How to Overcome Distraction and Discover More Joy
The popular author, speaker, and philanthropist answers listeners’ questions about how to “be where your feet are” and focus on what really matters.
Our latest guest, Bob Goff, is certainly one of those people. His interview is packed with nuggets that will keep you thinking well after you reach the end of the show.
Bob is a popular writer, speaker, and philanthropist. His best-selling books include Love Does, Everybody Always, Dream Big, and his newest release, Undistracted: Capture Your Purpose, Rediscover Your Joy.
The topic of his latest book was a bit of a personal mission for Goff, who confesses early on in this episode that "air distracts him." He shares curious and useful tactics he's learned for staying focused on what really matters.
Before we spoke with Bob, we sent out copies of his latest book Undistracted to select members of our audience. Those listeners shared their thoughts and questions — and evoked some insightful and entertaining responses from Bob.
- You'll hear how Bob uses a countdown clock to number his days, and what he's learned from doing it.
- Bob will explain an unexpected problem solving technique he calls "strategic whimsy," and why it works especially well with kids.
- He shares why his "Love Does" foundation, which has operated around the world in places like India, Uganda and Afghanistan, is now focusing more on needs here in the USA. You'll hear some compelling reasons for learning to serve your neighbors too.
- Lastly, Bob shares the personal story behind why he always wears a Boston Red Sox hat. As a native Bostonian, this was especially of interest to me. Turns out, it's nothing to do with sports.
- Why Bob calls his friends on the anniversary of their worst day (7:21)
- Why he prefers to "fail trying" over "fail watching" (21:01)
- On "strategic whimsy" as a way to get things done (22:13)
- Why you shouldn't ask other people for for advice (34:59)
- Why Bob always wears a Boston Red Sox hat (39:06)
FRANK BLAKE: So, Bob, it is such a treat to have you as a guest at Crazy Good Turns.
BOB GOFF: Yeah. Thanks a million. Glad to be with you today.
FRANK BLAKE: All right. So, one of your skills and you've got a lot of skills, but
one of your skills that I hugely admire is your ability to use phrases that
compress complex and profound thoughts in short sentences.
So, I'm going to start with one of those that I've heard you say, and I've heard you use the saying "be where your feet are."
I'd love to have you explain that a little bit and maybe tie that to your new book, "Undistracted."
BOB GOFF: Yeah, it was a phrase I picked up in the South and that idea of just
being where your feet are instead of all over the place, because we're just
also easily distracted.
So, we've got iPhones and it wouldn't be the first time an Apple did us in.
So, we've got somebody ringing the doorbell and then something that's due and taxes and business things and appointments and alarms going off and all that.
So, that idea being where your feet are is the idea of just the practicing presence, to be just fully there, uninterrupted, focused.
Because if you are in a room with an adolescent, they don't know that you know they are on the phone. They're just fussing around with this.
They think that you think they're present and everybody else in the room knows that they're gone.
try to just think of this as just putting the phones down, letting people know
you have my total attention.
So, whatever it would be that would eliminate all of the distractions around you and to just say, "For the next five minutes, let's just focus in on that. Let's not be thinking about the next place or the last place."
You can come up with all kinds of tricks to do that.
So, for instance, the friends that helped me organize myself, I only open up that day what I'm doing.
So, I'm not thinking about today yesterday, and I won't be thinking about today tomorrow. I'm just fully here.
That's not a lack of preparation.
That's actually the presence of preparation to say, "I am 100% in on this calendar square today. You've got my 100% attention."
So to do that, there needs to be a little preparation.
I'm in Tampa right now and I'm going to visit with some people tonight.
I'm not just going to wing it because I wouldn't be honoring to them.
So, I'm not saying do away with preparation, I'm just saying emphasize presence.
FRANK BLAKE: Yeah.
Because I think your book is so perfect for our time, but also as you were thinking about it, did you think, "Gee, we have more of a challenge now of being where our feet are, being undistracted than we did say 20 or 30 years ago," or has this always been with us?
