When we look to establish our North Star to define a sense of purpose in our lives, we first need to understand goals.
Setting goals is a proven method for achieving our wildest dreams. However, it can be argued that goals are future-centric and set you up for disappointment while compromising the present.
I’ve had an on and off relationship with goal setting, and two of my favourite creators Tim Ferris and Leo Babauta, have a fascinating conversation on the very topic below. I’ll wait for you to watch it.
While we engage in productivity debates, there’s another way to approach goal-setting—whether you’re a Type A go-getter or a free-spirited meditator, and that’s defining your north star.
What is a north star?
According to EarthSky, the North Star or Pole Star—aka Polaris—is famous for holding nearly still in our sky while the entire northern sky moves around it.
Metaphorically speaking, your North Star is your personal mission statement. It’s a fixed destination that you can depend on in your life as the world changes around you.
For example, Gary Vaynerchuk has a goal of one day owning the New York Jets. This has been a lifetime dream of his and he cares deeply about it. Now his actions day-to-day are geared towards this specific goal. Whether it’s a new partnership, letting go of staff or starting a new venture, his decisions trickle down from his north star.
Gary is not alone in this example.
Hillary Cottam is dedicated to redesigning social services by changing the way we think about welfare systems.
Nelson Mandela’s mission was to liberate all people from the continuing bondage of poverty, suffering, gender and other discrimination.
Our north star is to inspire millions to live with less stuff and more compassion. This blog is the vehicle we use to work towards this goal.
Achieving your north star is not the point.
Don’t get too hung up on reaching your goal. The purpose of your north star is to help you make informed decisions today. Be content with your progress, knowing that you’re one step closer to your mission.
Can your north star change?
Over time you may find that your north star will evolve as you evolve. That’s completely fine. You may experience something that pushes you in a different direction.
You may also reach your goal, which means it’s time to set a new target. This could mean an extension of your current goal or a new one altogether.
Is having a north star for everyone?
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela
I believe everyone was put on this earth for a reason. Does that mean you need to solve all of the problems of the world? No.
Having said that, way too many of us are stuck in groundhog day, and defining your north star could be a way out of it.
So, what’s your north star?
Is it being the best mother you can be?
Is it providing fresh water to the world?
Is it empowering children with disabilities?
Is it living a simple life?
Be courageous and share your north star in the comments below. Putting it out in the universe could be the thing you need to kickstart your journey.
my north star is to possess my possession and to possess the gates of my Kings(Jesus Christ) Enemies.
My north star is being the best grandma my passion is history learning all cultures history and doing family trees
To be the I AM that I AM. My purpose has to come to me just as air to my lungs, it’s what makes me experience life living!
My north star is to become a high vibrational being:)
My North Star is to empower women especially from minorities to express themselves and make their lasting stamp in today world.
My north star is to shine my light at brightly as I can and live a life of love, starting with myself and my own home and spreading outwards as far as is possible from there.
Do God’s will by any means necessary by faith that works by ❤️.
Being the best version of myself for everyone in my life
My North star is to work with the wine industry in Tanzania as a winemaker to produce the best quality wines for the world which will boost the economy and improve the life standard of people through out the grape value chain and introduce Tanzania as a wine producing country in the world.
To to help people understand their inherent worth and to guide them to finding their own True North Star.
Being the best human being I can be
The aspect of relinquishment of the earthly personality or ego in an unforced way – toward the rebirth and reanimation of the true primordial self within –can be an inner challenge The environs of hidden and undisclosed destinations of the inner soul man toward liberation have indeed a subtle great purpose. Keeping in mind, however, that each voyage of gratitude over the “ocean of individual life experience”, aids that purpose and has its bounty of benefits via the perception of a NORTH STAR guiding principle.
My “North Star” is to shine my Light the best way I can to make my Lord Proud! I am a Nurse and try to bring Light and Happiness to others, while a remaining Humble and sweet servant for my Lord!
I think my north stat is becoming a pastor and giving everyone the real truth about him I’m not saying every pastor now days is fake but something ain’t right I think I can give people the truth
– 1st: Assisting whoever i interact with to realize their value and work towards being the best to their capabilities…….One should not rest at any level, Strive, strive and strive to be better each moment each day.
– 2nd: Add value to humanity and nature as much as you can.
Being my best version of myself…giving and receiving love ❤️ to all!
Hello Michael Offei. As I was reading this post I come to know that your North Star is to inspire people to live with compassion and minimalistic lifestyle. I have something for you I would like to introduce you to the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness. In this philosophy we are taught to live with harmony with every creatures and surrounding. You can just search on the internet about (International Society for Krishna Consciousness)ISKCON. There is large group of devotees worldwide living minimalistic lifestyle with full of joy, compassion and happiness. Millions have joined this movement I wish that you should also approach there to support such movement and spread the message of peaceful, happy and blissful life.
