How Your Inner Compass Guides You to a Life of Strength, Meaning & Harmony
“On the ocean of life let your mind be the ship and your heart be the compass.” ~ James David Manning
Janine bit her lip and agreed to the project. As soon as she did, her whole body felt like it was caving in on her. Her heart felt heavy and the burden was overwhelming. What had she done? Her inner compass was telling her something, but she wasn’t listening.
Have you ever felt like Janine? Sometimes we make a decision and we feel so light; we’re walking on air. Other times, we feel so heavy and burdened. If only there was a way to guarantee that more of your decisions make you happy…
Please reflect on this: a ship’s captain relies on various systems and tools to make the journey successful and enjoyable. One of the most important tools is her compass. During dark nights or stormy seas, that’s the only thing keeping her on course. Likewise, haven’t we had our share of darkness and storms lately! To navigate life’s challenges, your inner compass needs to be in good working order.
Would you like to become so tuned into your inner compass that you can trust your feelings, before you make a decision you regret? You can!
What is your inner compass?
Idowu Koyenikan defines the inner compass this way: “A highly developed values system is like a compass. It serves as a guide to point you in the right direction when you are lost.” Some call it their inner voice, intuition or conscience. Whatever you call it, it’s formed by our culture, environment, upbringing, society, learned experiences, genetic predispositions, personal values and preferences. More than that, it’s how you see yourself connecting with the bigger picture of humanity and the Universe.
I like to think of the inner compass as a system of how you experience a situation in your body, process it emotionally and mentally by comparing it to past experiences, and running it through your values filter of what’s right or wrong for YOU. Yes! It’s a complex ever-evolving system that takes mindful attention to develop and maintain in its highest functioning form.
What if you have trouble hearing what your inner compass is saying?
Some of us live such busy lives that we haven’t taken the time to look inwardly to find or define our inner compass. We accept without question what others say is “true” or “right”. But, even as you do, you’re probably registering disharmony in your body…biting your lip, your nails, clenched muscles, reaching for that cigarette or sugary treat to soothe your angst.
Don’t jump to conclusions and quickly dismiss an opportunity because you feel discomfort, thinking that it’s disharmony. Dig deeper, because the discomfort could be either —
- the opportunity really is a bad fit and needs to be rejected (Disharmony) OR
- self-limiting, negative talk is getting in the way of taking a step outside your comfort zone, which means you need to become courageous and Step Forward. (Discomfort)
I encourage you to mindfully exercise your inner compass every day. Commit to looking for its wisdom by asking yourself, “What are my body/mind/emotions trying to tell me?”
- Pay close attention to how you feel throughout the day.
- What feels good and light?
- What feels heavy and oppressive?
- Notice when you’re thinking more about what other people may think or feel.
- Acknowledge it, then immediately return your focus to how you truly feel.
- Take a deep breath and pause, as you dig deeper into why you feel as you do.
Closely connected to listening to your inner compass is honoring your dreams and desires. An actual compass is useless to a sailor, if it’s near a magnetic field. The world offers a ton of distractions that are pulling you away from your true North. Guard your dreams and desires, for they block out that magnetic pull, keeping you on track, yet giving you the flexibility to stop at different ports along your way, to sample new experiences. Your destination is sure, but how you get there isn’t written in stone.
It’s so important to follow, not chase, your dreams. Forcing yourself into a predetermined timeline with a very detailed outcome can cause you to miss the way your inner compass is guiding you to your highest purpose. You may dismiss wonderful opportunities because they’re “not on your agenda.” Sometimes, it may feel like you’re not getting what you want, but if you trust the journey, you’ll see how each experience enriches your life and gets you to where you need to be.
I started paying attention to the processes and systems that create a full, rich life. Some are seemingly insignificant; some are major, like learning to listen to your inner compass. Regardless, altogether they form a road map for Stepping Forward into the life you know you’re meant to live. You can now download an Introduction to my soon-to-be-released Stepping Forward Program. It’s worked for me. I know it will work for you!
Thank you for the use of your photo Alice Etelea on Unsplash