bob goff

bob goff 9 bw

intro’d to Bob when Hannah suggested i read love does.

on love does 2013:

when we’re not afraid anymore, we start doing stuff…

not a distraction to the day, it is the day…

great insight about work with restore:

sounds like a movement

we're all invited


go love everybody


how/why restore international started – 2010:

so moral of the story – how to make change – talk/listen to (your) kids

find/follow Bob:

link twitter

love does twitter:

link twitter

link facebook

his site:

bob goffs site

Bob – an attorney who founded Restore International, a nonprofit human rights organization operating in Uganda and India. Bob often appears at various leadership and university events, inspiring current and future influencers to get to the ”do” part of life.

With a team of dedicated people, Restore International has pursued justice for the needy. Restore worked with Uganda’s judiciary in bringing to trial over 200 cases, including cases involving children who were languishing in jail without trial. In India, Restore investigated and intervened to relieve minor girls from a life of forced prostitution, leading to the identification and arrest of over 80 perpetrators. Restore now has a school in Northern Uganda called the Restore Leadership Academy.

Bob’s inspiration has been fueled by the friendships he has developed with others around the world who desire to pursue strategic ways to help people in need.

As an attorney, Bob shares leadership in a Washington law firm, Goff & DeWalt. Additionally, he serves as the Hon. Consul for the Republic of Uganda to the United States. He is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine Law School where he teaches Nonprofit Law, and Point Loma Nazarene University, where he teaches Business Law.


love does

love does

book links to amazon


People who don’t want anything in return for their love can’t be controlled. – Bob Goff


book notes:


xii: whimsy is a lot that way – it needs to be fully experienced to be fully known.

xiii: tom sawyer island is like most people’s lives, i think: they never get around to crossing over to it.

[elizabeth gilbert‘s word: crossing over]

passing on the chance to cross over is an overall attitude toward life rather than a single decision. they need a change of attitude, not more opportunities.

it (tom sawyer’s island and/or life) has all the potential you bring ot it – nothing more, nothing less. to find out just how much that is, all you have to do is show up. you don’t need a plan; you just need to be present.

spaces of permission with nothing to prove

somewhere in each of us, i believe there’s a desire for a place like tom sayer island, a place where the stuff of imagination, whimsy, and wonder are easier to live out – not just think about or put off until next time.


this is a weighty thing to think about on my island, but i often consider what i’m tempted to call the greatest lie of all time. and that lie can be bound up in two words:

someone else

1: i used to want to fix people, but not i just want to be with them.

i used to want to fix people

7: i wasn’t a project, i was his friend.

10: neither of us was a very good shot and we rarely hit what we aimed for so we just called whatever we hit the target. there are a lot of people who still do that.

14-15: i get that look sometimes, and it’s usually from people who don’t have a lot of creativity or haven’t experienced whimsy or haven’t played with bb guns or been shot once or twice. the people who slowly become typical have the greatest problem wrapping their minds around a dynamic friendship with an invisible, alive god.

21: he had no idea what an outrageous thing he was asking. but you see, to ryan, i wasn’t a total stranger – no one was. to him, the whole world was full of coconspirators …

24: ryan’s love was audacious. it was whimsical. it was strategic. most of all, it was contagious. watching ryan lose himself in love reminded me that being engaged isn’t just an event that happens when a guy gets on one knee and puts a ring on his true love’s finger. being engaged is a way of doing life, a way of living and loving. it’s about going to extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light. that’s what i want my life to be all about – full of abandon, whimsy and in love. 

25: i used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now i’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.

the it is me

37: i don’t think it looks like a series of folded-over mistakes and do-overs that have shaped our lives. instead, i think we’ll conclude in the end that maybe we’re all a little like human origami and the more creases we have, the better.

no agenda

73-74: when people realize there’s no agenda other than friendship and better understanding, it changes things.

no agenda goff

76: i used to think i needed and invitation to get into most places, but now i know i’m already invited.

80: i get invited every morning when i wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does.

nobody turns down an invitation to the white house, but i’ve seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live.

91: he’s asking us to play bigger and better, where we give ourselves and end up with him

102: my favorite book… it’s a thesaurus. the reason is simple. there are hundreds of words, probably thousands of them listed that can capture and idea or thought and propose words to describe those thoughts or ideas with greater precision, which would add much more clarity to what i’m trying to say. now i try to explain my faith in much the same way a thesaurus does and see if i can’t swap a word that is used far too much for another that might add more meaning, more life… stretch(ing) for a better, clearer way to express myself that i have done in the past.

