LaRae Quy was an undercover and counterintelligence FBI agent for 24 years. She exposed foreign spies and recruited them to work for the U.S. Government. As an FBI agent, she developed the mental toughness to survive in environments of risk, uncertainty, and deception. Faced with stressful and fast-moving situations, she needed to move through barriers if she was to succeed.

Mental Toughness is the birthplace of personal leadership development. It is the ability for each person to look inward and find solid ground when the going gets tough. Strong minds identify productive patterns of behavior so they can become successful in areas that are important to them. Once individuals understand their behavioral patterns, they can choose to respond from a place of strength when confronted with risk and uncertainty in unpredictable situations.

Mental toughness is not something you’re born with; it is a quality that you can develop with experience and coaching by:

Saying no to your self-limiting beliefs

Rewiring your brain for new patterns of behavior

Empowering yourself—the opposite of helplessness

Cultivating the attitude of positivity

Surrounding yourself with people who build you up

Leading from the heart

During her four months of training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA, LaRae was ensconced in a culture that valued physical strength. Surrounded by athletes and former police officers, she found herself in a hostile environment that openly questioned her qualifications to become an FBI agent, even though she had scored exceptionally high on cognitive and personality tests. She was perceived as being both female and powerless.

Feeling defeated, criticized, and beaten down, LaRae refused to let the way that others defined her at the FBI Academy change the way she defined herself. Instead of being intimidated, their criticism only fueled her determination. She developed the mental toughness to break through the barriers that stood between her and the goal of becoming an FBI agent. She knew she needed to find a way to signal to herself, and others around who were skeptical of her abilities, that she was leadership material.

LaRae can show you how to do the same thing in your life. Her work will show you that whether it is a new challenge, running a new company, or breaking a barrier, the way in which we engage the obstacles that meet us in life is determined by your mental toughness.