BOB GOFF: Oh, sure. I mean, I imagine the disciples in a boat trying to catch fish
with Jesus, they were distracted by the lack of fish around there.
I bet a cowboy was just thinking about with just him and his cows, but he was thinking about a couple things.
But now we've got everything. You've got this and this and what you say and who you say it to and what you do and what holiday's today. Oh, my gosh, what holiday's coming up. Yeah.
So, there's so many things tugging at you and we feel like we need to respond to everything and you don't need to respond to everything.
I wanted to do this Jedi move over everybody and say, "Chill out."
You don't need to do everything, but do a couple things really well.
instance, one thing that this idea of being in the square you're in on the
calendar is I had pop up today a couple reminders, but I don't put reminders on
birthdays and softball league last day and all that.
I calendar one year from the worst day of my friend's life.
So, if my friend goes through something really hard, I calendar one year from the worst day of his or her life.
Then I don't give them a call and say, "This is a year from the worst day of your life," but what I'll do is I'll call them up and say, "Look how far you've come."
They can either put it together that this is the anniversary of the worst day of their life or not.
I want to practice that intentionality with people.
everybody can send somebody a happy birthday and hope the graduation goes
great. I think you should.
However, there's a next level you could go to, which is caring so deeply, being so involved in somebody's life that you would not only intersect that life, but then say a word you can become and you are the sage in your community.
Say something a sage would say, which is look how far you've come.
FRANK BLAKE: So you've said that with "Undistracted," you wrote the book that you
I've also heard you say that you make coffee nervous, which is a great phrase.
So, do you struggle with your own advice?
BOB GOFF: Oh, totally, every single day. I think air distracts me.
I mean, I'm just constantly fighting against the distractions and I probably will to the end of my days.
But the idea is not to relent, to just say, "You know what? I'm not going to let somebody else make all these decisions for me." It wasn't me that coined that phrase.
But if we let other people decide, then we're going to be a version of us that looks like who they think we are, instead of who God thinks we are.
So, I want to be just fully aware of my little peccadilloes and my little foibles and then just to say, "Okay, what am I going to do to reign those in today?"
I'll give you an example.
Tonight, when I speak at a place, they said, "Do you need anything?" I'm like, "Well, microphone if you got one, but I also need a music stand."
be the lousiest music stand you got in the building.
People will think that I have notes on the music stand. There won't be anything on the music stand.
There will always be somebody in row one that's jiggling their legs. You know those leg jigglers? They're doing the whole sewing machine thing.
Now, there's nothing wrong with them. They're just happy or nervous or whatever they are, but it's so distracting for me.
There could be 5,000 people in the room, and one dude who I don't know if he needs to go to the restroom or spurt off some energy, but he's jiggling his leg.
So, what I do is I take the music stand and I put it between me and whatever's distracting me.
FRANK BLAKE: Oh, that's great.
BOB GOFF: So I'll just move it and I just block it.
He's not the guy with the problem. I'm the guy with the problem.
you can do is to say, "I want to put something in between me and whatever's
So you could say, if your faith guides your steps, "I'm putting my faith in between me and whatever's distracting me."
You can put some people, create a little bit of an air gap between you and some people that in your life are a constant distraction.
just all for coming up with strategies because we're all so totally weird and
we're all so very insecure.
We just deal with our weirdness and insecurities in really different ways. Some people get mean like a rattlesnake and some get happy like me.
FRANK BLAKE: So, I'm going to go off-topic for a second here, but since I'm a lawyer
by training as well and I know you are.
I listen to you and your statements are so straightforward, your examples are so good and just relatable.
Yet most lawyers are known for obfuscating and long-winded conversations to justify the hourly rate. I can say that as a lawyer.
I'm curious, are there things you had to unlearn as you transitioned from being a lawyer to what you are now, which is an author, a speaker, someone who helps others as they work through their life and faith and other issues?
