Finding True North


Book         Finding True North  Author       Michael HendersonPublisher   Harper Business, 2003

Rating       4-star

 The most important thing to know is what is the most important thing.

This book is a simple and practical guide to assist people to discover what is most important to them – their values, and then to live in alignment with those values.  When we know what is important to us we can then make choices and focus our energies and efforts on achieving what matters for us.

The word, values, comes from the Latin root work, valor, meaning strength.  “It is our values that give us meaning in life, and meaning gives us strength, motivation and willpower”.  When we focus on our most important values we can transcend immediate challenging situations and transform our emotional and mental states.  This shifts our perspective and thus provides choices in how we make decisions and respond to situations.


  • Provide us with a clearer and deeper sense of who we are;
  • Create meaning in our lives and form the basis for our motivation; we are motivated by what we value;
  • Are the mechanism through which we make evaluations and decisions, and when to say yes or no;
  • Focus our attention and direct our energy – physically, emotionally, financially and mentally;
  • Are the foundation for successful relationships – shared values build rapport and trust.

When we have a clear understanding of what our values are we can tailor our life choices to deliberately experience these things.  When we are incongruent with our values we demonstrate misaligned behaviours such as procrastination, anxiety, uncertainty, stress and poor decision making.

Our “true north” is when we have a specific and true sense of direction in our lives, knowing what is important to us and living our lives accordingly.  This differs from magnetic north which is a gravitational compass bearing slightly off from to true north.  When we are aligning to magnetic north we are not following our purpose, we are not achieving our goals and we don’t feel fulfilled.

True North is a journey rather than a destination.  The book takes the reader through a number of useful activities to define your values.  It then provides practical steps to explore and align your values and goals around lifestyle, finances, goal-setting, decision making, work, self-esteem and the values of other people.

It is a personal development book that helps clarify and prioritise the things that are the most important to you so that you can live a life aligned with your highest values, and therefore achieve your goals in flow and with ease.

Never let the things that matter most be

at the mercy of things that matter least.


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