Building resilience starts with hope, gathering the information you need and all the while staying grounded in the present, writes LaRae Quy. “Hope is derived from a clear understanding that, while we can’t control some aspects of our life, we do control how hard we work and how we develop skills to become a success,” she writes.



The best way I can describe my four months at the FBI Academy is “coping ugly.” I got through the special-agent training. but it wasn’t a pretty sight.

While I’m a big believer in positive thinking, I knew it was going to take more than gray matter to turn me into an athlete that could compete with my former military and law enforcement classmates.

I was in survival mode. If I didn’t pass the physical fitness requirements, I would be washed out of the Academy, and my dream of becoming an FBI agent would die. The single question that haunted me every morning of training was, “How can I do this?”

At this point, my challenge was both physical and mental. I needed mental toughness to not only cope with my stress and anxiety, but also to keep my eye on the goal as I struggled to develop the physical strength to pass the FIT test and graduate with my new agent classmates.

Alas, I did not graduate with my class as planned because I developed an injury and was recycled. Sent back home to rehabilitate, the stress and anxiety became even more acute as I waited out three months before I was given the green light to join a different new-agents class.

I knew I’d need to be resilient and bounce back, but how?

I started out by reading books with clever marketing titles that packaged their methods as “resilience-building programs.” It didn’t take long to discover that most of the people who wrote this crap and got rich from it were just that —writers. They had never been in the trenches themselves and could offer nothing more than anecdotes and weak platitudes that I could have found in an Oprah magazine.