Uncover Your North Star Vision for Change

Below is a guest blog post by Danielle Carruthers, originally posted on October 28th, 2015 via thesedge.org. Enjoy!

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What is a North Star Vision for Change (or personal manifesto) and why do you need one as a social entrepreneur?

After working with social entrepreneurs from around the world, I’ve noticed those who are really making waves all share one thing in common. And that is, a clear vision for the change they wish to see in the world.  

Without a clear picture of where you want to go, it is impossible to ever reach your destination because even if you happened to stumble on it by chance, you wouldn’t realize you arrived!

A North Star Vision for Change helps you accomplish two very important things…

First:
It keeps your efforts on track to achieve the change you wish to see.

Even the most steady of us are likely to switch between various projects throughout a lifelong career.  And naturally over time, solutions you develop and implement will evolve as you gain new experiences and knowledge.  But what is constant as a social entrepreneur is that everything you do is likely to still contribute to your broader vision for change in some way or another.

Having a North Star aligns your lifetime of work such that even as your specific projects change, they are serving to push your overarching impact goals ahead.  With your personal values and strengths tending to be fairly consistent over a lifetime, and given they are at the heart of your North Star, this guiding mantra shouldn’t change much throughout your career.  

Second:
It helps you make decisions as you go forward.

Having a clear North Star serves as a handy reference guide as you go about your work. You can pull it out like a guide map, to weight each major turning point or decision in your career.  Use it to ask yourself, is this project, partnership, collaboration or opportunity something that is aligned with my North Star?  Will spending my precious time and resources on that move me closer to the change I want to see in the world?

With so many exciting opportunities and ideas, it can be easy to get lost in too many ideas, and get overwhelmed or unclear on what steps to take next.  Taking the time to articulate your North Star Vision for Change gives you the foundation for sifting through those ideas so you can be confident in how each move forward builds towards greater impact.

How To Articulate Your North Star

“Imagine a world where people wake up everyday inspired to go to work and return home at the end of the day feeling fulfilled by the work they do, feeling they have contributed to something greater than themselves.” ~ Simon Sinek

I bring up Simon’s words here because the first step in articulating your North Star is to look inward at your personal why.

Here are some questions you can ask to explore this half of the equation:

What motivates you?
What inspires you?
What do you value?  
What are your strengths?  
What do you love doing?  
How do you want to be remembered?

The second step is to look at your why for the world.  How do you want to create change and improve the world?

Questions to ask to explore this half of the equation are:

What would a perfect world look like?
What do you wish was no longer an issue?  
Who do you care about and what would make their lives better?
What unique gifts do you have that could contribute to a better world?

Together, your personal why and your why for the world combine to articulate a powerful North Star Vision for Change, or personal manifesto, that will keep you on track and boost the impact of your changemaking work.

If you’re ready to dig deeper into uncovering your North Star and finding the best social enterprise idea for you, take a look at the IDEA FINDER Workshop, now available on demand.