BOB GOFF: I would say one thing that I could be mistaken for is apathy when it's
there was a woman that said, "Will you take me to Israel?" She got a
I said, "Tell you what, I'll take you, but let me bring some more people."
I put up on Instagram. I said, "We're going to the Holy Land. Who wants to come in?"
Eight thousand people signed up that day and Jesus could only feed 5,000 and I could only take maybe 200. I don't know.
them, "You got 24 hours to decide. I'm not going to tell you where we're
going, where we're staying, or what we're doing." I mean, total Jesus
What happened is it came across as really whatever. The strategy is I wanted 200 low maintenance people.
didn't want people who were worried about what place they were staying and who
was going to fluff their pillow and who was going to be the cup-bearer and all
I didn't want somebody that had a bunch of questions, because if you got a bunch of questions - that's not a bad thing. I'm just not your guy.
So, what I'm advocating for is to take your strength, your superpower as an advocate and a lawyer, take your God-given characteristics, your personality, wed those together.
Then if you know you'll be distracted by 200 people each with 40 questions, so just outsmart that.
So, come up with some strategies in your life that will weed out some of the distractions.
I put my cell phone number in the back of three million books. There's literally - I don't have two phones, this is it.
just have one-minute phone calls with people and I get 100 calls a day, but
they're just brief calls.
I always say, "I don't have as much time as I wish I had to whatever, but how can I be helpful to you?"
Some people will get those auditory cues like be brief. Then other people won't.
They'll say, "When I was an embryo..." That's going to take a while.
But for other people, they'll pick up on that.
If somebody has something longer to talk about, I said, "Here's my email address, bobgoff@bobgoff. Just drop me a note."
I'm advocating for is to say, "Let's find a way to do the things we need
to do within the practice of law, within the practice of medicine or plumbing
or homemaker, whatever it is that can allow you to accomplish your goals and
still stay undistracted and yet be available to people."
FRANK BLAKE: Yeah. Wow. That's a difficult thing to pull off, but what I love about
your approach is it's very intentional.
BOB GOFF: That's the word that I was hoping you'd use, intent.
FRANK BLAKE: Very, very thoughtful. So, as you know, we've given away copies of your
book to listeners of the podcast. Along with that, we asked if people had
questions they wanted to ask of you.
BOB GOFF: Oh, I love this.
FRANK BLAKE: Here's a question from a listener.
BOB GOFF: In three years, Jesus asked 307 questions and he only answered 3. One per
So, go ahead. Maybe I'll answer, maybe I won't.
FRANK BLAKE: All right, fair enough.
DAVID LYLE: Hey, Bob. David from California here. Thank you for the book,
Frank, thanks so much for sending out copies of it.
Bob, you approached the topic with your usual good humor.
The theme throughout the book is death and fear of dying. You even talk about how having a clock counting down the number of days you expect to live.
You advise readers to try it and see how it changes their days. I'd like to know how has it changed yours?
BOB GOFF: Yeah, David, what a great question.
The part of it is just knowing the game board, knowing about how much time you have between now and whatever it is.
I'm 64 right now, and I hope I'm going to live to 320. I want to be older than Methuselah when I die.
However, that isn't going to happen.
So, being very present and knowing about where you are, it would make you more attentive to what's going on.
For instance, if you were one of those many insects that are one-day insects, you know you only have 24 hours, I'm not going to spend my time arguing with people or whatever the big social issue of the day.
It isn't that it doesn't matter.
It's just that compared to the brevity of my life and the things that do matter for me, it doesn't matter by comparison.
doesn't make me a bad person. That makes me a strategic person. Think about this concept, David.
Hope, like something you're hoping for, without a plan is a wish. We don't want to just be wishing we had more time. I wish I had more time.
I want to actually plan. We got the time we got.
I know it depends on whether the other guy's a good driver, but we've got a
period of time, 27,383 days, give or take.
Then what are you going to do with what you got? Great question.
