June 10th, 2021

Episode #27


The 5 Practices of Resilient People with Founder of Resilience Leadership Dr. Taryn Marie

Laura Dawn drops in with resilience epert Dr. Taryn Marie to explore the 5 practices of particularly resilient people.

Control says my life is falling apart. Surrender says maybe these are the things that need to fall away so that my life can fall together.
Dr. Taryn Marie


About This Episode:

Think about the last time you faced a major life challenge. What did you do to effectively navigate through that adversity?

This was the question at the forefront of the research that Dr. Taryn Marie conducted on resilience that led her to discover the five practices of resilient people. These are the real-time actions resilient people take to effectively face adversity. 

Dr. Taryn Marie is a foremost international expert on resilience, in both leadership and life. She is the former Head of Executive Leadership Development at Nike, Global Leadership Development at Cigna, and founded Resilience Leadership, where she serves as the Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), leveraging over a decade of research on resilience, that gave birth to the empirically-based framework that became the foundation for her book “Flourish or Fold: The 5 Practices of Particularly Resilient People.”

In this conversation, Taryn offers her unique definition of resilience, we cover the five practices, and we talk about neuroplasticity. Taryn also weaves in a central theme of exploring the nuance of paradoxes like the paradox of control and surrender, or universality and uniqueness.

Core Themes

Explored in this episode:
  • Resiliency
  • Surrender vs. control
  • Paradox
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Facing Adversity
  • Research

Links &

useful resources

Episode Transcript

Episode #27: Dr. Taryn Marie Psychedelic Leadership Podcast.

Duration: 01:18:42

Laura Dawn: Aloha Dr. Taryn Marie. Taryn Marie, it is such a pleasure to have you on the show today, it’s so nice to be dropping in with you.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Absolutely. What an honor to be here with you, aloha to you.

Laura Dawn: Yeah well, I’m so excited for this conversation you’re an expert in the field of resilient leadership, you have quite a remarkable background so I thought we could just start there. You’ve spent years studying the brain studying relationships you’ve also been working with resilient leaders in the corporate space so let’s just dive into a little bit of your background and talk about how you’ve arrived at where you are right now.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah, I’d love to do that. Well, you know what I love about doing these types of interviews. I think the best interviews are the ones where I get to sort of share something that’s going to be meaningful or move the audience. Your audience in some way. And then it’s also nice to be taken to places that I’ve never been to or to think about things in a new way based on our conversation and the questions that are asked. And I recall I was in an interview, and someone said I think so much of you, you know, Dr. Taryn Marie for doing this work and resilience and they said, Oh, you know, sort of, Tell me more about that right where are you coming from, and they said will you know resilience like it’s not for the faint of heart, you know, and so when I think about resilience, I don’t just think about me finding resilience. I also think about this construct or this concept of resilience, finding me right, not unlike will say plant medicine or sacred plant medicine.

A lot of times we feel this like tap on the shoulder to commune with something higher and deeper and different than we’ve ever done. And I felt very similar in my journey with resilience, and I’ve been tapped on the shoulder by resilience to say this is the work, right, that you’re meant to do. And I would say I really started thinking about resilience, for the first time. In this way when I was doing my pre-and post-doctoral fellowship in neuropsychology. And so I grew up in a household where my grandparents, my paternal grandparents had gifted us one Christmas, a series of encyclopedias. And so that encyclopedia was on one side of the living room, I Promise I’ll land this plane for you on resilience. And then on the other side of the living room, there was this like really thick like Merriam Webster dictionary. Right.

And so I grew up in a household where I felt like anything that I wanted to know about the world I could look up, either in the encyclopedias or in the dictionary. And so when I went to look up, resilience, it was this really circular definition like resilience means to be resilient and to be resilient means to demonstrate resilience and I thought like oh my gosh, I have no idea what that means and yet this feels like an incredibly important and powerful concept. And what was happening in my pre-and post-doctoral fellowship is, you know, we’d see people in the critical care setting or the ER, and then we’d see them for a long period of time in the outpatient setting, and so I’d be looking at people’s files right that has been coming in for outpatient appointments for six months or maybe even years. And their initial diagnosis or prognosis for their rehabilitation was really different than where they were at that particular moment. And oftentimes people were doing better than we thought. Or worse than we thought relative to that prognosis, but rarely were we ever hitting the target.

And so that you know as the sort of, a young fellow on staff right like prompted me to start asking some questions which were, you know, namely, why is our prognosis so often incorrect or not hitting the mark you know what are the other factors we need to consider, to understand what people’s rehabilitation journey is going to be. And we did a study where we looked at all of these different factors right like age, gender, socioeconomic status, did you live in a rural area, an urban area, you know, race all those types of things to understand what were the other factors that were contributing to the quality of people’s rehabilitation after a neurological injury or brain injury or spinal cord injury. And we found something really simple and really powerful. And one of the things was having access to reliable transportation. If you had a car or knew someone who did. And you can drive it, or someone else could drive you, You could get to your appointments, and that would, you know, fundamentally impact the quality of your rehabilitation because you were able to receive the services. Right.

And so as I left my fellowship, I thought you know we’re not all going to have brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, and probably thank goodness for that because that’s a tough road. Yeah, we all will face our own constellation of challenges. And in those moments of challenge. What will our version of reliable transportation, be right, meaning like what are the one or two or three or five things that we can do in those moments when we face challenge change and complexity. That will allow us to have a more positive and more resilient outcome. That’s where it all started.

Laura Dawn: Wow, that’s amazing. And how did you start cultivating a new definition for resilience??

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yes so, I, you know I left my fellowship, and I started I opened my own practice and led my practice for a period of time and my side project in my practice. Was to start to do consulting I knew I was interested in starting to work in corporate America, I hadn’t taken any organizational psychology classes in college. I thought business, you know I don’t like that I’m not interested in that and then you know no one in my family was in business. And then when I learned about this concept of like leadership and leadership development and, you know, identifying your core values and, you know, understanding your strengths and areas of opportunity as a leader and how that would impact, you know me or you, or someone that I’m working with. And that, how that would have this sort of expansive swath of influence not only for the person who’s learning about themselves but for their broader team and peers in the organization. I thought wow this is really powerful.

