Cut The Anchor

People are constantly in search of something solid in a shaky world. Something secure in an unsteady sea. An anchor.

We often create anchors for ourselves that may or may not be in our best interest. We do this for many reasons, but often times it’s out of sheer desperation and uncertainty. Fear. We feel out of control internally so we grasp for something external to cement ourselves to. Sometimes it’s a person, sometimes it’s a behavior, sometimes it’s a belief system. Sometimes it’s a job, a habit, a place, an event, a memory, or even a thing that holds significance in our life.

When we anchor ourselves to things and people and ideas whose purpose may have expired in our lives, we run the risk of becoming stuck.

“We should not moor a ship with one anchor, or our life with one hope.” Epictetus

We anchor our “boat” to one particular thing because we are too afraid of where it might drift if we don’t. We are scared to death of the unknown and the uncharted territory that lies ahead. So we stay trapped. We throw the anchor overboard and drill down, holding onto the old familiar junk because we are too afraid of what might happen if we let it go.

We don’t trust the process of where we could end up. We’re scared it may lead to more loss. More pain. More mistakes and misjudgments. So rather than risking new pain, we hold onto old pain. Old habits. Old people. Old thoughts. Old things. Because even if it hurts, at least it’s a familiar kind of pain.

Anchors that once served to keep us secure and in one place have now become dead weight keeping us gripped by an unhealthy body of water.

This is a tricky way to live your life.

When we become fixated on the anchors in our life, we are inevitably forced to keep our eyes pointed downward. We aren’t moving. We are stagnant. And we’ve become spellbound by a false sense of security created through our own poor attempts at control.

The truth is there are very few things we have total control over in this life.

We make plans and we set goals, but things don’t always go the way we hope. When that happens we have two choices. Stay focused on what didn’t go right, what we lost, and the failure we think that is; or go with the flow, trusting there’s a bigger purpose and value in it all. Anchor into the past or float on to the future.

When things go astray in the plan of our life, it often sets us into a tailspin of uncertainty and insecurity. So then we grasp for the familiar. The solid ground. Something stable. The problem is that often times; the closest thing to hold onto is our pain and disappointment from that most recent “failure.”

Since that feels more comfortable than floating into new territory, we anchor in and hold on for dear life thinking that maybe if we just hold still long enough, the outcome will change. The story will be different and we can somehow control the pieces we couldn’t hold onto before.

I’m sorry to be the one to bust it to you, but it just doesn’t work out that way.

All we do when we anchor into that old stuff is cripple ourselves from moving into our future. We can’t change the past and we have no control over the future, but we do get a choice of whether we want to allow those two unknowns to cripple and control us in the now.

Fearfully tying ourselves to the old junk will eventually kill us. We will die an emotional death of stagnation, rusting in our fear as our potential for a healthy future languishes in our hands.

That’s a choice we get to make; but if you ask me, I think it’s smarter to reel up the anchor and drive the boat onto bigger, better things.

“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy.” -Unknown

 So look up. Let go of the anchor. It’s not serving you well staying in that same place, tied to that same old thing, believing that same tired belief. It’s time for a new thing. You’re being called forward. It’s time to move.

That anchor is dead weight holding you back from all the good that lies ahead.

You deserve more than this old boulder you’ve tied yourself to. The world is your oyster; but you’ll never get the pearl if you don’t move toward it and give yourself the chance.

Figure out what you’re afraid of and move as fast as you can (with some wisdom in tow) directly into that fear. It’s the only way out of it.

So go. Cut the anchor. The world is waiting for you.

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10 thoughts on “Cut The Anchor

  1. Oh, heck yeah.

    I had lunch with an old manager yesterday. I told him how glad I was that one of the people we both worked with had been so uncompromisingly cruel in a conversation with me. It felt terrible at the time, but I honestly would’ve kept trying to solve a problem no one wanted to solve if he hadn’t been so blunt. Because he was so blunt, I was able to go, “Wow, is this really the anchor I want to be tied to?”

    Severing the cord was terrifying … but, OH MAN. I can’t even begin to tell you what all I’ve learned since I let go. I wrote shortly after walking away from one job without another lined up that I felt like I’d been living on a leash: the grass was pretty, and my area was comfortably familiar. Everything outside was terrifying! But then I slipped the leash and I saw, whoa, what was out beyond it was full of possibility.

    Now I’m preparing to move from a contracting gig with 3 sick and no vacation days per year to a full-time gig at the same company–with so much flexibility–and I am so freakin’ glad that everything happened as it did. That I let loose “stability” to find something even better. That I’m walking into a job that’s meant to grow and evolve, because–how do you keep someone doing the same thing, day after day after day, without them disengaging?!

    I’ll probably post on this soonish, but I haven’t figured out how. So … in the meantime, I will just say a hearty, HECK, YES. The pain you know is not better than all the possibility implicit in what you do not know!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this!! It is hard to do but so worth it. I’ve cut anchor a few times in my life and I’m about due for it again. Sometimes we don’t realize the people and things that are holding us back. Thanks for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

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