Anchors secure you when the waters are wild.

I have used anchors for many years in order to shift state and to focus my mind when required. I came across the term anchor and what they can be used for within the context of state management which relates to performance management many years ago when I learnt who Tony Robbins was.

For those of you who do not know who Tony is then I would highly recommend looking him up as he is by far one of the most successful performance coaches of our time.

I furthered my knowledge about state management through the numerous sports and performance coaching courses that I attended over the years, NLP books, articles and online talks.

Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be in situations, both professionally and personally where I have required to implement the use of state management. I say I am fortunate as without putting our learning into action, we fail to gain the full impact of anything that we learn.

It is only from going through these real life experiences, applying the knowledge that I have acquired, reflecting on what worked and then iterating in preparation for the next situation that I have managed to refine the process.

Through having an optimised process, I am able to switch from the caring, nurturing parent that encourages flow, trial and error, discovery and development to the person who is sat on the tube amongst the people, focused on all of my surroundings, noticing all of the faces as you never know which one will matter again, picking up on all of the smallest behaviours that stand out from the baseline and hyper aware of movement around me.

There are many different instances of flow that I have, all tempered to the specific situations that I encounter during my everyday life. The anchors that I use are a mixture of audio and kinaesthetic triggers. For example, when I have an academic piece of work that I need to do, I play a certain isochronic tone on repeat through headphones, cancelling out any other noise and focusing my attention to the screen in front of me. The tone is played at a very low volume which allows for my internal dialogue to still be heard above the music.

Another example is in the gym, when deadlifting, I have a specific little movement that I do whilst verbalising a mantra out loud, which may look and sound silly to an observer but help me get into a ‘heavy lifting’ mindset.

The last example I will share with you is the most personal to me and covert. When I notice that my mood is shifting from upbeat to sad, or there is a task which I must complete but my internal dialogue is cursing at the time, I take a deep breath, tap my left thumb on to my wedding ring three times whist verbalising the word ‘happy’ three times.

Anyone can learn to use anchors, they take time and effort to condition but can really be useful throughout your life. Have you ever reflected back on a situation and thought that you could have performed better? Have you analysed exactly why you didn’t perform to your best ability? I would bet that a majority of the time the root cause would be that your state was not optimised for the situation.

We are in control of our lives and should seek to maximise every opportunity we can in order to be as happy and successful as we want to be. Understanding how you affect a situation is key, you are always a part of a situation rather than an observer. Your actions create results, regardless of size, so why not craft the results that you want rather than leaving it to chance?

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