Rahel Kindermann: True North Star Journey – Developing your Vision and Purpose

17. February 2023 – Rahel Kindermann

TRUE NORTH STAR – where does the image of the «North Star» come from, how can we orient ourselves on it and what are examples of successful TRUE NORTH STAR JOURNEYS?

This is what we would like to talk about in our next blogs. And we would like to take you on this journey to think about your personal North Star, that of your team and your organization, and to formulate it clearly for your viewpoint on the horizon.

This will help you avoid «smallscale navigation», focus on your goals, and become the «best self you can be».

The image of the True North Star

The North Star, also known as Polaris, stands almost still in the sky while the entire northern sky moves around it. It is located at the northern celestial pole, the point around which the entire northern sky revolves. Since Polaris is always found in the same place in the sky, exactly north, and does not change during the night, it has served as an important point of orientation and navigation in seafaring, among other things.

The pole marks the the «TRUE NORTH». In aviation, True North/TN is the basis for our flight planning as pilots.  There are many things that can distract us from our flight course. Therefore, it is important to always have a good flight plan (see Core Point 1 of the #clearedtoland Success Principle) and a clear viewpoint on the horizon (see Core Point 6 of the #clearedtoland Success Principle) to reach our destination!

The image of the «True North Star» – the «North Star» for a vision – is also found in Kaizen (jap. kai «change, transformation», zen «for the better»; «change for the better») among other things. Kaizen thus refers to both a philosophy of life and work, and a methodological concept centered on the pursuit of continuous and infinite improvement. 

This may lead us to give up things we have believed to be right for years, and to give up familiar habits in order to learn something new and implement it in our daily lives.

The True North Star thus serves as our viewpoint on the horizon (see Core Point 6 of the #clearedtoland Success Principle) for navigating and what should happen in an ideal world.

Or as Jeffrey K. Liker puts it, « You will never be perfect, but you can strive for perfection.» The True North Star image can stand as a vision for an individual but also for a team and/or a company.

It is important to formulate it clearly, briefly and understandably. It then directs the focus on the behavior of the acting persons, clearly gives direction and serves as a basis for every decision: “Does a YES serve my goal to get closer to my True North Star or not?”

The goal is to do in small steps the things that bring the individual, or the team and/or the organization closer to their North Star and to dare to experiment accordingly for this purpose.

By the way, this is very well described by Hans A. Wüthrich in his book «Capriccio».

In it, Wüthrich encourages people to be courageous and to start experimenting without knowing the outcome, to «just let things happen» and to «provoke something surprising» in the process. This principle of «blurry target images» is also an essential principle of agile working.

We should have confidence in the unfamiliar! Letting go of things is the beginning of everything!

Finding your Purpose

The True North Star can also provide an explanation of our «Why» that is, why we exist and what our most effective strengths are.

At its best, our Purpose answers the questions: «Why do I get up in the morning?», «What gives me meaning in life as a person?»  and «How and where can I be, or become, the best of myself?»

In his book, The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks describes this as the «Zone of Genius», the area where everyone has their most impactful strengths and abilities.

As a team and/or organization, the formulation of the North Star should also include a contribution we want to make to society.

The Purpose is thus our timeless North Star.

Especially when getting older, many people realize that they want to spend their time on things that make sense, that involve a true and deep relationship with others («Being in resonance with other people») and that serve to dedicate themselves to positive things and to let life’s dreams become reality instead of postponing them more and more.

Incidentally, very few people will say at the end of their lives that they have worked too little. So it’s worth asking yourself the questions, «What is my True North Star?» and «What is my Flight Plan?» over and over again.

The True North Star Journey

When we take off on the journey to our True North Star, we should be very precise in articulating it. At #clearedtoland, we use a variety of tools in our work with individuals, teams and organizations to ultimately turn it into reality.

Helpful here is also the advice of Richard Wiseman: In his book «Shoot for the Moon – How We Can Achieve the Unachievable» about the successful Apollo 11 moon mission on June 20, 1969, he describes the technique of the «Pink Rearview Mirror». This visualizes the skills and resources that have already helped us in the past to overcome difficulties, overcome obstacles and reach our goal.

The #clearedtoland success principle with the 8 core points and the tools from the cockpit also provides valuable support in the realization of our goals and for the personal precision landing.

As a systemic coach and change manager, all my activities in working with people are based on the systemic model of thinking: People are part of a complex network of relationships that must always be viewed in context and in which changes influence each other like a mobile. If one part moves, the whole system moves until a new balance is found. Thus, even small changes have an impact on the whole system.

It is always up to us how we let ourselves be touched and moved by the indeterminate and random.

I would like to encourage you not to wait too long and to take off on your personal exciting TRUE NORTH STAR JOURNEY, to make your dreams come true, to find your Purpose and «become the best self you can be!»

And every journey begins with the first step.

Or as the band Aerosmith puts it in their song «Amazing»: «Life’s a journey not a destination!»

I look forward to planning the journey with you.

Happy Landings!

Rahel Kindermann

Pilot, Expert on Leadership & Change Management