Podcast

Episode 7 – Being Kind Over Being Right: Bob Goff Gets Real

Bob Goff, author of the breakaway bestseller Love Does, is an encourager, a teacher, a ”recovering lawyer,” and the Hon. Consul to Uganda. After practicing law for 25 years (he declared that he was the only lawyer that wore a Micky Mouse watch) he gave up his law firm to pursue writing and speaking full time. Along the way he has connected with others who are on their own adventures, and is driven to help others unlock their potential to love and be loved greater. Bob isn’t interested in agendas, he’s interested in getting past them and being super real.  Feeling stuck? Be inspired by Bob to get “unstuck” and find power in being present and available to life and to those around you. His new book is Everybody Always.

Bob Goff - Going Scared Podcast

Jessica: Today’s episode on the Going Scared podcast is Bob Goff. Our conversation covers so much. If you don’t know Bob yet, I know you’re going to fall in love with him today. Bob Goff is a self-proclaimed recovering lawyer. After 25 years of practicing law, he gave up his practice and became the honorary consul to Uganda. He literally has the Ugandan flag in his front yard. He began to write and to speak. He makes a difference all over the world. He leads small conferences, and he really is about helping people accomplish their dreams.

If you’ve ever met Bob or heard him speak, you know that he has an infectious laughter, and honestly, one of the most supremely optimistic outlooks on life of anyone I’ve ever known. His New York Times Best Selling book, Love Does, includes stories from his own life about what happens when we actually give ourselves the freedom to choose love and faith over fear and doubt. He also has a non-profit, which we’ll talk about some today called, Love Does, and has several different projects in countries like Uganda, Nepal, India, Iraq, and Somalia. The world is about to get a lot more beautiful because he has another book that’s out now for purchase. It’s a much anticipated follow-up to Love Does. It’s entitled, Everybody Always.

I can’t wait to hear what you learn from this episode. Bob really is a modern day love teacher for our time. I know I learned a ton from today’s conversation. I can’t wait to hear what you learn as well.

 

Famous For Being Joyful

Jessica: Hey, Bob. Welcome to today’s episode of Going Scared.

Bob: Hey, thanks a million for having me. It’s great being with you.

Jessica: I was sitting with my family on Sunday night. We were all kind of going around, riffing about our upcoming week, and I named a couple of the folks I was interviewing for the podcast. I mentioned your name, and my eight year old says, well, who’s that? My husband says, “It’s a man famous for being joyful.”

Bob: Oh, that’s awesome! That would be a great reputation to have rather than like a person famous for like stealing a little children’s bicycle or something.

Jessica: Yeah. But it did give me pause because I thought, “What a reputation to have.” And I know that you sort of know that people experience you as a joyful guy. I know the few times I’ve been around you, that’s certainly true. So I wanted to hear a little bit more about what has your journey been to joy? Or did you just kind of come out of the womb like this?

Bob: Yeah, like Zoroaster’s child. Yeah, I was always a pretty upbeat guy, but I think an important turning point for me is what would be common, maybe, to your listeners. At some point I realized, “I’m not my parents,” and I thought I was supposed to be. They were terrific and everybody else’s parents are probably terrific too — but realizing that God makes each of us just wonderfully, so different, and then living into that. So, we end up playing these roles.

“God makes each of us just wonderfully, so different.” – Bob Goff

I’m a trial lawyer. I try 100 million dollar cases, which is crazy. You think you’re supposed to be uptight or wear a tweed jacket and elbow patches and stroke your beard, but instead, just be whoever God made you to be. We don’t have to play a role, and similarly, you don’t have to play a role of being joyful. I’ve had some tough days, and you have too — all of your listeners — but just be authentically who you are. But as sweet Maria Goff keeps reminding me, just kinda say, "What are my better angels?  What’s a better, more humble, next version of Bob,” and try to live in to that guy.

Jessica: So you really feel like joy is all about living into your authenticity?

