I’ve heard it a lot lately; people talking about finding their ‘true north’. From declarations of love to discovering purpose, finding true north speaks to our deep desire for a fixed point, an anchor, a fundamental truth that gives life meaning. So, what’s your true north?

True north is a fixed point on Earth, the geographic North Pole. It’s different to the magnetic north, which is constantly shifting due to changes in the Earth’s molten core.

And that’s the point. True north is unchanging, regardless of the storms we face, the heartache, the joy, the trials, and tribulation. It’s steady and anchors us to a more profound truth. Without true north, we’re susceptible to shifting circumstances. We don’t dictate much in life – if nothing else – the last few years have revealed the reality of how little we control events.

I love the way nature speaks. So, my question to you is, are you navigating life from true north or magnetic north? Do you have a fixed point, or are you moved as circumstances around you shift?

What’s your why

In the same way that Navigators use true north to orient themselves, we need a point from which to plot our course, or as Simon Sinek would put it, we need our ‘why’?

If you don’t know your ‘why’, it’s difficult to know ‘how’ to navigate. However, if you know your starting place, your core values, your reason for being, how will become clear.

True north is made up of our identity, core beliefs, and values. If we don’t know who we are, it will be hard to define our core beliefs and understand what we hold as a value.

"A value is a way of being or believing that we hold most important. Living our values means that we do more than profess our values, we practice them. We walk our talk—we are clear about what we believe and hold important, and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behaviours align with those beliefs."

searching true north

Recognising true north

Often, it’s in discovering what’s not true north that leads us to our actual true north. It took burnout, hospitalisation, and damaged relationships to wake me up and acknowledge I was living from magnetic north, shifting with circumstances, anchored in nothing. And even after the unmistakable wake-up call, it took me years to finally understand I was looking for my ‘why’ in all the wrong places. I was basing my identity in external validation. My inner world wasn’t regulated by my unique rhythm and pace, but by external forces, by the demands of others. My ‘why’ was dictated by what I thought my life ‘should’ look like.

What's your true north?

If you know your true north, you’ll know what to give your time and energy to. If you have no central point from which to orientate, you’ll do everything and quickly burn out.

So, what are you giving time and energy to, and does it energise you? Maybe your true north has changed because you’ve grown and matured. Perhaps you’ve gone from being single to married, without kids to having them. It’s essential to evaluate our true north, our purpose, to see if it’s moved.

I’ve experienced a significant shift in focus over the last few months and noticed something simple yet profound. I’m busy, but I have energy for all I’m focussed on. Why? Because I’m walking in my purpose. My focus has narrowed significantly, and while it might look like my world has contracted, I feel like it’s expanding.

More than that, it’s expanding, and it’s sustainable. I’m involved in life-giving activities and connecting with other people who also walk in their purpose.

"And it's those who start with why, that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them."

So, where’s your focus? What’s your true north?

Make the main thing, the main thing

There are so many things vying for our attention, it’s important to keep the main thing, the main thing. Knowing your true north will help you say “no”, even to things that appear good, to say “yes” to the best for your life.

If you’re struggling to know if you’re making decisions based on your true north, here are a couple of questions.

First, is it what I want to focus on or what I think I should focus on?

Second, what do I want to focus on?

If you’ve never considered true north, take time, don’t rush the process, but start today. I promise you’ll be glad you did.


Andee Sellman

Andee Sellman is the Founder of Rest & Rhythm and is dedicated to helping people discover their unique rest and rhythm personally and professionally.

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