Sometimes the best thing you can do before taking the next courageous step is to read the advice of others. When you’re facing a crossroads, feeling a little lost, or simply need new motivation, I hope you’ll take some time to read one or more of the books on this list and consider what these amazing people have to say about how to find your purpose and passion in life.
Books to Help You Clarify Your Purpose and Passions
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl, William J. Winslade, Harold S. Kushner
The human being is a pleasure-seeking creature. But you’ll never find your true passions and purpose by letting pleasure dictate the course of your life, according to bestseller author Viktor E. Frankl. In his classic work, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” he argues that we are driven by our desire to connect with others meaningfully. And while it might seem like there are plenty of ways to do that, Frankl says that most people end up living lives that don’t fulfill them. He suggests that we look beyond the pursuit of happiness and seek out meaningful connections—and even death—in order to discover what truly makes us happy.
The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow
Randy Pausch had a disease called ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He knew he had it since his sophomore year in college. But he didn’t tell anyone about it until he gave a lecture at Carnegie Mellon University. His talk, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” went viral and became one of the most viewed lectures ever online. People loved him. They laughed with him, cried with him, learned from him. And he inspired thousands to live each day like it was their last. In September 2008, Randy died. His family set up a foundation to help others facing similar challenges. We’re proud to support the work of the Pause For ALS Foundation.
Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World – Bob Goff
- We all think we know what love is. But do we really?
- What does love mean to you?
- Is there one person you love above all else?
- Do you love yourself?
- Do you love your family?
- Do you love your friends?
- How much do you really understand about love?
As we grow older, our definition of love changes. In the beginning, we fall head over heels in love with someone because he or she looks good, smells nice, acts nicely, talks well, etc. Then, as we mature, we realize that love isn’t just based on physical appearance.
However, as we age, we often forget that love isn’t just about what we see on the surface. There is something deeper within us that makes us connect with another human being. Something that allows us to care for, protect, nurture, and support another person. This “something” is called love.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are – Brené Brown
The gifts of imperfection include vulnerability, courage, curiosity, and connection. We often think we must be perfect to deserve love, success, happiness, and peace. In fact, the opposite is true. Perfect people don’t receive special treatment. They just end up alone.
In her TED Talk, Dr. Brown explains that our culture tells us we need to be perfect to be worthy of love, belonging, and acceptance. She says that the only way to truly connect with another person is to let go of trying to control others and ourselves. Instead, we must learn to embrace our flaws and accept that everyone else does, too.
Dr. Brown shares four ways to practice embracing imperfections:
1. Practice Vulnerability – Ask questions like “How do I show up today?” and “What am I afraid might happen?”
2. Find Your Own Kindness – Notice acts of kindness around you and give thanks for the small things.
3. Cultivate Courage – Learn to take action despite fear.
4. Discover Curiosity – Open yourself to learning something new.
The Journey Toward Wholeness: Enneagram Wisdom for Stress, Balance, and Transformation- Suzanne Stabile
This is a more advanced Enneagram book that focuses on areas not covered in introduction books. If you haven’t read a book on this subject before, you may want to start with The Path Between Us.
In everything from health care and politics to technology and economics, we are experiencing feelings of loss, anger, and anxiety. In the Enneagram’s wisdom, our number determines how we respond. We automatically move to another number when we’re feeling stress and to yet another when we’re feeling secure. Such moves may help us feel better temporarily but don’t last.
In the Journey Toward Wholeness, Suzanne Stabile opens the concept of three centers of intelligence: thinking, feeling, and doing. When we learn to manage these centers, each for its intended purpose, we open a path to reducing fear, improving relationships, and finding wholeness. Using the dynamic stability of the Enneagram, she explains each number’s preferred and repressed center of intelligence and its role in helping us find internal balance. Using brief, focused chapters, this book provides what we need to deal with the constant change and complexity of our world to achieve lasting transformation in our lives.
Hinds’ Feet on High Places- Hannah Hurnard
In this moving tale, follow Much-Afraid on her spiritual journey as she overcomes many dangers and mounts at last to the High Places. There she gains a new name and is transformed by her union with the loving Shepherd. This is a timeless allegory dramatizing the yearning of God’s children to be led to new heights of love, joy, and victory.
The Dream of You: Let Go of Broken Identities and Live the Life You Were Made For – Jo Saxton
Jo examines Biblical figures and shares her personal story as she invites you to turn to the One who knows you intimately and loves you deeply. He sees all you’ve struggled to hide. He hears the voice inside you that others have silenced. He knows the potential and purpose that no one valued. He longs to redeem the story of your life and set you on the path to reclaim The Dream of You. Are you ready?
Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not About You – Sharon Hodde Miller
We live in a culture that’s all about self, becoming the best “me” I can be instead of becoming like Jesus. This me-centered message affects every area of our lives–our friendships, our marriages, even our faith–and it breaks each one in different ways. The self-focused life robs our joy, shrinks our souls, and is the reason we never quite break free of insecurity.
In this book, Sharon Hodde Miller invites us into a bigger, Jesus-centered vision–one that restores our freedom and inspires us to live for more. She helps readers
– identify the secret source of insecurity
– understand how self-focus sabotages seven areas of our lives
– learn four practical steps for focusing on God and others
– experience freedom from the burden of self-focus
Anyone yearning for a purpose bigger than “project me” will cherish this paradigm-shifting message of true fulfillment.
Looking to Clarify Your Calling?
Whether you’re a coach’s wife, the wife of a professional athlete, a pastor’s wife, the wife of a CEO, a military wife, or a college administrator’s wife, you have unique challenges to navigate that differ from the struggles of other women.
Lessons from the Sidelines will help you:
- Engage 7 steps to clarify your calling, identify your sweet spot, and implement strategies that will enable you to live on mission.
- Identify how the 5 Stages of Burnout can impact your marriage and your ability to fully embrace your calling.
- Tackle the unique hurdles of parenting in the public eye.
- Learn practical tips for getting through the harder parts of the calendar year.