What does it mean to “get grounded”?

In my youth, “getting grounded” was something to avoid. It was punishment for bad behaviour or poor choices, resulting in a kid’s definition of solitary confinement. No friends, no phone, and no fun.

In adulthood, as a frequent business traveller, “getting grounded” took on another negative association. With delayed flights, and planes sometimes being replaced before travel could resume, you never wanted to hear the term “grounded” at the airport.

Today, as a coach, the term “getting grounded” has taken on a new, positive, and powerful meaning. In order to perform at our best, we need to have our feet firmly planted. In order to pursue our passions, we need to find balance. In order to live our best lives, we need to have a solid sense of purpose. “Getting grounded” comes up in a lot of coaching conversations.

In my own coaching practice, it is important for me to get grounded before a call with a client. Routines are built into my day providing me with the balance and grounding I want to bring to each call. When I work with my own mentor coach, I often call him filled with frenetic energy and he invites me to centre, to get grounded, before we begin our coaching work.

How does getting grounded impact my presence and what I bring to the coaching conversation? It transforms my energy and I am able to focus on what really matters. My breathing settles, my rate of speech slows, and the language I choose to use is more thoughtful and deliberate.

What impact does getting grounded have on our conversations with clients? What impact does it have on our goals? On our performance? Once you observe the impact getting grounded can have on your business, the question is “How do I get grounded?”

There are many ways to get grounded. Here are three of my favourite ways:

  1. Walk in nature. While I don’t recommend doing this barefoot in the chilly winter weather, taking a walk in nature at any time of year can provide a great sense of grounding. In the summer, I love to take off my shoes and walk barefoot in the grass at a local park. Or if you have access, on a beach in the sand or with your feet in the water.
  2. Yoga or simple stretching/strengthening exercises. Unlike aerobic or high impact exercises, yoga and other stretching/strengthening exercises include focus on your breath and presence to the energy in your body.
  3. Listen to music. This is my favourite and easiest grounding activity that I can do anywhere, and for brief bursts of time. I have a few songs that instantly bring a sense of calm and stillness for me. Notice which songs you listen to that impact your energy and select 2-3 songs that help you get grounded.

What activities may work best for you? Consider adding these activities to your daily routine and observe the impact it has on your business.

As I reflect now on “getting grounded” as a child, I consider what my parents were trying to accomplish. They wanted me to calm down, reflect, and learn to stay rooted in my future choices and actions.

As I reflect on the reasons a plane gets grounded, the purpose is to stop, evaluate and repair whatever may interfere with a solid flight.

If we take flight without solid footing, we may veer off course and crash. That’s a fairly good reason to get grounded.

I used to want to avoid “getting grounded”. Now I look forward to the activities that ground me so I can bring my best to the work I do every day. How could “getting grounded” transform your business?