Your North Star

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The concept and reality of the NORTH STAR has been around for centuries.  Scientifically speaking, the North Star, or Polaris, is the brightest star in Ursa Minor constellation (the Big Dipper). Unlike other stars we see in the night sky Polaris stays constant in the sky no matter the season. It was the star that early explorers used to navigate their journeys. It is said to have been the star that slaves trying to escape their oppressors in the south used as they fled toward the north during the civil war years.

So, with this scientific and historical context, what is your NORTH STAR?  What is the one point in the sky that you are seeking, moving toward, focusing on? Question too deep? Maybe you could start by making a list of your values – those key concepts you hold most dear and that define you as a person/worker/spouse/parent/citizen. With your values in mind, you can then begin defining your own North Star.

Each of us has a lot to do – too much on some days, right? We could all fill our days with any number of tasks.  Our email inbox is screaming at us – “check me, check me!” Our TO-DO list grows longer and longer. And the voicemail box gets fuller and fuller. Each of these distractions offers an excuse to postpone our quest.

It is hard to decide what you should be concentrating on right now to move you closer to that elusive North Star.  Most of us tend to focus on the URGENT,  sacrificing the IMPORTANT.  We get distracted, sidetracked, drawn in unproductive and sometimes even self-destructive directions. That is when we need to ask ourselves that ever important question: What is the most important thing?

Of course, the answer is different for everyone. Will it mean going back to school? Seeking that new job? Starting that business you’ve always wanted to start? Will it mean getting out of your own way, clearing the urgent from your mind so that you can truly point your thinking toward the elusive, but essential, North Star?

So, for this week, and every week, let’s look North, shall we?

Mutually beneficial

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“Tell me what you want, what you really, really want.” Recognize those lyrics? I know you need to hear the whole song, now, right”  Here you go: Spice Girls – Wannabe

And now you won’t be able to get the song out of your head for the rest of the day. You’re welcome. 🙂

But back to the point.

We’ve all seen people rushing out of work at the end of a hard day, right?  On to dinner or the kid’s soccer practice or that favorite TV show or to the gym.  What if the work you do is so satisfying that you want to rush INTO work, too?  I truly believe that when you lead with the goal of mutually beneficial results, the job satisfaction will naturally flow to you.

Now please ponder this question for a moment:

What is it that you hope your clients/customers/participants/students/employees will be able to do, think, act, own, feel, behave or believe differently as a result of the work you do?

And the next logical question, of course, is: Given that my client/ customer/ participant/ student/ employee will be able to do X, what impact will that have on them as an individual? Or as a family? Or as a company/ team/ network/ organization?

Our impact is compounded when we seek to have an effect instead of simply being satisfied with the encounter. It is all about impact.  And impact is more likely when you develop a relationship that will lead to the desired outcome. How can what you do today build a relationship that will be beneficial for you AND your constituents into the future?  Call it what you want – customer service, service leadership, salesmanship. But if the goal is the relationship, the outcome will always be success.

Yeah, that’s hard. But it’s right, too, don’t you think? “Better at the other end” should always be our goal.  And that’s what we all really, really want!