Our genius is to understand, and stand beneath the set of stars present at our birth, and from that place to seek the hidden, single star, over the night horizon, we did not know we were following.

David Whyte
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The day I spontaneously committed to being true to myself started off not unlike any other day. It was a warm Saturday morning. The smell of jasmine was in the air and I was in my standard weekend active wear. It had been a particularly challenging week at work. The environment I was working in was heavy with fear and greed-fuelled politics and I could feel myself drifting out of alignment with my values and aspirations.

I was walking to my car from the supermarket, arms laden with groceries, when I saw it – a small ornate sign on the footpath that said in curly red letters – Tattoo Parlour, Walk-Ins Welcome.

Suddenly, something crystallised inside me.

Within seconds I was standing inside a portal to another world. A humming, buzzing  world  filled  with  dark,  beautiful  things.  A world inhabited by people who make big, lasting commitments. People who boldly embody the messages: This is who I am. This is what is important to me.

‘Um, hello…how much does a tattoo cost…and how long does it take?’ The rapid-fire answer was ‘$120. We’ll have you out of here in 40 minutes.’ Clearly, I was not the first slightly desperate-looking middle-aged mum to be pulled through their doors like a moth to  a flame.

‘Okay! Just give me a minute.’

I stepped back outside into the bright sunlight and dug up my phone from the bottom of my bag. The telephone conversation with my husband went something like this:

Me: Hi honey, I’m going to be a bit late getting home with the groceries.

Him: Okay, everything all right?

Me: Yeah, um…I am just going to get a tattoo.


Him: What?

Me: Don’t worry, it’s just a small one, a little star on my wrist.

Him: Ah, okay…

Me: I just need a reminder, something visible, so I don’t keep forgetting to follow my North Star, I really think it will help me.

Him: Okay then, if you are really sure… But you are going to have to deal with the kids when they tell us that they want a tattoo.

Honestly, I was not really sure if I was doing the right thing – even though I would never have admitted that to my husband at the time. Despite the distinct possibility that I had finally lost my marbles,     I decided to have faith in my own knowing. I decided that getting a symbol of a star permanently etched into my left wrist was somehow my next best step.

And I am so glad I did.

I love my little North Star tattoo and the commitment, non-conformity and spontaneous activism it symbolises. I have since learnt that the Latin root of the word desire is de sidere, meaning of the stars. My tattoo is a permanent reminder to stay true to my highest desires and aspirations for my one precious, short (working) life.

My kids are still young enough to think that my tattoo is cool, and so far, they have not asked when they can get one. My hope is that they will never need one. My hope is that they grow up with  an unbroken line of sight to their aspirations, their worthiness and their right to do good work with good people. That they have an unwavering awareness of their brilliance and their vast potential.

If this were to happen, perhaps they might be part of a liberated generation that renders the mid-life crisis redundant. Perhaps, they might even be part of the generation that saves our world.

Now, that would be really cool.

Self-fidelity Practice To Play With This Week

The most common regret of the dying is not having lived a life that was true to themselves. Our aspirations guide us towards the creation of a life that is aligned with our highest values and deepest longings. In times of struggle and disorientation, our aspirations serve as our north star. The self-fidelity practice I invite you to play this week is to reflect on the following burning questions:

  • What are the highest aspirations I hold for my own (working) life?
  • What might be possible if, starting today, I became more attuned to these aspirations?
  • If I am way off course, what is my next best step to begin to gently course-correct?

Learn more about the practice of self-fidelity at www.self-fidelity.com


  • Cassandra Goodman

    Coach, Facilitator, Activator, Author

    Thrive Global

    I inspire and enable leaders to activate more of their own potential, giving others permission to do the same. Leaders who are committed to activating human potential at work uplift psychological safety, trust, creativity, engagement, inclusion, well-being & performance. Those who work with me can expect to transform their relationship with themselves and with those they lead by reconnecting to the truth of why they are to cultivate trust from the inside out. MY EXPERIENCE... I have enjoyed a long and successful leadership career having spent over two decades leading teams both in Australia and overseas in large multi-national organisations, including GE, Origin Energy and Bupa. At Bupa, I held the role of Global Director of Employee Experience & Wellbeing and was responsible for the activation of Bupa’s purpose “Longer, Healthier, Happier Lives” for their 86,000 employees around the globe. Over the last few years I have worked with a range of organisations including; Holden, Mirvac, NSW Department of Transport, Only About Children, Goodstart Early Learning, SAP, RMIT, Procter & Gamble, AIG and Westfund as a coach, co-creator, facilitator, speaker and strategic advisor. In addition to running my own business, I am also a Thrive Global Executive Coach and Facilitator. HOW I SERVE & CREATE VALUE... THRIVING ORGANISATION CO-CREATION I co-create thriving organisations that activate human potential by; supporting leaders to reconnect to their essence, illuminating cultural norms, operationalising values, embedding well-being and building the capability to listen, learn and respond to feedback from employees and customers at scale. GAME-CHANGING LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS I co-create and deliver extraordinary leadership programs that empower leaders to reconnect to the truth of who they are and reconnect to those they serve. TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP COACHING I support leaders to restore trust in themselves to create sustainable high performance by stepping into their full potential and inspiring others to do the same. EMPLOYEE/CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE TRANSFORMATION I show organisations how to deliver great customer and commercial outcomes by underpinning them with great employee experiences - to create sustainable high performance. Learn more about my work and my book 'Self-Fidelity : How Being True to Yourself Uplifts Your Working Life' at www.self-fidelity.com