Finding your Bearing(s)

In short . . . Your “Bearing” is where you are relative to a known point, circumstance, condition, disposition . . . and so on. My first exposure to this homonym (Word with multiple meanings) was relative to “Military Bearing” (see below article from the US Army). Even as Boot Camp Cadets (1981 for me at Fort Riley, Kansas), were we required to “maintain our Military Bearing” always and everywhere. Once a soldier, ALWAYS a Soldier, and this expectation rings true until death.

The difficulty with this “lifelong charge” is something I (And likely many other soldiers) is the multifaceted meanings of this word “Bearing”. To some degree, my 38 year “relationship” with this word has been formative with respect to character, integrity, personal responsibility, and leadership. The enigma is that this is not a word that can be defined easily because it’s more of a life pursuit than a clearly defined way.

One component of my training as a Combat Engineer Our was extensive “Orienteering” (Finding our way to various checkpoints across rough country with the aid of a map and compass) . . . Sometimes with a buddy or group and sometimes solo. Here’s the thing. Success relied 100% upon knowing the point of origin. Each “leg” of the course relied on beginning point being precisely defined. One leg could be 800 yards through rough terrain (Thick vegetation, hilly, with creeks, rivers, swamps . . . ) which is very disorienting. Occasionally, we would veer off course. The minute we realized that we had wandered astray, our ONLY viable way to regain the course would be to return to a known point.

How might this be useful for all of us as we navigate this thing we call life?

Do you know where you are now?

Spiritually – Mentally – Socially – Emotionally – Physically

Is your moral compass helping you find your way?

Where is your “Safe Place” – That “known point of origin” that you can always find?

We’re all a “work in progress”, aren’t we?

What’s YOUR “Bearing”?

Just for fun, I’ve included Merriam-Webster’s definition of “Bearing” followed by the US Army article.

Definition of bearing


1: the manner in which one behaves or comports oneself the manner in which one bears (see BEAR entry 2 sense 2f) oneself a man of dignified bearing… a confident and cheerful bearing.—

2a: the act, power, or time of bringing forth offspring or fruit a woman past bearingb: a product of bearing CROPthree bearings in a year

3a: an object, surface, or point that supportsb: a machine part in which another part (such as a journal or pin) turns or slides

4heraldry a figure borne on a heraldic field (see FIELD entry 1 sense 3c)The lion is a common bearing.


6a: the situation or horizontal direction of one point with respect to another or to the compasson a northerly bearing b: a determination of positiontake a bearing c. bearings pluralcomprehension of one’s position, environment, or situation. The ship lost its bearings in the fog. helping new employees get their bearings d: RELATIONCONNECTION —often used with on facts that have a direct bearing on the question. They assured us that their personal feelings had no bearing on their decision. alsoPURPORT the bearing of that remark

7: the part of a structural member that rests on its supports a beam with 4 inches of bearing upon the wall

Military bearing is conducting oneself in a professional manner to bring credit upon oneself and the Army at all times. It is the ability to project a commanding presence and confidence, uphold standards, and doing the hard right over the easy wrong in both good and bad situations both on and off duty. Simply acting the way Soldiers and leaders are expected to act, presenting a professional persona. Military bearing comes from pride in oneself, pride of being a Soldier, a leader and in service to the nation. The way a leader carries them self with the knowledge and understanding that military bearing is continuous and that his or her actions and military bearing will lead to criticism, both positive and negative. Understanding that their military bearing will define the way in which other leaders, Soldiers and the world views them. Accepting that military bearing does not end at the end of the duty day when the uniform is removed. Often the only contact the civilian population has with a Soldier is during off duty hours. This is when they will make their judgments and opinions about Soldiers and the Army in general.  . . . Please click this link for the full article

Published by Barry Owen

Strategist-CEO of Pareto Realty Real estate sales Professional Inviter-Facilitator-Practicer of Open Space Technology Opening safe space for people & organizations to self-organize around issues & opportunities BarryOwen.US Invite-Listen-Love

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