Anchors by Dr. Robert Gerwig

Original Photo by Auhor

Anchors keep these beautiful boats from drifting away in the tides and currents of the ocean. Early one evening while walking along the shore, I spotted this colorful boat. Not fancy, it was nonetheless functional, simple, and beautiful – especially in the rich rays of the setting sun. One boat was tied to an anchor on the beach, while the other was anchor with a small, traditional anchor thrown over the side. Both were secure, safe from being swept out to sea and leaving behind a disappointed owner.

There are currents, tides, and winds that will sweep away an unanchored boat. While the boat may later be found, it may be lost forever. Either way, if you’re the owner or user of the boat, this would be problematic. I thought back to the early morning. We’d gotten up at 3:45am, met on the beach shortly thereafter and traveled about an hour to our dive destination. We made a couple dives in the same location over a period of 3 hours or so and made our way back. While the divers were underwater, the boat remained anchored. Good thing! When we came up after each of our dives, we were ready to get out of our gear, climb onboard, and have some java. The boat was right where we left it. It was anchored! It didn’t drift away on the currents, tides, and winds. We even made it back to the beach in time for breakfast – because we hadn’t lost the boat. The boat was WHERE we needed it WHEN we needed it.

Leaders need anchors as well. We need to have core values that provide a foundation, a set of behavioral principles that remain true and steady. These anchors protect us from drifting off. When “life” comes at you, it helps to have anchors that hold us fast. What are your anchors? What is their source? … For me, as a follower of Jesus, my anchors are based on the truths found in the Bible. They provide comfort, steadfastness, and stability. What about you? Do you have anchors? What are they?

There are times when the anchor is pulled up and stored so the boat can move. The anchor hasn’t gone away. It’s still there. It can still be used. It is still in sight. The same is true of our core, foundational values. We may not dwell or meditate on them by the hour, but they remain. They still provide context, constraints, and stability. Without anchors, people tend to drift and move with the crowd. Leaders without anchors are difficult to follow. They make poor leaders.

As many of you, I’ve had to make tough decisions as a leader. I’ve wrestled over some decisions day and night. In the end, I kept coming back to my anchors – my core values, my beliefs, my foundation. They kept me steady and prevented me from drifting off in the currents. Anchors don’t make all decisions “easy” – but they do provide peace of mind and consistency.

What stories of leadership anchors do you have?

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

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