Bob: I think it’s that, and it’s also looking and being engaged because you’ll kind of see what you’re looking for. I hadn’t thought about a 1971 Volkswagen Bus for 20 years, and then I decided I wanted a 1971 Bus. Now, every third car is a 1971 Bus because you’ll find what you’re looking for.  So, some people have had some difficulties, or perhaps have over-identified with them a little bit, and they’ve become cynics. I’ve never met a courageous cynic. But I think you’ll find what you’re looking for, and if you’re looking for unhappy news, you’ll find it, and if you’re looking for joy, you’re gonna find that too.

If you’re looking for hope, you’ll find it. I’m not saying just be “yippy skippy” and put this veneer of happy on everything, but just be so engaged. It’ll get you out of whatever it is you’re doing. Then, find these beautiful cadences in your life. I’m the only trial lawyer I know who wears a Mickey Mouse watch. When things go a little bit wrong, I just look, and if He’s smiling, I’m smiling. Just surrounding yourself with reminders about who you want to be.

Jessica: I love that. You’ll find what you’re looking for, so look for joy. That’s a good one. That’s so true.

“You’ll find what you’re looking for, so look for joy.” – Jessica Honegger

Bob: Anytime where you felt like you were “prevented” from something, give it a little bit, you’ll probably retitle that chapter “Protected.” So I just think that’s it. Don’t be too quick to title your chapter that you’re in with the difficulties, or the first word that comes to mind. Give it a little while then give it a better name.

 

See A Need, Meet A Need

Jessica: Yeah, there’s so much power in reframing. So, I wanted to ask you, because you are working in difficult–you’ve chosen to go into difficult places. You’ve chosen to go work among people who suffer, and I know we have a huge love, both of us, for the country of Uganda.

Bob: Yeah, what a great place. I know you love that place.

Jessica: Yeah, so that’s where Noonday started, and then I know that you are currently the Honorary Consul to Uganda. You told me once that you have the Ugandan flag in your yard, waving in your front yard.

Bob: I actually do. It’s at the top of the flagpole, and the crazy part is that that makes me a diplomatic mission for a foreign government. Literally, my house is not America. It’s Uganda. Come over, and I’ll stamp your passport.

Jessica: That is crazy, truly. Truly! Okay, so I want you to share with us today what is the origin story for the creation of your nonprofit Love Does. Because I know you were inspired in India, but then you became the Honorary Consul to Uganda, and so tell us what led to all the work that you’re doing now in Uganda and then in all of the other countries where you guys have a presence.

Bob: Yeah, I’ll back it up a little bit. It was born out of the same thing that many of the folks that are listening have; which is this big, beautiful idea that you could actually be helpful to people. So, I went to all these organizations, and I said, “So, can I help out?” And every single one of them said, “No.” There was this one outfit… and I love these guys; they were like world wide, and they’re making such a big difference. I’m actually friends with all their people over there. I said, "I don’t need a day job. You don’t have to pay me. I’ll just come and work for you for nothing.” And they said, “No.” It wasn’t like they couldn’t afford me. They just didn’t want me.

So, one of the things that we all have to decide is how are we gonna name that chapter. Are you gonna say that God closed the door or are you just gonna say, "No, no, no. I really have this beautiful idea. I want to fail trying. I’m not gonna fail watching anymore. I’m gonna fail trying." So, I just started Love Does only because nobody would have me. I would’ve been happy to work for somebody else. Shoot, I’ll go to work for you. But the whole idea of not mislabeling these closed doors… I mean, you have a beautiful ambition you’ve had for 20 years, and you ask Billy if you can have a job, and he says, “No.” And you say… when people tell me that God closed the door, I’m like, "No, Billy said, ‘No.’" That’s the only thing that happened right there. So overcome some of those impediments, and then Thomas Nelson asked me if I’d write a book, which was so nice of them to do. So, I traded them: one book for one school. And they were like, "How big’s this school?" Now,  it’s got a thousand kids in it. They’re like, "Big school," and I said, "Big book."

