Bob Goff has had some pretty big dreams.
Become a lawyer. Build a house in the wilderness. Learn to fly. Now, he’s sharing his secrets for making dreams come true in his latest book Dream Big: Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You’re Going to Do About It.
Goff’s first book Love Does has sold over one million copies and made Goff known as the writer willing to publish his personal cellphone number in the back of his book. Guideposts.org talked to Goff about the importance of dreams, why he wants people to dream big and how to tie your life ambitions into your faith.
Guideposts.org: Why did you want to write a book about dreams?
Bob Goff: I think a lot of people have, particularly with these events that have unfolded in the last several months, they just stopped dreaming. We’ve had our head down, we were scared. We were confused. We’ve had these ambitions ever since we were kids, but then we just bailed on them. It’s like we left them at the bus stop and drove away. And I wanted people to reconnect with some of those ambitions. It could have been a career ambition, it could be a relational ambition, but it needs to be a worthy ambition.
[The book is about] dusting off old ambitions, looking at new ones and then vetting them a little bit.
GP: A portion of the book is about discovering your dreams. Why do you think it’s sometimes hard for people to figure out what they really want?
BG: I think sometimes it’s a kind of a combination of many things. It’s a deep desire about what you wanted, but maybe a parent or a friend or a third grade teacher told you, “you can’t have that.” Somehow you got it in your mind that you’re either unworthy of it or you’re not smart enough or cute enough or talented enough or whatever it is enough. And I think we need to revisit that, kind of go back to the scene of the crime and say, where was it? Find that outline in chalk where your dream died and to say, wow, is there any way you can revisit this again? To say does that rule still apply to me? Because we make up the darnedest rules to bring some order to our life. We just don’t know how to navigate something so we make a rule that we don’t get [our dreams], or we’re not entitled to them or whatever.
GP: What is the first step for someone who is struggling to even figure out what their “big dream” is?
BG: I think the first step is to figure out what all your hangups are. These are often referred to as limiting beliefs.
Maybe you have a limiting belief because of something you’ve been exposed to or experienced that says that if you give yourself away fully to someone, eventually they’ll leave. And that doesn’t need to be the end of the story but because that was part of your experience, it started becoming part of the basis of your beliefs. And so I would figure out what it is that you believe and why do you believe it?
GP: How do you think faith should impact those big dreams?
BG: Faith is a big deal for me. And so everything goes through this prism of saying: what kinds of things did Jesus say would really be worth doing? In Matthew 25 He said there was a number of things. He [talked about] giving hungry people food, and thirsty people water and strange people comfort and sick people some healing and naked people some clothes and visiting people who are in jail. So that’s kind of tempers a lot of the things, those aren’t the only ambitions I have, but those are some of them.
So just kind of go find something in Scripture that tells you who you ought to love and the answer is, I’m sorry for giving the cheat codes, but it’s everybody. Then stop avoiding the people that you’ve been avoiding, which is most of the people that disagree with you. So it’s hard work, but, boy, it’s worth it. You’ll figure out who you are in the process.
GP: If you could encourage someone today to take one action in pursuit of their biggest dreams, what would that action be?
BG: Stop making list. Organizing our dreams is often like organizing all the spoons in your kitchen. You have them organized, maybe even count them, but you’re no closer to getting fed. I think sometimes what we do is we come up with plans and then our plans have plans and the plans and plans have plans. We spend all of our time planning instead of just going for it.
So find a dream you want to pursue and go after it. Don’t you dare make a list about what you’re going to do next.
GP: What is one of the dreams you’re working toward right now?
BG: Being a Grandpa! Unfortunately, there’s some dreams you can do things about and others you can’t.
I have an ambition to start a camp where people can kind of get their act together and deal with difficult life issues. And so I bought a 250 acre camp. It’s called The Oaks. It’s down in San Diego. I got an excavator, I got a brusher, I’m clearing on the brush to plant a vineyard. It’s going to take a minute or two, but I’m not going anywhere soon.
Dream Big is available wherever books are sold.