By Elaine Cercado
“What is my purpose in life?” This is a question that’s on top of our minds all the time and yet is left unanswered most of the time, as it is not an easy one. Discovering our purpose is an enriching journey to experience and reflect on.
In a previous article, I reflected: “I have always advocated discovering one’s purpose by defining passion, mission and vision in life. Once purpose is clear, priorities become clear. Decisions and actions start to align with one’s purpose. In most cases though, the discovery is not an overnight activity but a long process. Some take half their lifetime to figure out their purpose. Some never get to discover their life purpose. Some confuse their purpose with something else like job position or to do list. It is important to have a clearly defined mission and vision in life as this steadily anchors one’s life to what matters most.”
There are three books that have inspired me in my journey. These books have influenced me in discovering my purpose and living my life with passion, courage and conviction.
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
“It’s not about you. The purpose of life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions.” These were the first few lines of the first chapter of this book, and it captivated me right away. This book inspired me to look at a purpose bigger than myself. It inspired me to look at what I’ve done and can do with the gifts, talents, opportunities, energy, relationships and resources bestowed on me. The book ended with 5 powerful questions to consider: What will be the center of my life? What will be the character of my life? What will be the contribution of my life? What will be the communication of my life? What will be the community of my life?
The Path by Laurie Beth Jones
If Rick Warren concretized the bigger meaning and purpose of life, Laurie Beth Jones gave a tangible process to define our purpose through a life mission and vision statement. Laurie suggested thought-provoking exercises and easy-to-follow steps that were key to shaping and defining my personal mission and vision statement. My own family used the process to define our mission statement. I’ve applied the same process for my mentees. The steps were so simple to follow, yet profound as evident in the life-changing impacts.
A good portion of the book was spent on understanding our selves. To find our mission, it was important to know our selves first. To know our selves, there were exercises that evoked a multitude of powerful and positive images to communicate to our selves. One of the book’s premises was that: What you think about yourself is clearly reflected in everything you say or do – at work, at home, in the community.Hence, it is very important to take the time to get a clear picture of who you really think you are.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Armed with a bigger purpose and a life mission and vision statement, the next step in the journey is making it a reality, which could be very challenging and frustrating. Paulo Coelho, one of my all-time favorite authors, has inspired me in The Alchemist to keep going and fighting for my dreams. “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it… Don’t give in to your fear. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart… When our heart wins the battle against our fears, wonders lie ahead.” Such words have emboldened me. Indeed, the magical story of Santiago was so fascinating as it was full of metaphors and meaning. I’ve read this book at least three times, and it has impacted me differently every time. Paulo has also inspired me to remain focused on what matters most. “Wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure… Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.”
Have you gone through a journey of discovering your passion, mission, vision, dreams and purpose? Which books or other inspirations have influenced your journey?
Note: This article was also published in LinkedIn.