I made them pay me in advance because I didn’t know if it’d be any good. One of the things that you do is you just start, and then one thing will lead to another. They sold a couple more copies of it, and we started schools in different countries. So, usually it’s just kind of countries that are in conflict. We’ve got one in Iraq, and Somalia, and our next one we’re starting is in Afghanistan in May. What could possibly go wrong? So, that whole idea, to fail trying. Just see a need, meet a need. Here’s the deal: God isn’t dazzled when we go across an ocean, but He delights when we walk across the street. Sometimes we think it’s more noble to just do something far away — and indeed it’s just a beautiful thing. I think we’re all tied for first in God’s mind — but to just go across the street, go across the office, go across wherever it is that you’re working, and find somebody in need. Ask them if they’re hungry and give them a burger. Just super simple. That’s where it can actually be replicated super easy.

“God isn’t dazzled when we go across an ocean, but He delights when we walk across the street.” – Bob Goff

Jessica: That’s so true. Well, y’all’s impact report for this last year was stunning. I sent it to my creative team ’cause we’re gonna do our first ever impact report.

Bob: Oh, great.

Jessica: And I was like, "Just follow whatever they did because it’s just so beautiful."

Bob: There was a people group in the Western desert in Somalia, and Al Shabab — which is Al Qaeda’s arm in Somalia — drew a 14 mile circle around where they were, and they decided to starve them to death. They cut off all the roads and all the access. So we chartered a cargo plane, and we flew right over their heads and landed on the sand. I’m like, "In your face." But again, just find a need, meet a need. Find something locally. Find something internationally. Wherever it is, wherever there’s an opportunity, go do that and then write into that chapter.

Jessica: Okay, so there are a lot of opportunities because there is a lot of need around the world. So, I’m curious, what are some of those injustices or issues that are weighing on you right now?

Bob: Well, it’s little girls, that aren’t able to learn how to read or write because they’re girls. I’m like, "Oh, heck no." So, we’ve got a school in Somalia. We’ve got safe houses there. In Iraq, when ISIS took 7,000 Yazidi women, they left so many of these young girls behind. So we’ve got a school for them. In Uganda, we’re trying to shift it a little bit more. So, I think we’re at about 70% girls at this school of ours because I want to make women Presidents. You know what Uganda did? They fired every male ambassador on Earth and replaced them with women because guys tend to talk about it; women get it done. I mean you’ve proved that a hundred times. Uganda’s hip to that. They’re like, "I’m just gonna go get a bunch of go for it women, and we’ll go run the entire country."

Jessica: Yeah, Uganda’s on fire with female entrepreneurs. It’s super inspiring to me.

Bob: Isn’t that beautiful? Then that whole idea — it’s not my phrase — but to give a girl a book. What we do is when these girls graduate from school, if they want to go to University, we pay for it. They get a free ride to college. What we’re asking is, “Could you just hold off on maybe starting a family or the things that might take you off track from achieving some of the things that you might want to achieve until later? If you want to have a family, that’s terrific, but I’m telling you, I’ll send you to school, for free. I’ll let you get your degree, and then let’s get you into parliament, girl.”

Jessica: For real.

Bob: Yeah.

Jessica: Parliament. I love that. Okay, I feel a little strange asking this because I feel like you’re just going to be, “I don’t even know that term.” But there is this term: “compassion fatigue.” And I feel like those of us that are working in social justice, we really understand these places of suffering in the world. We’re really encouraging other people to get involved, so “compassion fatigue” can be sort of indifference that people can start to feel because of the appeal to “go help” and “go do.” Is that something that you’ve seen either in your life or in those that come alongside your organization? How do you stay tender to continually having a compassionate heart to all of the suffering that you come up against?

Bob: What a great question. You know, the first thing that I thought, is that every single person listening is kind of an expert on themselves. So, they could actually answer your question. It would be so great to have like a moment of silence, and everybody just get real with how do you deal with over-identifying with people’s difficulties.

One of the things that I can just say is an observation for me is finding a cadence in my life. Knowing who I’m gonna be 10 years from now. So, I’m 59. What I end up doing is spending a lot of time talking to 69 year old Bob. So, if you’re 30, add 10. Think of the 40 year old woman or the 40 year old man. If you can think of who you’re gonna be 10 years from now, let that person inform what you’re doing right now. So, I’ll give you an example. 10 years from now, I hope I have a bunch of grandkids that are nine years old. What I’m doing is I’m doing all of my away games now because I’m playing only home games. We schedule things nine months and one day in the future. because one sonogram, I’m out.

