Find Your Anchor

I often ask clients “What is fixed and what is flexible on this project?” It’s language I use for setting my own boundaries too, most recently when negotiating meeting formats. (“If you really want a hybrid event, here’s what must be in place…and here’s what I can flex with…”) The idea comes from the elastic metaphor I’ve been exploring, and today will be our final installment in that series.

Elastics are only useful if stretched, and they can only stretch if at least one point is anchored.

When I shared this insight at a workshop recently, one participant blurted out, “And THAT is the problem! I’ve been expected to stretch in every direction at once and NOTHING is staying anchored!”

While it is true that counter pressure can sometimes work — i.e. pulling in one direction allows someone else to pull in the opposite and keep things taut and balanced — a more sustainable stretch is likely if it is originating from a stable base. Many of the bases we once thought were stable have shifted in recent years.

Our anchor point may be long term and enduring, like deep personal values, while at other times it may only hold for long enough to get something done temporarily. But the point is clear: we are in a better position to stretch when we are clear about what is moving and what is not.

ELASTIC book cover

Next week, we’ll start looking at ELASTIC as an acronym as well as a metaphor. It’s all a sneak preview for my new book, which will be available on February 7, 2023.

If you’re interested in digging deeper into what you’ve been reading here, I’ll be hosting a digital workshop series on ELASTIC that starts January 20. You can register here.

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