We all have elements which act as triggers for particular states. There are particular songs which fire us up, foods that comfort us, outfits that give us confidence, photos that make us smile every time. It’s key to know what your best triggers are, and be able to access them when needed. Having the right playlists on your iPhone, the right visuals in your workspace and the right clothes for your power presentations are important.
Then there are other triggers which are less accessible, less portable, more experiential and episodic. Yesterday, I was struck by one of the most powerful triggers I have in the world, which I’ve been missing and didn’t even realize it. Water.
There’s something about water that calms me. The sound of it lapping, the view of it meeting the horizon, the feel of it surrounding me- all give me peace like nothing else. Growing up in a lake family, I have had strong and layered associations with water throughout my life. I learned both independence and team, discipline and open exploration, outlet and competition, solo space and family connection… all on and around the water.
Yesterday we arrived to the first day of my family’s annual lake reunion yesterday, and the second I came to the water to greet my siblings, it hit me. In that moment, my breathing slowed down, the wrinkles in my forehead smoothed, and I felt all the muscles in my body relax.
The crazy thing about it, is that most of the time I’m nowhere near water, and hadn’t even realized that I miss it. While I’ll always prefer a warm vacation on the water to a cold vacation with snow, but never really got the importance of water for me until yesterday. As I write this now, I’m listening to the waves, glancing up at an expanse of lake stretching to Canada, and soaking it all up as fuel to use later. I’m capturing the sounds and images to call back up when I need them. While the stored versions will never be as powerful as being here now, they might serve in combination with some well-placed visits throughout the year to recharge.
So- what are your most powerful, positive triggers which ground you, focus you, calm you or psych you up? Certain songs, places, mementos, photos... the ones that transport you to a great place mentally & emotionally are anchors for productive, great states.
Locate and strategically place portable anchors (playlists labeled on your phone by energy, photos as wallpaper on your phone, memento from last huge win, kept on your desk), to set yourself up for success all the time.
Then also look for the big permanent experiential ones too (like this lake for me right now), which you may need to plan for as strategic, regular fill-ups on your path. They set your state, your mindset and your orientation to the world instantly, so... place them well.