“If you can think of who you’re gonna be 10 years from now, let that person inform what you’re doing right now.” – Bob Goff

Jessica: You are hilarious. No wonder. I met Lindsay a couple of weeks ago — Lindsay Anbria at an event with Darling and Magnolia — and I’m like, "How are you’re kids doing?" And she’s like, "Oh, gosh," Well, no wonder.

Bob: It’s all I talk about. Yeah. But so one of the things… if you know who it is that you want to be. Think of the woman that you want to become, and then let that woman inform who you are right now and what you do because I’m not going to be with anybody later. You will never hear from me again. Because I know who I’m gonna become, now, I want to be with everybody. Because this is kind of the farewell lap while I’m waiting for a sonogram. I just want to say whatever it is that I have to say. So, what I do is, literally, there’s not a square between now and nine months and a day from now that isn’t filled with something like this or being on the road talking to people. However, I get home for supper.

So, I’ve been to the East Coast I think four times this week. I go to South Carolina, I’ll speak, and then I’ll fly home for supper. Then the next morning, I’ll fly to Orlando. I’ll say something, and then I fly home for supper. They call me Mr. G at the airport. Like, literally, I have the TSA guy over for Christmas. It’s great if you just like this idea of continuing to run home to the people that you love the most. A lot of us get so caught up in our ambitions and our want to serve people who are hurting and all that, that we’re actually not present anymore. We’re actually just in proximity to the people that we love, but we’re never actually present with them.

“A lot of us get so caught up in our ambitions and our want to serve people who are hurting and all that, that we’re actually not present anymore.” – Bob Goff

I would say that’s a great time to sit down with a 10 year older version of you and have the whole talk. Do the DTR. Let’s define this relationship with who I’m becoming, and if you figure out that, now you’re set. Here’s the last thing. Don’t forget the eight year old version of you. Like that winsome, wonderful, exciting… you weren’t worried about how to make rent or pay taxes. I would say, take that eight year old version and hold them in one hand, take the 10 year older version of you in the other hand, and then have you. All three of you make one really, well-adjusted person.

Jessica: I love that, though. I love that idea that presence to the people that love you most and that you love most is actually what can fuel you to love those that are far away from you.

“…presence to the people that love you most and that you love most is actually what can fuel you to love those that are far away from you.” – Jessica Honegger

Bob: Yeah, bingo. Because if you’re in close promixity, but you’re on the phone and doing this — you know what sweet Maria and I do? We have this softball, and we just play catch with it while we’re talking. Isn’t that awesome? You answer your phone, you’ll lose teeth. One last idea is this; instead of saying, “how’s your life working for you?” You might ask, “how’s your life working for the people around you that you love the most?”

Sometimes, on this idea of compassion fatigue, it’s not you that’s getting worn out because you’re like the energizer bunny, but the people that are around you, that are loving you, that miss you… how’s your life working for them? It’s just such a beautiful palms up kind of question to ask the people you love, just say, "How’s my life working for you?" You know what Maria’s told me a couple times? “Not well.” That’s oh, so hard to hear but so good to make these little mid-course adjustments, right? That’s how the astronauts get the moon. They get the moon in the window, and they make a thousand midcourse corrections to get there.

Jessica: So good, we just built a hot tub in our backyard kind of for that reason because you can’t take your phone into water, you know? So…

Bob: Or everybody will get electrocuted. Either way, you’ll have an awesome story.

Jessica: Right. I’m like, get a hot tub; I can’t bring my phone there. I do hot tub nights with the kids, and it’s hilarious. My little eight and nine year olds… we pour each other fake champagne into champagne glasses and kick back in the hot tub. But it’s true. It is hard for those of us that are sort of wired to bring the energy, to stop and be present and ask “how is this working for you? How’s my life working for you?” That’s really convicting. I did a big swallow when you said that.

Bob: One of the things too is finding a cadence. As you know, we spend nine months a year in San Diego and running around. But three months a year, we just unplug. We have a place that’s far away and remote. We just go up there and catch our breath and grow radishes and stuff. Really important things. One of the things, speaking of radishes, is we just need to not be each others parole officer. So, the people that you love the most, we’re not trying to bust their chops as we’re all moving forward in this, because if you want to grow a radish, I figured out you can grow it in about 20 days. But if you want to grow a pear, it takes seven years.

