What do you do in a crisis? Do you freeze, fight, or take flight — or do you remain centred, calm, and focused on the present moment?
People with strong Inner Leadership skills, people who are antifragile, respond first by Centring themselves. Then they Ground themselves to reconnect strongly with who they are at their best so that they can bring their best skills and abilities to address the situation.
The simple technique that Inner Leadership recommends for grounding ourselves is called Anchoring.
The stronger you build your anchor, the better you will hold firm, no matter what kind of storm is raging around you.
Here is a summary in three steps of how to create a strong anchor.
1. Remember a Time…
To build a strong anchor, start by remembering a state that you would like to be able to recall at will: a time when you felt fully alive, in flow, operating to the maximum of your ability.
What do you remember best about that flow state? Where were you? Who were you with? What were you doing? What were you working to achieve? How did you feel? How was your body positioned? What was your posture? How were you holding your arms, back, and head? What did it feel like to be so grounded? Could you see, hear, taste, smell, or feel anything special?
Now stand or sit in the way you were then and recreate the experience as fully as you can.
2. Choose an Anchor
Now you want to be able to recall that state at will.
It won’t always be possible to take on this position when you need it (you might not want to stand up during a meeting). So, instead, we need to learn to associate that state with something else. We create an ‘anchor’.
One way to do this is to associate your feeling of being grounded with a key word, name, or image: perhaps the word ‘Ground’ or ‘Lincoln’ or the image of an ‘Oak Tree’.
If this works for you, take the time now to choose such a word or image.
An alternative is to create a physical anchor that can be activated by touching a part of your body. To create a physical anchor, first choose a part of your body (your chin, ear lobe, a fingernail, …). Then touch that with another part of your body: a finger or thumb or perhaps hold it between your thumb and forefinger. Bringing together the two parts is what forms the anchor.
(Remember to choose something that will look natural in the situations where you intend to use it.)
3. Recall that State at Will — Practise
Now return to your best feeling of being grounded, the one you want to be able to recall at will, and make that feeling as strong as you can. At the same time set up your chosen anchor: touch the part of your body in the way you have chosen (or focus on the key word or image).
Then release the anchor, move out of position, and let the feeling go.
After a few moments return to your highly grounded state and re-initiate the anchor. Repeat until the anchor becomes associated with the feelings of groundedness.
You now have an anchor that enables you to ground yourself at will, in any situation, and to then draw upon your best skills and qualities in whatever situation you face.
That is part of the first step towards becoming antifragile.
Can you remember a time when you were operating at the maximum of your potential, fully alive, in flow, unstoppable? Would you like to be able to recreate that state at will?
(If you want more details on how to create and strengthen your anchor you can find them in the book.)
Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.
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(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also have to practice.)