Hare Krishna 🙏🙏.
Music is my North Star 🎵
Hi. Glad to learn about one’s North Star. Just to add, a mission should be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achieveable, Realistic & Time bound. For instance, My mission is, ” To launch the first vernacular talk radio in order to become relevant for our market by 2022″
I hope it helps.
Hi Tony . By the time I read this comment we are almost in 2023 ! Did you reach your goal ? Hope you continuing in the path of growth and self consciousness. Good luck !
I loved your blog, which I found searching for meaning for the North Star. The reason is my nephew passed away a week ago, at the age of 16, he was out running in the morning… his heart stopped, just like that. It was Saturday morning. The night before he had been to see a friend, and as he went home, he was struck by how beautifully the North Star was shining. So he took a photo. Hus sister told me this. Somehow this spoke to me, and I started looking for info about the meaning of the North Star, Stella Polaris. I now realize that I’ve been looking for my own North Star for a long time, as in a new goal, something to achieve. But reading about it I’m slowly starting to understand that it’s not a goal or an achievement out there, that I need to fulfill. It’s a guiding light within me, a yearning to share knowledge with others and the world, about life and how to live, how to search, how to love, how to change and grow, how to reflect and listen, and how to understand what other’s are really saying.
So, thank you, you’ve helped me find my North Star. In the blink of an eye!
Much love, Maria
Thank you, Maria. I’m so sorry to hear about your Nephew. Your moment is inspirational to all of us. Keep following the signs!
I am both a goal setting person and a go getter.. Yet what I find most difficult is I hav too many goals… Like professional, family, personal, spiritual, etc
Also in mid of month I don’t follow along and go my way…
So need some guidance how to connect to our North Star… Or what exactly shd be a North Star.
Like one thing I’m clear and ask ALLAH in my prayers is to keep rotating my compass towards HIM whenever I deviate even a bit from HIM… Coz it’s He who is my North Star to whom my life’s compass shd align with!
It’s not easy, is it? But it sounds like you have an incredible foundation, and you’re already asking the right questions. Just need to keep on digging to find multiple layers to your North Star. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
I get the gist, but I don’t think Zuckerberg’s initial north star was to connect the world. Nor do I think that was Nelson Mandela’s initial north star. Those things were born out of a more basic north star. And that is the belief that THEY can make a difference. No matter what form that takes. Zuckerberg stumbled up on a concept based on ways to get laid.. aka the Facebook relationship status. That was it. But he had an innate conviction that HE could do something different and he always bet on himself. As did Mandela. They didn’t wait for others to make a move, they were their own north star. As we all should be.
My north star is assisting, supporting and coaching women who are survivors in find their voice and purpose. Providing education and coaching to those that are working with survivors of DV, sexual assault and trafficking.
Thank You, that is one of my North Stars as well!
I have recently been directed to a North Star pendent which I think came from my late grandma and my dad has left it for me to find , he is currently at the end of life stage in trinity hospice and after reading your page things that I already kind of knew have become much clearer ❤️ My life seems to be changing before my eyes and I’m feeling an overwhelming sense of happiness at such a sad time. I will continue to follow my dreams and set out to do and be who I was always meant to be ?♀️ Thank you for this content and I will look forward for more to come
Wow, Gemma, what a moment you’re having in your life right now. Thank you for inspiring us, and we hope you find the courage to really go after your dreams.
Thank you so much Gem. This is so inspiring…I have also had and continue to have an overwhelming feeling of joy in the midst of sadness and this has just uplifted me. My personal belief, which I have now confirmed thanks to Michael’s post, as my True North, is to be – to the best of my ability (with no regrets or doubts) who I am meant to be. That quest fuels me everyday. Lily.
Thank you for this beautiful blog. My North Star is to help create opportunities in the ICT and Telecommunication sectors for our young people here in Africa to participate in building the Continent’s Economy Growth. I would love to expose them the laws of the Universe while at it.
Hi Tracy, that sounds like an incredible North Star. I also love how specific you are in your service. Thanks for sharing 🙂
This article was simple yet so profound and put things in perspective, thank you! My North Star is to help citizens of the Globe become more conscious, connected and compassionate in the way that ascends the collective vibration of the human race.
Thanks, Sukun! Looove your North Star statement. That will certainly keep you motivated for a lifetime 🙂
My dream is to get rid of ALL PLASTIC use. Apart from life vests and life-saving boats, maybe silicon sacks for blood transport and transfusion—I can’t see the point of it! I hate it with passion. Why should dog and fish food be in plastic wrapped in more plastic? Strawberries DO NOT need plastic boxes.
Make-up and cosmetics are disgusting too. Lately, the crystal and stone trends started ruining the earth too.
Surely, all of the aforementioned modern minds could invest in finding genius sustainable materials to substitute the plastic. After all, how would they be judged by the future, depends on how they play their cards today. (And, surely they are more intelligent than staying in the history books as gossip room moguls).
