The North Star is the brightest star in the Ursa Minor constellation and is commonly referred to as the “Pole Star”. Without GPS, travelers would locate the North Star and use it to guide them to their destination. This is why we call guiding principles, the North Star. When you have nothing else, it is what will guide you and assist you with completing your goals. When all else fails, you can defer to your guiding principles to help you make decisions in your life.
As a follow up to my blog, Establishing a Baseline for Yourself, I wanted to provide insight into how to create goals that will excite and guide you into the next phase of your life. However, as I was writing, I quickly realized that in order to complete any goal, regardless of how great it is, you would first need to understand your reasons for wanting to complete that goal.
So how did I define my North Star?
Years ago, I felt like I was in a fight of my life. I was going through a nasty custody battle for my son and during that time, there were people placed in my life that I felt had no boundaries as to how far they would go to hurt me or my son. I knew that for me personally, I feared the wrath of God and established spiritual boundaries that provided limits on how far I would act on my hurt, pain and even vengeance. Over time, those boundaries became more and more rigid. There were things that I would not do and there were things that I would not say in an effort to hurt or cause pain to someone else. I would learn to recognize when people were treating me wrong and force myself to elevate above them – that became my North Star. My North Star is to have enough discipline to rise above those who seek to oppress me or bring negativity in my life.
With this defined, I was able to move forward with establishing goals that were exciting and aligned to my North Star, my guiding principles.
So how do you define your North Star?
Think of a time that you would prefer not to repeat. A time, that sits with you, that was life altering – where YOU had the power to do something and didn’t. It’s a feeling that stirs in the pit of your stomach or the center of your torso; it reminds you that you should’ve done something differently. You didn’t like the person that you were at that time. It pissed you off. It upset you. It embarrassed you. That moment in your life was life altering and shifted the way that you thought about things, the way that you thought about yourself. That moment defines your North Star.
- Maybe you saw someone in the street struggling and you didn’t stop to ask them if they needed help. The feeling stayed with you.
- Maybe you lost your temper over something minimal and you felt like a jerk about it.
- Maybe you let someone get under your skin and you were embarrassed by the way that you reacted.
These moments define your North Star. It’s the promises that you made to yourself that would prevent or at the very least decrease the likelihood of you ever feeling whatever way you hated feeling ever again.
Taking the examples above, write your North Star in a declarative format:
- I will do my best to make time to help those who may need an extra hand or those who are unable to help themselves.
- I will identify what irritates me and understand why it irritates me.
- I will not allow others to control me. I will not allow others to disturb my peace.
Keep in mind, that you may have several guiding principles and that is ok. Your guiding principles may change over time and that is ok, too. Write them down and keep them at the forefront of your mind. Your North Star serves as a compass as you try to define and work towards your goals. It is what recalibrates you if you veer off track; it serves as your conscience and it should resonate with you to the point where you respect it above all else.