What is the true meaning of resilience and how can we identify it?


We have created this short article taken from a transcript of a recent Luminary Mindset video recorded by our Founder and CEO, Zoe Williams on the subject of resilience in the workplace.

You will be introduced to some of the tools and concepts we use at Luminary Mindset(TM) to identify and measure resilience in yourself and how you can apply these tools within your teams and wider working culture…


People get their resilience tested in life all of the time, through injury, illness, a family crisis or the burden of financial stress.  If you are really unlucky, all at the same time!

Nevertheless, life usually requires us to bounce back fast, which isn’t always easy without identifying strategies that work best for us. Our emotional intelligence and self awareness is a key strategy in regaining resilience when we need it the most.

In a circular way, one of the things that I believe builds our emotional intelligence, are these types of life events and circumstances that cause us to call upon our resilience – Life will test us, but ultimately it strengthens and develops us.


The wheel illustrated below is part of the psychometric tool (EQi-2.0) that I use with my clients to measure their emotional intelligence, you’ll see on the outside of the wheel there is well-being, because ultimately this is what emotional intelligence is working towards.




Well-being and developing our ability to notice what’s going on internally with our own emotions:


Part of this tool is learning how our emotional intelligence affects our interpersonal skills, and ultimately, our decision making. We need to be able to notice what’s going on inside other people. And I mean inside rather than what they’re saying.

Emotions are very different sometimes to the spoken word. Often we don’t say how we’re feeling, we’ll say what people want to hear or what we think is appropriate, rather than what’s actually going on. We need to be able to notice what others are feeling, and potentially how they’re perceiving the world so that we can better influence them from both a collaborative and relational perspective.


What this brings to a team and the individual:

It can result in a leader who is very connected to the environment around them, connected to what’s going on, and well plugged into the team both on an individual level, but also at a group.

The biggest upside to this is a team that feels supported and understood. It also allows them feel safe to do the same with their peers. What can then be created is an emotionally intelligent culture, which leads to a resilient environment for people to work in. It’s connected by strong interpersonal skills, and high levels of trust, due to the levels of psychological safety that is cultivated.


The key emotional intelligence skills that I focus on when specifically looking at creating resilience…


It starts with self awareness: understanding yourself, how you’re feeling and how you’re interpreting the world, you can then use that understanding to inform your interpersonal skills, how you’re communicating with others, what questions you’re asking, and how you’re listening.

In doing that, the decision making that goes on around you is going to be enhanced.


Reality Testing:

If you really want to help your teams with their resilience, you will want to help them develop what we call their reality testing, which is also part of the emotional intelligence toolkit.

Reality testing is the process that happens in our brains when we receive new information, it’s something that actually happens in the environment around us – the stimulus comes in through the senses, and the programmed reaction then follows.

For example, we might receive an email or phone call, our brain tries to make meaning out of this new information that it’s now has…


What is Meaning Making?


This meaning making is our judging and perceiving – of course, this perceived new information is going to inform how we respond to it. We may say, “what I’ve just heard means X” or, “what I’ve just seen definitely means Y“.

Now the meaning that we make out of what’s happened isn’t usually what is actually happening. You’ll notice sometimes if you receive some news, you might hear this internal narrative play out:

“Oh, well, I guess that means this, and then that must mean that and then, of course, this will follow as a result”.

And this whole chain of thought events that comes off the back of just one event, assumptions are made. And we allow all of this to influence how we communicate and decision make. We don’t want or need this to happen as much as it does. It happens more when we’re under stress.


What influences our meaning making:



Assumptions can waste a lot of time and resources across an organisations and in our personal lives. It’s also really exhausting and draining, and it can lead to extremely poor decision making. It can also lead to a huge amount of procrastination, which takes up even more time and energy.

Reality testing is pulling people back to the what’s happened, the actual information that’s received before all of that judgement and perceiving that goes on in our brains.

Sure, it might mean X, Y and Z, but let’s just ground ourselves in what happened and try and focus on that for a little while longer. It will soon become one of those circuit breakers that we can rely upon to stop the brain from overexaggerating and overthinking the situation. And, more importantly, stop the brain from releasing the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline that can be extremely taxing on our health and wellbeing over time.


If you feel we could support you or your team with any of the above subjects or you would like to learn more about the Emotional Intelligence toolkit EQi-2.0, please reach out to speak to a member of our team – info@luminarymindset.com

Zoe Williams, founder and CEO – Luminary Mindset Consulting