Dr. Polo DeCano
Position at the Hallowell Todaro ADHD Center:
How long have you been working at the Hallowell Todaro ADHD Center?
What time is it? (JK). For about one month.
Where did you grow up?
I’m a native Seattleite. I grew up in South Seattle.
What are your favorite books / TV shows / movies?
Books: Anything I finish - Spy Novels; suspense
TV Shows: Game of Thrones was good; Ozarks; a little New Girl; any Mariner game
Movies: Interstellar; Inception; Shawshank Redemption; Goal! The dream begins; The Natural; Rudy; so many more
What is your favorite sport and/or sports team?
All Seattle sports.
Complete the following sentences:
When I’m not at work, you can find me....
playing soccer, tennis, softball, golfing or skiing or golfing or wishing I was golfing; or with my wife doing anything or chillin’ at home and cooking. Unless I’m out of the country exploring this beautiful world.
When I want to de-stress, I...
like to cook or play golf.
My favorite time of year is...
Early Fall and winter--when the air is crisp.
My favorite thing to cook is...
tacos, a hodge-podge of a meaty pasta sauce or garlic fried spare-ribs.
The best gift I ever received was...
a wonderful family, my health, positivity and an absolute love for people.
If I could travel anywhere in the world, I’d go to...
an undiscovered, yet habitable planet that has a teleportation device connected to my home so I could explore!!! Also, Barcelona….and I love New Zealand.
What led you to pursue a career helping others?
I had always had an inclination to support others wherever I felt I could, and most often that was in the form of finding a helpful perspective. Paired with my desire to be an international soccer superstar or world series MVP shortstop for the Mariners, but not having the physical ability, I aspired to support mental health in athletics. I had observed athletes with the physical ability not reach their athletic potential because of barriers I thought could be overcome with the support of a mental health professional, so I sought to get an education to do that work and help these individuals achieve their potential.
I now understand more than I knew at that time and strive to support individuals, in general, to be their best selves, and in the case of athletes, their lives as athletes is so brief relative to the rest of their lives, supporting their wellness with skills that will help them perform in their chosen athletic endeavors as well as in their lives outside of sport and going forward is a very fulfilling prospect.
What education, skills and expertise do you bring to your role?
I’ve had an aim of supporting a population with a central focus on performance and competition (athletes). As such, I understand constructs related to motivation and optimal performance in addition to mental health and wellness. This prepares me to help people through challenges by fostering a positive stress-mindset, defining success according to criteria that are in their control and enhancing their self-awareness, among other strategies related to positive psychology.
In addition, through my lens as a school psychologist, I’m inclined to be preventative in my efforts to promote wellness. A foundational piece of those preventative efforts is by using a framework of resilience to guide my work and optimizing performance, wellness and happiness. I’ve worked with children, adolescents, emerging adults, adults, parents, teachers, coaches and athletes to promote resilience and wellness and love every opportunity I have to do so.
Who/what inspires you?
What inspires me is when people try; when they are vulnerable enough to put themselves out there, get into the arena and try. This effort can show up in matters of injustice, inequity and in everyday challenges. An inspiration and joy of life is endeavoring, achieving, growing, looking back, savoring and doing it all over again. The journey is the joy and inspiration.
What’s your personal philosophy/approach toward the work you do?
People have such great potential and it is my hope to connect them with getting as close to that potential as possible. I believe that we never reach our potential because with continued effort and growth, our potential also grows. Our job is to continue to push toward that potential to reach as far as we can in any endeavor—and enjoy as much as we can along the way.
What is one small thing people can do to improve their lives and increase their happiness?
Smile. Pause and smile. Connect with something you’re for which you are grateful. It can take a fraction of a second to be thankful. Release those positive chemicals that come with gratitude and positive emotions because they can undo the wicked cycle of negative thinking. And smile when you feel stressed. Really smile. Know that the feeling of stress is the biological response indicating that your body is preparing itself for a challenge. You’re ready! Doing this will change the profile of the blood vessels from one that leads to panic, to one that occurs during courage and joy and better allows access to creativity and positively engaging challenges. Be energized by that stress. There is always a solution or perspective that can allow for positive outcomes and joy. Adapt and persevere and you can thrive!
At the Hallowell Todaro Center, we provide a range of services, including but not limited to therapy and coaching for ADHD.