As we started exploring the Star Raft metaphor, we realized that every person is ‘anchored’ in numerous places and relationships in the broader community. All of us have historical and current ‘standing’ in workplaces, learning spaces, community associations such as churches, interest groups, and so on. It becomes a very interesting exercise to remember where we are (or have been) anchored, and where those who are closest to us are anchored.
The first time you do this, you’re bound to discover that even the people to whom we’re closest are anchored in different places. We have different histories, different interests, and in following the threads of those interests, we’ve walked through different doors. The conversation that starts with one form or another of ‘Where are you anchored?’ inevitably starts to generate interest, curiosity, connecting ideas.
Yesterday, we met a couple who had just moved into our neighbourhood. The moving truck was in their driveway, so I took the step of walking up, welcoming them to the neighbourhood, and helping them sort out an internet connection. We started talking, and I gently started to inquire about a few of the places where these new folks were anchored (though I didn’t use that term). Turns out that they’re connected to:
- The world’s most powerful electron microscope
- A software development company in Toronto
- Wild bird photography (something we have in common)
- … and more
We let them know about a bird sanctuary a half mile down the road and a great beach walk a 5-minute drive away. We talked about a local stream-keepers’ group that’s trying to protect the estuary. We talked about ‘management’ (the fellow told us that his boss believes in ‘stress management’, by which the boss meant keeping employees under as much stress as possible). We chuckled about that and shared a little bit about this work.
This weekend, we’ll make time to walk the estuary at the first high tide. Tiny investments, strengthened by finding the places where our interests and connections are aligned.