This is the fourth part in the FINDING YOUR TRUE NORTH series of articles. In these articles we started by calling BS on your lack of clarity, by telling you to forget your doubt, dig deep and stop lying to yourself. Then in part 2 we got into checking your mindset before starting out and then in part 3 we delved deeper into your past, interests and abilities to let you realise your true north, your passion in life.
If you haven’t read those yet, go back and do it.
If you have and got into it, but then got stuck, got confused, discouraged, or just went off track and forgot about it, then this post is for you. Today is your follow up, your wake-up call and your last chance.
FINDING YOUR TRUE NORTH:
1 — When you know it’s not right, quit quickly.
Yeah, this doesn’t seem to gel with the focus of this whole site, of never giving up, of learning the willpower to grit your teeth and push through. But this is one forgotten side of the willpower coin; making firm decisions to say no and leaving something even though it may be difficult. Staying in the job you hate just because you haven’t worked out the next part yet is one of the best things you can do. Staying with something (or someone) that you hate just because there’s nothing better yet doesn’t work because it keeps you just comfortable enough. Comfort drains all the time and energy you could use for starting up the next thing, or working out exactly what you want. Yes, quitting something is scary, and you may need a little money saved, or not, but it’s good for you in the end. Face reality. If it’s not working, leave it behind.
2- Make financial concerns secondary to your passion.
Look, of course you have to make money and your passion should become some monetised system, otherwise you’re just talking about a glorified hobby. But when you are working out your passion in the first part, money shouldn’t be your sole, or even your main concern. If you have been struggling so far in working out what your passion is, this may be a stumbling block. But don’t worry about it for now. Work out your passion first and then work out how to monetise it next. This is important, but not until you’ve gotten step 1 done, until then thoughts of money just get in the way and cloud the picture more than it already is.
Many people give this concept of “passion first and money second” lip service but you really have to deeply and honestly make that mental switch to free yourself. Stop limiting your options to what are the usual, sleazy and predictable ways of making money.
It can be helpful to imagine what you would do if money were no object (and you’ve been using The Path To Willpower, worked on your discipline and have crushed the indulgent, lazy part out of yourself).
3– Don’t set any artificial ceilings or boundaries for yourself.
You may have thought of some passions, some driving forces in your life in the previous parts, but then looked at the job titles, job types and options that commonly exist in the world and thought “ah, there’s the catch…there is no job that exists to cover my passions”.
That job doesn’t exist?
So go and make it.
Carve out your own path. You don’t need a job. You don’t need someone to hand something to you, all safe, prepared, pre-packaged and ready for you to fit effortlessly into. That’s why it is your passion. Its yours and no-one else’s. Of course it doesn’t already exist, if it did, then it wouldn’t be yours.
Do not limit yourself with artificial job titles, limits to how far or how much you can do with something. Dream big and then fill in the practical steps to get there, to carve out your path and take it.
4- It may be a delayed reaction.
As alluded to in the second part, you may have an exaggerated, dramatised idea of what your passion should look and feel like from TV and movies. You may not feel ecstatically high whenever you do a little of your passion. You may not burst into song and start riding rainbows through fields of lollipops at the mere mention of your true north. That all depends on your personality, the timing and what drugs you may have been taking. The feeling of reward you get may be a slow burn and could well be a hard slog at times, hours and hours of hard work before the reward comes and you feel that burst of pleasure.
5-WE LEARN WHO WE ARE—IN PRACTICE, NOT IN THEORY—BY TESTING REALITY.
As much as all of these writing, thinking and pondering with a notebook and a website or paper in front of you may be good, there is a limit. There is only so far you can go inside your head. Your skull is really pretty small and confines what you can really work out. Sure, your imagination is an endless universe of possibilities, memories of past hobbies and passions and clues.…but it’s not real. The only way you will ever work it out completely is with action. At some point you need to try things, to actually get out of your head and act. That old memory of how you used to love drawing when you were a kid may feel like a pretty solid lead to your true north in your idealised memories, but you will only know when you actually try it. So use your actions to test and try things on, like slipping into an old jacket to see if it still works, to see if it still feels good.
Thinking in abstract, imagining, planning and striving can be good but sometimes you need to get out of your headspace otherwise the myriad of possibilities and “what ifs” can tie you in knots.
Take a break sometimes, from business thinking, from striving, from feeling the pressure to have a passion and.….just have fun. Go appreciate some beauty, whether that’s women, cars, wine, good food or getting out into nature. Getting outdoors and away from everything is especially powerful. It lets you unplug and disconnect from thoughts and distractions and find what is truly at the core of you.
Remember too that you don’t need to have a perfect vision and plan worked out before you start acting on it. If you waited for the perfect plan and the perfect time, you would never begin. Get an idea of your true north, get some basic steps worked out and
Benjamin Disraeli once said;
“Man is only great when he acts from passion.”
Plan and think.
Use these articles as guides to help you define your True North.
But don’t forget to act and go out and carve out your path.