Finding Your True North

Some days I love public transportation. Other days, it feels like I will jump out of my skin. But always, there are stories unfolding. I love a good story and so did the young man I met today.


Peter was a six year old boy from Peru. He boarded the bus with his confidence and scooter in tow. His front teeth were broken and capped with silver. I have to believe that had something to do with that scooter…and his confidence. Unlike many shy six-year-olds, Peter easily struck up a conversation. I told him I was headed to San Francisco to work and he reached into his backpack, pulled out a pencil and a pad of paper and began drawing something.  As he moved his tongue from side to side, locked in on his image and in “the flow”, he finally spoke. “I really like science. My Dad shows me stuff every night before I go to bed and he showed me this.  It is a compass.”  photo(12)







The bus jerked along but Peter kept drawing.  I asked him why he liked science. “My dad does science at the University and I like it because he shows me new stuff every night. I want to be a scientist too when I grow up.”

It was passion, certainty, adventure, curiosity in part. Mostly, it was the time and attention,  and maybe the bond that he felt with his dad that explained Peter’s excitement as he raced to get the compass completed before he had to get off the bus.  I found myself hoping that he would always find that excitement in the work that he would one day choose. Imagine wonder and joy being a normal part of a work day? I can, because when we are doing the work we love, in the flow, tongues moving from side to side with focus and curiosity, we forget everything and feel the exuberance of purpose and meaning that work is meant to give us.

If it hadn’t been for Peter’s mother, he might still be adding flourish to that compass. When it was time to go, she nudged him. He quickly tore his drawing from the pad, handed it to me and said, “You keep it. You might need it in the city if you get lost.”

 Are you lost and searching for a sense of purpose and meaning in your life? A compass like Peter’s might help, but ultimately, simply taking the time to remember where you have been, what you love about life and how you can do work that truly reflects who you are will get you back on track to finding just the right work.


  1. Leslie on October 16, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Cool, Donna. Love the story. Love what you are doing. Leslie

  2. Brenda on December 8, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Great story!!!!!

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