Build Your Compass

Your values are the compass by which you navigate the journey of life; follow them faithfully, and you shall never lose your way.

A compass is a navigational instrument used to determine direction. It consists of a magnetic needle mounted on a pivot that allows it to rotate freely. The needle is typically marked with the cardinal directions: north, south, east, and west. Here’s how a compass works:

  1. Magnetic North: The magnetic needle in a compass is magnetized and is always points to the Earth’s magnetic north pole.
  2. Cardinal Directions: By observing the cardinal direction (North, South, East, and West) in which the needle points, you can determine the direction you are facing.
  3. Calibrating the Compass: Calibrating a compass is essential to ensure its accuracy and should be checked periodically.
  4. Orienting the Compass: To use a compass effectively, you need to orient it by holding the compass level and ensuring the needle aligns with the “N” mark on the compass.

A compass provides a reliable and consistent method for finding direction and maintaining a sense of orientation, even in areas without visible landmarks. If a compass is an invaluable tool for hikers, campers, sailors, and anyone who needs to navigate in the great outdoors, building a personal compass can become an invaluable tool for you.

Building Your Life Compass

Your life compass, built on your core values, acts as a guiding instrument helping you navigate life’s complexities, make decisions with clarity, and lead a purpose-driven life. It ensures that you stay on course, even when the path is uncertain.

Here are the 4 steps I used to build my personal compass.

  1. Identify Your North Star: Develop a personal mission statement that succinctly outlines your purpose and aspirations. It should encompass your core values and the direction in which you want to steer your life.
  2. Set Your Cardinal Directions: To turn your values into metaphorical directions on your compass that guides your decisions and actions. Ensure your compass leads to a balanced life. Avoid overemphasizing one aspect at the expense of others, as balance contributes to well-being.
  3. Calibrate Your Actions: Regularly review and calibrate your life compass. As you progress in life, circumstances may change, requiring adjustments to your values and goals. Ensure that your life compass remains relevant and adaptable to new developments.
  4. Orient for Decision-Making: When faced with choices and decisions, consult your life compass. Assess how each option aligns with your core values and goals. This will help you maintain a sense of direction.

Your Turn

It is now your turn to build your compass.

Reflect.  Take a couple minutes to reflect on the previous 4 stops in this journey.

  1. Choices: What are some of the new choices you have been making (to un-become)?  How do these make you feel?
  2. Energy: Reflect on what you learned about channeling your positive energy. What passions and interests raise your energy? What activities, subjects, or people genuinely excite and engage you?  What could you spend hours doing without getting bored and feel good about?
  3. Power: Reflect on your superpowers. Which powers come naturally to you. Which you must work on?  How do you feel when you put these powers to use?
  4. Values: Reflect on the themes and core values you identified.  Do the groupings and themes still feel right to you? Any shifting or collapsing needed.

Identify Your North Star.  Creating a personal mission statement can be a powerful exercise for clarifying your purpose and guiding your life’s direction. Here are some journal prompts to help you in this process:

  1. Goals: What are your long-term goals and aspirations? Envision where you want to be in the future. What do you hope to achieve in various aspects of your life, such as career, relationships, and personal growth?
  2. Impact: What impact do you want to have on the world? Consider the positive change you want to make in the world. How do you want to leave a lasting legacy? What are you naturally good at, and how can you use these strengths to make a difference?
  3. Legacy: How do you want to be remembered? Envision how you’d like others to remember you when you’re no longer here. What impact do you hope to have left?
  4. Write a draft mission statement. Summarize all your reflections into a mission statement. It should be a clear, concise statement that captures your purpose and direction in life. Here are some examples.

Set Your Cardinal Directions. Reviewing all the above, choose 4 words for the directional points on your compass. These will be your guiding principles for decision-making when faced with life’s choices and dilemmas. The most important non-negotiable should point north. These may be the themes you picked during your value exercise, or they might have shifted. Don’t over think it. There is no right or wrong answer, you can adjust over time.

Calibrate Your Actions. Now let’s calibrate it. Take a piece of paper and draw the directional lines of a compass and label each line. In each square write down 2 things:

  1. What does it look like to be aligned with each of the directions. For example, if your direction is “kind”, then it could look like patience, helpful, empathy, listening, or caring.
  2. What does it look like to be mis-aligned with each of the directions. What are the signs to look out for. Using the above-mentioned example, these could look like impatient, short, or argumentative.

Orient for Decision Making.  Let’s test it out!  Take a piece of paper and draw the directional lines of a compass and label each line.  In each square write down 3 things:

  1. Think about the last 24 hours. What choices and actions did you take align with each of the directions.
  2. Think about the last 24 hours. What choices and actions did you take that were not aligned?
  3. Think about your day ahead. What actions can you take to live in alignment with your directions?

Reflect on the above exercises. Revise, and refine your mission statement and compass as needed, making sure it truly resonates with your values, passions, and aspirations and how you would apply it to your life.

5-Minute Daily Cup Filler

Take a piece of paper and draw the directional lines of a compass and label each line. You are now going to apply your compass to an important person in your life. You can also do this with any topic:  a decision you need to make, your job, a circumstance you find yourself in, your health, and any goals you have. Thinking about that person, in each square write down 3 things:

  1. What choices and actions did you take recently regarding that person that align with each of the directions.
  2. What choices and actions did you take that were not aligned?
  3. Think about your day ahead, what actions can you take regarding this person to live in alignment with your directions?

Your compass is your personal guide to a life of purpose. Let it be the North Star that lights your way.

Jen Weis

The publisher of Morning Cup.