Using a Personal Compass for Guidance

In the fall of 2016, I left my flexible, full-time virtual job at a language learning startup. Not for another job, but to take a personal sabbatical of sorts. [Gratitude for and recognition of being born into a skin, place, time, family, privilege which made this possible.]

Facing the fact that I’d have total control over how I’d spend my time each day, I wanted some structure to measure my progress.

How does one measure personal growth? I’d been moving closer and closer to living a life based on my values, so I created a personal compass to guide this next chapter of my life. It has developed and changed in the years since, as I’ve grown and changed too.

Personal Compass Directions (2016)

Here are the directions I chose to head towards at that time, per the inequalities below:

act > think
create > consume
curiosity > fear
done > perfect
experiences > things
growth > comfort

How to Make Your Own Personal Compass

If you’re interested in making one too, go ahead and create! There’s no right or wrong way.

If you could use a little structure to get started, here’s a free printable zine (PDF) I made, which you can fold into a fun mini-book.

Here’s how to assemble (fold and a single cut) the booklet. Enjoy!

Compass-Directed Moments

After using my compass for over a year, I wrote the ebook “Compass-Directed Moments.” In it, I share a collection of stories—each of a moment in which my compass either helped me to stretch the edge of my comfort zone a centimeter further, or illuminated an area where I had room for growth.

The moments took place all over—from a zero-waste household in Minnesota to a small farm in Italy—but were instances you’d find in any given day: waiting outside of a gas station, talking to a taxi driver, dealing with personal conflicts at work, etc.

You’ll notice that link goes to the PDF directly, so that it may more easily reach anyone who is curious about this journey. In exchange for this creation, you can pay what feels right once you’ve read it. (There’s a link on page 50.)


Have you made a personal compass?

What are the directions you’re currently navigating towards?

I warmly welcome any thoughts this may have sparked, or what brought you here.