And so my side project in my practice was to start to get into coaching and corporate leadership development, and I was also really interested in this concept of resilience. And so I thought okay well how am I going to study this right, as a good. Someone with a Ph.D., right, that, you know, how do I sort of quantify this, how do I answer these questions, empirically, and so what I started with was a really simple but really powerful question which is, and you may want to think about this for yourself Laura. Or for those that are listening to you could think about this for yourself as well. I’d asked you to think about a time where you faced a significant challenge in your life. And then how did you effectively address that challenge. And that was the question that I started to ask people and the language, of course, is a very intentional challenge, because I don’t typically talk about adversity or obstacles. Because we so often, categorize those as being monolithic in the sense that they’re completely negative, right.

And I think what we find is that when we look at any kind of adversity that we’ve had in our lives, it’s really a challenge, right, there are things about that challenge that we wouldn’t have chosen but there are also ways that oftentimes looking back we can see the good in it. So the challenge was intentional and then also effectively address that challenge in the English language we tend to use phrases like, overcome the challenge, you know, and when I take overcome challenge, and I overlay that phrase on to my life. This does not resonate for me. You know, I’m certain I have effectively addressed challenges but there are very few moments in my life and very a few moments now in the lives of the people that I’ve interviewed, where there’s a sort of like defining overcoming, you know moment like the war is over and we won, right.

And so often it’s, it’s a really incremental experience where we face the challenge and new challenges get layered on, there’s a resolution of something right. And it’s a really iterative and ongoing experience. And so, Now having interviewed hundreds of people and collected 1000s of pieces of data that one single question has given rise to is. The five practices of particularly resilient people or the five behaviors that we can engage in, in those moments of challenge change and complexity that allows us to affect a more resilient and more positive outcome.

Laura Dawn: I’d love to get into those five things, and I think just to state the obvious is that we live in a very radically different world than past generations that we are having to navigate extreme exponential change unlike anyone before. And so how much is that really just at the forefront of educating people? Because I feel like we take it for granted that we’re overloaded with information that things are changing so rapidly. Do you feel like that’s important to even just permit people to acknowledge that this is a very unique time in our history of humanity?

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah, you know, I love how you’re talking about that and what’s coming up for me. So many things are coming up. That’s a great question. What I think about when I hear you say that is as humans right amongst you know what is it now like 7 billion humans right that live on this planet or something like that right. So for all of us that are living during call it this time, broadly, right 7 billion of us, and then and then we think about the humans that have lived on the planet in the past as well. You know, there’s this concept of universality, and there’s this concept of uniqueness. And that’s a bit of a paradox right a bit of a polarity right, we put universality on one side and uniqueness, on the other. And I think what’s important for us as humans, relative to our resilience is to be able to effectively navigate the paradox of universality and uniqueness. If we go too far over on the continuum of like our lives are so unique. No one has ever experienced this before we are fundamentally different than, you know anyone else who could ever kind of relates to this right.

When we start to go too far down that path, I think it actually becomes detrimental. Right, so I think it’s important for us to recognize the uniqueness of ourselves, of the timeframe that we’re living within of the relative confines and, you know, trappings of being in a COVID 19 pandemic, right. And to also realize on the other side of that continuum that there’s also tremendous universality in terms of what we’re experiencing amongst one another on the planet, as well as with call it, you know, humans past right. Like this is not the first pandemic to ravage you know, the world right. Almost exactly 100 years ago right that Spanish Influenza, you know pandemic of, you know 1917 to 1919 was present, you know, and before that it was the bubonic plague right and how scary was the bubonic plague. Because at least we know what Coronavirus like under a microscope looks like, you know, weird-looking right looks like something that you might hang on your Christmas tree, but you definitely don’t want to be right. But like in the bubonic plague-like nobody knew why that was happening, right nobody knew that that, you know, sort of, cutie. Right.

You know, is being carried, you know, by rats and mice you know by rodents during that time. So, someone would fall ill, and you didn’t know like was it spirit was it you know and think about the fear, think about the fear associated with COVID-19 today, right, but so many people and then at the layer on to that, you don’t actually know how that’s transmitted or why it’s happening right, like that was the bubonic plague, you know. So it’s perhaps a long way of answering your question that I think when we think about our own resilience to the effect that we can effectively navigate that paradox that duality that exists between living and breathing and embracing our own unique story, and what that means and also recognize that there’s a tremendous amount of connection and universality that exists with other humans today as well as humans past.

Laura Dawn: I really appreciate you speaking to that. And so let’s dive into some of the things that we can incorporate into our lives, some of the practices. It also seems like mindset is such an important factor in resilience we could talk about that but anywhere you want to go with, what are the practices that people can start incorporating to cultivate more resilience to face the challenges that we all face in our lives.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah, well, I love that you brought up mindset, you know, I’ll speak to you know anytime I’m doing research. You know the first thing that you do as a researcher is you do a literature review, you see what other researchers that are interested in another topic area, no you know this, but I’ll say this for the benefit of your listeners, you know, you see what other researchers have. What research has already been conducted, right in that topic area so you’re not redoubling efforts reinventing the wheel, so to speak? And so when I looked at the research that had already been conducted on resilience what I found was a couple of things. One, there had been quite a bit of research that was done on the environment right like the type of environment that you grew up in the type of environment that you ran in as an adult, and how your environment, your physical space would sort of impact, if you will, your resilience.

There was quite a bit of work that had been done on emotionality and emotional regulation and resilience. You know if you think about that, I think it’s the Stanford marshmallow test you know you may have seen that right where they put a marshmallow on a plate, I’ll say this for the listeners for all of you out there listening right as well. If you put a marshmallow on a plate and it’s like a five-year-old child it’s them, they’re the most adorable videos like, oh my gosh, like if you haven’t seen these like please don’t, you know, run, don’t walk to your nearest YouTube channel, right.

