Recently, I started rereading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. On social media, I posted a picture of the book and numerous people mentioned how it’s one of their favorite books as well. It got me thinking about Santiago, the main character whose journey unfolds throughout the book, and his quest to find his Personal Legend, what he has always wanted to accomplish, his mission on earth.

How many of us read The Alchemist, thought about our Personal Legend, and then time went by, as it does, and we rarely gave it another thought? After reading The Alchemist, how many people actually set out to find and bring to reality their Personal Legend?

I consider myself extremely fortunate. I am living my Personal Legend, and then some, daily. The work I do is fulfilling. But it hasn’t always been that way. It took some trial and error to really figure out what my destiny was; how I wanted to spend my time in the singular pursuit of my dream.

Everyone can determine what their Personal Legend is and work towards living it every day. Below are some ways that you can discover your Personal Legend and make it a reality.

  1. Get clear about what excites you. If your Personal Legend is your destiny, you should love what you do! Make a list of the types of work that fuel you. This could be charity work, helping others overcome barriers, supporting entrepreneurs, and on and on.
  2. Get clear about what you don’t love to do. This can be even more important than finding what you do love. This list is for your eyes only, so be honest and don’t edit yourself.
  3. Discover your talents. Along the same lines as identifying what you love to do, what are you great at? What talents or skills can you tap into to help form your Personal Legend?
  4. Create a vision statement. What contribution do you want to make to the world? What legacy do you want to leave behind?
  5. Define Your WHY. Clear and concise, your WHY is ultimately what inspires you to take action. It’s your purpose. This statement is externally focused – “To…, so that…”
  6. Take a baby step. Once you have items 1-5 clearly defined, start taking baby steps to experience what you love and what you are passionate about. This could be taking a course on a subject you’re interested in or doing freelance work in an area you are passionate about. Take note of how you feel when you are experiencing these baby steps. What brings you joy?
  7. Choose a path. After gathering information and trying out various things, start to get clear about what excited you the most and where you felt like you were in flow – in alignment with your WHY. You don’t have to quit your job immediately to pursue this. But continue pursing baby steps in this narrowed and specific direction.
  8. Take risks. Living your Personal Legend is about doing whatever it takes. This doesn’t mean to act with reckless abandon. However, you should be willing to take risks and even fail along the way. This is part of the journey for each of us.

A Personal Legend isn’t about how much money you make or the level of success you can achieve. It’s about working towards something that is bigger than yourself and supporting your needs spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. You are driven forward by what is possible and not held back by fear. And just like in The Alchemist, read the signs. We may make plans and then something comes up (a sign) that tells us to change course. Be flexible and life will guide you to your Personal Legend.