Shift Your Focus from Getting to Giving

Shift Your Focus from Getting to Giving

Bob Burg believes that providing value to others is the path to success. He joins Dr. H for a conversation about why one person is more successful than another, along with his 5 laws for success. And Bob would know, his book The Go-Giver has sold over 1 million copies and he is one of Inc. magazine’s 100 Great Leadership Speakers!

Bob;s book: https://thegogiver.com/

Bob’s website: https://burg.com/

Do you have a question or comment for Dr. Hallowell? Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

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A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Bob Burg:

Don’t have making money as your target. Your target is serving others. Now, when you hit the target instead, you’ll get a reward and that reward will come in the form of money. The money is simply the reward for hitting the target. It isn’t the target itself. Your target is serving others.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell, and welcome to Distraction. Today I have a very interesting guest who I am truly looking forward to interviewing because he’s expert on a lot of stuff. At the center of what he does is what we emphasize here, namely, the wonderful art of connecting and giving. He’s written a book with John David Mann called The Go-giver, great title, The Go-Giver. Not the go getter, but The Go-Giver. And it’s sold a million copies and translated into 28 languages. Wow, that’s a lot of languages, and he has a new go Give-Giver series called The Go-Giver Influencer.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

In any case, Bob is an advocate, supporter and defender of the free enterprise system believing that the amount of money one makes is directly proportional to how many people they serve, which I think is a great way of putting it. He’s also an unapologetic animal fanatic as am I, and as a past member of the board of directors of Furry Friends Adoption Clinic and Ranch in his hometown of Jupiter, Florida. What a wonderful overview, The Go-Giver. So Bob Burg, welcome to Distraction.

Bob Burg:

Well, thank you. What an honor to be with you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Oh no, the honor is all mine. Let’s just jump right in. You have five laws that will bring you both personal effectiveness and professional success. Is that correct?

Bob Burg:

Yes sir.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, what are those five laws?

Bob Burg:

Before I even get to the laws, if I may, they’re really based on a premise. And it’s a fairly simple premise, and that is that shifting your focus, which is really the key, shifting your focus from getting to giving. And when we say giving in this context, we simply mean constantly and consistently providing immense value to others. When you’re that person who can take your focus off yourself and place it upon others, trying to bring value to them, make their lives better. They want to be a part of your life. It really results in a very mutually beneficial relationship.

Bob Burg:

So there are five laws, as you mentioned, and those laws are the laws of value, compensation, influence, authenticity, and receptivity.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Can you say something about each one?

Bob Burg:

Sure. The law of value is determined by how much more you give than you take. The law of value basically says when you focus on providing someone with an immensely valuable experience, everyone wins. Really money is an echo of value. And this is true in any business, and it’s also true in any kind of relationship because to the degree that you really place your focus on bringing value to another human being, whether it’s a friendship, whether it’s a relationship, whether what have you, that’s the degree that not only is that person going to feel great about it, but you’re actually going to go into profit yourself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

The cynic might say, “What about these people who make gazillions of dollars and add very little value to the world?” Do you think the amount of money a person makes is in fact proportional to the value he or she adds?

Bob Burg:

Let’s put it this way, in a free market based economy, yes. And when I say free market, I mean no one is forced to do business with anyone else and that government’s legitimate function is to protect the marketplace, protect people from force and fraud, but otherwise leave people free to voluntarily exchange with one another however they see fit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

How about a professional athlete who makes $25 million a year compared to the fifth grade school teacher who makes maybe $50,000 a year, works harder than anyone could ever imagine, dedicated to the children, who adds more value to the world, the professional athlete or the school teacher?

Bob Burg:

So there’s two issues there. One is, well, law number one is about the value you provide. Law number two, the law of compensation has to do with how many people’s lives you impact. So while that teacher who does a wonderful, wonderful job, we even have one of the people in the book, in the story in The Go-Giver, one of the mentors is a former school teacher and I’ll tell you about that in a moment. So the school teacher who does a wonderful job, they might touch the lives of 100 children in a year wonderfully with tremendous value, okay?

Bob Burg:

But this athlete who’s making $10 million a year, they actually touch the lives of millions and millions of people. And so it’s well worth it to the owners of those teams to pay them those kinds of salaries.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Now, when you say touch the lives, touch the lives, they don’t improve the lives. They provide entertainment. And it’s a pretty big stretch, in my opinion, to compare entertainment with the kind of gift a school teacher gives to the children.

Bob Burg:

Now, when I say touch their lives, no, they didn’t do so in a way in which they personally got to know this person and encouraged them or whatever, but because value is in the eyes of the beholder and the viewing public in this case decides what’s of value to them, the market speaks, the world itself is not necessarily fair. The marketplace though actually is when you consider that the people in the market, the consumers are the ones who get to make the decision.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, what’s the second law of your five laws?

Bob Burg:

This is the law of compensation. And it says that your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them. The mentor in this part of the book, her name was Nicole Martin. She was the CEO of Learning Systems for Children, LSC. She started out as a teacher and she was very frustrated after a few years because as much as she loved teaching the children and as much as the children loved her and the parents loved her, she was very frustrated by the money she was making. She was also very frustrated by the bureaucracy with which she had to work.

Bob Burg:

So what she did is she had had a computer software system that she put together on the side that could teach masses of children how to learn different topics in a way that was much easier for them. So she developed this company and now she’s touching the lives of millions of kids through this software.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What’s the third law?

Bob Burg:

This is the law of influence. And it says your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first. Simply understanding that the golden rule of business, of sales, of life is that all things being equal, people will do business with, refer business to, allow themselves to be influenced by, want to be in relationship with those people they know, like, and trust. And there’s simply no faster, more powerful or more effective way to elicit those feelings toward you and others than by moving from that, I focus or me focus to, and other focus.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And you know, Francis of Assisi, in giving, we receive.