Wish me luck with the plastic war.
Hi Fifi, just saw your message. I couldn’t agree more! We have a big battle on our hands with plastic use. It’s heartbreaking to see just how it is in circulation. We’ll be right by your side with this mission!
I am so lucky cause I could find your blog right now. It is just exactly what I need at this very moment. Thank you so much.
I am in my twenties and of course I am a bit lost. Reading your blog makes me think a lot about what I want in my life, seriously. Hopefully I can find my north star, just like you.
Hi Bunga, apologies, I just saw your message. I’m so glad this post got you thinking about what you want out of your life. Keep following your curiosity, and I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for. All the best. Michael
My northstar is my gut feeling. I try to avoid people that talk a lot about ‘doing the right thing’ and then they don’t follow it themselves. Corporate America always has their ‘values’ posted on the website and repeat constantly at every meeting, but management does not follow through. Seems they think these values are for the ‘working class “slaves” of the company to keep them on track. My northstar is to create a firm that assists abandoned animals. I just wish I had the finances to do this.
Yes, there’s a lot of empty promises when it comes to value and mission statements. It would be incredible if you could start that firm, but perhaps there’s a business you could start to help animals that are less expensive? We have a whole list of ideas here https://theminimalistvegan.com/vegan-business-ideas/
My Northstar will be the Holy Spirit leading me to do God‘s will to glorify him.
Sounds great Carrie! 🙂
I want to support children and adults so that they are functionally literate and numerate, especially those that have special needs and/or find learning challenging. (Illiteracy and innumeracy rates amongst adult Australians are around 40%.) In a nutshell, I want to help kids learn how to read.
Love this Lesley!
I love having goals (and writing them down) I think mainly because for many years in my 20s I was a bit lost and had no idea what I wanted from life. Now I prefer being more intentional about all the actions I take, and knowing that they’re in service of something bigger keeps me on track. My ultimate goal is to help people live a simpler, more productive and more organized life using all the lessons I’ve learnt over the years!
Love this Sahel! Thanks for sharing. Well done on your blog 🙂
Love you guys, Michael & Masa <3 As a minimalist vegan myself, I completely adore you peeps and respect the work you are doing! You are my inspiration!
My North Star is to be a work-from-home vegan blogger/recipe developer, mom to rescued/foster furbabies, hold cookery/DIY workshops for new/aspiring vegans, and be active in the animal rights scenario. I just want to build a life that revolves entirely around animals and veganism while also earning enough for a simple yet comfortable lifestyle.
Aw thanks Namrata, your support is our inspiration.
You have a deep and passionate North Star around compassion for animals and we absolutely love it!
I am not a goal setter at all. It doesn’t work for me, being an intuitive and extremely reflective person. I find goals and plans to rigid, and also stressful. I want to feel my way forward in life, and not miss the opportunities that appear from left field.
My North Star is this:
The economy is not serving us. It breeds inequality, it exploits workers, it destroys the environment, it devalues difference, it doesn’t allow for enough life outside of work that ‘counts’ in the economy, it doesn’t take care of the vulnerable, or provide different ways for people to contribute within their capacities. But the economy is a social construction and can be changed. My North Star, the purpose of my work, is changing the economy so that it takes care of people. So that it serves all of us, not just a powerful and wealthy few.
The work that I do comes down to this fundamental mission. I advocate and teach others to live more sustainably and make ethical purchases to promote this. I work with non profits as a consultant. I have a started a leadership network aimed at fighting for better workplaces for working mums. I also dream of making an impact on mental health in some way down the track. All of these interests are guided by my North Star.
Beyond my North Star I might set one broad goal. Last year this goal was: find a way to earn my living independently so I could leave my part time job. I achieved that within a year, but only by being open to all the possible ways that I might be able to do it. The answer came from left field and because I didn’t have a plan I was able to see the opportunities that I might have missed otherwise.
My next big goal is to build my earning capacity to a point the my husband starts to believe that he could qyit his job too. Other than this big goal, I just feel my way to my next move. I don’t have a plan. It doesn’t suit the way I work and I haven’t needed one to this point.
Great article. Thanks for sharing.
Hey Summer, interesting to get thoughts on the whole goal setting thing. It’s definitely something we’ve struggled with in the past.
You have a powerful and clear North Star which is clearly leading you on a fulfilling and meaningful path. We’re rooting for you!
Have you ever heard of The Mondragon Cooperatives? They are located in the Basque Region of Spain and have served as a model for sustainable business practices that provide for the welfare of the people who work in the cooperative. They are not perfect, but some U.S. colleges have studied them. They were formed in 1957 with the guidance of a priest with social justice principles in mind. They are still in existence (as of 2017) and you may find them of interest. There are books on Amazon, also information on google and wikipedia.
Thanks for the the tip. I will have to look the co-operative up