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Monday, September 10, 2007

I spend a lot of time with my coaching clients making sure they have their bearings and are following their true azimuth.

People who use a compass to find their way know that in order to work properly they need to make sure to hold the compass away from magnetic fields and other sources that may impact where the needle on the compass is pointing. Otherwise they may think they are traveling north only to be traveling north or even south!

Similarly we have many forces pulling and pushing our internal compass as we navigate our lives. If we aren't careful we lose our bearings and go in directions we never intended to.

A great example of this happened in my own life came when I worked for a company who had different values than myself -- particularly with regard to how they treated their employees. At first my bearings were accurate and true to myself -- my values -- specifically my belief in people first. But, over time, the influence of those whom I worked for started impacting how my internal compass was oriented. The emphasis on the bottom line. The focus on money over people. My behaviors and actions shifted. And I ended up behaving in ways that I am not proud of. And I didn't even realize it. After all I held the same values I always held. I thought my internal compass was accurate. I thought I was doing just great. I even preached to people about the importance of identifying your true values, writing them down, prioritizing them and following them.

But like a compass needle spinning from being too close to a magnetic field, my internal compass needle was spinning. Pointing toward values I didn't subscribe to. Not in the least.

Eventually I left the company. And, of course my internal compass pointed differently. I noticed it. You see, the forces that affected my values -- and sent my internal compass spinning -- happened over time so I didn't notice it. Leaving the company I was completely free from influence of different values. My awareness was immediate and I felt awful.

I knew then there was much more living the life you want then having a map: identifying your true values, writing them down, prioritizing them and following them. I need to make sure my internal compass was working. And that it stays working. Correctly. I need to get my bearings and regularly check my bearings. I need to be aware of invisible forces that throw off my internal compass. Invisible.

Where is your internal compass pointing? Are you following your true azimuth?

©2007 True Azimuth, LLC
Business Coaching, Relationship Coaching, Life Coaching