Anchoring keeps you stable in the storm

The world's largest anchor

What do you do when a crisis hits? When you have strong inner leadership skills, your first step is to Centre yourself. Then you move to Stage Two and reconnect strongly with who you are at your best, so that you bring your best skills and abilities to address the situation. This is called Grounding.

The technique Inner Leadership recommends for rapid grounding is called Anchoring. The more strongly you build your anchor, the better you will be able to hold firm, no matter what kind of storm is raging around you.

Start by Remembering…

To build an anchor, start by remembering a time when you felt especially alive, in flow, operating to the maximum of your ability: a state that would be useful for you to be able to recall at will.

Write down now what you remember 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?

Stand or sit in the way you were then and recreate the experience as fully as you can.

Compare that with Solid Pose

Now compare this with another position many people find grounding: solid pose.

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and your back straight. Feel your weight passing down through your feet into the ground or floor as an invisible thread pulls the top of your head directly upwards. This is a very stable stance, solid, with a low centre of gravity.

Sway slightly from side to side or ask a friend to nudge you. Notice how you feel. Does this position feel more or less grounded than before? Shift between the stances and notice the differences.

The Most Grounded Person You Know

Now let’s compare these positions with someone you admire and think of as being very grounded. Who is the most grounded person you can think of — someone you would aspire to be like during a moment of crisis. How would they hold themselves? What would their posture be? How would they move? How would they speak?

Copy them for a few minutes and notice how you feel.

Pick the Best

Now compare this with the other two positions. Which most strongly brings you the feelings of being grounded that you would want to be able to recall at will? Are there any images, smells, sounds, or tastes that are important to remember?

Shift into the position you have chosen, remember those images, smells, or sounds. Hold this for a few moments and notice how you feel.

Recalling the State at Will — Creating an Anchor

Now we want you to be able to recall this state at will.

It won’t always be possible to take on your preferred position — you might not want to leap to your feet shouting “Eureka!” during a meeting — so we need to associate it with something else. This is called creating the anchor.

One way to create this anchor is to associate the feeling of being grounded with a key word, name, or image: perhaps simply 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.

Another way is to create a physical anchor that can be activated by touching a particular part of your body. To create a physical anchor, first choose a part of your body (your chin, your ear lobe, the first fingernail of your left hand, …). Then touch that with another part of your body: a finger or thumb or perhaps holding it between your thumb and forefinger. It is bringing the two parts together that forms the anchor.

Choose something that will look natural in the situations where you intend to use it.

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) while at the same time strongly recreating the feelings of groundedness.

Then release the anchor, move out of position, and relax.

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. This might require practice over a few days.

You now have an anchor that enables you to ground quickly, at will, in any situation — returning to a state where you feel especially alive and connected, in full flow, sure of who you are, and operating to the maximum of your ability. You can then bring this state to bear on whatever situation you are facing.

Can you remember a time when you were operating at the maximum of your potential, in ‘superhero mode’, unstoppable? Would you like to be able to recreate that state at will?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By Blondinrikard Fröberg via

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