How to Find Your North Star

find your north star

Have you ever thought deeply about where your life is headed? If you don’t know what you want in life or where you’re going, can you even be certain that you’re living your best life?

Not many people think about this. Some people believe that life “just happens to them” and there’s not much they can do to change its course. These people often blame others before taking responsibility for their own thinking and actions. You’ve probably heard them around you: If they lose a job, they blame an unjust employer, the government, the weather, or plain ol’ bad luck.

When you blame other people for what happens in your life, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking there’s nothing you can do to change your reality.

I think we’ve all been there once in a while.

But what about those people who have succeeded in making their dreams a reality? What do these people do differently? How are some of us able to capture what we want in life while others remain stuck—or, worse, lose it all?

My quest to understand this has led me to a powerful fact: People who transcend set their sights for the stars, not the transitory lights of any ship passing by. They find a North Star—a destination to follow—and then live their lives for it. They’re driven by an inner motivation, an internal pull toward life.

In other words, they have a vision of what they want to achieve in life and dedicate their lives to going after it.

Now you may be thinking: “All right, I get it. But what can I do to find my North Star?”

Starting this exciting journey is easier than you think. While it does take some self-observation, you can follow a simple-but-methodical approach, beginning with these six steps:

List what you love.

To list what you love in life, you need to listen to your heart. Think back to your childhood. What were your dreams back then? What did you love to do as a child?

Maybe you loved to play an instrument, draw, or dance. These memories will cue you into what you inherently love, as you can be sure it is coming from yourself and not from external sources.

List what you’re good at.

Think for a moment and be honest with yourself: What are you good at? If you’re unsure or feel insecure about your strengths, ask others which talents they recognize in you. Are you good with numbers? Giving sound advice to people? Baking cakes? Every bit of information you can get from family and friends is valuable; it will show you where you excel.

passion and purpose

Identify your passion.

The intersection between what you love and what you’re good at will give you hints about what your passion is. You know you are driven by passion when you’re enthusiastic about doing something. The time you spend doing this activity simply vanishes. You wish you could spend your entire day doing it. Can you identify what it is?

Discover your vocation.

To discover your vocation, ask yourself: Of all the activities I excel at and enjoy, what can I get compensated for?

Is the work you’re doing in the service of others? Does it achieve something positive in life? Then that’s your vocation. Which brings us to…

Define your mission in life.

Your mission is a calling to contribute to a cause or project that goes beyond your personal needs or wants. It connects with your passion and vocation; it makes you think about how you see life and how you can contribute to making the world better.

In defining your mission, some of the fundamental questions to consider are: What can I do to contribute positively to the world? What aspects of my work can I improve or develop to impact the lives of others? How can I use my strengths and put them at the service of others?

Mahatma Gandhi was very clear on his mission:

  • I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
  • I shall fear only God.
  • I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
  • I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
  • I shall conquer untruth by truth.
  • And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.

Find your North Star

If you want to go a step further and dream about making an everlasting contribution to the world—something that goes far beyond yourself and your area of influence—then you are approaching one of the noblest aspirations of humanity: finding your North Star.

Your North Star is not a destination, yet it guides you toward the end game. It does not tell you how to get there, yet it acts like a compass.

Ready to find your North Star? Take a moment to reflect and answer these two questions:

·       Imagine what the world would be like if you could accomplish your mission in life. How would you describe it?

·       What legacy do you want to leave for this world?

Your answers should certainly be bold and even unattainable. Let the words of Elon Musk, the co-founder of Tesla and SpaceX, act as an example. In a 2018 interview in Austin, Texas, Musk stated that his vision of “rocket technology will allow everyone to reach Mars and beyond.” Whether he or his company will achieve this vision is irrelevant. The legacy will be left and someone else will take over and get on with the work.

This is the power of finding your North Star: It will guide all of your actions, consciously and unconsciously. You’ll find yourself waking up every morning to something that means a lot for you and the future it represents.

So, what are you waiting for? Embark on the journey of finding your North Star and get ready to move beyond your craziest dreams!

This guest post was authored by Paola Knecht

PAOLA KNECHT is a certified leadership, transformational, and self-development coach and author of The Success Mindset: Take Back the Leadership of Your Mind. Learn more at

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.