I’m so glad you’re here! I’ve always been fascinated by people - in particular, what allows people to be at their very best. In this quest to understand our potential, I found the power of resilience. Over the last decade, I have become an expert on Resilience and Leadership. It is my pleasure to share what I have learned with you!
But First, I wanted to tell you a little bit about myself and my purpose:
I’m Taryn. Dr. Stejskal (pronounced Stay – Skull) if you want to be formal, but let’s keep it more casual between us, since we’re just getting to know one another, okay?
I’m a corporate executive at a global Fortune 50 company, heading up leadership development, a writer, a Mom, an athlete, an international traveler, and a philanthropist.
If you asked me a decade ago about any of these pursuits, I wouldn’t have believed any of them was possible for me. I didn’t have confidence in my own abilities. Heck, I didn’t even really know what my abilities were. If you asked me, back then, what I was good at, I would have said something general like, “I’m a people person”. In addition to not truly knowing myself and appreciating my strengths, I definitely didn’t feel worthy to go after, let alone have, this big, expansive, exciting life, filled with global travel, and the opportunity to meet and inspire people across the world.
I’ll tell you more about my journey to know myself, and to understand my own worth and value in a moment – I call it a journey, because for me, learning to believe in myself and understand the extent of what I can achieve continues to unfold before me with each passing day, month, and year.
I grew up with undiagnosed dyslexia and a series of traumatic experiences in high school that left me with two decades of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In short, growing up, I didn’t think I was very smart, and I felt very afraid of the world a lot of the time.
So, how did I, with a learning disability and trauma symptoms manage to complete a doctorate degree, and go on to garner accomplishments beyond my wildest dreams?
First, it started slowly. Little by little, I began to see my potential. I wouldn’t volunteer to lead a project, but then think, as I watched the person in charge, “You know what, I think I could actually do that.” Next time, I stepped forward. Each time I stepped forward, I learned I had what it took to try something new. I learned that stepping outside of my comfort zone, getting comfortable, getting uncomfortable was key for growth and development. Each time I challenged myself, I built another molecule of confidence, and my confidence began to accumulate over time.
The second element that supported me on my journey is deeply knowing myself. I’ve kept journals of my thoughts and feelings since middle school. In my early 30s, I took my first leadership assessment that gave me valuable feedback on my strengths that make me unique as a person and as a leader. My eyes were opened wide to my capabilities, and for the first time, I understood, that I had a special ability to formulate strategy, communicate effectively with people, share a positive vision for the future, and stay focused to generate results.
The third and final element is the notion of resilience. I wanted to know why, when presented to challenge, some people flourished and others folded.
The third and final element is the notion of resilience. I wanted to know why, when presented to challenge, some people flourished and others folded. When challenge, change, and complexity inevitable arise, how can we as humans bounce forward and keep going? Well, that’s a great question. I’m glad you asked. This is a little bit of a longer story…. Stay with me now.
It started in middle school. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t interested in psychology. I would rush home from school or swim practice, finish my homework, and then wait for my phone to ring. Each evening, after dinner, I would have several friends call for advice on dealing with their parents, handling a breakup, or how to face an issue with a friend at school.
In that moment, I decided I wanted to focus on bridging the fields of marriage and family therapy and neuropsychology to help people who sustained brain and spinal cord injuries, and their families, understand the injury holistically, and provide the missing elements of mental, emotional, and spiritual healing.
After I completed my dissertation on a family intervention to help the patient and their loved ones better understand the neurological injury, and go on, to live their best lives, I knew I was ready for a new challenge. Interestingly, I had the opportunity to see patients with brain and spinal cord injuries when they were admitted to the hospital, and for many months, and sometimes even years, afterwards, in our out-patient clinic. What was striking to me was that, often, our initial diagnosis on a person’s rehabilitation was often wrong. Sometimes the patient did better than we thought. Sometimes worse than we thought, but rarely, did we accurately predict a person’s rehabilitation trajectory.
This lead me to start to read some of the current literature on resilience – the factors that help or hinder people as they face challenge. At that time, the word resilience seemed complex and not well defined, so I worked with my colleagues, and we devised a study on resilience factors after traumatic brain injury to help account for why people did significantly better or worse in their rehabilitation than we initially predicted.
This research on resilience in the realm of neurological injury lead me to want to know more about individual resilience when people face all kinds of challenge whether it is a new job, a cross country move, a new baby, or an unexpected health diagnosis. So, I began asking people a simple question “When you’ve faced a challenge in the past, what have you done to effectively face that challenge?”
Based on asking hundreds of people that question and collecting qualitative data, I developed the Five Practices of Particularly Resilient People, the behaviors that all of us can engage in to effectively address a myriad of challenges in our daily life, both large and small.
Which brings me to you. You’re reading this now because our paths have intersected, and I am so grateful they have. In short, resilience leadership is about supporting people in recognizing their worth and value, believe in themselves, appreciate their inherent strengths, recognize their skills and talents, and be more resilient in order to reach their full potential. When we are operating from a place of full potential, we have the greatest capacity to positively impact our world.
Check out the rest of this website. Resilient Leadership offers regular inspirational blogs, tips to build up a resilience practice, speaking dates, and in the near future, we’ll also have a published book! Stay tuned!