North Star – Why You Need One and How to Find It

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The North Star has served as a guiding light on the Northern Hemisphere since its very discovery. The brightest star in the constellation and visible to the naked eye in the night sky, Polaris as it is also known and its constant positioning in the northern sky have made it become one of the most reliable navigational tools in history. It stands directly north of the earth close to the celestial pole, which is the point the entire northern sky revolves around. For those using Polaris as a guiding light that marks the way due north, which for all intents and purposes, has become synonymous with going forward, and in the right direction. 

Awareness is the key to opening any door

The concept of establishing a North Star as a guiding principle has been used as an optimizing strategy for business models for decades. Defining a company’s vision, which will lead to revenue, a company mission that measures progress, and providing customer value are the three integral components of the North Star metric, which serves as a measurement of a company’s main purpose and goal that will determine its long-term success. 

The North Star metric shows the value provided for a service, which is in essence the very basis of money. Some well-known North Star Metric examples would be for say Spotify, the time people actually spent listening to music. Or, in the case of AirBnb, how many rooms were booked. In other words, the North Star metric measures the progress of achieving your actual goal. While countless businesses regularly apply the method, interestingly enough having a vision and mission and knowing what your authentic values are somehow are concepts not tackled by the masses.  

Having a North Star as an individual serves as a vital guideline on how to live the life you truly aspire to. So many of us do not know what we truly value in life, simply because we haven’t spent the time defining our values. In the same manner, people should have a personal vision of what they want to experience in their lifetime and know the mission they must take to get there. 

Following your own life map

The North Star document is a place where you can clearly write out these invaluable concepts that will then serve as a navigational map for you to live your life accordingly. This will be a living document that will grow over time as you revisit it regularly to not only reinforce what matters most to you but also to reevaluate when necessary to optimize how you choose to live your life. As is the case in business, having a North Star to constantly and correctly guide you is the healthiest and fastest route to being on your A-game in all areas of life.

This is why, like the “star” Polaris and the North Star refer to, which is actually a triple-star, in this North Star Document, you will define your Values, Vision, and Mission for each of the main roles in your life that being the “Self”, the “Professional” and with your “Family and Community”. Having a clear understanding of the person you want to be is the most important step you can take to fully embody that person.   

Knowing Your Core Values

We all have our own set of core values that we aspire to live by, but most of us don’t even know precisely what they are, or better yet we don’t know them by heart. But the thing is, living in accordance with what we truly believe is the most effective way to feel content with everything you do. When every choice you make is steered by your core value system, you gain the self-assurance that no matter where you end up you are on the right path. This is because when your decisions are based on your values everything you do becomes the right thing to do and you are clearly able to decipher the difference.

What are core values?

Your core values define what is most important to you in life and should serve as the fundamental belief system that establishes mindset and motivates actions. They are a set of beliefs and intentions that guide how you live your life. For many, their values have been prescribed to them in their rearing and based on the culture and environment they were brought up in. The honest truth is that those values can change in time as you change, but also they also may have never been the values that you truly covet.

While we are brought up with certain values derived from our family, friends, community and society in general, it is vital to revisit what those values are and question whether they align with the person you have become today. The only constant in this universe is change, but a close second is the fact that we can clearly guide the way our life unfolds and the most beneficial way to do so is to make every decision in your life be based on your value system.

Paint your own personality portrait…

Most everyone has a rough idea about what kind of person they would like to be and how they want to live their lives. Your values should represent what is important to you and be the attributes you want to describe who you are or who you want to become. Your core values are basically the identity you want to embody to live your own most authentically pleasurable life. It is critical to reassess what matters most to us and individuals and own it, rather conforming to the preconceived constructs set in place by your culture, upbringing or community. You have the power to paint the picture of who you want to be and design how you live your life. But, it is extremely important to actually put those concepts into words that you can memorize and recite like a mantra.

Lead with your values in every role you play

Most businesses start off with a list of values and a business plan of how they plan to operate according to them, yet this concept has seemed to fall by the wayside when it comes to our personal selves as individuals and how we want to show up for our family and community. Having your values in the forefront of your mind allows you to act and respond to challenges with the same dependable consistency. If you share your values with your loved ones and have them communicate theirs, then interactions in itself become more meaningful and easy. Your true intentions become more transparent to yourself and everyone around you, which strengthens connections and minimizes friction. Research shows that living according to your values is a crucial, if not the key element to overall happiness.

Using your core values as a filter…

If you don’t know yet, you should track how you spend your money, your time and your attention and check to see if the balance reflects what you claim you want in life. When we don’t have our values at the forefront of our mind, we end up saying “Yes” to a lot of activities and things that are not aligned with who we truly want to be. But if you consistently reference your values mantra, you will clearly know how to make the right move in every action you take. Your time spent will always be quality time and never wasted. As a guideline:, I like the saying by entrepreneur and author Derek Sivers, which is; “If it’s not a ‘Hell Yes!’ then it’s a ‘No”.

Know your values, know your worth…

Not only can our core values serve as a guiding light, or a “North Star”, for who we want to be and show up as in each role in our life, but they also act as a filter for knowing how best to spend your time on what really matters to you. Living according to your values is a major catalyst for having the highest quality of life possible and thus being happy. You can feel secure in the knowledge that every moment you spend on this planet is a valuable one. Value is a word that has definitely been undervalued, as providing value to others is in essence what money is, but also having values for yourself to live by, is basically the meaning of mindset. The bottom line is: If you know what your values are and can live in harmony with them, you will bring value to every endeavor you do in your life.

Your North Star is not light-years away

Your North Star document will serve you like navigation, a map from where you are to where you want to be. Keep your North Star Document easily accessible at all times. You can keep it on your computer or phone or print it out and add it to your Vision Board, so it is easily visible and you can check it out at least once a day to make sure you are on the right course. Consistency with living according to your own personal Vision, Mission, and Values will reap positive results because they will serve as a filter for you to know how best to spend your time. Enjoying the moment is something we can control and even devise if we have the right mindset and tools to apply it. And, it is our time and what we do with it now that will determine everything in our future.

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