129: most great adventures work that way. you don’t plan them, you don’t wait to get all the details right, you just do them.

i think a father’s job, when it’s done best, is to get down on both knees, lean over his children’s lives, and whisper, .. where do you want to go..

136: you don’t need to know everything when you’re with someone you trust. 

144: he doesn’t pass us messages, instead he passes us each other

145: i used to be afraid that if i was authentic i might take a hit, but now i know that being real means i will take a hit.

149: when we hang the fake version out there,’s like an impostor, a poser, a stunt double is standing in for us and telling the world that this is the best we’ve got, or the best we’ll risk.


160: no capes.. being secretly incredible goes against the trend that says to do anything incredible you have to buy furniture and a laptop, start an organization, have a mission statement, and labor endlessly over a statement of faith. secretly incredible people just do things… the truth is, the task would probably be even nobler if we didn’t talk about it and just did it instead.


161: you want a mission statement to go along with being secretly incredible? okay, here it is: be awesome.

be awesome.


161-162: if we were just to do awesome, incredible stuff together .. and the fact that only he knew would be enough. if we did that , we wouldn’t get confused about who was really making things happen. not surprisingly, we’d get a lot more done too., because we wouldn’t care who’d looking or taking credit. all that energy would be funneled into awesomeness. 

163: getting passed by can feel like a great injury. but it’s not. it’s people like us who can be secretly incredible and get the most done.

166: people who take huge risks aren’t afraid to fail. in fact, they love to fail. it’s because failing means they found the edge.

173-174: he’s another one of those secretly incredible guys who doesn’t measure his value by what he has but by what he’d be willing to give up.

177: he asked me to give him all the other details for the trip/ i paused cocked my head and looked a little confused. i told him i had just given him all the details and started waving my arms around as i explained my idea again. we’d just go and see what happened. that was the plane.

181: sometimes that means picking up a phone and asking a stranger to do something that seems crazy at first.

he invites us to leave perfectly fine careers like charlie did, and rather than having us apply for a position, he says our lives are the position.

182: all it took was a couple people to show up and get some skin in the game. when they did, the ripples that they made began moving outward in concentric circles that are still washing up on the shores of people’s lives and are now changing an entire judicial system.

In old age the emphasis shifts from doing to being, and our civilization, which is lost in doing, know nothing of being. It asks: being? What do you do with it?   – Echart Tolle

183: i used to think i needed to record stories, but now i know i just need to engage them.

186: that’s the way whimsy works. it’s a renewable, infinite resource that multiplies.

that's the way whimsy works

i’ve come to understand more about faith as i’ve understood more about whimsy. what whimsy means to me is a combination of the do part of faith along with doing something worth doing. it’s whimsy that spreads hope like grass seed in the wind.

c (dot) app story

188: so i think what i’ll do instead of writing things down now is just do lots of things, and then maybe when i’m done doing cool things, i will write them down later.

194: some people talk about wanting to resolve their conflicts, but more often they really have a secret, sometimes subconscious agenda to keep the fight going. the trick is figuring out what’s really underneath.

195: he wants us to battle injustice, to look out for orphans and widows, to give sacrificially. and anyone who gets distracted with the minutiae of the point or that opinion is tagging out of the real skirmish. god wants us to et some skin in the game and to help make a tangible difference. i can’t make a real need matter to me by listening to the story, visiting the website, collecting information, or wearing the bracelet about it. i need to pick the fight myself, to call it out..

to know

199: wouldn’t it be a horrible thing if we studied the ones we loved instead of bonding in deeper ways by doing things with them

sometimes the reason people try to emorize things is that they don’t have another reference point from which to connect with a place or idea or concept.

200: when i have skin in the game, the outcome all of a sudden matters to me and i become engaged.

site as prototype/brain – people focus – i remember more

201: now instead of talking about an issue, i’m talking about a person, someone who matters to me. i think jesus wired us that way so that we’d remember. 

202: collecting information about someone is not the same as knowing a person. kids don’t care about facts, and they certainly don’t study each other. they’re just with each other; they do stuff together.

204: when their palms are up, they have an easier time being calm, honest, and accurate. and this is important, because it’s harder for them to get defensive. when people get angry or defensive they tend to make mistakes. but nobody can be defensive with their palms up.

205: most people could get angry at a grapefruit when their fists are clenched.

palms up

palms up means you have nothing to hide and nothing to gain or lose. palms up means you are strong enough to be vulnerable, even with your enemies. even when you have been tremendously wronged.