And like queue these up because you got these kids and you’re like, I’m going to give you one marshmallow, you know, and then, you know, if you don’t eat this, you know, when I come back, you can have two marshmallows right as you see these kids are like left alone in this room, they don’t know they’re being filmed. And there’s like one marshmallow and they’re like smelling the marshmallow-like licking the marshmallow, like trying to do all these games with there, it’s adorable right. So quite a bit of research has been done on emotional regulation and resilience Stanford marshmallow study being one of them. And then, in addition to that, looking at spirituality and resilience, as well as mindset and so I really didn’t want to redouble the efforts around mindset and what I thought was, when I looked at the research that had already been done in the space of like positive psychology, for example, you know how we speak to ourselves in our own minds thinking about gratitude as a way that we change our mindset and become more resilient, and really, Carol Dweck, you know seminal work on growth versus fixed mindset I really felt like, gosh, I don’t, I don’t have, maybe something original, to add to this space so I really built on, you know I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants, if you will, and build on what was already done in the past.

And what I have been really focused on is when we face those challenging moments, those complex moments right, those moments where there’s an extreme and significant change as we’ve found, I think in most if not all of our lives recently. What are the behaviors, right, what are the actions we can take to create more resilience? And so, intentionally the five practices are called the five practices of, particularly resilient people. Because it’s really about the behaviors and practices and I felt like that was a way that I could make a contribution that didn’t exist, though, and it’s all based on that question right, the, you know, think about a time when you faced a significant challenge. What did you do to effectively address that challenge? And so, you know, the first practice that emerged, right from all of that data is the practice of vulnerability.

Laura Dawn: Right and then it’s such a huge topic and I’m sure you’re you must be a fan of Bernie Brown’s work who has just pioneered so much research in the field of vulnerability and how important it is, why from your perspective is vulnerability so important to resilience?

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah, well so first of all vulnerability is another one of those words like resilience where it’s like yeah, I think I know what resilience means, and then, you know, we all have so many different definitions so by the way, the definition of resilience, based on my research is to allow ourselves to effectively address challenges in a way where we are enhanced by that experience and not diminished by it. Right. And that’s the definition of vulnerability is enhanced by challenge not diminished by it effectively addressing those challenges. And you’ll notice that some typical words are not in that definition and bounce back, is not in that definition quickly move through or heal or recover from challenges, not in that definition, because in my research, I’ve actually found those things to be myths of resilience. So many people have come to me and said, You know I really feel like I’ve effectively addressed this challenge, but I didn’t go back to the way that I was before I didn’t go back to the person that I used to be.

Laura Dawn: But how could you because you’re different you’ve gone through such a life-changing experience? I know some of the biggest most challenging moments of my life were initiations they were portals into another person, of who I became after that as a result of that. So I love that building on top of it not like, you know, people talk about like when are we going to go back to normal after the pandemic and it’s like do, we want to go back there who wants to go back there? We need to move through this to like a whole up-leveling of another way of being on this planet.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah, I mean, I think many people at least initially, you know, wanted to go back because the back is safe. You know back in comfort, back is the devil we know, versus the devil we don’t, you know, and I think we could all agree there are probably very few things that, you know, we as a consortium of people you know any group of people that you might put together. There are very few things that I think we all might agree on in this day and age when our country is very divided. But I think one of the things that we could agree on is that there were a significant number of things that were not working. Prior to the pandemic. And so I’ve been talking about, you know, look, let’s, we’re not going back to normal. Let’s not go rushing back to normal until we know what we’re going back for. Right. And so to your point, Laura, we’re going to go forward, we’re going to go. We’re not going to go back to work, we’re going to go forward, To work, and we will all be, we won’t bounce back we’ll bounce forward, we will all be fundamentally in forever changed by this experience.

And by the way, you know neuropsychology supports that. Right, there’s this concept in the neuropsychology of neuroplasticity, right, what does that mean, you know neuroplasticity is this idea that our brains are shifting and changing and creating new neurons. And neurons are grouping and coupling together and ungrouping and uncoupling and creating new constellations constantly to most efficiently move the electronic pulses through our brains for us to think and respond to our environment. And as our environment and our experience changes through neuroplasticity, the way our neurons in our brain are organized also changes right. So any given experience that we have, you know, not only changes us, you know, significantly it changes us fundamentally at a molecular at a neurological level. Yeah,

Laura Dawn: You talk about your practice for vulnerabilities to show up, especially in relationship to leadership. Leaders who can show up as their whole authentic selves and having more of a congruency but between our inner reality and our outer reality. It’s definitely, yeah, it’s insightful to think of vulnerability in that way because we don’t necessarily always want to share our internal reality or have that level of transparency, anything that you want to speak to that?

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah, well you know I’d say for me so when I’m giving talks like this or keynotes or something like this you know people would come up to me afterward and they’d say, you know well vulnerability comes really naturally to you, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. And I’m like, Whoa whoa whoa, what about me that you know makes you think that vulnerability comes naturally like, I’ve been practicing this, so you know for me, being able to first define vulnerability what it is, comes from a significant period of time whereas a leader, I got feedback that I was not being vulnerable. And when I got the feedback that I wasn’t being vulnerable I was like, but what is, what does that even mean, right, what does it mean to be vulnerable, and what does it mean to not be vulnerable, and I didn’t know, I didn’t know, and so I needed to like, go back to the dictionary or go back to the encyclopedias and in my living, the room growing up. And like have some kind of definition right. And so to know when I was being vulnerable and when I wasn’t. And yes, so to your point right is the idea of like are the thoughts feelings and experiences that happened for us call it on the inside, right. For those to match as closely as possible the thoughts feelings and experiences that we share with the world on the outside.

And getting that inside and that outside to be congruent with one another. You know, I believe that’s a lifelong journey, It’s a lifelong process toward vulnerability. And it’s important because when we think about that relative to leadership or resilience in leadership and life. The vulnerability is the soil, right, in which Authentic Leadership germinates and empathetic leadership germinates right you can’t be authentic without first being vulnerable, you can’t be empathetic and connect with another person and be an empathetic leader without first being vulnerable yourself. And so that vulnerability is really foundational, in terms of being able to be resilient because when we’re able to share our true selves right or to be as congruent as possible with that inside self and that outside self.

