I was watching Meet the Press this morning. They were discussing President Ford. Tim Russert asked either Tom Brokaw or Bob Woodward "What was President Ford's North Star?" The answer was "patriotism". I thought the question was far more interesting than the answer. I started considering what my North Star could be. What is the guiding element in my life? What is the one thing that ties everything I do together?
I am never happier and more excited then when I am creating something (or someone for that matter). When I look back at my life, the parts that I am most proud of are things I have created:
My kids (I had a lot of help with this one):
Survivor (the epic poem I wrote over a decade ago)
Intellectual Orgasms (a play I wrote a little less than a decade ago)
And as I look back at the various jobs I've had, I have always moved on when the creation phase was over or was stymied. When I was working at Iowa Book and Supply, I was in charge of the writing instruments department. Once I had it organized and everything was working well, I grew bored with the job. I moved on to Hands Jewelers. There the only good opportunities I had were creating the jewelry displays. I enjoyed that, but it certainly wasn't enough to hold my interest. (There were many other problems with that job, but I'm not getting into all of that now.) Then I got my job at NCS (now Pearson). In that job, there was a definite process to follow in answering the letters people sent to the Department of Education. There was very little room for creativity. I did have ideas about how to make the process go more smoothly, but my suggestions were never welcomed by the person in charge. I was planning to leave that job and become a stay-at-home dad when my position was eliminated. (Sometimes things just work out how they're supposed to.) One of things that's most appealing to me in my new position as financial aid advisor is that I have been encouraged to create new processes which will help move things along more efficiently. And what will sustain me in the job after I have finished creating* is that the job is helping people pay for college. I make a difference in people's lives. What job is better than that?
So yeah, my North Star is creating. And now I challenge you, readers of this blog: Dieter, Rachel, Sharon, Matt, Kate, James, Jessica, David, Mateo, Ali, Robyn, Jo, Jane, Homercles, Kris, Mathman, Chris and all the others. Write about your North Star in the comments or in your own blog. What gets you moving? What ties all of you together? What guides you in your life?
*Although do we ever finish creating? Things can always get better if we don't get stuck in a rut.