10 Verbal Anchors: Become a Gainsayer
Most people have far too many anchors holding them back, anchors that stop them from going anywhere, getting anywhere or enjoying the journey.
I’ve just returned from a short break on the Costa del Sol and on one particularly windy day I was scrambling on the breakwater that creates the Puerto DuQuesa Marina. Stopping for a rest, it was very hot as well as windy, I was watching a sleek speedboat outside the marina, bobbing around in the waves and the wind, but otherwise stationary, presumably waiting for a berth: with the engine off, it needed it’s anchor to keep it from drifting onto the rocks, but that’s all the anchor was doing, keeping it stationary.
However, a speedboat isn’t designed to be stationary and neither are you!
Physical anchors stop us making progress, but verbal anchors have the same effect. Progress towards the successful realisation of a worthwhile goal comes only when we deny, counter or contradict the verbal anchors that hold us back. When verbal anchors spring to your lips you need to become a confident gainsayer.
Let’s have a look at some of the common verbal anchors that keep many of us weighed down and that stop us from achieving the goals we set for ourselves – and please don’t ask me how I know all these!
1 “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”
No it isn’t – If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing, full stop. Even if it’s done poorly at first you will be learning, practising and improving.
2 “I’m the only person who can do this job the way it should be done.”
No you’re not – Learn to trust other people in your team: teach them once and start delegating tasks to them.
3 “Successful people get more of their decisions right than do unsuccessful people like me.”
No they don’t – Research shows that they just make more decisions and they make them faster.
4 “I’m absolutely useless at mathematics, finances, selling, persuading, drawing, report writing and Boolean algebra (or any other word or phrase of your own choosing).”
No you’re not – You simply haven’t taken the time or made the effort to study the topic. Saying “I’m useless at ……” is not a synonym for “I haven’t yet developed the skills I need to be good at ……”
5 “I need a perfect plan for my project before I begin.”
No you don’t – Just get started, stop procrastinating, focus on the goal and execute the plan you have: in any event your plan will undoubtedly develop and change as you move forward.
6 “My age let’s me down; I’m too old.”
No you’re not – Colonel Sanders was in his 70s when he launched his Kentucky Fried Chicken business. Capitalise on the wisdom that your age has given you.
7 “John’s so much better at lots of things than I am.”
No he isn’t – Stop comparing your weaknesses with other people’s strengths.
8 “My age is against me; I’m too young.”
No you’re not – how old were the founders of Microsoft and Facebook? Capitalise on the enthusiasm and energy of your youth.
9 “I always fail at everything I try.”
No you don’t – So obviously you can’t walk, talk, swim, run, ride a bike, drive a car, make toast or boil an egg. I challenge you to name ten things you’ve tried and at which you’ve totally failed, given up and never tried again.
10 “Success doesn’t come to people like me. It only happens to people with the right background or education or skin colour or qualifications or ethnicity or upbringing (or any other word or phrase of your own choosing).”
No it doesn’t – It can happen to anyone provided they’ve cultivated the right attitude.