A strong anchor will keep you stable in the storm

The world's largest anchor

What do you do when a crisis hits?

Do you fight, take flight, or remain centred, calm, and focused on the present moment?

For antifragile people with strong Inner Leadership skills, the first step is to Centre themselves. The second is to Ground themselves: they 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 rapid grounding is called Anchoring. The stronger you build your anchor, the better you will hold firm, no matter what kinds of storm is raging around you.

Here are five steps to creating a strong anchor:

1. Remember a Time…

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

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. 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 you did before? Shift between the stances and notice the differences.

3. The Most Grounded Person You Know

Now compare these two positions with something else. Who is the most grounded person you can think of — someone you would look up to in a moment of crisis. What would their posture be? How would they move? How would they speak?

Copy that person for a few moments and notice how you feel.

4. Pick the Best

Now compare this with the first two positions and ask yourself, which most strongly brings out the feelings of being grounded that you want to recall at will? Are there any images, smells, sounds, or tastes that are important to you?

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

5. Recall that State at Will — Create the Anchor

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

It won’t always be possible to take on your preferred position when you need it (you might not want to stand up in a meeting) so instead we learn to associate that state with something else. This is is done by creating an ‘anchor’.

One way to create this anchor 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.)

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.

This might require practice but you now have an anchor that enables you to ground yourself at will, in any situation, and enable yourself to draw upon your best skills and qualities in whatever situation you face.

And 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, unstoppable? Would you like to be able to recreate that state at will?

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

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Photo By Blondinrikard Fröberg via StockPholio.net

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