What is your definition of success?
According to Anna Quindlen, ‘If success looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all’.
While your job is undoubtedly a big part of who you are, it is the values and principles (North Star) you set that will define your career and character.
Your North Star determines your identity; your opinions, your self-esteem, your world view and your perception of others. They determine the habits you implement everyday and the skill sets you choose to develop;
- To be confident
- To be healthy
- To be disciplined
- To be kind
For example, a ‘healthy’ person will exercise 3+ times a week.
Without a meaningful anchor (e.g. wanting to be healthy so you can play with your kids) your new behaviour will not be consistently acted upon.
Similarly, if the value is set in a less purposeful, facetious manner (e.g. wanting to attain a flat stomach for a beach getaway), relapse to old habits will quickly follow.
It is true that all airplanes are off track 99% of the time.
Yet it is the pilot’s continual course corrections in the direction of the end destination (e.g. to be kind) that bring the plane back on track.
Without the end destination as an anchoring guide, there are no course corrections, the pilot is flying blind.
Just like the pilot, having a purposeful north star stops us from flying blind, it keeps us progressing in the right direction.
If you do not have a clear North Star, take 30 minutes to contemplate what REALLY matters to you. Perhaps write this down, it will provide further clarity.
So your values are correctly in place. What’s next?
You don’t have to be great to start, but, you do need to start to be great. Small micro habits compound. The ‘healthy’ person could start with a 10 minute walk 2x a week and build up from there.
“All things come from small beginnings, the seed of every habit is a single tiny decision but as that decision is repeated a habit sprouts and grows stronger, routes entrench themselves and branches grow “ (James Clear, Atomic Habits)
Let your values guide your actions.
“Man is pushed by drives but pulled by values” (Viktor Frankl).
Pushing yourself is manual, it can only go so far. Being pulled by something is automatic, it will take you further, it will outlast the manual effort & discipline required to drive yourself forward.
Knowing these values, your North Star puts us in control, it gets us more engaged, it gives us a greater purpose which will give us strength when inevitably times get tough.
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N.B. In producing this content we express immense gratitude to James Clear (Atomic Habits) and Ryan Holiday (Daily Stoic & Stillness is the Key) for their hugely inspirational writing content they have bestowed on us.