It's been really helpful for me to live that way. As you can pick up, I'm a pretty upbeat guy, but I'm a pretty upbeat guy with a plan.
FRANK BLAKE: Always worthwhile to number our days.
BOB GOFF: Bingo, Proverbs 90, come on.
FRANK BLAKE: So I'm always interested with sentences that begin "there are two kinds
of people in the world."
Some of those sentences go seriously off the rails, but you have a wonderful one that I think is right on track.
It's going to tee up another question from our listeners, but the phrase was there are two kinds of people in the world, those who walk into a room and say, "Here I am," and those who walk into a room and say, "There you are."
My question is, how do you work on that? Then we could also tee up the question that's associated with that.
THERESA RIFE: Hi, Bob. Thanks for your great book, "Undistracted."
Early on in the book, you referenced the courageous work of identifying what is distracting you from better things like faith, family, and purpose.
I'd like to know what form did that work take for you? Was it prayer, meditation, or something else?
Just wondering how we can turn this great idea into action. Any suggestions are appreciated.
BOB GOFF: Yeah, what a great question.
Faith is a big deal for me. It's not for everybody, but one of the letters that one of the guys, Paul, that wrote many of the letters in the Bible, he was talking to his friends and he said, "The only thing that matters is your faith expressed in love."
So when I think about that, I don't want to just agree with some of these beautiful principles.
I want to actually do something about it. So, both African proverb and then also Zechariah 4:10, it says, "Don't despise small beginnings because the Lord delights in watching the work begin."
I just like that idea of starting.
So, for me-
FRANK BLAKE: Say again, don't despise small beginnings.
BOB GOFF: Yes. Don't despise small beginnings because the Lord delights in watching
the work begin.
So, if you've ever seen, for instance, Frank, a 1-year-old take its first step, right?
My grandson took his first step. I didn't say, "I've seen better." I'm like, "That's awesome."
As a matter of fact, it was just this week that our granddaughter is just learning how to speak.
She was sitting at a table and there's an apple in front of her. She looks at the apple and she says, "Apple."
I'm like, "Oh, my gosh. This is the smartest woman ever. She's going big."
Then she looked at the chair next to her and she said, "Apple." Then she looked at me and she said, "Apple." I'm like, "Darn it."
But you know what? I was just delighted at that small beginnings because my body shape is a bit like an apple.
what I want us to do is not to be hard on ourselves, not to despise those small
beginnings, but just start.
For some people, starting is praying, and that's terrific. I am on team that.
I'm married to Sweet Maria Goff. She prays, and I know God listens.
I'm a man of prayers well, but I pray on the way. I want to make moves.
Say the prayer on the way. So, there's something about that, not just agreeing.
I wouldn't be a guy who would have a Bible-study. We have a Bible-doing.
One of them is just finding out words in Greek, and the other one is doing something about it.
So, whether your route to get there is stretching, exercises, yoga, meditation, prayer, but it isn't just the accumulation of knowledge and not just agreeing about this stuff, but just start, see what happens.
Some stuff will work and some stuff will crater. That's because we're us and life is life and that's how it works.
But I want to fail trying. I don't want to fail watching.
They think there's a lot of people that are failing watching, rather than failing trying.
FRANK BLAKE: The small beginnings and not putting enough faith into small beginnings.
BOB GOFF: Yeah. Bingo.
FRANK BLAKE: Yeah. Yeah.
So, I liked one of your phrases about when you define being undistracted as being joyfully, abundantly, and unreasonably available to the people around you, which sounds horrific.
Then just as you were talking about your grandchildren, we got another great question from a listener that I want to play for you.
Hello, my name is Damion.
Like you, I'm a parent.
Therefore, I was struck by your observation that well-chosen words can shift the people around you towards something better and more beautiful and also, your suggestion to speak over your kids' lives, the beauty and hope their hearts long to hear.
So, I'm wondering, how can one do that while also getting them to do all the tedious stuff like chores, homework, et cetera? Thank you.