Bob Burg:

That’s right. Very much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And what’s the fourth law?

Bob Burg:

That one’s the law of authenticity. And this is the most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself. What really keeps a lot of people from living authentically and showing up authentically is that they don’t have the self-confidence to do so. They don’t recognize their value both intrinsically and the value they bring to the market. So that’s why it’s very important to really understand our strengths, our weaknesses as well, of course, but to understand our strengths and embrace them so that we’re able to lead with them.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And being authentic does take courage. Of course, the cynics say sincerity is the key to success. Once you learn to fake that, you’ve got it made. And number five.

Bob Burg:

This is the law of receptivity. And the law of receptivity says the key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving. Giving and receiving are not opposite concepts. They are simply two sides of the very same coin and they work in tandem. So it’s not, are you a giver or a receiver? You’re a giver and a receiver.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I love what you’re saying, but my experience as a psychiatrist teaches me some of the dangers. I have over my 40 years in this field, worked with a lot of patients who are unbelievably generous, incredibly giving, and they’re taken advantage of right and left. It’s like lambs to the slaughter and they’re taken advantage of by very shrewd mean-spirited people who end up making off like a bandit with a lot of money and the kind, generous person who has been the lamb led to the slaughter is left feeling kind of bereft and saying, “Why am I so good?” And the answer to why they’re so good is it’s just the way they are.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

They’re born generous and humble and some other people are born greedy and ready to take advantage of people. Do you acknowledge that that also can happen?

Bob Burg:

Well, sure, it does happen. But being a go giver should never, ever be confused with being taken advantage of. If someone’s being taken advantage of, it’s not because they’re a generous kind person, it’s because they’re doing things in such a way that they’re creating the environment to allow themselves to be taken advantage of.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Sure. There are people who set themselves up to become victims and they need to work on that. But then there are other people who are simply very deliberately generous and to the rest of the world, they may look as if they’re being taken advantage of, but as far as they’re concerned, they’re following their principles. They do believe it’s better to give than to receive. And they do believe if, I’ll give you the shirt off my back. And they do that. That’s in keeping with their basic core beliefs.

Bob Burg:

In that case, they’re doing something out of strength, not out of weakness.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Correct. Absolutely. That’s what I’m trying to say. That you can be a great strength to be a relatively impoverished generous person.

Bob Burg:

Well, okay. So here’s the thing. Let’s take Mother Teresa, for instance. Okay?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Sure. Let’s take her.

Bob Burg:

She was a woman, a saintly woman who lived in poverty, but she was a very rich woman. I mean, she could receive a lot of money. She just chose to give it all away because that was congruent with her values. My feeling based on my experience is of someone’s being taken advantage of possibly. It’s not because they’re generous, they’re being taken advantage of constantly because that’s what they do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I got your point there, Bob. I’m just saying there’s other people who are not in that category you’re talking about who are simply very generous because that’s what their principals have them do. I’m thinking of the school teacher versus the hedge fund manager. And they are two very different kinds of people.

Bob Burg:

One reason a school teacher doesn’t make as much money as he or she could is because it’s really not a free market system they’re working out of. If education was a free market system, the real good ones would be making a lot more money than the bad ones, but it doesn’t really work that way. And I realize, again, that opens up a whole can of worms, but that’s why if someone’s going to be a teacher, if they can find another way to be able to add value to even more people, then they’re going to make more money if that’s what they choose to do. And of course, everyone does what they do based on their own principles.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

There’s another note here in your bio, one golden nugget of advice from a drive by mentor totally shifted your perspective and played a big role in your success. Can you tell us about that?

Bob Burg:

Yeah. It was after I had been in sales for a couple of years and I was doing pretty well, but I was in a real sales slump and I came back to the office one day, really discouraged. And I think he saw me as not coming close to realizing, and he said, “Burg, can I give you some advice?” And I said, “Yeah, please do.” And he said, “If you want to make a lot of money in sales,” he said, “Don’t have making money as your target. Your target is serving others. Now, when you hit the target,” he said, “You’ll get a reward and that reward will come in the form of money. The money is simply the reward for hitting the target. It isn’t the target itself. Your target is serving others.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Adding value to their lives.

Bob Burg:

Right. Exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Boy, Bob Burg, I could talk to you for a long time. We’re running out of time. If any of our listeners would like to download chapter one of Bob’s wonderful bestseller, The Go-Giver, visit his website at thegogiver.com/join. And to learn more about Bob, go to burg.com. You must get a lot of ham jokes, huh?

Bob Burg:

Oh, are you kidding? Absolutely. Hamburger, iceberg.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, you’re spreading a wonderful, wonderful message that our world really needs. And you frame it in such a way that a person should be motivated to be a go giver because it’s how you get what you want. And it really is in giving we receive, a lot of people don’t realize that and they play it close to the chest and they don’t release anything. And it’s not a great way to live. But you are, I can just tell talking to you, you’re just right out there. You’re totally authentic. You’re totally enthusiastic. You believe in what you’re saying, and it really comes through. The Go-Giver, what a great message. And thank you so much for being my guest on Distraction.

Bob Burg:

Thank you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Again, learn more about Bob. Go to burg.com. Get his book, The Go-Giver, and you can download the first chapter by visiting the website thegogiver.com/join. And please continue to connect with us. Share your thoughts, questions, and show ideas by emailing us at [email protected]. That’s [email protected] And again, our thanks to Bob Burg, a wonderful message that he lives out very clearly and has delivered to over a million people through his book.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. The podcast is recorded and mixed by the incredibly talented, wonderfully opinionated Pat Keogh. And our producer is the delightful Mary Poppins –esque, Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thanks so very much for listening.

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