.

Derek has created systems for elite performers and teams across the globe. His career spans nine Olympic Games as the Director of Olympic Performance for the Canadian Olympic Committee. As a former competitive national level athlete and coach, he learned first-hand the importance of mindfulness in achieving success – more than a series of techniques, but a personal journey.

Mindfulness Trainer/Coach

Based on the West Coast, Renae Stevenson splits her time between Vancouver Island and Greater Vancouver. Renae is an IMTA Certified Professional Mindfulness Teacher. After completing an interdisciplinary graduate degree in Leadership, Education and Mindfulness, she obtained her teaching designations in both MBSR and mPEAK from the UC San Diego’s School of Medicine. She is a fierce advocate for mindfulness and compassion skills training for emergency personnel, with over two decades of service as a municipal police officer in British Columbia working across a variety of specialty assignments.

Renae is a former professional hockey (NWHL) player, as well as Hockey Canada Certified Coach specializing in hockey training from Timbit to U21. She has a strong understanding of the needs of elite athletes and first responders. Renae’s greatest passion is her service work for First Water, leading philanthropic programming to eliminate financial barriers to mindfulness skills training – for non-profit organizations, schools, First Nations, and youth.

Why Mindfulness?

Organizations and teams that bring mindfulness into their environments show team members that their health and well-being are valued, while leaving team members empowered with tools and techniques to mindfully navigate their day – happier, focused and more productive.

Thanks to functional MRI studies we now understand that the brain can change in structure and function and can be trained like a muscle to:

  • Lead with more compassion, presence, and equanimity
  • Increase trust, collaboration, and decision making ability
  • Effectively leverage strengths and engagement
  • Strengthen resilience and increase awareness
  • Increase performance and productivity
  • Improve focus and concentration
  • Increase emotional intelligence, communication and teamwork
  • Lower anxiety, stress, and feeling of overwhelm
  • Improve immune systems, lower blood pressure, and better sleep