I’m Kate Dewhirst.

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Anchors and Kites: making even better decisions

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The global pandemic COVID-19 has left us all feeling unsettled at best.

Some of us have no work. Some of us have too much work. Regardless of what camp you find yourself in – I thought this might be a message worth sharing.

I was reminded this morning that I cannot be all things to all people. When faced with upheaval, large or small, it is important not to try to boil the ocean.

You may be feeling frenetic, distracted, unfocused, or unable to complete all the things.

We cannot complete all the things.

But we can complete some things.

I’ve been working on a model called Anchors & Kites for a few years.  I thought it might help to share some of it with you during this time.

I witness challenging conversations every day.  As a lawyer, a coach, a parent, a friend, a sister, I often get asked “what should I do?”

I don’t have the answers. I wish I did.  But I have always found that asking the right questions in any difficult situation leads to a path forward.

When presented with a tough situation, we often default to a pros and cons list.

I use one all the time.

But a Pros and Cons list does not generate new ideas – it is premised on you already knowing the answers, but that you need a mechanism to weigh them and compare them.  Pros and cons list comes after your anchors and kites questions.

You may have a lot of jumbled ideas right now. You are looking for a way forward in your career, your home, your relationship, through this pandemic.

Think about two things …

Anchors: There are people and questions that protect us in storms. That help us know who we are. That assist us to weather life’s storms and reveal to us what is important. What protects us? What do we need to know before we can act?

Kites: There are people and questions that inspire us to new heights, bring us joy. That show us where the winds of change could take us. Keep us laughing and engaged. Keep it light. Show us what is possible. What would be fun to do? Where is the magic?

In a Nutshell

Anchors Kites
Key Action


Protect: Reminds you what is most important, your deep and abiding truths and what you need to make sure you know before you choose Inspire: Reminds you there are endless possibilities, magical options and what else you could consider before you choose
Key Word Important Possible


Look down and inward


Look up and outward


Key Questions What must we do?

What are our values?

What must we protect?

What honours our past?

What do we already have?

What is intrinsic to who we are?

What skills do we already possess?

Where are our successes?

What is/was?

What is the one thing we are meant to do?

What is my number 1 priority right now?

Am I solving a real need or a perceived need? If it is real, does the value of solving the problem outweigh the behavior changes required?

Have we ever dealt with this before?

What do we need to know before we can act?

What makes it work around here?

What is not working?

What can we do within the time allotted?

What are our non-negotiables?

Who is missing?

Who would make sure we …

1.       Have the right perspectives

2.       Don’t miss the rules

3.       Don’t get blindsided

4.       Don’t repeat our past mistakes





What could we do?

What do we want to change?

What could we improve?

What does the future hold for us?

Where are the opportunities of the future?

What could we put together that is new?

Who inspires us?

What else?

What is our moonshot?

What is the ideal solution in the eyes of our clients/customers?

What would we do if money were no object?

Three years from now, what does this look like?

If not this, then what?

Who knows something we don’t know?

How could this be fun?

Who could we involve?

What am I wondering about?

What questions do we have?

What would we do differently?

What would we wish we could do?

What would we love to do?

What’s the weirdest thing we could do?

What other questions could we ask ourselves?

How could we change the rules that apply?

What are we willing to leave behind?

Who would make sure we …

1.       Have fun

2.       See this with fresh eyes

3.       See opportunities


Using this will help you avoid Forgetting

Reinventing the wheel

Getting blindsided



Don’t ignore the value of negativity or critique. Rechannel negativity into anchoring content to gain the protection critique offers us.


Getting stuck



Being disrupted


Don’t ignore the value of whimsy. Rechannel fanciful ideas into possibilities that inspire us into action.

I’ll share more ideas soon.  Don’t try to boil the ocean. Focus on one step at a time. Surround yourself with anchors and kites: people who protect you and inspire you.

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