The North Star and The Southern Cross

 

I’ve been back from my adventures down under for a little over a month. Now that I’m fully unpacked, caught up at work, and current with friends and family, I’m starting to think back and reflect on my experiences. One of the things I value most about traveling is the shift in perspective it provides. I love going to another country, another culture, another continent, and seeing what I see, hearing what I hear, and trying to do so without judgement or comparison.

One of the things that kept coming up on my trip was the Southern Cross and how it’s used for navigation below the equator. Why the Southern Cross? Because the North Star isn’t visible! The Southern Cross is such a big deal that it’s on the Australian and New Zealand flags! It’s part of how this land defines itself. The Southern Cross is also found on the flags of Brazil, Samoa, and Papua New Guinea.

I started thinking about how often the reference to “true north” and “north star” come in up in my everyday speak in North America and I can find examples in yoga, in goal setting, in leadership, in corporate transformation… the examples are nearly endless. It’s a part of our lexicon, how we speak and how we think… if you can find the North Star, you’ll know where you are and where to go…

And what if you can’t see the North Star? You need another anchor to guide you from this perspective. In the southern hemisphere, there is no single star to guide one “due south”. To navigate by the southern cross, you derive where south is and then north would be in the opposite direction. Learn more about that here.

This blog isn’t a lesson on celestial navigation, but it does have me thinking about how my perspective can get fixed by my environment and how my ability to navigate is impacted by my perspective. When I find myself in new territory – at home, at work, with friends… what are my navigation tools? Am I holding fast to beliefs and ways of being that are outdated? Am I trying to force a sense of direction in a place where it just doesn’t fit?

Our world is changing rapidly and a willingness to create new perspectives and develop new tools are necessary to navigate successfully – for individuals and for leaders. I don’t want to be looking for for a north star in a southern world. Do you?

 

 

 

 

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