208: we could just do life like a pickup basketball game. if you’ve got a hook shot, you bring that. if you’re not a good shooter, you pass the ball. what’s distinctive about this way of doing life is that there are no score keepers or mascots. you just bring all the game you’ve got. not surprisingly, the game you’ve got always seems to be enough.

Hamza – Paul

210: Joseph Kony, who launched attacks throughout norther uganda. his strategy for growing his army was simple: abduct tens of thousands of children. the young boys were given machine guns and put out in front of the older soldiers in the fire fights. the young girls were forced to be child brides. most of these children were 12-14. what occurred with them was unthinkable.


when abducted, the children were often made to kill one or more family members in order to alienate them from the villages and shame them so they wouldn’t try to return from the bush. those who did try to escape were caught and killed in horrific manners as warning to the others.

just outside gulu, we found thousands of kids living in camps set up by the govt  with no opportunity for an education at all, so we decided to start a school just north of the city. the local officials laid out for us a t least 3 yrs of hoops to jump through before we could start. this seemed like lunacy to us with an entire generation of kids living in camps without any schools at all ad the lord’s resistance army still conducting evening raids to abduct more children.

melding/blurring/disembarking of connected adjacency into people experiment

we tried to reason with the govt officials for a while about waining the restrictions, and when it was apparent we weren’t going to get their cooperation, we decide to open the school anyway.

211: restore leadership academy

212: do you know why this happened? it’s simple. tow bunk john got off the map. he wasn’t limited by the contours of convention any longer. instead, he leaked what he loved. .. and pretty soon the puddle he made swallowed us all by the lake it formed.

213: no reservoir can hold it, no disappointment can stop it, and no impediment can contain it. it can’t be waved off, put off, or shut down, it doesn’t take no for an answer. instead it assumes yes is the answer even when it sounds an awful lot like a no to everyone else. 

214: john and i met out in the bush with the village elders last year and we pointed together toward forty acres of gently sloping african tundras that we had just purchased. we had outgrown the school and ran out of surrounding buildings to rent. it was time to build our own school. 

215: sponsorship programs are common in developing countries. for 30 dollars or so each month, it is not unusual for a child to have  sponsor int he us to help with school fees. we got the kids together and explained to them how our sponsorship program was going to work. we gave our kids some seeds, they planted the seeds, the y raised the crops, the sold the crops, and with the money, our kids from the restore leadership academy in uganda sponsor a little skater kid in oregon through the mentoring project, a fantastic organization out of oregon that helps kids without dads.


africa 5


dear bob..

i feel like i’m 10. and i need to take this trip.

seeing beautiful people in a mad world, rips plenty at a heart. but when said heart foolishly believes it’s seen enough to know, enough to perhaps have a means to set people free, that adds a bold/heavy energy to where it can’t not.



jan 2016

Instead of telling people what Jesus meant, just love people the way He did.

equity/love for everyone. everyday. a nother way.


1 hr video on:

everybody always

(on hold – thanks library)


let’s assume people aren’t who you think they are.. let’s just assume they’re really nice people.. insecure..

assume good

3 min – (on insecurity) – why do you do what you do.. for applause.. validation..? or because you just want to express love

6 min – diff between what’s true and what’s magnetic.. i don’t want people to meet all my opinions.. i just want them to meet my love

7 min – i think we’re looking for validation

validation ness

everyday.. – why do you do what you do

8 min – rather than doing things that work.. i want to do things that last

10 min – more interested in who they’re becoming.. not what they used to be

14 min – it would be a shame if we were known of .. but a stranger to people around us.. proximity to people but not really present

15 min – toss a softball.. have to be present .. (12 convos a day)

what marie is hoping is that i’m a more humble guy than when i left this morning

16 min – don’t despise small beginnings.. god delights when we just start the work – zechariah 4:10

18 min – the guy i talk to the most is the next version of bob

19 min – curious about everything

cure ios city

20 min – living a noteworthy life – so engaged you just want to take notes all day.. i bet i send myself 60 emails everyday.. just ideas

i haven’t had a quiet time in 20 years.. mine are super loud.. go thru emails.. ie: is that right

21 min – not.. how’s life working.. but how’s life working for the people around you..

22 min – not telling people what to do.. but reminding them who they are..

24 min – no idea what i’m doing day after tomorrow.. best way to talk to next version of yourself.. humble voices carry further in this world.. so that moment of pause.. to get a hold of that humble next version of me..

