Keep the Feeling

I’m back from France. I’ve been back for three days and bluntly, I’m struggling. No more coffee and croissants for breakfast, no more views of the Atlantic, no more fishing boats with my sea bass…

And yes, before you say anything I know I can have coffee and croissants at home –but it’s not the same, is it? I’m not at the beach café in Royan. Jean-Pierre is not discussing the weather with me.

I love holidays. Not simply being with my wife and children. There are two feelings that I always cherish on holiday – one is just total relaxation. The other is business related – the feeling that you can do anything you want. When you’re on holiday the day to day frustrations fall away. You’re left with the big picture. When you get back, everything is possible.

But how do you keep that feeling? How do you carry it on to the plane home and through the hassle of baggage claim? How does it survive the pile of post and the slough of messages that are waiting for you?

This year I made a determined effort. One of the last one-to-one coaching meetings I had before I went away was with an Alternative Board member who’s an NLP master practitioner. I mentioned the problem to him – that you come back from holiday convinced you can achieve anything, and then two days later you’re back in the same old routine.

“Anchoring,” he said to me. “Wait until you get that feeling, really concentrate on it – and then capture it. Do something you wouldn’t normally do. Pull your ear-lobe, scratch your palm.” And then, so the theory goes, I could come back home, pull my ear-lobe and hey presto, I’d be back on holiday soaring above day to day trivialities, convinced I could achieve whatever I wanted.

What he’d said struck a chord with me. I’d been watching Louis Oosthuizen in the British Open. There was a moment just before he played every shot when he stared at his golf glove. One of the commentators suggested he had a little red spot on the glove. Was Oosthuizen ‘anchoring’ his practice routine? Mentally reminding himself to keep his left arm straight? To turn fully on the follow through? (Alright, that’s what I think about. I admit it may be slightly different for an Open champion.)

I have to confess that I wimped out. Yanking on my ear-lobe seemed a bit extreme. I decided to press my thumb and finger together. But I did the rest. About a week into the holiday I was totally relaxed. I stood on the beach, gazing out at the Atlantic. Next stop America. There was nothing I couldn’t do. My left hand dangled at my side, thumb and middle finger pressed snugly together…

Over the rest of the week I did it again and again. Whenever I felt really good, thumb and middle finger…thumb and middle finger.

I’d planned to re-create that state of mind for the first time on the plane home – I was bound to get a moment or two to myself. No. I had a child on each side of me. A small fight to referee on whose turn it was to sit by the window.

And then an hour at baggage claim. Traffic jam on the way home. And yes, a pile of post.

But finally the boys were in bed. I collapsed into my chair. Leaned back. Closed my eyes. I was on the beach – sun on my face – relaxed – nothing I couldn’t do…

“Ed,” my wife said “Can you stop pressing your bloody thumb and finger together and fetch the washing in?” Reality bites…



  1. Tom Morton · August 13, 2010

    Welcome back! Really worth persisting with the Anchor technique — it does work!

    • edreidyork · August 13, 2010

      Tom – as ever, a voice of optimism and reason – thanks, good to be back!

  2. Rich Cadden · August 13, 2010

    Hi Ed.
    Welcome back! 🙂
    Probably another one of the best known anchoring techniques in sport is the “Jonny Wilkinson hand-clasp” before goal-kicking. I use it in my sporting life as well as my business life and I am reaping the benefits.
    This is great for public speaking and preparing for presentations.

    • edreidyork · August 13, 2010

      Hi Rich – a really good example thanks, from a man who should know! If we could all be as successful with our techniques as Jonny, that wouldn’t be bad, would it?!

  3. Neil Campbell · August 16, 2010


    Thanks for the chuckle! I’m off now to put the washing out!

  4. Sharon Cain · August 17, 2010

    Hi Ed – Tom Morton guided me to your blog and I love this post – it’s given me a fresh impetus to a proposal I’m working on. Visualisation is very powerful and I practice it to be re-energised. Hope you got the washing in before a downpour!

    • edreidyork · August 17, 2010

      Hi Sharon – thanks for your comments, and delighted to have helped with some impetus!! The washing did get brought in on time……….!

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