No doubt you've heard the phrase "your life is a journey" before. If you're like most people, you are quite easily willing to accept the statement as true. However, if you're like most people, you also haven't really considered the degree to which it's not only true, but to which it means you really need to actively start navigating your life to get the most out of it. And for that, you require a compass.

Steve Donahue is a best selling author and speaker who teaches life success principles using the metaphor of crossing the Sahara Desert. I was had the opportunity to see him speak recently and his simple metaphor around the inherent need we all have to follow our compass was very powerful and really struck a chord.

According to Steve, your life is like a journey across the Sahara Desert. It is a constantly shifting terrain with no visible horizon changes to provide a sense of direction or tell you where you are relative to the rest of the desert. In the desert, a map is useless to you. The terrain is uncharted and so you must navigate by following your compass. You don't know how long your journey will take; you only know that by following your compass you are heading in the correct general direction.

The analogy is the same in life. For example, if you are a parent, when does that job end? What map do you use to guide you? The reality is that you don't -- instead you rely on your intuition and your experience. In short you follow you internal compass.

Your challenge in life is to keep moving in the "right" direction while the conditions around you are constantly changing and in an environment where there is ever increasing uncertaintly. Steve believes that you need to learn to let go of all of the external maps you've been conditioned to follow in terms of how to live your life and learn to follow your compass instead.

When you learn how to listen to and follow your compass, you begin fulfilling your destiny. By following your compass without worrying about a specific goal, you allow your compass to shape your goals. When you do, your sense of self fulfillment and happiness will improve.

"The feast is found not by the fire, but away from it."

So how do you find your own internal compass? Well firstly, you have always had one. It's that internal voice that pops up in your head from time to time to guide you. Most of us have simply been conditioned to tune that voice out.

Take on the exercise of writing out your internal compass. Set aside 20 minutes in a quiet place. Begin to write down thoughts about what your real compass is. Think about what makes you happy and what you really value. Don't censor yourself and just allow the words to flow. After doing this for a few minutes, review what you've written and tune into what feels in alignment for you.

By going through this exercise, you will likely be able to get a pretty good read on what your compass is likely to be. Don't be afraid to tinker with it until it feels right. And recognize that it can change over time. Make a point of revisiting your compass statement once a month.

As a clue to help you to tune into your own internal compass, Steve says it is almost always simple. For example, he shared that his compass is simply "be different".

A good internal compass statement will have the following characteristics:

  • Your compass is typically only 2 or 3 words
  • There should be no implied destination or result
  • It should convey an attitude or a style
  • Your compass serves to direct or inspire you
  • Your compass is natural to you and has always been there

Some examples of internal compass statements: "Be different"; "Have fun first"; "Keep it real"; "Follow my heart"; "Be present".

Finally Steve talks about 6 rules of the desert that are vital to your survival and which you can apply to your life. The one that stood out the most for me was "stop at every Oasis".

In the desert, the more you stop the further you go. It's at the oasis that you get to find others on the same journey as you -- so you can learn from them. It's also a place where you get to rejuvenate yourself, refuel, re-energize and reconnect.

It is important to have oases in your life and it is important to build walls around them (just as they do in the desert). That way they are protected and remain comforting and refueling.

Steve points out that when you are stressed, it is very difficult to tune into your compass and you are more prone to revert to one of your preconditioned maps. Of course, all that will do is keep you lost in uncharted terrain. So at times of stress, it is very important to find sanctuary in the nearest oasis.

To learn more about Steve Donahue, visit his website:

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Warren Wojnowski is an avid student of personal growth and self improvement who has operated his own successful home business since 2005. A respected writer, teacher and Intrinsic Coach®, he happily shares what he's leaning, what's working, and what isn't. Warren says "If you have an aspect of your life in which you feel stuck, I can help you get back on track and start living the life you want." Check out Warren's Blog here: Life Success Tips