At the core of every Olympic athlete’s pursuit is one common denominator: knowing what he or she was born to do—swim, sprint, or play ball—and doing it exceptionally well. Author, speaker and filmmaker Phil Cooke calls that purpose “One Big Thing.” 

In the spirit of the Summer Games, Cooke helps you discover what you were meant to do with your life, with Olympic focus. In his new book, One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do (July 2012, Thomas Nelson,, Cooke shows you how to discover your own “One Big Thing” that can change the world, along with steps to help you on your path.  

For more than 30 years, Cooke has helped nonprofits find their purpose and is now applying this experience to individuals: “During a long career in the media business I’ve talked to hundreds of writers, producers, directors, designers, executives, and other professionals and discovered that in most cases, one thing is all it takes to launch a project or dream.” 

For everyone who’s been pulled in different directions, born with multiple abilities, or just wondered what to do with their lives, Cooke offers answers. He helps you not only discover that one thing, but also teaches you the secrets of making an unforgettable impact with your life. 

And if your purpose isn’t as clear as an Olympic pursuit, Cooke suggests starting with these questions: What could I be the best in the world at doing? Where could I be remarkable? Where do I stand out? What in my life am I most proud of? 

The next step is getting noticed. To stand out, he says you have to cut through the clutter by focusing on the one thing in your life that drives you, inspires your passion, and separates you from the pack. 

“This isn’t about productivity, it’s about your life,” he says. “What’s the one single step that will start you on the journey to making your dream happen? Whatever it is, it’s time to take it. Make it small, make it ugly, make it rough—just take it.” 

PHIL COOKE (of Burbank) has been an agent of change for millions of people through his work in television and the media. He lectures at Yale University, UC Berkeley and UCLA, and spent the past 30 years advising many of the world’s largest organizations.

He has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, CNN and Fox News, and his work has been profiled in New York TimesLos Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several books, including Jolt! Get the Jump on a World that’s Constantly Changing (Thomas Nelson, 2011). He blogs on change, disruption, culture, and media at

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