And so just realizing that God is up to different things, in different people, at different paces. Some of the people that are around you might be up to something. You don’t compare yourself to what other people are doing. Maria said it so beautifully, "Keep your eyes on your own paper." It’s that idea that God doesn’t compare what He creates. He just creates, so we’ll create and not look at other people and what they’re creating and compare yourself because comparison is a punk. It will steal your lunch money every single time.

Jessica: Every time.

Bob: Yup.

 

Finding Joy In Other People

Jessica: Okay, so you mentioned Thomas Nelson said, “Write a book,” and you’re like, “Hmm. Okay.” Well that book pretty much exploded. How many languages is it in now?

Bob: Seventeen, isn’t that terrific?

Jessica: That is insane. Oh my gosh. Which just shows you what a broad reach it has.  I think so much of that is because our brains are wired for story, and you’re a storyteller. I mean, you are such an incredible story teller. You help us make connections that a lot of us don’t naturally make. And so you have a new book coming out, Everybody Always.

Bob: Yeah, that’s it. I’m five years late. I was literally getting registered mail from the publisher. They’re like, "Where’s the book?" I’m like, “Buddy, I got nothing to say. I kinda said it all.” And then it seemed like everybody was so on edge… now more than ever. And this whole idea that it’s easy to love people like you, you’re low hanging fruit. I mean, you’re just nice, but how do we love the people who creep us out? And we’re just surrounded. And here’s the crazy part. The people that creep us out; we creep them out. And so the idea is being a little bit more kind and generous with people.

I’m not trying to figure out how to love people that are easy to love. A kind of report card on my faith is how I’m loving the people that are actually very difficult to love? And so that’s what I had been working on, and I was just thinking out loud and spelled enough words in the right order. So we put some fingerprints on the cover of this thing.

You want to know something crazy? The cover of this book… it looks like it’s balloons. It’s not. We have a witch doctor school in Uganda. We don’t teach them how to be witch doctors. They already know. We teach them how to read and write because the old version of them used to sacrifice children. And instead of calling them names or calling them wrong, we just decided to be their friends while I was trying death penalty cases against witch doctors. I’m like, you do not want to touch another kid because you will never be seen again. But, instead of trying to be right, I’m actually trying to be kind. And so we started this witch doctor school, and I asked them if we could get their fingerprints and make the cover out of their fingerprints.

Jessica: I love that.

Bob: Isn’t that awesome? They’re like, "What does this mean?" I’m like, "Don’t worry about it." But there’s something beautiful about taking the people that I’ve spent my whole life avoiding, the people Jesus spent his whole life engaging. Because I didn’t want to get any on me. I think this idea of Everybody Always is to get in on that. You want to look kind? Go find difficult people and be kind to them. They say people look like their dogs. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but people who are trying to be kind actually look kind. It’s like they have it tattooed on their face. They’re just people who are finding joy in other people. Even the difficult people, they actually seem a little bit more joyful. We all have our off days, but I’m just trying to talk to that 10 year old version of me and say, “He has told me go find difficult people and love them the way people have loved you when you were really difficult.”

“…there’s something beautiful about taking the people that I’ve spent my whole life avoiding, the people Jesus spent his whole life engaging.” – Bob Goff

Jessica: So good. It does feel like you, in particular, have something to speak into the atmosphere of today, which we’re all finding a lot of us being difficult. I mean, some people might find me difficult; whereas, another person might find someone else difficult. So what are some of the love strategies that you are gonna help us break down that are gonna help us love the people who do feel difficult for us to love?