Two really important things happen. One, when we’re going through challenge change and complexity people know what’s really going on with us. And we can get the help and support or knowledge or information or resources, right, that we need in those moments. And the second piece of that, right, is that the third practice of particularly resilient people and we’ll get there is connection. Right, so to have those connections right that we draw on both ourselves and others will vulnerable, you know, as we know from Bernie Brown’s work and my own is a cornerstone, right, of being able to create a connection so now I think about vulnerability as the first practice of particularly resilient people. And as really this kind of like the foundational element of the subsequent four practices.

Laura Dawn: Okay so number two is productive perseverance and I love how you frame this too, because sometimes when I’m going through big challenges, I’m like how much, especially in business, you know, launching anything significant. So how do we know when we need to push through, and when we need to like gracefully to bow out.

Dr. Taryn Marie: I love that. Can I write down your words at some point? How do we know when to push through and gracefully bow out, I love that, that’s so good. Yeah, so, you know what’s interesting, I talk a lot about paradox in my work right so this paradox of universality and uniqueness right. And I think that’s true in a couple of the practices and it’s true in productive perseverance right this paradox of. I love what you said right, forgetting the words now, but you know what I would say is maintaining knowing when to maintain the mission, and when to pivot in a new direction right or when to stay the course and gracefully bow out, with that gracefully bow out, so good. So, What happens when we, you know, are able to navigate this sort of duality of paradox. Are we’re able to take in a lot of information and sort of making the best decision. Right. But, by taking in all of that information we can be, it can lead to paralysis, right, in the worst moments.

The opposite, of taking in a lot of information and being more comfortable calls it in ambiguity in the midst of paradox. The opposite of that is black and white thinking, right, which is having sort of a neat little grid in our minds where things should fit into, right, and then making a decision there. And so productive perseverance is about navigating this ongoing tension, but I think has really been amplified during the pandemic around, do I stay the course and keep doing what I was always doing, or do I sort of like hatch Plan B, or, you know, take a 90-degree turn. And I think that’s what a lot of us have been asking ourselves personally that’s what a lot of businesses have been asking themselves, you know, from a business model standpoint, or strategically. And what I’ll tell you is, when we think about maintaining the mission, right, that kind of like I’m the like put my head down in the words of Angela Duckworth like being gritty, you know, incidentally, I live in Philadelphia right now and our mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers is gritty, you know, I don’t know if that’s made its way all the way out to Hawaii, but like, nationally, it’s a bit of a phenomenon, this Gritty guy.

I’m working with an organization where the team has created their own hashtag called gritter done. Just be gritty, they just like put your head down and do it well that works really well when the landscape of our lives is not changing significantly right. So if you look at Angela Duckworth, work on grit. It’s like, if you want to become a Navy SEAL right it’s about putting your head down being gritty going through a series of tests and challenges and coming out on the other side with the prize. If you want to graduate from the Naval Academy, you know the same thing, but it becomes a little bit more nuanced, and a little less clear. When the landscape under our feet is shifting and changing, right. So, Vera Wang for example very, you know, very few people know some of the early stories of Vera Wang, but she was a part of the national US national skating team she was an Olympic hopeful, and she didn’t make the team. And she had the opportunity to sit down and to think about, okay, well, if I’m not going to be on the Olympic team, I need to think, what’s my plan B for my life because Plan A has been skating.

And she thought well you know through a series of maybe self-reflection like I’d like to do fashion, right, and the rest, as they say, is history. So while I tell you that story because though oftentimes, we think of plan B as being subpar. Right. But there’s a quote and I’m sure you’ve heard it, which is this idea of maybe rejection is a redirection. Right. And so this idea that when our landscape is pretty smooth right and, and there’s a series of kind of checks and balances that we need to achieve being gritty and putting our head down, can be phenomenal. But when things are shifting and changing significantly as they have been in the pandemic, really looking around and taking stock of our environment and determining how we need to augment or change our path is also incredibly important to resilience you know grit is only 50% of the story here.

Laura Dawn: Definitely, I appreciate that. I also love this concept of reframing things falling apart. Two things falling together, sometimes we have to let things fall apart and you know drastically shift in order for our lives to reassemble in a much more cohesive, coherent aligned way that’s so much better than we could possibly imagine.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah. And you know what I would say there you know when I think about the corollary to my experience with sacred plant medicine this idea of, you know, again, the paradox of control and surrender. Right. You know, control says My life is falling apart. Surrender says, maybe these are the things that need to fall away so my life can fall together.

Laura Dawn: Exactly. I appreciate that and I’m excited to dive into your experience with plant medicines, let’s touch on the last couple of practices of resilient people connection was one you just briefly mentioned.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah, thank you. Yeah, the connection is probably the one that’s the most self-explanatory where people are like, yeah, I get that, you know why that’s important for us, but again, it’s important to recognize that that here too is a moment of navigating the tension between two things because it’s first and foremost, the connection with ourselves, Right, trusting ourselves, knowing ourselves, cultivating our intuition, listening to that still small voice within, and then also cultivating, you know that connection those relationships outside of ourselves. And then navigating, right, that the ways that the connection with ourselves in the connection with others can be really seamless at times and other times it can be at odds and what we do, you know, in those moments right do we know something want somebody wants something from us and so we abandon ourselves, you know, to please that person right so it’s sort of navigating right again, the connection with ourselves and others.

The fourth practice is the practice of grandiosity. And, you know, if you looked up grandiosity. Merriam Webster dictionary that I referenced earlier, wouldn’t be there but one of my great accomplishments in life is that you know, grandiosity will be a word in the dictionary sooner rather than later. And what I wanted to encapsulate was what I was hearing from people in, you know, when I was talking to them in my interviews, and they would talk about this idea that I mentioned earlier, right that like looking back on a challenge if it weren’t something they would have chosen. They could see the good in that right, even if they wouldn’t have chosen that health diagnosis or that car accident or that loss or that change, they could see how they had come out on the other side enhanced by that challenge and not diminished by it. And the other piece of this, you know, so that’s the grati right being able to find the gratitude, right, in that challenge even if we wouldn’t have chosen it. And then the also the part is the generosity, right, the drawing on again at the cornerstone of vulnerability, our willingness to tell our resilience stories, you know, our stories of a challenge to others.

