What is your North Star? What is the mission that points you north--that guides you, serves you and inspires your heart to sing?

Polaris, the "Pole Star," is quite an unusual heavenly body. It is the nearest bright star to the north spin axis of the earth. Therefore, as the earth turns, stars and constellations appear to rotate around Polaris, making it the North Star. (Since there is no bright star near the south spin axis of the Earth, there is currently no South Star.)

Although Polaris is not the brightest star in the sky, it's easy to locate because it is neatly aligned with two stars in the cup of the Big Dipper. To find Polaris, first locate the Big Dipper, then follow the two stars at the end of the cup upwards (out of the cup): the next bright star you will run into is the North Star (which is also the last star in the handle of the Little Dipper).

Just like the needle of a magnetic compass, the Polaris points the direction of north. If you stood at the north pole, it would be almost directly overhead.

The Latin name for the star is "Navigatoria," the Navigator's Star, revealing its critical and unique role through history as a navigation aid and for the charting of navigational maps. It has served generations and generations of sailors and caravans winding their way through deserts by night, serving as a point of orientation and navigational constancy.

Aristotle put it magnificently: "Where your talents and the needs of the world cross lies your calling." Just as ancient mariners used the North Star to navigate their ships, you too can use your own personal North Star to navigate yourself in the direction of your dreams.

What is Your Journey?

We all have great ideas and dreams of what we could be, do and have. Perhaps you have something you'd love to do with your life. Perhaps you believed you'd travel to exotic places and lead wild adventures. Perhaps you have dreamed of touching people's lives in a meaningful way.

What happened to those dreams, that sense of excitement, that calling to do more with your life? Dreams ignite your spirit, and rekindle your thirst for life. They can and do help point you toward your own true north, which is the only direction worth moving.

Aristotle put it magnificently: "Where your talents and the needs of the world cross lies your calling." Just as ancient mariners used the North Star to navigate their ships, you too can use your own personal North Star to navigate yourself in the direction of your dreams.

Why do some people follow their own North Star? Why do some, as the Apple Computer ads say, "Think Different," or to cite a somewhat older metaphor, march to the beat of their own drummer? How do you begin to live your dreams, and to begin to confidently move ahead in the direction of your destiny? Here are a few practical steps.

Step 1: Ask Yourself a Few Difficult Questions

The clock is ticking and additional opportunities are lost if you do not stop, ask, and most importantly, answer these questions. Once you have answered them, you must set fundamental priorities to take the actions and risks it will take to bring those answers to life--fast.

1. Who am I?
2. Why do I exist?
3. What specifically do I want?
4. What am I trying to accomplish in the years that are left to me?
5. What am I prepared to do to achieve it?
6. When will I begin to follow my North Star?

Step 2: Believe in Yourself

Right now, at this very moment, you either believe or disbelieve that it is possible for you to live the life you've always imagined. Be bold and the mighty forces of life will be with you. Lock those North Star coordinates into your mind; use them constantly and consistently to align your eyes, ears, tongue and actions.

One of the greatest lessons of life that I have learned is this: "Have faith that what you want, also wants you in return!"

Right now, at this very moment, you either believe or disbelieve that it is possible for you to live the life you've always imagined. Be bold and the mighty forces of life will be with you. Lock those North Star coordinates into your mind; use them constantly and consistently to align your eyes, ears, tongue and actions.

Step 3: Take Action: Create a Sense of Urgency

The chances of your capturing your North Star without taking action is like thinking you can win the lottery without buying a ticket. You have a finite amount of time left to capture the prize you so desperately want. You must understand that this lifetime is not a dress rehearsal, therefore you must take action and create a sense of emergency in all that you do.

Polaris is called the "North Star" because its position in the sky defines the direction of due North. Whenever you want to figure out where North is, all you have to do is find this star. Set your sights on your own personal North Star--and you will always be moving in the right direction. n

GARY RYAN BLAIR (the "Goals Guy") is an author, speaker, coach and consultant. He can be reached at Gary@GoalsGuy.com.