 

Getting Past The Agendas to Authenticity

Bob: Here’s a great one: figure out what love is. I tried talking Lindsay into being a nun when she was in high school, but she wasn’t buying it. But one of the things that I mentioned is when guys ask you to the prom, ask them, “What’s your definition of love?” And because they’re guys, they won’t know. So say,  “Go home and figure out what love is. As soon as you know what it is, let me know, and I’ll tell you if I’ll go with you.” And if they come back and say, “It’s like butterflies,” you can get that from bad pizza. Love is sacrifice and commitment. So if we just get clear on what love is, then it will bring… Instead of letting Hallmark say, “I love you, I love you, I love you,” say, “Is that sacrifice and commitment?” Am I so committed to loving somebody that I’ll get passed having an agenda for because when love has an agenda. it ain’t love.

“Love is sacrifice and commitment.” – Bob Goff

So what I want to do is get past the agendas and keep it super real. It’s sacrifice and commitment. And one of the things that you might have to sacrifice is your big opinion about something. Just be kind. Just assume that God’s growing a pear instead of a radish there, and it’s gonna take a while. It’s hard for me for it to take a while because I’m a ADD, and boy, I make coffee nervous. I’m just so amped as you’ve experienced, and so what I’m trying to do is slow it down a little bit… just chill out and assume that God might be up to something different in their life than he happens to be up to in my life right now.

And so I don’t need to be the arbiter of things. I don’t need to be calling balls and strikes on their life. What I want to be is just engaged and kind. And when they say something lame — I have gotten to the end of more than one day and found that my untucked shirt was one button off, has that ever happened to you? I’m like, "No!?!" And so, I think the people that have shaped my faith and my understanding of what love is the most, were a button or two off in theirs. My teachers have actually been the people that blew it more than the people that felt like they nailed it.

 

Going Beyond Limited Beliefs

I actually teach a class up at Pepperdine Law School, of all places. Can you imagine me teaching a law school class? I teach a class on failure, and all I do every week is bring my friends who’ve screwed up in. I’m gonna call you Jessica. You just have to come with your biggest screw up. For me, it’s a target rich environment.

Jessica: It’s so good, especially for young people, because I think young people see successful people and just assume that it was all rainbows and unicorns getting there. So I love that you’re doing that, and I love that you just said that we just need to start with our definition of love because some of us might be starting with the wrong definition.

Bob: Oh yeah, because we had this limiting belief that we didn’t even realize was there. You had a mom and a dad who split or something happened, and you didn’t realize that you got this belief system going in that eventually, if I give away my love, they’ll leave me. And so getting clear on some of those things, like what is it that are these underlying beliefs that you have? You know, one for me, which is kind of crazy, somehow in high school, I got in my mind that if people really got to know me that they wouldn’t like me. Isn’t that crazy? Each of us have these beliefs and just check the return address on that to say, “Where did that one come from?”

I don’t want to over identify with these mess ups that help participate in this limiting belief, but I want to get real about it and say, "Oh wow, so that’s one of those things that keeps coming up. This idea that we are defined somehow by our biggest failure — people that have gotten into some relationships that were wrong, or something went just really weird, and you want to keep this big secret — and just realizing that God calls us beloved. Like, over our biggest mess up. For anybody even listening, if you’re hearing some other word beside the word “beloved” spoken over you, man, that is not love talking. That’s just one of these beliefs and one of these things. So, talk to that 10 year old version of you. They’ll straighten you out. Talk to that eight year old. They’ll get you squared on it.

Jessica: That’s so good. You talk about limiting beliefs, and this podcast is all about going scared and just getting up and walking through your fears. I think so much of our ability to be able to stand up and walk is to be able to recognize some of those limiting beliefs. I’m curious, and I’ve heard this, that after you’ve had some wild success — like, say a book like Love Does and now you’re about to launch a new book — are there any new fears that are coming up? Do you feel like you’re going scared at all or that’s not really a thing for you?

 

Resilient Through Any Crisis

Bob: Oh, yeah. Everybody’s second book always stinks. Ain’t that awesome? I can think of some of my author friends, and they killed it with their first book, and their second book is like, “Eh, whatever.” You can get like 1,000 of them for a nickel at Costco now. But one of the things… I wrote this whole book, and then I was visiting a friend up in San Francisco who left his big church to be with some people in some really difficult circumstances. And while I was up there, somebody broke into the car. They took my laptop, and it had the book. It wasn’t backed up.

Jessica: Oh, my gosh. You are kidding me.