BOB GOFF : Yeah, Damion, great question.
I would think of it not just whimsy like "yippy!" but strategic whimsy.
So, my son, Adam, he wouldn't make his bed in the morning. All the kids would come downstairs.
The first question I'd ask them wasn't like, "What mountain do you want to climb? What character do you want to work on?"
I would say, "Did you make your bed?" What an uninspiring way to start the day.
So, what I did is I put these climbing holds on all the walls. I hung his bed from a carabiner.
One of those porta-ledges. If you were climbing half dome and you got halfway up, you set up a portaledge. We set up a sleeping bag on it, and for the next six years, Adam slept in a sleeping bag.
solved. He had no bed to make.
What I want us to do is bring that strategic whimsy.
So, the question in the morning was, "Hey, did your brother belay you out of your bed?"
He was hanging from the ceiling like a bat. I really like the idea of mixing whimsy with fun.
You've got this big ambition for your kids. You want to see them grow.
Frank, did you have your parents or somebody that was involved in raising you stand you up against a door jamb and put a pencil-
FRANK BLAKE: Of course.
BOB GOFF: ... on your head and make a little-
FRANK BLAKE: Yeah, of course.
BOB GOFF: Yeah, yeah. What if instead of just marking height, we start measuring
So next to height, 4'3", we also have character. I saw honesty in you. I saw integrity in you.
Make that one go right up and over the ceiling and down the other side and across the garage and down just to say we're going to measure more than just the statistics.
What we're interested around here is building character.
I want you to have strong bones, so eat your vegetables, but I also want you to have a strong character.
So, what I want you to do is when you say, yes, we do yes. When you say no, we do no.
This idea of maybe, there's just not a lot of maybes in our life.
I'm not saying be legalistic and everything's black and white. I'm just saying choose, just decide, rather than keeping all that FOMO, fear that you're going to miss out.
FRANK BLAKE: Less optionality, more decisions.
BOB GOFF: Yes. So, take a couple options off the table.
That wasn't even Jesus until one of his pals that was hanging around with him.
Some of the people had left, and he said, "Are you leaving too?"
He said, "Where else would I go? I got no other options."
So in some ways to go full Cortes, burn the ships to just say, "I'm taking away all the other options and I'm just going to do a cannonball rather than putting my toe in the water all the time in relationships. I'm grabbing my knees. I'm going in."
We're going to see.
We have a school in the northern part of Afghanistan where we teach little girls how to read and write.
We just did a cannonball. We just said, "Here we are. Where are we going?"
than say, try to build consensus around everything in your life where a lot of
us are asking permission for things that we already have permission to do.
So, act like you have permission.
Presume friendships when you meet people.
Don't ask people, "How are you?" Because if I say, "Frank, how are you?" Then you're going to say, "Fine, how are you?" I'll say, "Fine, how are you?"
say, "What does it feel like to be you today, Frank?"
Then you'll say like, "Oh, my gosh. Somebody actually is interested."
your kids, "What does it feel like to be you? While you're thinking about
your answer, let me tell you what it feels like to be me."
In other words, let me tell you... We're going to get real here.
It feels like being really insecure, very uncertain, but totally resolved.
Then you are going to get a whopper answer from your kids.
FRANK BLAKE: Can I ask you, because you raised some of the things that you do outside
of writing books and speaking to folks and helping them through their journey.
You've launched a nonprofit called Love Does, and it does a lot and a lot of very different things from education in impoverished areas, things in Burkina Faso to Ukraine, prison populations in San Quentin, a home serving single mothers.
I mean, you're doing a lot of things. How do you decide what to do and whom to serve?
BOB GOFF: Here's the deal for all of your listeners.
It sounds noble to go across an ocean, but you'll only find two instances of that in the Bible.
Paul got shipwrecked and Jonah. Well, you know what happened to him.
But you're going to find a ton of stuff about going across the street, right?
