Finding North

The story of your life is not your life. It is your story. – John Barth

My hope has always been to inspire others, develop them, and create change through them. Change that creates a better version of them in themselves then what previously existed. In this effort, impact the bigger picture for good. Impact humanity to empower others on their journeys. This is my currency.

Cash prizes and success have never been my currency or motivation. Do I enjoy them and appreciate them. 100% yes! But, if I am being authentic and true to myself that is not why I do what I do. It’s completely a perk and I am lucky that the byproduct of my best work is that kind of extrinsic reward when I am successful.

It’s the intrinsic feeling I have that motivates me more. My North. Would I work for free, not sure. Would I work for a non-profit, probably. Honestly, I kind of already get to do that kind of altruistic work I speak of above already, which is enriching the lives of my team and customers daily. I am lucky that my personal values and my work values are fully integrated. Makes loving work and coming to work feel incredible.

But how do we find our North? Where do we begin? I think you have to start in a space where you’re going to get to the truth and where you can be your true self.

“Have some group that will tell you the truth and whom you can do the same.” – Warren Bennis

My how involved 5 things:

  • Increasing and sharpening my self-awareness skills
  • Checking my compass which really was about getting feedback daily from anyone I could
  • Looking for spaces I could practice my values in my work professionally and personally
  • Practicing gratitude daily in every thing I did, finding my own motivation to go on
  • And, investing very heavily in others

Julian Stodd had this to say about authenticity:

“Our ability to engage effectively in social spaces is linked to the authenticity of our stories and actions: it’s a factor that impacts directly on reputation.” – Julian Stodd

I found authenticity and success in my leadership work once I started the work of empowering others on their journey. My reputation in this effort far exceeds anything I could have personally done because it was real to me as it aligned with my values and it felt real to others. I soon began to get more opportunities and exposure to do more work with others. This was my currency and how I felt most authentically myself. Anytime I acted outside of those values, I found I was demotivated and unaligned. I was frustrated and tired. I couldn’t see beyond the moment any longer. I lost my way quickly.

Everyone’s North is different. You’ll find yours if you ask yourself and reflect on for a moment what you stand for. Gather feedback from others and how/when they see you at your best. Then, find the space that best integrates both of those things together in your work and personal life. It’s hard work, but when you get there, I promise it will be frighteningly clear and exciting. Never let go of that and constantly calibrate it.

Enjoy the rest of your week. Thanks for reading and following my work. You’re a very big part of my true North and I appreciate you.

✌🏻 Shawn

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