Building resilience through tough times, using the language of colour

We recently spoke to Client Practitioner Experience Manager at Insights, Tony Denton, about resilience – and how we can get through the next few months using the language of colour…

“What is resilience? That’s probably a good place to start. For me, resilience is about your ability to maintain your capacity to operate. It’s completely relative; some people are able to deal with a whole host of things and keep on going, whereas others may be tripped up by much smaller things – such as spilling their coffee before they start work in the morning. And right now, more than it ever has been, your level of resilience will be closely tied to your personal circumstances.

“That’s not to say that people don’t consider themselves to be pretty resilient. For the most part, we may think we’re Teflon-coated and able to cope with everything that’s thrown at us. And a lot of the time that’s true. It’s only when things slip out of our control that it becomes an issue. The current pandemic is an obvious example of this. People are at their least resilient when they have to deal with circumstances out of their control, and we’re all there right now: struggling through this latest lockdown.

“This will certainly be testing the resilience of most of us, but how do you know when your resilience is at a low ebb? One of the clear signs is when you begin to doubt your ability to cope That’s the moment you know you need to act and build that resiliency back up. But the good news is that we can take steps to address that, using the vibrant language of colour…


1) Consider whether you’ve moved wheel position

“We’re all most resilient when we do the stuff that we’re good at, when we can lean into our strengths and utilise our personal communication style.
“One of the most interesting results of the past few months is that I’ve moved wheel position. I now sit in wheel position 29, having moved from wheel position 30, where I have been for the last few years: so still leading with Earth Green energy.

“I feel really comfortable in my own skin there and it feels right, because what’s important to me is putting other people first, considering values, and relationships. Intuition is my dominant preference, backed up with feeling, and being able to think freely and play into that has been really helpful. My intuition allows me to consider a range of possibilities in any given situation, and then I tap into that feeling preference, to make decisions around what feels right to me.


2) Think about what you need to work at your best

“Following on from the point above, I wanted to incorporate that preference for intuition and feeling into my day. One important thing I did was set up a magnetic whiteboard at my desk so that I can visualise all my ideas – an idea I borrowed from my son who attends an online school!

“Another thing I’ve prioritised is regular calls with my teammates, because I know that that seemingly insignificant chat will boost my wellbeing and stimulate me into action. You might think it’s ‘just’ a chat but having time to talk about how you are and asking your colleagues the same is so valuable.


3) Consider your communication preferences

“It also makes sense to lean into your colour energy preferences to build a daily checklist to recreate the circumstances when you perform at your best.

“If you lead with Earth Green energy that might mean giving yourself ten minutes to reflect on your morning or day if you can, or if your preference is for Sunshine Yellow energy it might be collaborating with colleagues to pitch a new idea to your manager. For Fiery Red, it may be setting specific objectives at the start of each day/week, and for Cool Blue, it could be setting a workplan with regular spaces to check in on progress. It’s about thinking what works for you and creating those moments in your day.


4) Use your Insights Discovery Personal Profile

“It’s probably one of the most under-utilised pieces of kit we have access to as practitioners. Your Insights Discovery Personal Profile is a font of information and knowledge, that’s all about you! Turn to the strengths page and think about how you can play to your strengths, even during these difficult times.

“Then there’s the “Creating the Ideal Environment” page in the Management Chapter. We are generally more effective when we work in an environment that suits our preferences. Lockdown may have changed our environment, as we adapt to new working conditions, which can be a big test of our resilience. By using this page of the profile, you may start to identify what may be currently missing for you. Then you can start to think about the coping strategies that you can employ to fill the gaps. Maybe this is something that you can ask your team for support with.

“The final page to pay attention to is on your Personal Motivation page, also in the Management Chapter. It’s worth asking: have I got everything that I need to be motivated? What may have been there before that isn’t there now? How can I recreate that?


5) Don’t dwell too much on the moment

“Sometimes we can get caught up in the anticipation of an event and build it up in our mind – and that’s what trips us up. To draw from my own experience, I had an important client session that I had to prepare for recently. The agenda had changed a few times and when I was out with the dog one afternoon I had to catch myself from really building it up in my mind. (My intuition was taking me in all sorts of directions and creating lots of potential scenarios!).

“If there is something that’s making you anxious, it’s worth thinking beyond that moment and focus on a time in the future when that moment has passed. Even if the situation doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, will you really still be thinking about it in a week’s time? For most things, probably not. Every moment passes, nothing is forever.”


Insights solutions can support your people in building resilience. If you want to learn more then head over to our Building Resilience page. We unwrap the three steps of resilience and offer helpful resources from our resilience toolkit.