Create Your Inner Compass

My Career, My Choice

Create the blueprint that puts you in charge of your professional career

Module 5, Lesson 1

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Be Clear on Your Direction, Intent and Decisions

Here's a not so secret, secret. Remarkable leaders have a deliberately designed Inner Compass. Their Inner Compass guides the choices they make, where they focus and prompts them to become the type of person that galvanizes others.

In fact, all the big players in town have them (Apple, Virgin, Southwest Airlines, Zappos):

  • Vision - Where are you going
  • Mission - How you do it
  • Values - What you stand for
  • Decision-Drivers - How you will make the right decision, for you, in any situation
  • Goals - the 1-3 things most essential to you
  • Initiatives - How you are going to achieve your goals
  • Metrics - How well you are doing

You (or any business) don’t have to spend time on creating your Inner Compass. But boy that would be a mistake.

Those people (and organizations) with a clearly defined picture of where they are going and how they are getting there, have always led those who don’t.

You are either living your Compass or someone else’s.

Defining your Inner Compass doesn’t mean that suddenly you walk the world-stage. Most of us aren’t destined to do that.

Maybe it is your life's purpose to change the world! Perhaps it is also something far more straightforward - like

  • Becoming all YOU have the capability to be, or
  • To influence the people around you in a positive way, or
  • To be a kind and loving parent, or
  • To be a fair and just leader, or
  • Because of your energy, your community becomes more loving and peaceful

Thomas Leonard 

Founding Father of Professional Coaching

"Your purpose is the essence of what you contribute to the world simply by virtue of who you are, rather than because of what you know, own or can do"

Yet, even though you may not be destined to walk the world-stage, there is much you can learn from those men and women who walk the world-stages.

Let’s look at two highly influential leaders, who developed a clear inner compass, of how they wanted to make their dent in the universe. One you’ll know, one maybe not so much.

Two Leaders Whose Strong Inner Compass Ignites the World!

Let's look at two highly influential leaders, who developed a clear inner compass, of how they wanted to make their dent in the universe. One you'll know, one maybe not so much.

You may have never heard of Majora Carter. However, she is a woman with a powerful vision.

You may have never heard of Majora Carter. Yet she is a woman with a compelling vision.

Majora is all about Greening the Ghetto. She believes everyone deserves to live in a world that is sane, happy and healthy.

If you want to spend 20 inspiring minutes, I highly recommend her
TED talk. It is a powerful insight to a person living with passion and a willingness to commit to her ideals. From her passion for making the Bronx a better place to live, she has gone on to influence sustainability around the world.

And, what about Nelson Mandela? After 27 years of his life lost behind bars, he came out and said, “Hey guys let’s focus on how to help the country, and ensure that no man is treated poorly.” He was an extraordinary man.

Extraordinary because he had an extraordinary psychology. He wasn’t focused on the past. Not focused on the hurt. Not focused on a To-Do list. He focused on what is ultimately most important – making a positive contribution.

Without doubt, in his 20s he didn’t start with that mindset or that grace. He grew into it. He grew into the world leader we all knew and admired.

You could be just as impactful – maybe not on a world scale – but certainly within your realm of influence.

Have a Zest For Life

Having a clear vision and principles to live by provides you with the fuel and the motivation to have a tremendous zest for life.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be doing anything different from what you are doing today. It just means that you’ll show up with forethought, focus, and resilience. So, when you get to the end of your life, hand over heart, you’ll say, “I’ve lived a great life!”

It doesn’t mean your life will be perfect and you’ll always have Disney days.

There will be days where things will be off kilter, and you’ll wonder why you bothered getting out of bed.

Yet, over your entire year, you will feel more regularly fulfilled and on track.

Use Your Competitive Edge

I set aside at least one day a year to spend time reviewing my Vision, Mission, and Values. Thinking about, are they still relevant, given the experiences I have had in the past several months? Pondering whether I need to upgrade, amend, delete any of my previous thinking?

As well, throughout the year, I regularly review my goals and metrics and think about how I’m progressing against them.

Because, if you aren’t doing regular reviews you are drifting.

Without Goals and Feedback, You'll Drift

Imagine I take you down to the local bowling alley, and you've never heard of bowling before. I set you up to play. But I don't tell you how you'll know if you've been successful.

I don't give you a target to strive for. And even worse - every time the bowling ball gets half-way down the lane, I pull a big curtain down, so that you can't see how many pins you've dropped. You don't know, whether the ball went straight down the lane or trickled off to the left or right.

Two things will happen fast.

One you won't improve. Because you don't know what you need to do to improve. And, two, you'll probably get bored and stop playing/trying.

Could you imagine wanting to stay there for a few hours - aimlessly throwing the ball down the lane, with no feedback, no target?

There is something you need to understand: We are an innately competitive race who wants to continuously improve.

Every day of the week, people are down at sporting events chasing down goals. Getting measured by how they are performing. Trying to win that Gold Medal or Championship. People love the thrill of the chase. The thrill of competing against themselves or others. The thrill of improving.

If you haven't set up the conditions for you to feel those thrills, you are shutting down some of your emotional touch-points. You are likely getting lackluster performance. People are motivated to achieve things they can see, touch and measure. This is why it is so important to set goals and track and measure performance regularly.

Mindset Shift

I set goals and track my performance to make myself an 'elite athlete'

As an Aside...

If your team is just going through the motions, with little sparkle to their performance, check your goals and tracking system.

Many organizations I visit suffer from this problem.

They don’t have goals that are engaging people. They don’t have goals that everyone focuses upon. Or, if they do have goals, they are tucked away somewhere, and tracking and recording of progress isn’t happening.

It's one quick and easy fix to help you improve performance. Sure, there are likely to be other problems that need addressing too. However, this is one quick and easy step in the right direction.

Do NOT Drift

Don’t drift into your middle years and wonder how the heck did I end up being THIS person? Your time here is limited.

Now is the time to commit to living fully.

Please don’t be concerned that when you create your Inner Compass you must be upbeat, positive, and perfect all the time. You don’t – none of the leaders I mention were or are flawless angels!

Nonetheless, they did make remarkable impacts because they had a strong vision, a set of guiding principles and were consistent in inspiring themselves and others to do extraordinary things.

What are People Saying About You?

It’s time to make this real.

Take some time and imagine you’ve handed in your resignation and you left the company a week ago today. What are the people you worked with saying about you?

Are they talking about how inspiring you were?

Are they talking about continuing the culture you left behind?

Wanting to role-model themselves on you?

If you feel a bit of a twinge at doing that exercise – knowing that a lot of what is being said is probably not something you want to see on Facebook … then it’s time to get working on creating your Inner Compass. Create that guiding light for your life and the daily choices you make.

What you do today, how you show up, how to treat others, where you focus, are critical to you leaving the dent in the universe you desire

What's Coming in the Next Lesson

Creating the first part of your inner compass - Your Vision Statement

My Career, My Choice (Course)

Create the blueprint that puts you in charge of your professional career and your 100+ year life