A lawyer, like me and you, tries to set up Jesus and said, "What's the big commandment?" Love God with your heart, soul, mind, and love your neighbor.
So I just, what I want us to do, some of these things overseas are working because there's these amazing, courageous people overseas going across the street in their country.
So, what I want you and me and your listeners to do is to do it right here. Don't talk about going to the ends of the earth till you've gone to the end of your block.
FRANK BLAKE: That's terrific. That's terrific.
I like so much how your books and as you work with people, how you give just very practical insights into how to deal with their lives.
I like your checklist principle also because I know that relates to flight and airlines and the like.
I know you've got a great checklist that's associated with this book, and I'd love it if you go through quickly what that is for our audience.
The GUMPS checklist.
BOB GOFF: Yeah. So, for people that have ever taken any pilot training, the first
thing they teach you is you get in this little airplane.
On day one, they'll take you up and you will take off and land that plane. Isn't that crazy with a total of no experience at all?
They're trying to hook you so they can get you in pilot school, but you will take off and land that plane the day.
The first thing they'll tell you is to be situationally aware, get your head on a swivel.
I think that's such a beautiful principle for people that don't want to be distracted.
Get your head on a swivel and then they'll tell you, "Look at 10% of the sky at a time."
In other words, take a hard look at a piece of the sky, not a quick look at the whole sky.
the last thing they'll teach you when you're about to land this plane, the
acronym is GUMPS and it's gas, undercarriage, mixture, prop.
So, how many planes on YouTube have you seen come in with the wheels not down?
It wasn't because there was a failure other than the guy just forgot to put the wheels down.
I say it's a guy because it always is a guy. The women are always organized.
So, gas is to make sure that you're on the fullest tank, that you don't run out. That'll breach.
Undercarriage is making sure your wheels are down.
mixture, to know we need to have the richest mixture in there.
You don't want it to be at 40,000 feet. It's a real thin mixture, but down low real mixture.
Then the propeller, so that if you needed to go around, the propeller is set to go around.
So, I live for three months out of the year at the end of an inlet in Canada, and the nearest neighbor is 10,000 square miles away.
FRANK BLAKE: How far away?
BOB GOFF: Ten thousand square miles.
There's a TV show called Alone where they put people out in the middle of the wilderness.
Those guys are 30 miles closer to people than I am, so I'm really alone.
So, the whole idea of having a plane to get in and out, it's a sea plane that lands on the water. I've learned that idea of just being really prepared.
So, think of even if you're not going to go learn how to fly a plane, think of some of those principles in your life, to be super prepared, to know your destination.
What am I aiming towards? Sometimes it isn't a specific place. It might be a direction in your life.
I want to be more generous. I want to be more available. I want to be more patient.
I want to be more, "Let's pick a destination and then just start aiming in that direction."
tell you, there's nothing that will bring on more patience in your life than
telling everybody that you want to be more patient.
You will find every single traffic jam there ever. You will end up at the DMV.
You know you're going to end up at the wrong line. So, each one of these things.
There's a kid's book and it's all about what you fill your bucket with.
So, the whole idea is if you fill your bucket with love, you'll be loving. If you fill your bucket with all these arguments, you'll be a lawyer.
So, I decided I was going to be more patient.
I literally went to Home Depot and got a metal galvanized bucket.
You can actually fit one of these underneath a seat in front of you on a plane. I looked like a dairy farmer.
I went, I had this bucket with me.
When I would get impatient, I would just say, "Fill it with patience. Fill it with patience."
Some former friend of mine who used to be a pastor at a church asked me to come and speak at the church on a Sunday.
He didn't tell me it's Super Bowl Sunday, and I want to be at home eating nachos. I'm like, "Ah!"
So now church is over. I rush back to the airport. I got my Avis car and I have my bucket in the passenger seat.
I get that guy, the guy at Avis that just can't go. My clothes are going out of style. I'm banging on the dashboard.
