It was around 1995. We had a lot of Bobs in our life. My youngest son, around 3 at the time, and I were at the grocery store. Every man we met, from the cereal isle to the check-out line, received a hearty “Hi Bob!” delivered in the cutest toddler voice. All I could do was giggle and explain that he knew A LOT of Bobs. It made perfect sense to me.
Have you heard of Bob Goff? Bob is the author of Love Does, Everybody, Always, Live in Grace, and Walk in Love. Straight from the book jacket of his latest, Dream Big, “He is the Honorary Consul to the Republic of Uganda, an attorney, and the founder of Love Does (a nonprofit human rights organization in Uganda, India, Nepal, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). He’s a lover of balloons, cake pops, and helping people pursue their big dreams.
He’d rather you not call it a self-help book, but a self-discovery. He feels if ambition had two handles it would be love and hope. It’s not about just easy day-dreaming. Bob wants the reader to “become fully awake to yourself and your God-given purposes” (XIII).
Bob didn’t grow up in church…”one thing I’ve found to be true is that people don’t grow where they are merely informed; they grow where they are fully accepted” (45). What are your beliefs? And why? Do you understand them? He encourages us to “stop hiding behind our appearances and titles and successes. Keep this in mind: if you take away whatever your known for, whatever is left is who you are. Let’s be the kind of people who are more interested in who someone is instead of what they do” (Goff 69).
“Make no mistake-it’s easy to confuse a lot of activity with a bunch of progress. Rest is wise; preparation is wisdom. Don’t think that taking care of yourself means you’re slacking” (Goff 56).
Comparison is a punk (chapter 13). “These days it feels like all we see are people who are doing life better than us. You’ll never find your purpose by comparing your life to someone else’s.” (Goff 83).
“If you want a way to jump-start your ideas, do the things that Jesus said really mattered to Him. Start with hungry, move on to thirsty, sick people, strange people,….add widows and orphans if you have the opportunity” (Goff 94). And then add every ambition you can think of-here are a few things on Bob’s list: visit all seven continents, learn to fly, raise a duck, put down cell phone for a month, remove his own tonsils, learn to play the cello, lose twenty-five pounds, and the list goes on (and some quite hilarious).
We can’t fix anything we think is broken if we don’t understand it. What’s holding you hostage? “Many of us are clinging with affection to the very things that are holding us hostage. It could be anything. A routine, a relationship, a job, a deeply held belief caused by a childhood wound” (Goff 132).
“Fear boxes us in and will always try to talk us into settling for lesser things. If we let fear push us around, it won’t be long before we’re all fences and no horses…are you willing to slay the dragon to move toward your ambition? Figure out your fears, kick them in the teeth, and get back to work. You’re not a hostage anymore” (Goff, 136).
Bob talks about the importance of being a quitter of some things (he is) and not overextending yourself. When you clear the path and offload routines that are getting you nowhere, “you will probably sense some unease and unfamiliarity. Don’t back off. It’s a good thing. Lean into it” (Goff, 148).
You’re going to meet some resistance when you make moves: procrastination, lethargy, self-sabotage, and nay-sayers and haters. “Sometimes people get really antsy when they see others hurtling toward their dreams. Parents, friends, coworkers, and even spouses…anyone who feels threatened by your new adventure may do things that feel like they’re shutting you down. That’s not their intent, and they probably don’t even know they’re doing it. They’re processing what they are trying to understand out loud, using your ambition as an inflection point” (Goff, 161-162).
“Do something. Descend the cliff. Paddle through the waves. Don’t sit on the sidelines; get in the game. There’s no way your ambition can take flight without you taking action. Don’t think about the mistakes; think about the beauty you’ll see” (Goff 166).
“Hear me clearly: my worldview is that God orders all our steps, but we have agency over the moves we decide to make too. Sure, I get the concept about open and closed doors. I’m just not sure I accept the premise that God is playing red light, green light with us in every situation…What I’m saying is that it’s easy to conjure up divine intervention for poor performance. Don’t fall for it. Get busy getting better” (Goff, 180-181).
Reading his book made me feel normal for having held lifetime ambitions (and continue to add them!). And even more normal for setbacks. He doesn’t offer a prescription. But offers life experiences and analogies that might help you dream big. Even if you don’t have a list and enjoy right where you are and what you are doing (and wish for nothing more), I’d still recommend this book to best understand the big dreamers around you.
Friends, whether you’re reading or writing, driving, working, or on vacation, I hope you’re safe and sound. If you’re in the sun, soak it up in safety. If you’ve experienced loss, I’m so sorry. If the lack of sun is driving you crazy, I understand. If you don’t have food or shelter call me and I’ll help you find assistance (if you’re near me you can come here). Many of us have been hit with fierce winter storms. This winter storm and life, in general, is throwing some punches. If you need help please reach out. I have a huge favor. If anyone has extra flannel shirts that you might no longer wear, I’ll take them. I live in an area near almost 20% live at the poverty level-donations are appreciated. We’re at 4 degrees today with wind chills in the negative teens. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested (I will provide address). I’m happy to pay the shipping if needed.
With love,K.L. Hale