So that we share those moments generously and it creates a deeper connection and closeness, and it also allows others to learn from our lessons vicariously right. Generous sharing of ourselves for the lessons and learning of others. Yeah. And then the last one is the practice of possibility and here again, you guessed it, it’s another paradox. And it’s you know it’s the paradox of the practice of possibility is the paradox of risk and opportunity. Right. And so, in these moments when we’re facing challenge change and complexity right as we have in the last 10 months in this, you know, in this pandemic, this idea of being able to acknowledge the risk, but not over-index on it, not be paralyzed by the potential for fear and failure, and also to be able to privilege this notion of opportunity right what we can do or create or reinvent or how we can be innovative in those moments right. And to be able again to hold both the risk and opportunity in those moments.

Laura Dawn: To me, all five of them seem very much so focused on teaching a new way of perceiving a situation, so it seems very much like mindset is entrenched at a core level at each of these practices because even though it’s a practice. It’s like saying look at it this way instead of this way, and you could hold the paradox in that way and be able to you know see an opportunity through a setback, and so I would just say that maybe you’re not giving yourself quite as much credit on the mindset front as you expressed previously but it is so amazing to you know to learn from other experts in the field, and, you know, stand on the shoulders of giants as you said, but I do think that so much of what you’re expressing does bring a unique set of ways of thinking and ways of approaching any given challenge and complex situation. So I really appreciate where you’re coming from.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Thank you so much for that.

Laura Dawn: Do you, do you have daily practices that you recommend, or that you also use in your life like what is your What does daily practice look like for you?

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah, I’ll tell you my ideal day, and my ideal day does, I don’t think my ideal day has ever happened. Just to be clear, around like where you can set the bar, relative to aspirationally so what I’m doing but here’s my ideal day. So my ideal day would be to wake up. You know I don’t know, at a reasonable, I got eight hours asleep. Right. And then I wake up at whatever time that is. And I brew a cup of tea or cocoa, right, and I’ve got some quiet time to myself. Now keep in mind, I have a boy that turned nine years old yesterday and I’m a six-year-old have two sons, right, so quiet in the morning, doesn’t typically happen. And then I would read over my 10-year vision, that I’ve written, You know what I’m moving towards what I’m manifesting what I’m calling in that sort of desired life that I’m creating at this moment. And then I would meditate I’d do it, you know like a Joe Dispenza meditation.

Laura Dawn: You’re a fan of Joe, awesome. I’ve been to his advanced retreats I’ve gone way down the Joe Dispenza rabbit hole, so yeah, high 5 on that one.

Dr. Taryn Marie: I love it. Yeah, so I do one of his meditations, you know, in the quantum field and really kind of calling that in, and end with gratitude because as Joe says, you know Gratitude is the signature of something that has already happened, right, and so it is, I hope. And, you know, then I would exercise, you know, do some cardio and weight training does some yoga. Eat a healthy plant-based, breakfast, and then do some writing and some creative work until I get to my, you know, kind of noon or 1 pm where I do a meeting block between one and four, and then wrap up my day spend some time with my kids, you know, check in with friends laugh a little. And then do another Joe Dispenza kind of reflect on the day, what did I accomplish How did I feel meditation before bed. That’s never happened, but here’s hoping. Here’s hoping.

Laura Dawn: Wow, that really, you’ve just described my day minus the children, I pretty much do a very similar but with my own flair to my morning routines and with micro-dosing but I’m a very big fan of Joe’s work, and I love that we have that in common. I knew I liked you, Taryn.

Dr. Taryn Marie: I love it. Well, what would you add to my routine that I would love to hear and then, you know, yeah, maybe I’ll work with you as an accountability partner to get myself there.

Laura Dawn: Yeah, well it’s a big part of the advanced training programs that I teach, especially around micro-dosing so I wake up and I work with plant medicine in the morning first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and within an intentional sacred container, and then I work out for about 45 minutes, that’s a combination of cardio, yoga, dance, like really good music, you know, something that’s really raising my energy level, and then I do breathwork I’m also a really big fan of Wim Hof, so I do his breathwork and I also do cold plunges, and I’ll jump into cold plunge and then go into like a 45-minute long meditation where I’m really created like my own version of Joe Dispenza meditation but specifically for visionary practices for people, leaders in the psychedelic space and beyond anyone who wants to really connect to the vision of what they’re creating with their lives.

And then I’ll do like maybe a short round of breathwork again sometimes I’ll go on the cold plunge again and then I sit down for like a three-hour content creation session. And that’s very much so the foundation sometimes I’ll play a couple of songs on my guitar or do a little bit of light stretching and then sit at my computer to create, and that’s like my foundation for tapping into flow states and it works really really well for me, so I’m grateful to have space in that way and you know you mentioned your 10-year vision and I’m curious like how important is it for leaders to cultivate a core vision of what they’re creating and how important are core values in that process?

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah, I love that question. The quote, you know that comes up for me initially kind of craft my response in my head is, it’s everything is a priority, nothing is. And so for me, you know what the 10-year vision is brought about the 10 Year Vision for me and with the leaders that I work with because I have my leaders create a 10-year vision too. Is, it becomes my North Star. Right, it lights the path of where I’m going. And the way that we were instructed to write our 10-year vision was as though it has already happened. Right, so it’s like you know I’m so grateful that I wake up in the morning and I, you know, have my cup of tea and cookout right like. But we’re getting there. We’re working toward it and as Joe Dispenza says right like Gratitude is the signature of you know. Gratitude is the signature of something that has already happened. And so to write. I read my 10-year vision and I instruct my leaders to write their 10-year vision from a place of gratitude. I’m so grateful that this has already happened, you know, 10 years in the future.

