Notes & Thoughts

By The Red Notebook

Notes & Thoughts #2 - The North Star





October 16 · Issue #2 · View online
Notes & Thoughts
Welcome to the second issue of Notes & Thoughts from The Red Notebook!
The Red Notebook is a platform and community for young African entrepreneurs and business professionals to learn, grow and connect.
As a platform, The Red Notebook provides weekly knowledge, advice, and insights from peers and established business professionals on themes like leadership, personal finance, career growth and entrepreneurship.
As a community, it connects people who are intentional about their professional development, career growth and entrepreneurship journey. It creates an opportunity for connecting with and learning from peers with the same level of commitment and intentionality.
We leverage social media heavily, so please take a minute to connect with us and follow us on the following platforms: Twitter - Facebook - Instagram - YouTube - LinkedIn and Telegram
If you believe there’s someone who could greatly benefit from this, invite them to join the Red Notebook!
Thank you, and enjoy the newsletter!
Solomon King Benge

The North Star - Polaris, an Unwavering Guide.
From the moment humans started a life of adventure, we have always looked up to the sky in awe and wonder, but also in hope, trusting that the stars would always be there, guiding us through the darkness.
Our night sky is filled with literally millions of stars, the vast majority of which cannot be seen by the naked eye. Some shine brighter than others, and some, like our very own Sun (Sol) - yes, it is a star - are visible during the day.
But for adventurers and voyagers in the northern hemisphere, one star has been of more importance than all the rest that appear in the night sky. Polaris.
Polaris is Earth’s North Star. Here’s why.
The reason Polaris is so important is because the axis of Earth is pointed almost directly at it. During the course of the night, Polaris does not rise or set, but remains in very nearly the same spot above the northern horizon year-round while the other stars circle around it.
So at any hour of the night, at any time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, you can readily find Polaris and it is always found in a due northerly direction. If you were at the North Pole, the North Star would be directly overhead.
Every person, organization, company, idea or adventure needs a North Star. We need a fixed point of reference that is unwavering, consistent, and can be easily found when needed, pointing us in the right direction on any adventure or journey that we’re on.
Our North Star allows us to check in, evaluate and ensure that we’re on the right track. And where necessary, recalibrate our journey and our ideas. It is our long-term goal, our 5-year or 10-year strategy that keeps us pointed towards our true north.
But, the world is too chaotic for us to have a journey that is linear and flawless. Mistakes happen, plans get derailed, we get sidetracked and we lose resources, forcing us to shelve or delay certain goals and strategies. When that happens, when we realize we’re no longer following our true north, we can always check in with our North Star, and ask ourselves questions like: Have I lost my way? If so, how far off track am I, and what do I need to do to get back on track?
The North Star is a concept that’s core to almost everything we set a goal for, from personal ambitions to career goals, and especially long-term missions and visions for products, organizations and companies.
Without a North Star, it’s easy to lose your way through life, while simply going through the day-to-day motions.
And finally, don’t forget that your North Star can evolve. Give yourself room to grow and expand your horizons, and to explore opportunities that help you navigate a better, and more rewarding life journey.
Reflect on this.
As an individual, what is your North Star? Do you have a personal mission statement that helps align your goals, values and habits towards your True North? This could be a North Star for your life, your career or your family. How often do you check in to confirm that you’re on the right track, or to re-align your journey with your purpose?
As a company or organization, do you have a North Star, and how aligned is your team to it? How often do you check in, together with your leadership team or the whole organization? Are your organizational values aligned to your North Star, and can you reference them and course correct when you feel like you’re off-track?
Read This: The North Star Approach to Goal Setting
This article dives much deeper into the specifics of using the North Star concept to set your personal and professional goals. It also breaks it down into three core processes that will guide you in setting your North Star:
  1. Laying the foundation,
  2. Setting the destination, and
  3. Plotting the course.
Listen to This: How to Find - And Keep - True North
YouTube was started fifteen years ago, and what began as a small video-sharing experimental website has evolved into a behemoth that serves more than 2 billion people, and sees more than 500 hours of video uploaded per minute.
Susan Wojcicki has been the CEO of YouTube since 2014 and has been instrumental in overseeing explosive growth in the past 6 years.
In this podcast episode of “Masters of Scale” with Reid Hoffman, she shares her leadership journey and what it took (and still takes) to find and maintain True North for an organization the size of YouTube that is constantly scaling rapidly.
Watch This: How to Ikigai - a TEDx Talk by Tim Tamashiro
Ikigai  is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”, and it’s a concept that many people use to find their purpose in life. Finding purpose is instrumental in establishing what your North Star is.
In this TEDx talk, Tim Tamashiro delights us with a journey into the discovery of Ikigai, a treasure map for finding one’s own happiness. Ikigai originates from Okinawa, the birthplace of Karate and home to one of the highest percentages of centurions in the world.
How to Ikigai | Tim Tamashiro | TEDxYYC
Connect and Share with us!
We are building a community of African entrepreneurs and business professionals, and we leverage social media heavily, so please take a minute to connect with us and follow us on the following platforms: Twitter - Facebook - Instagram - YouTube - LinkedIn and Telegram.
And lastly, communities are not built in isolation. If you believe there’s someone who could greatly benefit from this, invite them to join the Red Notebook!
Thank you, and see you next week!
Solomon King Benge
Founder - Fundi Bots and Curator - The Red Notebook.
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