So, I'm like, "I got a plane to catch." After 30 long minutes, he opens up the door and says, "How was your rental car experience?"
wanted to clock him, but for 30 minutes, I'd been saying, "Just fill my
bucket with patience. Fill my bucket with patience."
So I grab my bucket, I give him a hug.
I said, "The car was awesome. You're awesome."
I went to the airport to get a new ride, and he comes running up after me when I'm three quarters of the way there.
He stops me. He said, "Bob, I just wanted you to know that was a great sermon you just gave."
I'm like, "You were there?"
Oh, could you imagine if I had actually not been filling my bucket with patience and I'd been as ornery as I was feeling at the time?
So I would say, for all of your listeners, go out, get yourself a bucket and fill it.
When I told my wife, Sweet Maria, all about the bucket and how I fill it, you know what she said? Get a bigger bucket.
FRANK BLAKE: That's great. That's great.
We had many more questions from our listeners, but just in respect of your time, we got one last question from a listener, which I think is great because it's what you want to ask anybody who's giving great advice.
BOB GOFF: Oh, terrific.
DONNA IRVIN: Hi, Donna Irvin from Longwood, Florida.
My question would be through all the writing of your books, your ministry, your travels, what is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
BOB GOFF: Oh, thanks, Donna.
When somebody asks for advice, then what I usually tell them is my experience. I'll give you an example.
I've sailed across the ocean a couple times and I don't know why I do it, because I always just hurl the whole way.
I get so seasick, but I always drop about 30 pounds. I'm like, "In your face, Oprah."
So what I do on these trips is I always get a little bit of advice unsolicited from people.
There was a guy recently that told me, "This is the direction you should go. This is the sail you should bring, this is this, this is that."
He had all these opinions and advice about everything. I asked him, "Oh, are you a sailor?"
He said, "I've never left Ohio."
He had a ton of opinions and advice. He just didn't have a ton of experience.
what I try to do, Donna, is I would say and I try to keep myself by this, is
when somebody says, "What's your advice for -?" or when I'm looking
to somebody for advice, I ask them, "What is your experience with -?"
So for instance, if you're asking relationship advice, ask somebody, "Hey, tell me about your relationships that have mattered the most."
If they're on their fifth marriage as many people are, because marriages are difficult and all that.
So, there's no judgment in that, but that gives you some context for the advice they're about to give.
ask for financial advice and to say, "How's the financial stuff going for
you?" and be like, "I just got out of bankruptcy for the fourth
It'll just give you some context for the advice you're giving.
So, don't ask people for advice. Ask them what their experience is. As they're explaining their experience, you will understand the advice.
FRANK BLAKE: That's terrific.
So, we always ask on this show for you to talk about someone who has done a crazy good turn for you, someone who's just done something extraordinarily kind or important, whatever it is.
Who's done a crazy good turn for you, Bob?
BOB GOFF: Oh, gosh.
It is such a long line of participants in that from the Uber driver last night to Sweet Maria, 35 years, 8 months and 14 days ago. I'm counting up, I think she's counting down.
was a guy named Keith Green out in Texas who was a musician way back in the day
and died way too early.
But when I was going into college, I wrote him a letter because it was before the internet.
He wrote me back three sentences and I got this letter from Keith fricking Green.
I'm like, "Are you kidding me? He wrote me."
I don't even know what the three sentences are, but I felt so seen. I felt so valued.
I felt so worth it that it is now 45 years later and I get about 200 emails a day. Everybody gets three sentences. You know why?
Keith Green wrote me three sentences and it made me feel like I was really
worth it, that he made time for me.
So, that idea to just making time instead of saying, it's a high value to have time for people.
Just like maybe today, to send somebody a couple notes, just drop them a note, a little postcard, or email or something like that.
You don't have to have a wax seal and your ring stamped on it. Just something really small.
