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Aug 19, 2019

Emily Harman, host of Onward Podcast, interviews Ryan Fitzgerald, autonomous systems engineer for a company that supports the Department of Defense. Prior to that, Ryan worked for the Department of the Navy where she and Emily met. Ryan shares her personal growth,  overcoming major physical injuries as a young teenager and developing mental toughness and resilience in the process. She provides tips on how to build confidence and how to assist loved ones struggling with adversity. 


Episode Highlights:

  • Emily Harman introduces Ryan Fitzgerald.
  • Ryan shares a formative experience where she learned to overcome adversity. 
  • Ryan discusses the serious physical injuries she experienced as a young teen. 
  • Ryan discusses how her injuries college affected her college experience.
  • What advice does Ryan have for family members with a loved one who has been injured? 
  • How did Ryan’s two physical injuries, experienced as a teen, impact her work life? 
  • What role did sports play in preparing Ryan to work in a male-dominated work environment? 
  • Ryan explains her profession, the field of autonomy.
  • What do you do when you feel that you can’t win? 
  • Ryan provides advice for decision-making when facing hard choices. 


3 Key Points:

  1. We can all make it through a tough problem, by living it, absorbing it, learning from it, and emerging from it in a better place. 
  2. When facing an injury, you have to decide to do what it takes to recover, even when you don’t feel like it (mental or physical). For example, you must do the physical therapy exercises or attend counseling sessions.
  3. Recognize what is within your control and what is not. Don’t be a victim.


Tweetable Quotes:

  • “The people that make it have found this mental resilience and toughness that I think is really a decision. If you take it on, although its really difficult, you really can come out the other side and do really well.” – Ryan Fitzgerald
  • “I think one of the things parents can do is help their children instill that toughness.” – Ryan Fitzgerald discussing how a parent can help a child overcome an injury
  • “Children grow into young adults and they face adversity for the first time and they are not equipped for it. They haven’t had to get through a really difficult something...and then they are left without the skills.” – Ryan Fitzgerald discussing the importance of ensuring your children can overcome adversity


Resources Mentioned: