Using Anchors To Reach Your Inner Power

What’s the best part of your life? You know, the one filled with excitement, thrill and accomplishment? I’m sure you must have one. A period in which everything you did counted and every single action was magically followed by solid, long-lasting positive effects. You do have such a part in your life, everybody has it.

And I’m sure you really miss it. You would love to live that again. To feel that excitement, to enjoy being the best you can be. You’d rather give away all you have right now, just to be able to experience again that positive attitude and those fantastic results.

Introducing anchors, a powerful concept from NLP. If you’re an experienced NLP practitioner, chances are that most of the following stuff would look familiar to you (although I must warn you this is not entirely NLP compliant). But if you aren’t, maybe you will find something really interesting. Let’s go:

What Is An Anchor?

An anchor is a connexion between a certain context and a desired action, via a triggered stimulus. That sounded worse that I intended.

For instance, you can connect your kitchen context with your hunger feeling. Hunger being the stimulus, in this case. The action triggered by the stimulus is eating. Another context would be your office. Just by going day after day at the office, you created an anchor, a link between the office space and a certain stimulus. If your office history was a productive one, you created a link to a working stimulus. In this case, the action triggered by this stimulus would be to perform work. But if your office history was a rather lazy one, you created an anchor to an escape stimulus. And the action triggered by this stimulus is procrastination. Or, using simpler words, laziness.

Of course many of you knew all of these, and since Pavlov and his dog, this may be pretty much common sense. But what’s not common sense is that the stimulus can be triggered outside the physical context too. Meaning you don’t necessarily have to ring a bell to make the dog hungry. If you just think at the kitchen, chances are that you can trigger a hunger stimulus. If you think at your office, chances are that you can trigger an escape stimulus. Just by thinking at it. Now, we starting to get closer.

Why Do You Need An Anchor?

To achieve a certain goal. To perform at a higher level. In short, to improve your life. Many experienced NLP practitioners have successfully used anchors to attain unbelievable excellence levels. There are many techniques for implementing anchors, from hypnosis to self-discipline, or just simple visualization, like the one we’re going to describe below.

But you need an anchor especially because you are not always acting at your highest potential. You may not always be in the right context. Maybe you let something else interfere, maybe you got bored, maybe you can’t focus right now. You’re not there. An anchor would actually pick you up from where you are and insert you in a favorable context. It will transport you instantly in a better area. Pretty powerful, right?

Prepare The Field

If you want to implement some powerful anchors in your workflow, you must do some preliminary check-ups.

First of all, you must be at peace with what you want. I know that this task in itself could cost you months of training and mental discipline, but it’s a must. You must be very clear about what you want, otherwise you’ll send mixed messages to your brain. The anchors won’t work.

The simplest way to become clear about what you want is to make a simple list with what you want. Yeah, exactly. Keep it close to you and check-it up for several weeks, each day. If something start to look fishy or just out of sync with you, make the necessary corrections. If you want to be poor and “pure”, just be like that, but if you want wealth and abundance, settle for it. Make it crystal clear. At the end of this period, the items on the list must be steadily fixed in your mind.

Second, put some time aside. Making this work will require some time, don’t expect it to happen over night. Make room in your agenda for setting up anchors, borrow some time and commit to it. Depending on how powerful you want to anchor to be, making it work may take from one week to a couple of months.

So, establish clear goals and make sure you put time aside to reach them, that’s what you have to do before creating an anchor.

Step 1: Immerse

The first thing for creating an anchor is to immerse. To remember a certain period in your life when you were successful. Go back in time and find the best slice of your life. Although it seems pretty simple, because you’re not doing something extremely difficult, is crucial to be accurate. It’s important to find a thing that made you feel great on many levels.

Maybe it was the period before an important exam? Maybe it was your apprenticeship? Maybe it was something from your childhood that made you feel totally secure and confident? Whatever it is, identify it and immerse in it.

The role of immersion is to identify a favorable context and the associated stimulus.

Step 2: Identify The Context

Once you finished immersion is time to look around. What was the physical context? Write it down, with as many detailed as you can remember. It was a house? What color? How were the rooms? How was the door, the windows, the carpets? Try to visualize exactly the main scene. If it was something that took place on many spots, like your schools, try to identify common things: the light, the air, noises. If it was something in the wild, a forest or a lake, try to visualize the colors. That’s the physical context.

Step 3: Identify Stimulus

Once you successfully immersed and identified the context, the third step is to identify the stimulus.  The stimulus is made by your feelings. How do you feel when you relive those moments? What are your emotions? What are you thriving for? What makes you vibrate? Those are your motivators. Those are the stimulus which can ignite a very powerful process. Write them down in simple words. You’re almost done.

Step 4. Re-create The Scene

The final step in creating an anchor is to re-create the scene. Start by the physical context. Make the same light or paint your room in the same colors. Try to bring in similar furniture. Re-arrange the office so it will resemble to that work space. Go out in the nature if that’s your physical context. Next, take care of the auditive environment. There was some music playing? A specific noise? Try to recreate it.

I know, sounds silly. If somebody will look at you from “the outside” you’ll definitely look silly. But how bad do you want to achieve your goals? Really, how bad?

Now, put yourself in that context. Sit down. Lay down, if that’s the case. Start walking, if that’s the case. Just melt in the context and let your memories do the rest. Look for your emotions. Be there, but try to detach a little, just enough to monitor your feelings. At some point, sooner or later, you’ll feel something.

You’ll feel a specific emotion. You’ll know it when it will come. You’ll recognize it. I know I recognize that feeling. It’s something so powerful, yet so familiar, that I simply can’t resist it. I’m there. And I know I’m in contact with an infinite source of power. Whenever I feel this, I know I can do anything. Literally, anything.

Once you feel that, step out of the context. Come back in this world. You’ll bring with you your stimulus. And you’ll reconnect with whatever you wanted to achieve.

Remember Excellence

One of the most powerful memories I have is from my college. It’s about climbing a mountain. Technically, it was half of a hill cut in two, not a mountain, but the wall was very steep, practically vertical. Near the city where I was living at that time there was a huge artificial lake. They made a barrage and after the water filled the valley, creating the lake, they had to build a road around it. And when they build the road, they had to cut in two a hill. It was a vertical cut in a hill made of limestone. It was visible from the other side of the lake: a vertical, white cut on a hill, with only 1 meter of dark soil on top.

It was even more impressive from the bottom. It was so perfect, that you couldn’t resist trying to climb it. Total height was around 30 meters, like a building with 6-7 floors. One of my most impressive achievements from that time was climbing that cut in the hill. No ropes. No equipment. Free hand. Just me and that wall made of limestone. Bear hands. I won’t go into details about how much time I spent until I finally did it, because it really doesn’t matter. What matter is my feeling of power once I reached the top. The balance I had during the climbing, those exact gestures, my focus. The feeling of self-confidence that was really overwhelming me each time I did it.

So, each time I want to relive this, I just call the anchor. I go out, find a lake, and visualize the cut in the hill. I listen to the silence. I start to hear the sounds of some birds, and maybe a car passing by the road. And then I start climbing. It doesn’t last more than 2-3 minutes until I reach to the top of the hill. And once I’m there, I open my eyes and get back to work. Nobody can resist me after one of those sessions. Nobody.

What are your anchors?



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I'm blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You're invited, by the way.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Hey Dragos, this is a very powerful idea (and powerful writing from you as usual)! The anchors I’ve read about in NLP refer to transference of the positive feeling into a certain portable object. The upside to this is the object can be carried everywhere around with you (like a lucky charm). I like your idea about converting an entire environment, because it creates even more impact (like when I turned my whole room around into an inspirational haven http://personalexcellence.co/blog/2009/03/does-your-room-inspire-you/). Using both types of anchors hand in hand will definitely create double the boost in reaching our goals.
    .-= Celes | The Personal Excellence Blog´s last blog ..Not Getting What You Want? Time To Change Your Actions =-.

    1. Yeap, I knew that in “orthodox” NLP anchors are used a little bit different, hence the little warning in the beginning. I found it more effective to use an entire environment than just one thing (as powerful as that one thing may be).

      And I think you’re right about using a combined power. That should double the effects 🙂

  2. I think that music is a very strong anchor. I have been trying to identify songs that make me feel more creative and help me when I am out exploring with my camera or post processing my photographs. I have a list, and I need to post it up soon.

    Also, I have a strong connection to the james bond soundtrack – from the old days. We listened to it all the time in architecture school as we pulled all nighters. I still hear it sometimes out of no where and I am motivated to do some work!
    .-= Scott Webb´s last blog ..Passion Vs Lottery Ticket | Make your Passion the Side Business =-.

    1. Exactly! I know a guy who cured his public speaking fear by listening to “Eyes Of The Tiger”, one of the songs from Rocky series movies. It really is very powerful!

  3. Space that we see in the sky getting inside my senses and feeling it’s infinite expanse inside me, which made me understand the meaning of divine love.
    just floating on and on in this with the help of people deep in meditation.

    realized then, that no result and no action will fill me as much as it was filling me. can never forget that moment.
    .-= techzen´s last blog ..mist =-.

  4. This is outlined brilliantly Dragos, and a valuable and powerful action for sure. I too completely agree with the entire environment needing to be recreated to gain the full effect from this method. I actually include smells and touch to return to that “immersed” feeling of being there. I’ve used mine to calm my mind and relax and way back when used it to learn to fall asleep in about 20 seconds. I can do that without even using the anchor now, so I can use them with other things.

    I find that once you get good at returned to anchors you can do so without nearly as many steps or as much time or imagination. You can train yourself to step to an anchor in a second or two and anything can trigger it. A simple single action, a word or thought, whatever you want. That makes it even more useful because you can use them then at any time. The danger of course is then being caught “day dreaming”… I am guilty of that for sure.
    .-= Mike King´s last blog ..Book Review: The Adversity Paradox =-.

    1. The more you use them, the faster you get into that feeling, that’s just human behavior: we adjust to our stimulus. Anchors are one of the simplest method for getting yourself in shape, and one of the most effective too. As for the “day dreaming”, I confess I am guilty 🙂

  5. This is fascinating and very creative Dragos. I’ve done this intuitively or instinctively many times, but not had the words that you do for it. I’ve used it when I feel like I’ve lost that strong sense of Robin and what I’m about, used it to ground me and remember who I REALLY am. It makes me feel stronger, more sure, more knowing of where I’m headed and what is most important in my life. It allows me to let the rest go as fluff and, as you say, get solidly anchored once again. I always thought of it as grounding myself back down my very fundamental core truth or sense of self.

    It was really nice to learn more about your life and how you personally see the world. Very enriching. Thank you my friend. Robin 🙂
    .-= Robin Easton´s last blog ..Can You Slow Down? =-.

    1. Thank you, for being here, Robin, your comments are always adding more value to this blog. Glad I made you think once again about who you REALLY ware 🙂

  6. Hey Dragos, this is right up my alley. I’m not entirely NLP compliant either, but it is a strong part of my foundational training and approach. Many of my modalities for dismantling limiting beliefs and replacing them with empowering ones, are built around emotional anchors. Understanding this aspect of our makeup is a very valuable personal growth tool. Great article, thanks.
    .-= Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s last blog ..Anatomy of Personal Change =-.

    1. Hey, Jonathan,

      Glad we share common frequencies here. I think it would be great to read some of your techniques at some point. I ‘m really curious.

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