The North Star analogy, to me, has two components.
The first component – an unattainable target. One that, at least, has you walking in the right direction.
The second component – looking at your immediate environment to see how you can best walk in that direction.
Often, when I hear people talk of “Following their North Star,” I get an image of someone marching through a desert.
There are not many obstacles. It’s pretty clear sailing. They can keep looking up at their star without the fear of walking into a wall or tripping on a curb.
The reality, in my experience, is more like navigating through varied terrain.
Yes, there are clear spots where you can keep looking up and not worry so much about falling or crashing into things.
But there are also areas where you need to bushwhack.
Or go east to find a clearer path. Or move west to find a better place to cross the raging river.
Navigating by using a North Star is an exercise in finding the star, looking at what is in front of you, maneuvering the next right step, finding the star again, looking at what is in front of you, maneuvering the next right step, rinse, repeat.
It winds up being more of a zig-zag path filled with backtracks and detours vs. a nice, linear multi-lane superhighway.
The journey demands a clear focus on the north star AND the agility to maneuver the terrain in front of us.
Focusing back and forth between near and far-sighted.
Stopping to evaluate and check our navigation occasionally.