About Stewart, the Speaker
The quality of our thinking determines the quality of our lives
I suffered a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) whilst commanding B Company, 2 Mercian in Afghanistan in 2009. My life changed irrevocably the moment the shrapnel exploded into my brain. In March 2012, after three years of rehabilitation, I was medically discharged from the Army.
I attempted to find a new identity but have struggled. My motivations and desires to do well within my abilities remain the same, but I cannot keep up with these aspirations due to my brain impairments. These difficulties fundamentally restrict what I can do in ‘work’ terms. My capacity to engage my brain in productive thinking is severely reduced.
I found rehabilitation and a joy for living through other means: art, theatre work, writing, singing and participating in charitable causes.
My involvement in charitable work opened yet another door to my recovery, beginning in 2012 when I was asked to speak at events held by the Poppy Factory, the On Course Foundation and the Army Benevolent Fund. I had received support from these military charities during the early period of my recovery and transition into my new life, and – despite my chronic fatigue and memory difficulties – it was very easy for me to speak on their behalf.
My sense of self, confidence and well-being grew out of these speaking events, and I realised how beneficial the talks were to myself and others. I now speak at engagements throughout the country and abroad, offering insights on leadership and the importance of positive thinking to our lives.
I am always delighted when audience members approach me after a talk to unveil their own concerns, worries or traumatic experiences. I have suffered physically, neurologically and psychologically. Yet I have learnt a great deal since my injury, and do not want to waste these very important lessons.
My life is a wonderful life. I can see beauty in anything I choose. The quality of our thinking determines the quality of our lives. I am trying to give hope, comfort and inspiration to myself and others.