The Truth About Resilience: Why Real-Life Resilience is Different Than We Think — Taryn Stejskal, PhD

Jennifer Woods
Jun 17, 2019 · 3 min read

I had the privilege of speaking to Taryn Stejskal, PhD.

Dr. Taryn Stejskal is a thought leader with a prolific blog and a budding podcast, Grow Forward, focused on cultivating her listeners’ resilience and full potential. She is the author of the copyrighted “The Five Practices of Particularly Resilient People”, which is expected to release as a book in 2020.

I asked for her top three tips on how we can all be resilient and move forward when we hit challenges in our life.

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Dr. Taryn will be sharing her tips each month.

The three resilient truths are:

1. Resilient people bounce forward, not back

2. Resilient people take an active approach to facing challenges

3. Resilient people are made, not born

Truth #1 — Resilient People Bounce Forward, Not Back

So often, people talk about resilience as being synonymous with “bouncing back”. Yet, no one returns to the person or state they were in prior to facing a challenge. Facing challenge means that, through experience, we are fundamentally and forever changed.

We set ourselves up for disappointment, even depression, when the message we receive about resilience is that the pieces of our lives that broke apart amid challenge, change, and complexity will be neatly pressed back together into the same picture of who we used to be before. Knowing that we never go back to exactly the way we were before is pivotal in harnessing the power of resilience.

Truth #2 — Resilient People Take an Active Approach to Facing Challenge

Many people think resilience is something that happens to us, without effort, like binge-watching a Netflix series. That is if we just sit down in front of a screen and press play, a resilient plotline of our lives with unfurl in front of us. Time will march forward, without much effort on our part, and heal all our wounds. Resilience is more like the making of a Netflix series than watching one. It is the active creation of the person we would like to become and the cultivation of the life we wish to lead.

Truth #3 — Resilient People are Made, Not Born

Okay, you’re right, all people are born. But resilient people are made. Here’s the good news: all of us can become more resilient through our choices and actions. We are not inoculated with a finite amount of resilience at birth and left to live out our lives on this limited resilience supply. If you’re someone that has experienced a significant amount of challenge, either positive or adverse challenge, inherent in each of these experiences, you can build your resilience muscles. Are you a person who has experienced more adverse challenge than a positive challenge? If so, I have good news for you about your resilience: People typically mature more from adverse challenges, losses, and failures, than they do from positive challenges.

While all challenge, change, and complexity have the propensity to build character, adverse challenges are a particularly potent opportunity for us to grow and develop as people. Understanding how we can best flex our resilience muscles allows all of us to further harness the power of resilience in our daily lives.

About Dr. Taryn Stejskal

Dr. Taryn Stejskal holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan, obtained a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), and earned a doctorate degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, and completed pre- and post-doctoral fellowships funded by the prestigious National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in Neuropsychology from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Medical Center in Richmond, VA. Taryn is an invited member of Summit as well as an active contributor to several distinguished organizations inclusive of the Human Capital Institute (HCI), The Conference Board’s (TBC) Leadership Development Council, and the International Coaching Federation (ICF) along with being voted one of the top three most inspirational talks for DisruptHR NYC in 2017.

For More Information Visit: www.resilience-leadership.com

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