25 min – w attackers.. i 1\ assume they’re smarter than me.. so i take notes.. look up words they’re using  2\ assumed they faith was stronger.. they loved god more than me.. consider others more worthy  3\ what’s the least creepiest explanation..  what if we just chill out a bit.. keep you from ricocheting off everybody.. i think that’s keeping us from having the convos that we probably would grow from

27 min – because i don’t think people grow where they’re informed.. i think they grow where they’re accepted

28 min – i think if you don’t hear the word beloved spoken over your biggest screw up.. it ain’t jesus talking.. be more situationally aware.. that we’re all going to mess up.. if you can understand in the context of that that we’re beloved.. then some of these difficult people.. see how you’re treating the people who are creeping you out the most.. not trying to engage them w all my opinions.. don’t want them to meet my opinions.. want them to meet love

30 min – i’m not there yet.. but i want to see these people as beloved when i can’t.. and i think it just takes a bit longer look

single story ness

32 min – some people are toxic.. worth keeping a little bit of distance from.. sometimes space let’s both grow better.. but you don’t need to cut others down

figure out who your 8 people are.. that you want around your bed at your death.. 5 fruit trees is an orchard

35 min – i’m not trying to figure out what they need to change.. but what i need to change.. and i’ not being manipulated by that.. i don’t need to engage them – a neg argument.. assume good.. they’re passionate obviously.. actually the opposite of indifferent.. ie: you become their student..

38 min – known for our opinions but remembered for our love..

noteworthy life – so engaged in what’s true north for you

eudaimonia ness

42 min – i’ve spent my whole life avoiding the people jesus engaged with.. i didn’t want to get any on me..  ie: witch dr school.. only books are bible and love does.. tell them if they touch a kid they’ll be gone

43 min – find the people that have caused you the most difficulty and shuffle forward.. 1 scary/vulnerable moment.. ie: that was just me being insecure.. could i have a do over

44 min – people grow where they’re loved.. not just where they’re planted..

45 min – find your thing

you won’t find any bible verses in my books – or tweets – those are all in the bible.. read that

51 min – all together we make one really well adjusted person..

one ness

54 min – i think sm is such a cool place.. to learn

55 min – on getting stuck in an eddy.. and just needing a new 8.. if you’re in the faster waters.. you’re going to take a hit.. if that’s the price of admission.. i’m in

56 min – besides patience.. kindness (is tough).. more generous w thoughts toward people.. that’s what i’m working on.. you get a chance everyday

57 min – why this book – i was actually 5 yrs late..  on losing everything (stolen).. but because i’m new bob.. i wrote a diff book.. how could we become love in a world of set backs and difficult people.. what happens when what i want doesn’t happen.. i’m not going to stay in the eddy.. i’m going to paddle back in the fast moving waters

1:01 – i want to run toward voices i can trust.. i think people are looking for that.. just be a trustworthy voice.. don’t have to be the loudest.. the truest

1:03 – (what are your 3 truths – only 3 things that can be left of you on death bed.. what would you write to be remembered by other people):

1\ i’m beloved by god – i would want people to know that .. whatever.. they are beloved

2\ it’ll probably work.. that thing that they’re just hesitating will probably work

3\ live in the edge of yikes.. comfortable don’t need faith/other-people.. people that are desperate actually engage the world..

1:05 – (what is your defn of greatness): somebody who knows what love is – sacrifice and commitment.. you show me somebody who knows what love is.. i’ll show you somebody who is going to change the world..


Bob Goff (@bobgoff) tweeted at 9:14 AM on Fri, Dec 28, 2018:
The way we deal with uncertainty says a lot about whether Jesus is ahead of us leading, or behind us just carrying our stuff.

embracing uncertainty.. et al


bob on youschool podcast feb 2019 –

why i like what you’re doing is you figure out what kids like.. and then.. you’re constantly changing

5 min – it’s more like picking a lock than finding the key

work more on your character than your career.. direction over destination

lawyer is a great career.. make a ton of money.. but not a difference

18 min – what’s your relationship w ambiguity.. that curiosity.. be curious about people.. that’s going to go far..

25 min – power of being fully present.. with who you are with now rather than looking to next thing.. i wear a mood ring.. i don’t look it/meanings up.. an opp to say how i feel.. talk about how you’re feeling rather than where you are.. as discipline to stay in touch..

28 min – and.. just be good to yourself.. chill out.. relax and enjoy now.. take an interest in what’s around you


It will be people with the greatest love, not the most information, who will influence us to change.

Original Tweet:


via bob on no agenda:

Bob Goff (@bobgoff) tweeted at 10:01 AM on Sun, Aug 11, 2019:
We’re living letters. Every time we love people without an agenda, we add another page.