And so, the 10-year vision is important because I think it’s the North Star, right in, and we can always kind of shift and change and toggle that a little bit as we have experienced, we want to refine. You know where we’re going, but, you know, this idea that when a plane takes off from New York, right, the pilots make, you know, I don’t know I’m going to throw out a number, right the pilots make, you know 1000 2000 Little iterative corrections, you know, to make sure that that plane gets to Houston, and not to Seattle. Right. And so, the 10-year vision is the North Star to ensure that if you want to go to Houston, you don’t end up in Seattle, you know, because I think many of us have been in a place in our lives I have, where I woke up and I sort of looked around and I was like, hold it a minute, like, this is my life? This is what I signed up for? And it’s not because I said yes to a bunch of stuff that I didn’t believe in one day, it’s because I said yes to a bunch of stuff that wasn’t aligned, you know, with me, over time, you know. And so I think the north, the 10-year vision is the North Star that helps us have a vision of where we’re going, and then our daily practices for me are.

I talk about the sort of the Hansel and Gretel, you know, method of life purpose right and what that is, is rarely do we find our life purpose. All at once, you know, Mark Twain said, the two most important days, you know, in our lives are you know the day we’re born right one, and the day that we figure out why. Well, I think very few people have a day where we say, this is why I’m here. Oh my gosh, right, it’s more like the Hansel and Gretel method, which is when they were finding their way home, right, home is both literal and figurative in this case, right, home to life purpose as well. You know they picked up one pebble. Right. And then they kept walking in the moonlight until they saw the next pebble and they picked that one up and I think that’s how a lot of us experience, finding our life purposes over time. Picking up a pebble toward our destination.

So I think our daily practices are picking up those pebbles or doing the things like you mentioned to facilitate being able to pick up those pebbles. And then I think the 10-year vision is the North star where we’re ultimately going, and there’s utility in both right. You know, to your point earlier, we live in an environment that is, you know we’re receiving so much information it’s shifting and changing and evolving at such a rapid pace that having a plan for the next one to three months is critically important, as well as having a plan for 10 years, right, and continuing to check in with ourselves to ensure those align.

Laura Dawn: I’m so curious to know about your experience on the path, how recently have you stepped onto this path of working with plant medicines, and what are some of the big sorts of key nugget takeaways, so far from your particular perceptual lens of resilient leadership?

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah, so, you know what I would say is, it’s been relatively recent. For me, I was the type of person who, you know, grew up and was all about academics and it was, I was a bit of a dork. Who am I kidding, I’m still I still am a dork.

Laura Dawn: I love the dorkiness in you honestly.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah, thank you.

Laura Dawn: My dork, the dorkiness in me sees the dorkiness in you.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Well, there we go. How about dork mas day, the dork in me sees and respects the dork in you.

Laura Dawn: Oh my gosh. Well, adorkable, You’re so adorable. Yeah.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah. So yes, I’m still a dork. And I love learning and sort of the nerdiness associated with that. And so I was very much like school Ph.D. Do everything I’m supposed to do, you know, have the children get married, get the right job and then I like woke up when I was 37 years old. And I’d done everything that I was supposed to do, and I was. I wasn’t even unhappy. It was worse than unhappy. I was empty. You know, unhappy like gives you something to work with and they’re empty is just like an echo chamber, you know, it’s like the just not been in the tank. And I thought, oh my god, I got to do something about this right, so I got this journal. And I wrote on the, you know the journal, you know, I’m sure it was not any larger than any regular size journal, but all those pages I thought oh my god like I could never fill all those pages with something about me or what I have to say about the world or who I am and so I wrote on the first line sort of tentatively like how do I live an authentic life, because the life I was living was not aligned with who I was, I didn’t know how I got there and I certainly did not climb out of that hole.

And, you know, I filled all those pages in that journal, trying to figure out how did I live an authentic life and then I sold the next journal and the next journal, and now I’d say four or five years later, I’m going to be 42 this month. I’ve changed my entire life. I still have my children. Thanks be to God. And they’re very healthy, and adorable. I got divorced and moved out of that big house that I thought I was supposed to have, with a swimming pool. We left, Connecticut, and the rural area of Connecticut and moved into urban Philadelphia. I’ve changed jobs several times and now I’m an entrepreneur and business owner, and so you know if you think about relationships. What would I call it environment right relationships environment? Crowds of, you know, friendships, relationships, I basically changed everything in my life aside from continuing to be the best mother to my sons I could possibly be. Because in my mind that’s an immutable relationship right that’s a beautiful responsibility, but I’m a different mother to them than I used to be.

I think in the best way it’s. I hope in the best ways and more present. And so, I tell you all of this to say I came to sacred plant medicine you know later in life because I was pleasing everybody else. I was doing all the things that I thought I was supposed to do and this idea of, plant medicine, wasn’t even. It wasn’t just on my radar, I didn’t even know what it was. Right. I grew up in this day and age and the in the 80s and 90s where it was like, you know dare, Right. And like drugs are bad for you and just say no and anyone who would give you drugs, right, doesn’t care about you and this can be harmful. Right. And so, just beginning to learn that there are sacred plant medicines that are medicinal and psychedelic and tremendously safe when used correctly and appropriately and that that is an entirely different category right than drugs. Right. You know, see Michael Pollan’s latest book. For more on that. Right.

And so then I had heard from a couple of friends about IOWASKA and, you know, I think as many of us do, I felt, I felt a pull I felt an interest I wanted to learn more and via sort of series of, I’ll call it a series of fortunate events, I was out in Maui in 2019 in July, and we were able to have a ceremony with IOWASKA. On the northern side of the island, and it was, it changed my whole life. You know, I felt that I was able to, in those moments, speak to and commune with spirit, you know, directly, and there are lots of different names that we use, you know, we use grandmother and mother and Pacha Mama and IOWASKA and things like that I have a Christian upbringing and, You know the universe right. And so, you know, for me that I’m still working out the language that fits for me there but if you think of like Father Son and the Holy Ghost, or the Holy Spirit, you know, it felt like I was talking to some combination of God and the Holy Spirit.

