These explorations have helped others:

Think back to what you wanted to do while you were growing up. Of course, it might have been a whole list of things. Don't just settle for just the job description-a fireman, say, or movie star, or president. Think about what those roles meant to you then, and what they can reveal about your real interests and motivations now.

Interview three people you respect, who you think are living their Dream. Ask them to share with you why they think you were put on this earth.

If someone came along and gave you all the money you ever wanted, what would you do with it? More than likely, that's your Dream. Your first answer might be, "Live on a tropical beach and sip pink drinks." But more than likely, the beach only represents the end of your stresses and unfulfillment. It doesn't tell you much about the purpose and fulfillment you would crave once your stresses disappeared.

Observe your life and write down your conclusions. Good questions to ask yourself include:

  • What have I always been good at?
  • What needs do I care about most?
  • Who do I admire most?
  • What makes me feel most fulfilled?
  • What do I love to do most?
  • What have I felt called to do?
  • Ask yourself what legacy you would like to leave for your children and grandchildren. What do you most want to be remembered for? I've found that most people who truly want to pursue their Dream can come up with a plan that makes a beginning possible. Of course, there's a price attached-at least one sacrifice and, often, several.

    Most people who feel stuck need to rethink their priorities. Usually they have put a certain standard of living, a way of life, or some other assumption above the priority of pursuing a Dream.

    Ask yourself questions like, What am I willing to sacrifice for my Dream? How could I mobilize my family to help me pursue this Dream? To what degree am I using my obstacles as excuses? Is there anything I can do right now to launch me toward my Dream? The minute you decide that you will do what it takes, you are already in pursuit of your Dream.

    So many people come from families-and even whole cultures-that don't believe in Big Dreams. If this is what you experienced, it can be very painful. You feel like you're walking around in a room where the ceiling is six inches too low!Maybe your family made it clear (without ever saying it) that you're not expected to achieve much. Or maybe your family only approved of certain kinds of Dreams.

    I encourage you to spend some time writing out a family Dreams profile for your family. What, in two or three sentences, was the big message about Big Dreams you received as you were growing up? (There is always a message, whether overt or subtle.) Who in your extended family would you say is living his or her Dream? Finally, what cost do you see your family paying because Dreams weren't honored? Once you understand how your family is affecting your beliefs and choices, you can take steps to change.

    I wonder if you still feel like a permanent, certified Nobody-unremarkable and unnoticed in your life. If so, I want you to know that God especially loves Nobodies! Jesus made a point of spending time with people who felt like Nobodies. They were probably more open to change and to receiving the wonder of God's love.

    Whatever you feel is true or not true about you today, you were made to be Someone Special, someone with a Big Dream beating brightly in your heart. And the world is waiting for you to begin your journey.

    Once you decide to pursue your Dream, you'll be amazed at how much your life changes.

    Remember Sonja, the waitress who wanted to be a nurse? Imagine with me a typical day in her life a few years from now. She will get up in the morning like always-but instead of putting on her apron and dreading another day, she will put on her nurse's uniform. She'll work hard all day doing something she loves. She may even save a life that day. After her shift, she will go home physically exhausted, but happy to the core. She will know that she is living in what I call her "sweet spot"-doing what she loves most, and meeting needs at the same time.

    Don't wait another day. Tell someone you trust today, "I have a Big Dream." Then, as best you can, tell them what it is. The first time you say your Dream aloud, you will hear your heart say, You were born for this!