How Resilient Are You? Pt. 1

Some women just seem to sail through the most terrible of circumstances and bounce right back, and others absolutely fall apart when the slightest inconvenience occurs.

So how do you become more “resilient?”  First of all, learn to assess what Dr. Julian Rotter called your “locus of control.”  Dr. Rotter developed the “social learning theory” that social context and environmental factors effect our behavior as much or more than psychological factors.  In other words, we have a great deal of control over our own thoughts, feelings and reactions despite what is happening internally and externally in our lives.  Think about what you control and what you don’t.  For example, you control how hard and how well you work, but you don’t control how people are going to react to or reward you for all that effort.  Can you live with that?  You don’t control your body; we all get sick or injured, but you can control how you treat that body.  Can you commit to optimizing your own health and your ability to recover from injury?  These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself if you truly want to become not just a survivor, but a winner. 

It’s easy for me (or people in your life) to say “cheer up,” “have a good attitude” or “be more optimistic,” but it’s a whole lot harder to actually implement those kinds of feel-good platitudes to improve your outlook, and ultimately, your ability to be resilient.  This stuff takes hard work.  Understand and accept that life is the greatest teacher, and learn to view every experience, especially the bad ones, as opportunities to learn and grow.  As M. Scott Peck said in The Road Less Traveled:  “Wise people learn not to dread, but actually to welcome problems.”  As we say in the “Street Survival” seminar, stop being a victim of everyone else’s actions, whims and desires and take control of what you can while leaning let go of what you can’t.  This profession is one of the most exciting, honorable, and frankly, fascinating ways to make a living.  Don’t waste it by being a victim, commit to becoming truly resilient; next month, I’ll tell you exactly how to accomplish that.  Until then, stay safe!

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About The Author:

Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith is a 29-year veteran of a large suburban Chicago police department. Recently retired as a patrol supervisor, she has held positions in patrol, investigations, narcotics, juvenile, crime prevention and field training. As a sergeant, she supervised her department's K-9 Unit, served as a field training sergeant, recruitment team sergeant, bike patrol coordinator, the Crowd Control Bike Team supervisor, and supervisor of the Community Education/Crime Prevention Unit.

As a patrol sergeant, Betsy served on the Elderly Services Team, the Crisis Intervention Team, and was a supervisory member of the Honor Guard Unit. From 1999 - 2003 Betsy hosted various programs for the Law Enforcement Television Network and served as a content expert.

A graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety's School of Staff and Command, Betsy writes for numerous law enforcement and government publications including and is a regular columnist for many police websites including Police Link. A content expert and instructor for the Calibre Press "Street Survival" seminar since 2003, Betsy also serves as an on-air commentator and advisor for Police One TV and was a featured character in the Biography Channel’s “Female Forces” reality show. Betsy has been a law enforcement trainer for over 20 years and is a popular keynote speaker at conferences throughout the United States and Canada and beyond.

Betsy is the lead instructor for the Calibre Press “Street Survival for Women” seminar and manages Dave Smith & Associates. Together, Betsy and Dave teach courses through “Winning Mind Seminars,” an Illinois based company. She can be reached through her website at

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