Change Your Game Through Shifting Your Focus

by Bob Burg

Shifting your focus from getting to giving, that is, to focus on constantly and consistently providing value to other people’s lives, is not only a nice way to live life but a financially profitable way, as well.

You might already be doing that. If that is the case, no need to change your game. More often than not, however, it seems that giving comes with an agenda. “If I give enough, and to the right people, eventually I’ll get.”

The true spirit of giving (yes, even in business) is to give without attachment to receiving. This does not mean giving without expecting to receive. After all, why wouldn’t you expect to receive? Receiving is a natural part of life. What it does mean is that you give — you provide value — on an ongoing basis without an emotional attachment to or demand on the receiving part of the equation, from the person you’re giving to or from anyone else.

No, you give because you truly enjoy giving. You give because it’s who you are, and because it’s who you are, it’s what you do. When you do that, great and magnificent results will begin to occur. Why? Because when you are known for and positioned as such, people feel good about you. They know you, they like you, and they trust you. And now you begin to naturally attract the people who will do business with you, both personally and through referral.

The key in changing your game is through that shift in focus, a shift from an I focus to an other focus. You take your eyes off yourself and focus entirely on bringing value to the other person. And you’ll find you often do that even well before you are actually doing business with them personally.

So how can you bring value to someone else’s life, whether in person or through social media, aside from directly through your products or services? You are probably already thinking of a few ways right now. A few quick examples might include a kind word, a referral, some helpful information, your appreciation. Perhaps not all of these will be relatable to you or those to whom you desire to add value, but many of them certainly will be. Use them as you see fit.

The relationship-builders who have mastered that shift, those people we call Go-Givers, understand that successful business relationships, like any other relationships, do not operate by 50/50 but simply by 100 percent. Yes, you actually put yourself into the mindset of caring more about the other person’s success than about your own.

Thomas Powers, Ecademy founder and author of Networking for Life, refers to this concept as “the willing suspension of self-interest.” In much the same way as we willingly suspend our disbelief when at the movies, in order to enjoy the show and feel the feelings the film elicits, here we willingly put aside our self-interest. Note, this does not mean forgoing your self-interest, but simply suspending it for the moment. And doing so will bring you huge dividends.

By the way, if suspending your self-interest doesn’t feel natural … do it anyway! You’ll love the results, and even if it doesn’t feel like you, at first, you’ll find it soon becomes you.


The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann is now available in an expanded edition. It includes a Discussion Guide, Author Q & A and a Foreword by Arianna Huffington. You can receive Chapter One by visiting


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