CNLP 349: Bob Goff on Breaking Out of Safe, Dreaming Bigger Than You Think You Can and How to Make a Difference Across the Street

Share This Post

NYT bestselling author and recovering lawyer, Bob Goff, talks about rebuilding when your life breaks down, how to dream bigger than you ever have, and what never losing a case at law taught him about life.

This wide-ranging interview is a tour de force of what’s possible when you realize you can dream.

Welcome to Episode 349 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about 5 characteristics of great leaders.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Lead to Win

Are you a leader who wants proven, practical advice to guide you through the complexities of leadership today? If so, you’ve got to listen to my friends, Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt Miller’s podcast, Lead to Win. It’s one of the best podcasts for getting practical leadership wisdom.

On it, Michael and Megan share from their experience of more than 40 years of professional experience leading teams and driving results. They’ve been where you are. And they have the insights and strategies to help you where you are today. One of my favorite things about their podcast is that it’s not just strategies to grow your business, though they have plenty of that. They’re about helping you prioritize The Double Win, where you win at work and succeed at life.

Search for Lead to Win wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe, and you’ll get weekly leadership lessons to help you build the Double Win!

Serve HQ

We recently partnered with ServeHQ. If you’ve never heard of them, they offer two online subscription software tools for churches—TrainedUp and HuddleUp.

These tools are used to equip and engage your church no matter where they are. With the ability to send highly engaging mass video text messages and video emails, your church will always be in the loop and know what’s going on. Their safe chat feature lets you stay in direct contact with your people without worrying about inappropriate private communications. It’s like a smart private social platform for your church members and volunteers.

And, ServeHQ’s training features let you offer engaging online video courses for volunteer training, Bible training, member onboarding, or leadership training. You can use their library of over 800 videos or create your own training using their simple training builder.

Get a free, no obligation 14-day trial account at

Dream Big by Bob Goff

Love Does by Bob Goff

Love Does organization

CNLP 278: Ian Morgan Cron on How Your Enneagram Profile Positions You for Burnout, Pride, Cynicism and Other Hidden Traps in Life and Leadership

CNLP 138: Bob and Maria Goff Behind the Scenes: Being Happily Married to Your Opposite, Overcoming Setbacks and Thriving in Life and Ministry

CNLP 241: Ian Morgan Cron on Using Your Enneagram Number to Boost Self-Awareness, Spiritual Growth and Reduce Conflict at Work and at Home

5 Surprising Characteristics that Separate Great Leaders from Other Leaders by Carey Nieuwhof


1. Choose your battles

In 25 years of law, Bob never lost a case. That’s crazy good. You would think that means he is a really great lawyer (which he is), but Bob gives more credit to his ability as a picker rather than his ability as a lawyer. He won’t take cases he doesn’t think he can win. He applies this principle to the rest of his life, as well.

Bob has noticed that most people are quick to engage in arguments that they probably won’t win. You probably do as well. Those arguments just aren’t worth your time. Wouldn’t it be so much better if you focused on the conversations and efforts in your life that will actually go somewhere? If you want to win, choose your arguments.

2. Minor setbacks can be a sign of deeper issues

While at his cabin, Bob does this thing called “water logging” where he looks out over the water for a valuable log that has been left by a tug-boat, sitting vertically in the water. Usually only a few inches of the log is above the water, so Bob finds these massive logs by looking first for the seagulls that perch on them.

He points out that many major issues and opportunities for growth in our lives are like those logs. They go deep into our subconscious but are barely visible from the surface. Maybe you have a bit of frustration or anxiety that bubbles up, but there might be a deep wound causing it. If you want to get better, you need to unearth those problems.

3. Dreams come in all sizes, so dream big

If you want to chase your dreams, you need to look deeper than just asking, “What do I want?” Ask yourself, “Why do I want it?” And, if the reason you want something is healthy, go after it! Bob recommends that you take action on your courageous dreams now. Write the letter, make the ask, do what you can today to start it.

Your dream won’t always be a career dream. Sometimes a dream is a meeting, an event, or a relationship in your life. One of Bob’s dreams is to be an amazing grandpa, and he will be chasing that dream forever. Another of his dreams was tea with the Queen of England, so he sent her a letter! Your ambitions come in small, medium, and large sizes. Bob would love for you to pursue all of them.

Quotes from Episode 349

God isn't dazzled when you go across the ocean, he's wowed when you go across the street. @bobgoff Click To Tweet God never compares what he creates. @bobgoff Click To Tweet Instead of giving the world more information, I want to give the world more examples. @bobgoff Click To Tweet Know what you want, why you want it, and then importantly, decide what you're going to do about it. @bobgoff Click To Tweet You want to do awesome advocacy, take a genuine interest in your neighbor across the street. @bobgoff Click To Tweet Not every argument is one that you need to win. @bobgoff Click To Tweet You get so much further with kindness and respect. @bobgoff Click To Tweet If you want to become a great leader, talk less, listen more. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet When you listen longer than most people listen, you hear things most people never hear. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet Great leaders rush to a question far more often than they rush to an answer. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet Great leaders often stay quiet about themselves. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 349

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Watch Back Episodes of The Podcast on YouTube

Select episodes of this podcast are now on YouTube. Our new YouTube Channel gives you a chance to watch some episodes, not just listen. We’ll add select episodes to YouTube as time goes on.

Subscribed Yet? 

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Nancy Duarte, Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Erwin McManus and many others.

Subscribe using your favorite podcast app via

Apple Podcasts


Google Play



Spread the Word. Leave a Rating and Review

Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn as well.

Your ratings and reviews help us place the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Ryan Hawk

Podcaster, author and speaker, Ryan Hawk, has interviewed some of the top names in leadership including Jim Collins, Seth Godin, Liz Wiseman and Gen. Stanley McChrystal. But a few years ago, he knew no one of that caliber in leadership. Ryan shares how his unique approach (learned in sales) opened doors to world-class leaders, and how leaders can go from top performers to true leaders.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 350.

Lead With Confidence and Clarity. Grow Your Church.

As leaders, we tend to see the challenges and roadblocks before other people do.

We've all been there before...

  • You need to refresh your vision for the future but know that change will be an issue for that person.
  • You're overstaffed (or missing a key role) and can't find the right person to fill the role.
  • You aren't reaching enough new people even though you've tried everything that's working for other churches.
  • You can see the issue but aren't confident in what to do about it.

And with another Sunday morning coming up, it'll just have to wait until next week when you have a few minutes to figure it out.

Now ask yourself this:

What would it feel like to have those answers at your fingertips 24/7?

Whether it's reaching new people, improving your preaching, increasing volunteers, refreshing your vision, engaging your staff, or any of the countless challenges we face as church leaders, The Art of Leadership Academy will equip you to lead your church with confidence and clarity.

Between comprehensive church leadership courses, live coaching calls, staff and volunteer training resources, and direct access to an online community of senior-level church leaders, you'll get the exact insights and answers that fuel your church for growth.

Share This Post
Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.