Bob: 5,000 words just evaporated, and half of them, at least, were spelled correctly. I had to start all over again. So this is actually my third book. I’ve just skipped over the sophomore slump.

Jessica: Oh, my gosh. That just gave me PTSD for you.

Bob: Isn’t that awesome? It wasn’t backed up. iCloud is like a nickel a year, but I thought…  You know what? I just started again, and here’s the beautiful thing: I wrote a different book. Because what we need to be is this next version of Bob. He wrote the next book. And it just bears very little similarity at all to the first book as much as I can remember about it. It’s about just who are we turning into and how can we be kinder people. And it’s not just squishy. I was gonna write a murder mystery, but I thought I’d stay in my lane.

Jessica: Okay, so when I met you a couple years ago, we were speaking to a business audience together,  and you had just lost your home up in Canada to a fire. Now, you’re telling me that your book was stolen out of someone’s car. But there is a serious resilience to you. So talk a little bit about your resilience. Like, what are some resilience strategies that help you recover from some of these really difficult things?

 

Getting Unstuck

Bob: Yeah, maybe it’s that idea. After the lodge burned down, I would’ve named that chapter, “I’m Out.” It took me quite a few years to build that thing, and it burned down. And so, I gave it a little while, and you know what the new chapter title would be? “I’m Back.” We just poured the foundations yesterday. Like, literally. So we’re just…

Jessica: You did? Wow.

Bob: Yeah, I’m making a bigger one. So like the whole idea is this: we all take a hit. Not just like Tigger and whatever… sometimes it can come across like a veneer of indifference, but actually I was deeply wounded, and I was deeply saddened. But I’m not stuck. I think that’s what happens sometimes is you get stuck in this eddy of introspection and reflection and “Why me?” and “It ain’t fair” and all that, and so I would just like a tow truck. Get the 10 year old version of you to hook up a cable and get you out of the mud. Just say, “I don’t have a title for that thing yet, but I need Mater in my life to come and get me out of the pickleweed and to just say, “Okay, there’s gonna be a title. This is gonna take a minute or two, but I’m gonna find another title for that one.”

Jessica: Well, I love that because unstuck people unstick others. And that is what your life is. You’re unsticking people all over the world. That’s what you’re doing. And so you kind of have to remain unstuck if you’re gonna keep unsticking other people, and I just love this whole idea of loving everybody always because it sounds like a simple thought, but I think we all know in practice that it’s really difficult to do. So as we wrap this up, how can we evaluate sort of our scale of how well we’re loving others?

Understanding Love to Love Well
Bob: Yeah, the first thing that came to mind is not making love a transaction between people. Like, I’ll express and give love to you, Jessica, if you express and give love to me. And it actually happens that you’re a boss at it, and so if I hang around just with you, I’m gonna feel like I’m a boss at loving people. But what’s really happening is that since you’re a boss at loving people, it makes me look like a boss. What I’m trying to do is navigate to those more difficult relationships, the ones that are holding me back, the ones that are in the way. If you really want your graduate degree in this, how do you engage some of the people that have been off-putting? They broke your heart; they damaged your feelings; they took something away from you that you thought was yours. And to just be a little bit more kind, but not fake it. Just be authentic about that and yet not get stuck in an eddy of introspection. When we were in Uganda years ago, I took my son on the Nile. Have you gone down that with the… what’s it called?

Jessica: Yes.

Bob: A loft, or no… something.

Jessica: A drift.

Bob: A drift.

Jessica: A drift. Yes.

Bob: That was like a Castaway scene, but I took my son on this thing. They go down these like class five rapids, and there’s no class six. You’re just dead. So we go over this big waterfall, and Richard pops out of the boat. We get stuck in an eddy on the other side of the waterfall. We lose Richard for 45 minutes.

Jessica: Oh, my gosh.

Bob: He’s gone in these alligator infested waters.

Jessica: Oh, my gosh.

Bob: I’m just trying to think of what I’m gonna tell Maria. But we found Richard almost an hour later holding on the side of the river to like a mangrove vine.

Jessica: Oh, my word.

