CNLP 480: Bob Goff on the Power of Keeping 1.8 Million Words of Notes, Overcoming His Insecurity, and on Being Unreasonably Available

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Former lawyer and New York Times bestselling author, Bob Goff, returns for a conversation about why he keeps notes, accumulating 1.8 million words of observation and insights and the value that serves, enabling justice in a hostile world, overcoming personal insecurity he felt as a child, and why he continues to be ‘unreasonably’ available to the 1 million+ people who have his phone number.

Welcome to Episode 480 of the podcast. Listen 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.

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Insights from Bob

1. If you want to find Jesus, you have to look in uncomfortable places

In the podcast, Bob Goff talks about his prison ministry at the San Quentin State Prison in California. More than just a charitable opportunity, Goff says his motivation is rooted in his belief that Jesus can most readily be found and experienced among people and places cast off from society. Pointing to Scripture like Matthew 25:35-40, Goff believes most of modern Christianity focuses too much on acquiring knowledge about God rather than meeting with God in spaces many people find uncomfortable.

2. We all need to outgrow certain narratives we told ourselves when we were young

Bob Goff is well-known for his wild stories, gregarious attitude, and infectious optimism. But, as he confesses to Carey, he also struggles with insecurity. Goff traces that insecurity to his childhood, when – in order to cope with unpredictability – he told himself that everyone he loved would leave eventually, so it doesn’t do any good to develop deep relationships. Goff admits to holding onto that narrative far longer than necessary (to the detriment of many relationships), and encourages listeners to identify the coping stories in their own lives that have outgrown their usefulness. 

3. The world needs a new kind of cynic

In today’s culture, the word “cynic” comes with a lot of negative connotations. Someone who is considered “cynical” is often someone who appears to find joy in tearing something down. We have a lot of those kinds of cynics. However, Bob Goff points to the cynics of ancient Greece – who were known for something different. Speaking specifically on Diogenes, Goff says he wants more cynics looking for virtue, known more for living apart from the ways of the world and more for seeking out a new way to live.

Quotes from Episode 480

Kindness and respect have a shelf life that will outlast you @bobgoff Click To Tweet Jesus asked 300 questions in the three years of ministry, he only answered three. @bobgoff Click To Tweet You know what? You can be right and you can be kind. @bobgoff Click To Tweet Sometimes you think you need permission to do something you already have permission to do. @bobgoff Click To Tweet What will break our distraction from our pain and for the things around it is acts of kindness. @bobgoff Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 480

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

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Next Episode: Ian Morgan Cron

Ian Morgan Cron returns to the podcast and offers advice to leaders on how to lead in a season where there have been no wins, overcoming the fear many leaders have of truly getting healthy (will they lose the power that made them successful?) and how to write a new story and overcome your old, broken story from your childhood.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 481.

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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.