Then I would also say this, for the transactional kinds of emails that we'll all be involved in today, add a sentence above it in two sentences beneath it.
have the idea of whatever it is, but add one sentence before and two sentences
after and just say like, "Man, I'm so grateful I get to spend time with
you. I'm so grateful we get to be colleagues in this thing. I'm really happy
Then the last two sentences, "would you please greet your family for me? I just hope this has been a really meaningful year for you, and I'm just delighted to be part of this."
So, there's nothing you're asking for, it's that thing that you add before and after that.
That's one of a long list of things people taught me, and it happened to be Keith Green.
FRANK BLAKE: That's wonderful. I'm a big believer in that. So, that's just a
wonderful lesson and a wonderful gift that he gave you, a great, crazy good
So, I've got one personal question for you.
BOB GOFF: Oh, good.
FRANK BLAKE: So we're a podcast, we don't show this on video, but I notice on your
site and now on this podcast, you're always wearing a Boston Red Sox hat.
BOB GOFF: Yes.
FRANK BLAKE: I'm from Boston. You're not from Boston as far as I know.
Are you a Red Sox fan, or you just like the way the B looks on a Boston hat?
BOB GOFF: Yes. You know the guys that have their name on the shirt like Bob?
It's a good reminder, but it was actually a neighbor of mine, Carol, who was going to be in heaven.
About nine years ago, we knew she had about a week to go. So, she was a huge Red Sox fan. I mean, I don't think there's a bigger fan out there.
So, I told her that I would wear her Red Sox hat for the rest of my life and represent the Red Sox, but in exchange, I said, "Every time Jesus walks by you, you need to mention my name."
There's a Bible verse that said, "I knew you not." I'm like, "Carol."
So I know why I'm doing. It's funny, Frank, when I go through the airport at JFK in New York, people will hiss at me, because they're rooting for the Yankees.
If they knew I was wearing my dead neighbor's hat, they'd feel so bad. Well, New York, who knows?
But you get that idea that there's more going on underneath people's hat than you would think, that there's more pain, there's more joy, there's more anticipation.
So, as you and I meet people today, then what we would do is we would just be quick. We would use that as a reminder that there's more underneath the lid than you would think.
a reason that they're uptight. There's a reason that they're a little weepy.
There's a reason that they seem a little on edge.
It's not just the argument that they had, but it's been a life filled with lots of pressures.
What if you and I became the one safe person just for the next couple minutes? Just be Switzerland, give me a bar of chocolate and a bobsled.
want to be the one safe guy in their life, so I don't need to win. They don't
need to win.
Which is a reversal, Frank, from our time as advocates, but I don't want to win.
I want to be kindness and joy to them.
Whether faith is important to them or not, we could decide to actually live out what we believe and just these really intentional acts of kindness.
FRANK BLAKE: That is just so wonderful. I'll never look at a Red Sox cap the same
I'll have an extra reason for liking the Red Sox caps.
BOB GOFF: Go Sox.
FRANK BLAKE: So Bob, for our listeners, who I'm sure have just absolutely loved
listening to you and learning from you, what's the best way for them to follow
up in addition to buying your book, "Undistracted," and your other
BOB GOFF: Yeah. I'm a super easy guy to find, just Bob Goff.
If you plug that in somewhere, I'll pop out on all the social media stuff and all that.
Then find some people that are right there in your neighborhood.
Maybe the guy that's sorting the mail or the person that's at the grocery store, the farmer planting the seed, the picker picking the produce, that idea of not just agreeing with some of these things, but then right in your community to just say, "Hey, man," for somebody that doesn't get any attention at all, direct a little attention their way.
that's what I'm aiming to do today.
I know you guys, that's probably why you do this podcast. You want to touch people. You want to do important things in their life.
I think that we'll be known for our opinions, and we'll be remembered for our love.
So, I think, Frank, you're going to be remembered as a really loving guy. So, thanks for having me on.
FRANK BLAKE: No, this has been such an honor, such a privilege, Bob.
Really extraordinary. Thank you. Thank you so much.
BOB GOFF: Oh, thanks, everybody.
From Frank Blake
My Sincere Thanks
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