How subconscious anchors impact your mood & actions

When I am coaching (not in an agile sense), it is sometimes useful to introduce Anchors with the client. An Anchor is a coaching term taken from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) methods, which allows the client to trigger a desired state on demand. The textbook example is someone who wants to be more confident when presenting, and in a coaching session, you can give the client an anchor so that when they stand in front of a group they can trigger their anchor and assume the positive confident state they desire.

You like everyone else will have anchors already set that you don’t even realise. Whether it’s the smell of your grandparents house, the view from a holiday cottage, the touch of a loved one or a hearing a song you danced to at a school disco. What happens is these subconsciously set anchors, when seen, smelt, heard or felt instantly take you back, putting you in to the state you were at the time, be that positive or negative.

Today I noticed I have gained a new anchor, one I had not consciously looked to set. I have a new client who’s offices are in London and therefore I’ve been catching the train more than I have recently. Owing to an hour-long journey in each direction, I had told myself to use this as a gift to catch up with reading or work that never makes it to the top of the list. Sitting down today in my seat, within 30 seconds I felt invigorated and full of energy and got a book out to read, even though it was 6.30am! Yet if you compare me to 5 minutes before, yawning and wishing I was still in bed on the taxi to the train station, it would be hard to believe they two time periods where so closely linked.

Be aware that anchors exist, and that you have them yourself.  Think about people, places, sounds or smells that cause you to feel and act differently. Is the reaction you have positive or negative?

Being aware of your change in state when something happens is the first step of getting benefits from it. If it is positive then you might want to amplify it, or look to get that state in other situations. If it’s negative, and assuming you want to change it, start to think of positive states and their triggers to change the anchor to a positive or neutral state. With a little practise you can probably see some results yourself, however if you find you are in a stuck state every time the trigger happens, then you might find a coaching session helpful. Myself or any other coach will be able to help.

Let me know some of the anchors you find you have you didn’t realise in the comments below.