And it was like I grieved traumas and losses in my life and understood more fully who I was, and then went on to kind of his projected future and understanding about my place in the world and what I was meant to contribute, and my life’s purpose. It was as close as I’ve ever come to that Mark Twain quote you know just like the second most important day is, you know, figuring out why figuring out your life purpose it was like at that moment I understood my life purpose more and myself more than I ever have. And, you know, the next morning it felt like I had maybe gone through like 16 years of therapy in about six hours, right in the way that things felt like they were cleared out and trauma was being released and admonished in my life and that was my first experience.

And one of the things, you know, I saw a lot of things. A lot of things that should have scared me that didn’t right, and then the one thing that I saw that you know maybe doesn’t seem objectively scary, but it scared the crap out of me. Was this idea that I was at that point I was working at a Fortune 50 organization leading executive leadership development with the C suite in a very iconic brand and the highest kind of ranking vice presidents at the company. And I saw that I was meant to take leaders and public figures and allow them to have an awareness of sacred plant medicine to help them prepare for this experience meant to help them integrate the experience back into their lives and their leadership following that. And for me that was really scary, it was making, you know kind of the person taking my personal life and it was bringing it into my professional life, and I didn’t know how to do that there was such a large chasm between at the time. What I was being shown and what actually existed that I was really frightened.

And so I’d say, you know, that was July of 19. And so, you know it’s funny because I didn’t see the path forward on that and it really, I was really attached to it. I really wanted to do that I felt that calling, and yet I didn’t know how to get there, and that scared me. One of the dualities for me has been this idea of like surrender versus control, right, and surrender, of course, doesn’t mean, giving upright, it doesn’t mean we don’t care, right, but allowing you to know the events of life to take shape and not being so tied to how things are supposed to go, or arm wrestling a particular outcome to the ground. And so one of the really beautiful elements of this work as I’ve been on a varied surrender journey of how I continue to pursue, right, this passion and this vision for this work not only for myself but to also begin to facilitate this for others.

Laura Dawn: That’s beautiful. How do you think that plant medicines and psychedelics can directly help us, cultivate more resilience, and do you think that that’s possible. I mean this is definitely something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and I’ve started writing about resilience and psychedelics as well. So I’m really curious about your take on that.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Well I’m really curious about your take on that too. I’ll go first. And then, I’d love to hear your perspective if you’re open to sharing it. So, you know what I would say it’s the question is, you know, how can work with psychedelics. Help us cultivate or further cultivate our resilience. And, you know, what comes to mind for me I’m still, you know, there’s so much here, right. What has come to mind for me is this idea that, as humans, we’re all a bit of like we’re all kind of pieces of Swiss cheese, right, like what do I mean by that right like there are parts of us that are like really whole and like integrated and we feel solid. And then there’s like the tender holes in the cheese where there’s this core wounding or this loss or this trauma or this unresolved element, right, of who we are.

I think of Daisy Coleman, for example, you know, so she’s a woman. She was only 23 When she committed suicide earlier this year, she was, you know, raped in a small town that she grew up in, and then she was, for lack of a better term like dumped in front of her family’s home and just a t-shirt in the wintertime, and like sub-freezing temperatures, right, and she’d worked really really hard through her life to not only integrate that experience what happened to her, but she started safe Bay, be a safe Bay, which is all about educating teens and about, you know, sexual violence and assault and how to protect yourself and how-to, you know, not be a bystander. So she’s doing all this like incredible work in this world and starting this organization.

And yet, she committed suicide earlier this year, and, you know, her mother said, I don’t think she was ever able to integrate or to understand, you know what happened to her, what that boy, you know, that experience did to her., and so was a really really really big profound hole in her Swiss cheese. Right. And I say that not to be cute, but to give us all a visual, right, of what you know there are parts of us that are integrated then there are parts of us as humans that are deeply wounded. And what I believe sacred plant medicine has the ability to do at a foundational level right if you think of like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs right and sort of the bottom foundational rung is like safety, security, expectation. You know, sacred plant medicine has an opportunity to help us heal that wounding to heal that trauma to either close those holes or to make those holes smaller. And when we have a stronger foundation that is characterized by even greater healing and diminishment of wounds, diminishment of trauma, diminishment of triggers, then I think that becomes the springboard for these higher-order resilience practices.

Laura Dawn: Yeah. Healing is such a, you know, and to operate from this place of like a holistic integrated embodiment of wholeness and showing up. That way, to face challenges is very much. I could see bolster resilience compared to, you know, leading from wounding and leading from trauma. So that’s definitely a huge core component. Thank you for speaking to that.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah, anything that you’d like to add on to that or share from your own thinking or your own work?

Laura Dawn: Yeah, you know, there’s just been so many angles. The way that I view it is that the psychedelic realm is like an advanced training ground. And it’s like hyper learning, so it’s like we have these experiences where we don’t know what to expect, we’re having a full spectrum experience especially when we start talking about working with IOWASKA, they’re really challenging experiences, so it’s like we’re teaching ourselves how to go into these altered states of consciousness face adversity and literally move through them by the end of the night, and we’re doing that over and over and over again, and we’re, and in my experience, I’m learning how to do that by holding my center by reminding myself to relax my nervous system, to breathe, to regulate my nervous system in a way that trains me to face adversity with centeredness, groundedness, calmness, you know, without completely losing my shit. And yeah, sometimes in the ceremony I do I’m just like, really having hard challenges, but we go through those, you know, many dark nights of the soul, so to speak to come out the other side. And when I have these experiences of being totally in the void, you know, the quantum realm, spirit realm, whatever you want to call it and I trained my nervous system to be calm in that experience. That when I have these experiences where shit really hits the fan, you know, the proverbial rug being pulled like, oh my god I spent years building a retreat center and now we’re tearing it apart and evacuating. It’s a lot to wrap the mind around.

It’s the training and those advanced realms of like yes, you got this, you’ve moved through them, and you can move through this too, and you have what it takes. And that’s why I’m so passionate about, you know, the way that quantum mechanics and Joe’s work and behavioral psychology and positive psychology and the psychedelic science and all of these ways resilience research they all fit together and like a really beautiful jigsaw puzzle that I feel like is my life’s work to connect those dots. So, yeah, there’s so much there and I’d love to talk to you more about it.

Dr. Taryn Marie: I’d love to talk to you more about it as well. Yeah, cool.

