Where Is Your Anchor?

19th century style building and large green grass lawn in front with tree

Do you have family, friend, co-workers, or neighbors who brag all the time? It’s annoying isn’t it. They have the perfect kids. Their wife is amazing. Their husband is just like Jesus. No one in their family ever does anything wrong. Their kids never wet the bed or failed to make straight A’s in school. Of course it’s a total facade, but they keep it up nonetheless. And it’s annoying with a capital “A.”

Okay, I’m in danger of being that annoying neighbor. You see I have 3 children. Or more accurately, my wife and I have 3 children. And they’re great. Not perfect, but great. Not without fault, but great. Not flawless, but great. I love my kids and it’s an honor to be their dad. They’ve stayed out of trouble (mostly). They’ve been honor students (mostly). And they show their parents respect (mostly). They’re great kids (mostly). And I love them unconditional (mostly). They’re kind, helpful, smart, and active in their churches, helping their communities and neighbors (mostly).

Each one is unique in his or her own way. And I love them uniquely for who they are. And I miss them. In the last 15 years, we’ve lived in Tennessee, Arizona, South Carolina, North Carolina, the Philippines, Kentucky, Connecticut, and Nebraska. The two oldest (who have completed their university studies) have located in the Carolinas (North and South) and one is a university student in Arizona (Go Wildcats!!!). Our family is somewhat scattered and we don’t have the opportunity to see each other every day or every week. It’s a special occasion when we get to spend some quality time together, typically over the holidays. But this week is different. My wife and I are in the Carolinas visiting the boys and it’s not a holiday week.

It’s been great to catch up a bit with each of them. Though we talk several times a week on the phone, it’s not the same as a face-to-face conversation. And it’s hard to hug a phone, at least without getting weird looks.

And all week long I’ve been reminded about anchors. Anchors are designed to hold boats fast or at least slow down their drift. They are deployed to protect boats from being dashed onto the rocks dotting the coastline. Anchors are also, in a sense, a foundation of sorts. They allow the boat’s captain and crew to take a deep breath, slow down, reassess and then take action (either stay put or move on).

Being back in the Carolinas reminded me that this area is one of my anchors. I have a few. Arizona. Colorado. West Virginia. And the Carolinas. These are places I’ve spent significant time and made significant memories. I met my wife and got married in the Carolinas. We each completed our undergraduate studies in the Carolinas. My sister and brother-in-law also met, married, and completed college in the Carolinas. My wife and I both worked as lifeguards in the Carolinas. My first job was in the Carolinas. And so on and so on. The Carolinas serve as an anchor in my life. And every time I come back, I’m reminded of events, people, dreams, challenges and celebrations, memories of all sorts. The same is true when I visit family in Arizona, Colorado, or West Virginia.

Not only do places serve as an anchor, but so do people (who) and activities (what). My wife is an anchor. My grandfather was an anchor. My mom is an anchor. These are (or were) people in my life who help keep me grounded, remind me of my values, and reinforce good behaviors. Who are the people in your life who serve as anchors? It could be an uncle, an older brother, a pastor, or a cousin.

In addition to places and people, activities can serve as anchors. For me, fly-fishing, scuba-diving, and baking biscuits serve as anchors. These activities remind me of my roots. They remind me of wonderful memories and people I shared them with. They remind me of thoughts, decisions, and stage of life.

Sometimes we think of anchors as unnecessary weights, but in the context of this brief conversation, anchors, like the Carolinas, have a different purpose. They serve as a foundation of sorts, that provides consistency and reliability. Anchors prevent or reduce drifting in the currents and winds of life, the storms. They are pleasant and agreeable, providing safety and security, contentment, and gratification.

You may find that different places, people, and activities serve as anchors for various parts of your life. You might have a spiritual anchor that brings you back to your core doctrinal beliefs. You might have a different anchor that reinforces your family values. And yet still a different anchor that grounds you in your vocational pursuit.

Do you know the location of your anchor? It could be a specific place, like Glacier National Park. Or some place more generic, like the ocean. Do you know who the anchors are in your life? It could be a sister, your best friend or your grandmother. Do you know the activities that serve as anchors? Is it riding horses or painting or cooking buttermilk biscuits from scratch?

I hope you have a great week. And remember to identify your anchors and use them when the currents are strong and the wind is violent. It’s also okay to use your anchors when you’re just trying to ensure you’re on the right track. Drop the anchor, take a deep breath, and reassess your situation. Then, and only then, take your next step.

is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.

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