IMAGINE THAT YOU AND I ARE BEING PAMPERED IN FIRST class, relaxing comfortably on an afternoon flight to your favorite world-class resort. As we gaze out the airplane window, it seems as though we’re floating through an endless sea of marshmallow clouds, soaring together through the heavens. Up here, dreams somehow seem crystal clear. I think it’s because we can pretend we’ve risen above the rough, mountainous terrain of life and can look down on our hills and valleys, seeing events from a fresh perspective.
From this bird’s-eye view, glance down at what is below: your daily routine, closest relationships, untapped potential, and countless opportunities. Let this vantage point help you set your sights on a passionate megadream and an inspiring hope for the future!
I would not dare to author a book on such an important topic as Living Big without practicing what I preach. So, as I write this, I am on a flight to Hawaii (I wish it were first class) for an extended stay to consider living there indefinitely. I was raised in Hawaii and the Marshall Islands in a navy family, so the tropical breeze has always been alluring to me. Might this be where I will plant another Life Purpose Coaching Center … or find the time to launch my long-dreamed-of radio show … or finish this book? I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I do know that I can’t fail, because this is simply an experiment, with memories waiting to be made. I’m not going to rush the process or force a decision, only enjoy the journey to yea or nay. There is no right or wrong way to dream.
Well, actually, I do believe there’s one wrong way, and that is to let the dream stagnate without taking any action!
I am embarking on this time of exploration because I am in a new season of my life, formally ending two decades of single parenting. My son recently accepted an out-of-state job promotion, taking his sweet wife and my two young grandsons with him. Shortly thereafter, my daughter announced her engagement, which means she, too, will be moving away from our home area. In the blink of an eye, without my permission, I have been thrust into a new chapter of my life. On one hand, I am sad and fearful. On the other hand, now I have no more excuses for not doing whatever I want, which is another way of saying “whatever I feel God is calling me to do next.”
I am operating in a spirit of supersized living right now, and not just because I may soon be draped in large muumuus, walking barefoot to the local market to buy macadamia-nut chocolates, and blatantly enticing my family with extended holiday vacations in paradise.
Dreaming in high definition and surround sound—and then taking appropriate steps to live those dreams—is what this book is all about. You may not have a burning desire to move to a distant land, but what do you want out of life? Are you a student anxiously finishing college? A young mom who’s busy raising twins? An overseas missionary on a brand-new assignment? A career woman vying for an enviable position? A widow with only a few pressing obligations? Regardless of your role in life, you and I have a few things in common:
We love to dream.
God designed us to dream.
And there’s no day like today to start discovering God’s best!
I need you to know that I’m not so far up in the clouds that I am unaware of your everyday realities. Life has prepared me well to be your Life Coach. I have a testimony of brokenness, and I’m honored to help you dream. Check out what I call “My 7 Big D’s”—events that shaped me for nearly twenty years. My 7 Big D’s
1982Barely survived a serious, four-month depression
.1986Devastated by a totally unexpected divorce
.1988Confused about having to rewrite my doctoral dissertation
.1990Deeply saddened by the death
of my ex-husband.1991Angered by a corporate downsizing
, which left me laid off just days after buying a home.1993Terrified by a dating
incident.2001Shocked by the death of my dream
when my first book contract was canceled due to budget cuts after 9/11.
What does this list tell you, other than that I must have built up a lot of stamina by now? It says that you can trust me to understand what you’re going through and to tell it like it is when I coach you—without skirting around the issues. I care deeply about making sure you don’t get stuck in the quagmire of life, as I did too many times.
These chapters will take you on a journey to find what you’re really jazzed about—what makes you smile, laugh, play, sing, and dance. It’s time to daydream about the adventure God has in store for you!
Amos 4:13 tells us that God reveals His thoughts to us: “He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mortals, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—the LORD God Almighty is his name.” We want to do whatever it takes to be ready for that revelation.
As your Life Coach, I will come alongside you like a Barnabas (a name that Acts 4:36 tells us means “son of encouragement”). We will enjoy life-changing chats about you,
stealing precious moments within your hectic schedule. I know how hard it is for you to find time for a conversation about your legacy, your destiny, your divine urge. As you are able to sneak away from your daily routine, it will be my job and my joy to sit with you and draw out of you the distinct calling God laid on your heart eons ago, before you were ever born. And then, equally important, we will put baby steps in place to help you live out your exciting, God-designed purpose, which has long been the desire in your soul even if it has lain dormant.
This book is loaded with modern, true stories of everyday saints, Bible character parallels, inspirational quotes, some of my favorite Scripture verses, heartfelt prayers, ten coaching tips, forty action steps, reflection questions, and practical exercises with sample answers from my own life to trigger your thinking. (Don’t miss the Web downloads, too, which are my special gift to you!) You will hear from real women—students, wives, mothers, a widow, career women, church staff members—who all have tremendous testimonies to share. I urge you to break all of the normal book-reading rules and jump into the chapters in any sequence you please. Did you know that doing the unexpected can change your perspective, which will then cause you to see your world through new eyes?
I’ve chosen these particular topics for us to explore in detail as we discover what it takes to Live Big!
Face Your Fears
Learn to Exhale
Honor Your Deepest Longings
Don’t Ever Give Up
Use Your Past for Good
Eat Dessert First
Ask Jesus for Vision
Capture Your Live Big! Dream
Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1
I can’t help but think: If only someone had told me that!
or Why didn’t I learn that in school?
Frankly, I feel there ought to be a law mandating that schools teach us to be tenacious, forgiving, and courageous. We need classes at church that help us reach for our dreams, expect miracles, focus forward, and breathe calmly through adversity. But most important, we must learn how to play and to stop taking ourselves so seriously and to start cherishing God’s incredibly specific plan for our lives. In this way, we address the habits that help us attract or sabotage God’s boldest wishes for us.
Each of the ten coaching tips will give you a broader, richer understanding of how to run and finish the race well.
You probably picked up this book because you want to travel boldly down the path to purpose and fulfillment, yet perhaps you’ve lost sight of your dreams, hopes, and longings—possibly because of regrets, exhaustion, stubbornness, fears, sins, and so on. We’re all burdened with something. You want to bring glory to God with your life, but you may be carrying such a heavy weight of boredom, loneliness, doubt, pride, and/or hopelessness that you’ve forgotten how to unleash your creativity. The biblical perspective in this book will help you hear God’s promptings more clearly and act on them with pure joy.
I encourage you to dream big dreams during this eye-opening, heart-pounding quest. Let me share with you forty proven, incremental steps that I personally have used for years and have coached my clients through—action steps that will help you to live a significance-filled life. God will be honored, and you will be blessed. You will find yourself empowered beyond your wildest imagination as you Live Big!
Will you take your first small step today?
© 2009 Katie Brazelton