After 22 years in law enforcement, David Atkins retired as New York State Police Captain and launched his career as a speaker to help others breakthrough fear and adversity to play a bigger game in business and life. Atkins, who will deliver the opening keynote address at FRA’s 9th Police and Recruitment and Retention Summit on January 23-25 at the Hyatt Bellevue in Philadelphia, talked to FRA about his personal growth journey and its impact on his career in law enforcement and beyond.

Though David Atkins has faced his fair share of obstacles in his personal and professional life, he believes the key to resilience is no excuses, even in the hardest of times.

“Life is going to knock you down, challenge you,” Atkins said. “We all have trials and tribulations, but we control how we respond to life’s problems. We control our attitudes; we control how we show up. And if you really want to live your life to your potential and succeed in all areas of life, you can’t have the victim mentality but, instead, the victor mentality and choose the things you know are going to move your life forward.”

Atkins will open the 9th Police Recruitment and Retention Summit, on Jan. 23-25 in Philadelphia, with an empowering keynote address on breaking through fear and adversity to wholeheartedly serve your community and being resilient through the difficult times amid the pandemic and police culture in the media. His presentation will also focus on being equally as successful in your personal life as in your professional one.

“What I often see is people are a public success and a private failure,” he said. “There can be such an imbalance between work and home, and you want to be a 10 at both. It’s about living to your potential in all areas of your life.”

Living to your true potential both personally and professionally comes down to three key intentions, said Atkins: Have a vision, live a life with a sense of urgency, and have a positive mindset.

Atkins will share stories from his childhood and hardships throughout his adulthood that have inspired his commitment to his own personal growth journey, which he believes has been the defining factor in his success through law enforcement and a keynote speaker.

Though he’ll share the strategies he’s found most influential throughout his keynote, one that he practices daily is guarding the content he consumes and the people he surrounds himself with. “I think the majority of people live their life by default. You wake up, turn on the news, and you let everything that you consume in the news, the newspaper, work, family problems, to control your life,” Atkins said. “And you’re just kind of floating through life.”

“It was when I started studying and looking at very successful people, I really learned that once I was able to flip my mindset and look at the world through a different lens and commit to at least 10 minutes a day to personal growth, whether reading a good book or watching a good motivational video, it completely changed my life and my success in life.”

Atkins will deliver his keynote address, “Resilience in Law Enforcement,” at 9:10 a.m. EST on Monday, Jan. 24 during the 9th Police Recruitment and Retention Summit at the Hyatt Bellevue in Philadelphia. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test, or proof of vaccination is required to attend the event. Click here to see the full agenda, roster of speakers, registration information, and our health and safety protocols.