True North: The Key To Success and Fulfillment

True NorthIt’s that time again when good intentions in the form of resolutions, often give way to subversive vices; not because we are weak, but because we, as spiritual beings engaged in this human experience, are most likely out of alignment with our ‘true north’.

I first became aware of ‘true north’ from a golf book of all things. After reading Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons And Teachings From A Lifetime In Golf; I came upon Michael Murphy’s, Golf in the Kingdom, which provided metaphors to use in business performance lectures on how this challenging game mimics life – on and off the course.

Like a compass needle is drawn by a magnetic field, our internal compass pulls us towards our authentic self, seeking alignment between what we say and what we do. William James, one of the most influential philosophers the United States has ever produced, wrote, “I have often thought that the best way to define a man’s character is to seek out the particular mental or moral attitude in which . . . he felt himself most deeply and intensively active and alive. At such moments, there is a voice inside which speaks and says, ‘This is the real me.’” This is ‘true north’ and in Naples we can find every day examples of individuals and organizations who have found their bearing leading them to success and fulfillment. Alvin Lederer is one of those individuals.

You won’t find his name in any glossy magazine or a topic of conversation at social events; but you will find his name among the heritage heroes who works tirelessly to promote pioneering families and their stories all the while freely sharing historical photographs on Facebook and providing context, when needed, for researchers and lovers of local history. His stellar reputation has earned him the distinction of being the spokesperson and guardian of many pioneering family archives including Edgar J. Watson. In the world of local lore, it ‘don’t get no better that this’. (See Peter Matthiessen’s Killing Mr. Watson.)

To enjoy photos of local history visit Facebook’s Heritage Trail Museum, curated by Alvin Lederer, but don’t expect to be ‘Friended’ until properly vetted. Getting a group of people to align towards a collective ‘true north’ offers special challenges, yet First Book-Collier County (FBCC), with its all-volunteer Board of Directors, has bested its challenges in eight short years to become the leading chapter of First Book nationwide, distributing more than 400,000 new books to children in pre-K through second grade who live in poverty in Collier County.

Their vision is clear: address one of the most important factors affecting literacy — access to books. Authentic leadership permeates each director from their leader, Joanne Wyss, to the linchpin alchemists, Debby Shaver, M.Ed. and Mary Polizzotto, Ph.D., who take advantage of First Book National’s tremendous buying power to amass high quality yet deeply discounted books. Add to this magical amalgamation the development team of Norma Kolmer and Donna Eskra and the diverse capabilities of Jinny Johnson, Sallie Williams, Jen Walker, Peggy Lavigne, Sandy Parker, and Lois Bolin, Ph.D., all of whom stand ready to do whatever needs to be done to get wonderful new books into the hands of needy children. While resolutions come in one year and out the other, those aligned to their ‘true north’ make life better simply by doing what they do best – being true to who they are On March 2, 2014, in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, FBCC will once again host its ‘non gala’ event, Stay at Home and Read. Visit to connect to ‘true north’ in action.

May your best days in 2013 be your worst days in 2014.

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