As small business owners, the environment is such that calm can quickly turn to disarray. The world of a small business owner can ebb and flow between excitement and calm and then quickly switch to chaos and unpredictability.
These quick shifts can show up in many forms, from supply chain disruptions to staff shortages. It’s essential to have a strategy to pivot back into our productive zone as rapidly as possible. We perform at our best when we are calm, focused, and able to trust our instincts for quick decision-making and project execution.
Understanding the concept of anchors is key to achieving this balance. Derived from Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), anchors act as reminders or triggers, putting us into a certain state of mind. However, not all anchors are created equal; they can be perceived as positive, propelling us toward success, or perceived as negative, dragging us into a vortex of stress and underperformance.
Most of us are very familiar with negative anchors. They show up in our daily lives and businesses as fear, stress, anxiety, procrastination, negative thinking, frustration, and a sense of isolation.
But the good news is these negative anchors have just been programmed over the course of our lives and can be managed through intentionality. Acknowledging and then utilizing that space to pause, reflect, and shift away from negative anchors and focus on positive anchors is essential.
To manage our negative anchors or beliefs, you must be able to identify the alternative feeling you would rather have and pinpoint what your goal or idea of success is specifically. It is essential to measure success not just by financial gain but also by joy, fulfillment, and the quality of the relationships we have.
Business owners who radiate positivity in their work are seen as successful because their positive energy translates into their interactions and services. Our thoughts and energy impact those around us, so it’s crucial to be intentional.
When we are not intentional with our environments or the people we surround ourselves with, it can negatively affect our overall well-being. These anchors or triggers can feel like a vortex, so we also need to understand how our own thoughts and actions might be contributing to that toxicity. If we constantly find ourselves in such situations, the reality is we are guilty of initiating the negative triggers and are just attracting more of the same into our life and workspace.
We often label experiences as good or bad, but in hindsight, we can usually find experiences that didn’t turn out to equal the label we originally gave them. These labels are grayer compared to the straight black-and-white perception we start with. These labels get in the way of valuable feedback we need to grow ourselves and our businesses, so removing these labels is the start of the intentional switch to positive anchors.
Our conscious brain thinks linearly, while our subconscious mind is more fluid and capable of handling multiple thoughts and emotions simultaneously. It’s crucial to acknowledge and allow ourselves to feel negative emotions but also to examine the stories we attach to those experiences.
Once you intentionally remove the labels and limiting beliefs that shape your perceptions of events, you have the power to create new narratives and attach positive meanings to past experiences, even if they were initially difficult or painful. Every event in our lives contributes to our growth and shapes who we become. Going beyond superficial understanding and asking ourselves why we feel a certain way is critical.
Taking action is essential, and without consistent application, you will be unable to replace a negative anchor that was learned over time through consistent experiences with a positive anchor. The action allows you to release limiting beliefs, rewrite your stories, and embrace a growth mindset that will change your business and your life all in one set of consistent daily actions.
An anchor can be thought of as a link to an emotional state. For example, an athlete might use an anchor to get into the zone for peak performance in a game. It can be as simple as touching a certain sign that is above the doorway as they walk out of the locker room.
As a business owner, you might have a routine you do to start your day, and you can tie positive anchors to that routine. By tying positive states of emotion to anything memorable, you can utilize this same concept at any time to help you get out of a chaotic state.
Once you identify an anchor you want to use, you must intentionally create a narrative that will be quickly recalled by your subconscious brain. For example, an athlete might touch a sign that has been passed down from one team to the next over the years, and all team members are familiar with the message, what it means, and the positive emotions that come from that message and meaning.
The routine you do to start your day can be utilized as a positive anchor if you add some meaning to the routine by clearly understanding why you do the routine the way you do it, what turning on the equipment means, and the memories of the great days that followed that morning routine.
It’s all about being intentional and in control of the types of emotions you have when confronted with the anchor. Here is a six-step process that can help you turn anchors into positive reminders:
- Take a few slow, deep breaths to center yourself.
- Think of a highly positive experience in the past when you achieved success.
- Identify the anchor you wish to associate this experience with and physically touch it if possible.
- Go back and think of the experience again. See the experience through your own eyes, hear the sounds around you, notice any comforting smells or tastes, and feel into it emotionally — as if it is happening now.
- See if you can find other similar positive experiences to link to this anchor as well.
- Use your breath to secure the anchor by taking a three-second inhale and exhaling for six counts. Utilize the exhale to energize the anchor.
When you see, hear, feel, and sense the connection, you will know it because you feel that desired emotional state of success. You have now created a tangible link to your desired success emotional state that you can use anytime you need to move from chaos to calm.
In the words of my mentor, Jack Canfield, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Embrace the journey, take action, and believe in your abilities. Surround yourself with positive energy and mark those with specific anchors that will help you thrive in your business and personal life.
Harnessing positive energy through the use of anchors is a powerful tool for growth and success. By understanding and managing the anchors in our lives, we can create a more focused, positive, and productive environment for ourselves and our businesses. Take the steps to identify and create positive anchors and watch as they propel you toward your goals.