The Build Cycle Podcast #30 – The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan

“Safe is not groundbreaking. Safe will not bring change to the world.”

Phil Keoghan embodies the spirit of The Build Cycle in every way. He seeks out adventure, and he’s an entrepreneur in the broadest sense of the word. Phil’s launched television shows, written books, developed nutritional products, and so much more.

Originally I wanted Phil to talk about how he broke into television and hear any tips he has for anyone looking to create great content or get in front of the camera. And we talk about all that, but the biggest lessons in this episode center on his attitude of seeing No Opportunity Wasted. That’s the mindset, but it’s the execution that matters, and having a constant interest in learning and preparing puts him in the position to take advantage of any opportunity that comes his way.


  • 01:45 – How do you pronounce his last name?
  • 03:30 – Getting started in television
  • 09:20 – Do something unique and different
  • 15:00 – Embracing a can-do attitude, try new things & celebrate the wins
  • 28:30 – Practice makes perfect (or, how to nurture your potential)
  • 32:40 – Does your experience encourage, or discourage, action?
  • 35:30 – How to get started in media
  • 43:30 – It’s like surfing
  • 46:00 – No Opportunity Wasted
  • 52:55 – Making a list makes things happen
  • 56:35 – Tips on time management
  • 1:01:50 – Run the defrag
  • 1:07:23 – How Le Ride documentary came together, and what you can learn from his process
Phil Keoghan interview on how to succeed in the media and in business
Photo: Phil Keoghan


In a comparison of cultures, Phil notes the difference between New Zealand’s humility and can-do attitude with America’s mix of celebration of success and criticism of failure. Both have pros and cons; the trick is taking the best of each and applying that to your actions. Can you avoid over-analyzing something and just go for it? Can you celebrate your successes? Just as importantly, can you celebrate others’ successes? Or do you get bogged down in criticisms and criticizing? Which one do you think leads to growth and adventure?

Just as importantly, who are you surrounding yourself with? Cheerleaders? Or naysayers?

That’s not to say you should jump first, then look at the landing. Do your research, learn what you can, and then, if your gut’s telling you it’s the right thing to do, just go for it! And encourage others to do the same.

Almost as an aside, Phil mentions that for his original show in America, his goal was simply to get his clips into Talk Soup, which was a TV show that recapped the craziest things on TV. Now, there are a million channels out there, so it’s harder than ever to get noticed. Which makes me think: It’s no longer just about doing something good/wild/unique enough to get noticed. The challenge now is where to place that material so it can be noticed. Who can you get it in front of? How can you get it in front of them? Who are the influencers in your space that can send attention your way? What value do you bring them in return?

“You don’t get to get it right, until you get it wrong. The only way you get to be good is by having a lot of experience being bad.”

My biggest takeaway from this episode is that you need to put in the hours to learn your craft. And you need to start. You don’t have to be perfect to start, just strive to make continuous improvements. Then, when the big opportunity comes up, you’ll be ready.

motivational interview with Phil Keoghan about being an entrepreneur and how to break into television and media
Phil and teammate riding and filming Le Ride. (Photo: Doug Jenson)

To break into media, whether it’s video, blogging, podcasting, etc., focus on what you’re passionate about and own your voice. There’s so much out there, and so many platforms, that Phil says “it all comes down to content. You still have to deliver beginning, middle and end. You still have to deliver captivating content. And that comes from the prep work you do before you pull out the camera.” It’s the what, where, when, why and how. “It’s not so much about the idea, it’s about the execution of the idea.”

That’s what happened with The Amazing Race. They weren’t the only ones with the idea of an adventure race, but they executed on it better than anyone else.

“Once you put it down on paper … that’s the biggest step you can take to making something happen.”

I’ve written about making a list to make things happen before, but it goes beyond launching a business. Phil uses it to set life goals that drive his actions, both for business and adventure. I use lists daily to keep on task, and we keep a family list of trips and fun things we want to do. For entrepreneurs, put down that one big thing you want to start, then start making a list of steps needed to get there and before you know it, you’re well on your way.

One of the tricks we both use for time management is to simply sequester ourselves into a private space with the sole purpose of accomplishing a single task. Whatever it is that works for you, I guarantee you’ll always feel better when you knock out the big tasks first thing in the day, so do what it takes to make that happen.

We wrap up with his documentary, Le Ride, which sums up one of his key lessons: Make something worth watching, or doing, or using. In his case, it wouldn’t have mattered that they had cutting edge camera technology if the story itself wasn’t interesting. The production value could be award winning, but if the content sucked, no one would watch it. When you’re thinking through your “product”, get the essentials right and the rest is icing on the cake. Like Phil says, “all the technology is out there for anyone to use. What makes something (work) is not the equipment, it’s the story. Why should we care?” To which he adds “It’s the execution of an idea, that’s what matters… Can you resonate with your audience?”

Podcast interview the The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan who also created Le Ride Tour de France documentary film

Above, the poster for Le Ride, and the trailer video below:


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.