Bob: I think sometimes this idea of getting stuck in this eddy… Sometimes, if you’re gonna love well, if you really understand what the definition of love is, you need to get out of this eddy that you’ve been in and get back in the fast moving waters. And I know it’s scary, and I know you might fail. But fail trying.

Jessica: I love that. That is a great way to wrap this up. Bob, it’s been so great. I cannot wait. I’m counting down the days to this book launch because we need more Bob in our world, and you are the perfect teacher to teach us how to love. So I can’t wait. Tell us when can we order it. How do we order it?

Bob: Yeah, I think it’s out there right now, and April 17 is when it gets released. But we’re just giddy around here. We’re bouncing around the office, and we’ve got all kinds of things going on. One of the things that will happen is that I hope that this moves the needle a little bit in somebody’s life… that they’ll move a little bit closer towards this next version of them, the next humbler version of them. And we’ll see. And I want to continue to learn from the people that have been teaching me, the people that have messed up along the way, the people that have been actually difficult for me to deal with. And so I’ve let them be my teachers instead of my adversaries.

Jessica: I love that. Okay we’re all gonna go buy your book right this second.

Bob: Oh, I was hoping you’d like it. Hey, thanks for making time for me. It’s good being with you, and I still laugh at the first time we met. I think that your listeners don’t know. There was a big castle set up. Remember that?

Jessica: There was.

Bob: They were putting on a stage play or something, and there was a castle. So there’s no way you and I are just gonna stand in front as if there’s not a 60 foot tall, 80 foot wide castle behind us. So we dressed up. Who were you dressed up as? You looked very regal?

Jessica: It was like Camelot, I think, or something. One of the Queens-

Bob: It was awesome, and we just — this was five minutes into our friendship — and we just walked out on the balcony and started waving to people. That was so fun.

Jessica: It was fun. It was definitely the best way for me to actually meet you in person. Although I have to say, I completely lost my voice on the stage that day, and instead of just owning it and going, "Can someone bring me water?" I tried to fake it. The whole audience was leaning into me, like, just about to just throw water at me on the stage, and I had so much vulnerability hangover after that and shame, and I’m like, "Oh, my God. I can’t believe I just completely messed up at that event." It took me a little time to get over, but then I ended up having some of my top ambassadors become ambassadors at that event. So that was a failure for me, Bob. If you want to talk about a failure, that was a fail for me. But I was happy to do it with you there. No better person to fail in front of than Bob Goff.

Bob: Isn’t that great, though? You just came up with a different title for that chapter where you would have said, you know, “She needs a glass of water.” She’s actually received a bunch of new friends because people could identify with that more than somebody that gave, maybe, a slick talk. So I think one of those affirmations, again, is that idea that you just have to continue to keep your eye on this idea of love. The way you guys are loving these women in Somalia with the things that you’re doing through Love Does to enable them to open businesses and all that. It’s just been beautiful. Keep it up, friend.

Jessica: Okay. Thanks, Bob.

Bob: Alright, so long.

Jessica: Bye.

Jessica: I love this idea that we can actually re-title our chapters. Of course, that resonated because I’m just wrapping up my own book, and it’s just a powerful thought that we can re-title the chapter for our lives so that they don’t reflect fear, and judgment, and scarcity, and insecurity. We can re-title to reflect hope, and faith, and abundance. But I feel like in order to re-title our chapters, we often have to realize the false chapters that we have titled them to begin with. We’ve got to recognize where we are in order to know where we want to go.

I created a Courage Quiz for you guys. I did it in collaboration with a courage professor at the University of Florida, because I really wanted you to have a tool that helps you identify the areas of your lives where you’re practicing courage, and then the areas where fear is keeping you back. I want you to head to my website JessicaHonegger.com. Click on the quiz. Take it and tell me if it’s helpful for you. You’re going to get some tips and hints on how we can just keep going scared.

I also cannot wait for next week’s episode. I’m having such a great time doing this podcast. Many of you all sent in questions for Bob when I put it out there on my Instastory. Make sure to head over to my Instagram,  head over to Facebook. Tell me what you’re learning, because it’s helping us to create the kind of content that’s going to help you to continue going scared.

Thanks again for joining me today and I’ll see you next week.