Laura Dawn: Yeah. What advice do you have for people who want to step up as leaders in their lives who whatever domain it is, whether it’s in the psychedelic space or not, who might feel like, am I a leader. Can I step up and lead? What advice do you have for all of those people?

Dr. Taryn Marie: Yeah, you know, it’s interesting, I was at Nike for a period of time, heading up executive development, and one of the things that I loved about what was happening at Nike is, you know, they’ve very much been on evolution the last 50 years about who is there, who is their customer right and what does it mean to be an athlete, right and who qualifies, right. And we have the same conversation in the realm of leadership, right, who is a leader who qualifies as being a leader. And Nike did this thing where they, you know they said they live to serve athletes, and there was an asterisk over athletes, and then the Asterix said, you know, anyone who has a body, right, is an athlete. Right. And so what I would say is, you know, my asterisk over leaders, is anyone who has a heart and a mind, you know, is or has the potential to be a leader. And I, you know, we’re all leaders right whether or not we have a team, right, that that follows us at work, you know, as a mother, you know I have a leadership role with, with two small humans.

You know our neighbors, look up to us our cousins look up to us our nieces and nephews look up to us. So, if you think about yourself as a leader, right I think it elevates right the type of life that we’re living and recognize that there’s probably at least one person in each of our lives who sees us as a role model who sees us as a leader. And so I think the first step is recognizing the power of our contribution, you know, the danger as Marianne Williamson said, Marianne Williamson, said is, is, you know, not, you know, believing that we’re small, right, that the danger is not realizing that we are capable of great things, great things beyond measure. And so, being able to see ourselves you talked about dreaming bigger earlier being able to see ourselves as being capable of being more and taking on that moniker of leadership and being a role model, I think is really the first start, we haven’t done that already.

Laura Dawn: I usually like to end on a random question. So I just wanted to ask you this last final question.

Dr. Taryn Marie: I’m ready, I’m ready.

Laura Dawn: If you could instill one belief in the hearts and minds of humanity, What would it be?

Dr. Taryn Marie: Trust the process. Trust the process. We get so wound up and thinking, you know, this isn’t how it’s supposed to be this isn’t how I envisioned it. You know there’s traffic here traffic, you know, and allowing ourselves to relax into what is, you know, to trust the process but also to not stop believing in that in that positive future.

Laura Dawn: I love that. Trust the process. It’s like that balance between making it happen and letting it happen, like finding that juxtaposition I am all about the paradox too so I’m right there with you. I also saw that you had a Petro jam quote on your website and I was like she loves that too.

Dr. Taryn Marie: I do, I do.

Laura Dawn: Pam is like one of my favorite spiritual teachers on this planet, she’s just been a huge influence for me in my life too.

Dr. Taryn Marie: And the quote on my website is nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.

Laura Dawn: I love that.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Me too, me too.

Laura Dawn: But trust is so at the forefront of all of it, and I’m really grateful for your work and the work that you do, and you are just a delight, Dr. Taryn Marie, it’s so nice to drop in with you, you’re really a delight to speak with.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me here on your podcast and so wonderful to meet you and I’m so excited for this to be our first meeting but not our last meeting. I’m so excited to be connected with you and to see where that takes us.

Laura Dawn: Thank you. Me too, so much more goodness to come, I feel that. Thank you.

Dr. Taryn Marie: Thank you.

Laura Dawn: Awesome. Yay. Yay. Hi friends, thank you so much for tuning into another episode of the psychedelic leadership podcast. If you’ve been enjoying the show, I would so appreciate it if you could share it with a friend, or subscribe, wherever you listen to podcasts, or if you feel inspired, please leave me a review on iTunes. If you’d love to be in touch, please feel free to reach out on my website at livefreelaurad.com, or send me a message on Instagram at live free Laura D. And on that last note that Taryn left us off with this wisdom of trusting the process, I wanted to leave you with this song called Can’t Rush The River. It really speaks to that wisdom so much by my dear medicine sister, Aea Luz. Once again, my name is Laura Dawn and you’re listening to the psychedelic leadership podcast. Until next time.

Dr. Taryn Marie


Dr. Taryn Marie is a foremost international expert on resilience, in both leadership and life. She  is the former Head of Executive Leadership Development at Nike, Global Leadership  Development at Cigna, and founded Resilience Leadership, where she serves as the Chief  Resilience Officer (CRO), leveraging over a decade of research on resilience, that gave birth to the empirically-based framework, The Five Practices of Particularly Resilient People, for  executive coaching, top-team effectiveness, high potential leadership programs and workshops,  and inspirational keynote addresses. She is a sought-after coach for executives, athletes,  musicians, and actors who are looking for an edge by way of understanding and harnessing their inherent resilience. Dr. Taryn Marie is the author of  Flourish or Fold: The Five Practices of Particularly Resilient People͟,and is featured in the forthcoming documentary  “Breaking Free”, both expected to release in 2021. 

Dr. Taryn Marie is a Co-Founder of Resilience Element 75 (RE75), focused on making resilience accessible across the world through film and wearable technology as well as serving as a Marshall Goldsmith Top 100 Coach (MG100) globally. Her groundbreaking research on resilience has been showcased in publications such as Forbes, Ariana Huffington’s Thrive  Global, Ladders, LA Progressive, and Welum Magazine’s Women Who Inspire Worldwide, on television broadcasts, and featured online by Happify, eMindful, and Powerful Universe.  

Dr. Stejskal received an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Michigan along with a mater’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) and a doctorate degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. She completed pre- and post-doctoral fellowships at  Virginia Commonwealth Medical University. She serves as an ambassador for The African  Community and Conservation Foundation (ACCF) as well as multiple non- and for-profit boards.

Featured Music

Episode #27 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast features a song called
“Can’t Rush the River” by Aea Luz.


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About Laura Dawn

Through her signature Mastermind Programs and Plant Medicine Retreats, Laura Dawn weaves together science with ancient wisdom. She teaches business and thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals how to mindfully explore psychedelics and sacred plant medicines as powerful visionary tools for inner transformation, fostering emotional resiliency and unlocking new depths to our creative potential.