by Craig Kitch
True North is a navigational term referring to the direction of the North Pole relative to the navigator’s position. True North is different from Magnetic North, the relative position to the magnetic pole. Magnetic North is what drives a compass and is the baseline for most navigational equipment. Airport runways and navigational charts are numbered by their relationship to magnetic north and almost always require a calculation to determine true north. Geographically, the magnetic pole is located nearly 1,000 miles from the North Pole and, while it is used every day to get ships and airplanes where they want to go, it is clearly not north.
Thanks for the geography lesson, Craig, but what’s your point? We often use relative processes in our businesses and lives to accomplish daily tasks. If, however, we do not occasionally stop and calculate our position to true north, we may end up quite a ways from our intended destination. When I was first learning to fly, my instructor and I took off on a 50 mile flight to practice navigation techniques. I did a great job of holding my magnetic heading but did not allow for a stiff wind from the north. The short story here is that I landed at an airport 20 miles south of my intended destination! The same can happen in your business, career, job or life.
Let’s say, for example, that you are the owner of a small business. "True North" for you would probably be to supply quality products at a fair price, create a sense of value for your customers and earn a reasonable profit. Or maybe true north for your personal life is to provide for your family and raise your children to be respectable, honest and productive members of society. It’s a pretty simple concept, right? But what actually happens is often a far cry from that intended goal. The business owner gets wrapped up in employee issues, vendor problems and marketing programs; losing site of true north – the customer and the profit. The parent gets wrapped up in financial problems, demands at work and helping out with the PTA while true north is missed again.
Look, the fact is that we will always have daily challenges that compete for our attention. Employees, vendors, finances and job challenges will forever be creating demands and we clearly need to address those issues as they arise. But if we don’t look up occasionally and ask ourselves where we are in relation to true north, we may find ourselves making great progress – in the wrong direction. Here is my challenge to you this week: give some thought as to what you really want to accomplish. Where is your True North? Now write it down and place it somewhere you can see it throughout the day. Then, every time you notice it, ask: “What am I doing today to stay on course”.
Remember, it is okay to occasionally get blown off course, as long as you make the needed corrections in relation to True North and get yourself back on course. Success does not come from hard work alone. Success comes when you do the right hard work and you know where you are going.
Source: Craig’s Blog