Friday, September 20, 2013

Life Lessons—Finding True North

by Reba J Hoffman, Ph.D.

I recently spoke to hundreds of wordsmiths at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference (ACFW) in Indianapolis. It’s an exciting time for writers, and yet, it can throw you a little off kilter emotionally.

As an author—even those who haven’t yet published—your career is filled with ups and downs and all sorts of emotional spiraling. I’d tell you this is normal but you’d probably throw something at me.

It’s critical to your success as an author and to your mental health to find your own true north. That’s the place where you feel emotionally charged, peaceful, energized, needed, confident and accomplished.

And, it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with your writing. It shouldn’t involve being published because you have no control over whether or not a pub house picks up your masterpiece and distributes it to the masses.

No, your true north is who you really are, not what you do. It’s what you believe at the core of your being. Once you find it, you can then approach your writing career from that position. Trust me, it feels much better!

So how do you find your true north? Here are a few tips that will help you in that quest:

1) You can’t find it externally. Your true north comes from within your own soul. It’s what makes you feel like you belong. You’ll never find that in the world.

2) It’s who you are, not what you do. Writers are notorious for doing word counts, edits, galley edits, marketing and all those activities that contribute to their success. True north has nothing to do with what you do.

3) No one can find it for you. No, not even your closest friend, spouse, parent, teacher, pastor can determine what your true north is. They love you, but they aren’t you.

4) True north brings peace. Remember that peace that passes understanding God said we should allow to rule our hearts and decisions? That’s true north!

5) You’ll never be satisfied until you find it. And you’ll never be lost once you do. No matter what storms may come in life, you can navigate them from a position of true north. You’ll always find your way.

6) True north will guide every decision you make and will never steer you wrong. Trust me on this one.

God is in the center of my true north. Everything I face in life, career, and emotions is filtered through my God centered true north. I have peace, joy, happiness, wisdom, and a whole lot of other blessings.

As you move into autumn, find your true north. If you have found it, use it to guide you through your writing, your stories, your characters and plots, your career decisions and… well, everything.

When you meet a truly happy person, you know they have found their true north. Have you found yours?

What is your true north? Describe it here!

Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching ( She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at You can also follow her on Twitter at @MagellanCoach.


  1. Your point that we're not what we do, the fact that our identity is more than our
    accomplishments is right on, Reba.

    And I love the next point you made, that there are other people who love you but they aren't you, so you have to decide what your true north is. Thanks for the direction today, Reba.

  2. Ellen so glad you "got it"! It's so critical for us to find out true north. Once we do, we can use that to guide us through anything! Thanks so much for stopping by.

  3. This is so reassuring, Reba, to know that the time and effort spent in finding our wellness and peace is time well spent. Knowing peace in our true center guides our happiness and productivity, and when our "true north" is found, we can begin to follow our heart to achieve our deepest desires.

  4. Reba, I'm a serial people-pleaser, so your post today really spoke to my heart. God is the only one I have to please. He is my true north, too, and he'll never steer me in the wrong direction.

  5. What a blessing, Reba! Lately, God's led me out on the wire of obedience in a difficult time. He's teaching me to keep my eyes on Him rather look down at my feet. My feet are unsteady; He is my true north.

  6. I just found your article. Last year I was rushed to the emergency room with a possible stroke. It changed my life. I found my true north. I was baptized that day in the hospital. I accepted Jesus and sensed a new calling. In my heart I knew what I needed to do and where I needed to live to contribute the most and live an "authentic" life. I always knew but I denied it and in a way I have been denying Christ and the life I was meant to live. I will move south this year and continue my education in writing. Without a doubt this is my true north.