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Phil Keoghan: Host of The Amazing Race and Tough as Nails (ep. 606)

Phil Keoghan

John O’Leary welcomes Phil Keoghan, host of The Amazing Race and Tough as Nails (both on CBS!) to the Live Inspired Podcast with reasons to take risks and live life to the fullest.

Phil Keoghan is arguably the most traveled television host on the planet. As the host of The Amazing Race on CBS, the multiple Emmy Award-winning reality series where teams of two embark on a trek around the world, Phil has experienced a life full of travel and adventure.

Today, fresh off the milestone 35th season premiere of The Amazing Race, Phil joins us to share how he’s been globetrotting since a young boy, how his working-class parents and grandparents inspired his other hit show Tough as Nails on CBS and so much more.

My friends, today’s conversation will inspire you to take risks, accept and love all of those around you, and live life to the fullest.

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  • Growing up, Phil’s parents were workaholics and spending time with his grandfather as a teenager had a profound impact.
  • As an adult, Phil’s been able to spend more time connecting with is father, and even having him make an appearance in Season 13 of The Amazing Race while filming in Paeroa, New Zealand.
  • “I had a unique opportunity to see the world.” With his father’s dad as plant scientist, Phil moved with his family to Canada and then the Caribbean at three years old.
  • With Antigua being a melting pot, Phil’s childhood was shaped with real acceptance of others and curiosity in their stories.
  • Because his grandparents didn’t have the opportunity to attend college, it was important to Phil’s parents that he attend college. When he decided to pursue his passion for television, they wouldn’t financially support him.
  • Phil’s first job in television was as an assistant making $6,999 a year.
  • “We all get knocked down. What I like is to see is when someone gets knocked down and has the ability to get back up again and risk getting knocked back down.”
  • “When things don’t work out, we call it failure. Or you can also look at it like a learning step, an important step forward and being better for finding something that will work.”
  • When facing his claustrophobia, Phil dove the world’s longest underwater caves in the Yucatan jungle.
  • Take risks: “We discover new and different things because we try new and different things. Human beings are built for risk.”
  • Entering into it’s 35th season, The Amazing Race has had 546 teams travel millions of miles, visiting 93 countries in 576 legs.
  • Celebrating our world: “Most of the time when you see the world in prime time, there’s something wrong happening. There’s a war, there’s a flood, there’s a civil unrest, We’re one of the few shows in prime time where we’re showing things that are actually right and beautiful. We’re celebrating the best of what the world has to offer.”
  • Catch up on Season 35 of The Amazing Race here.


Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll love my conversation with Alison Levine. Alison knows what it’s like to survive in the world’s toughest environments. She served as team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, scaled the “Seven Summits,” and skied to the North and South Poles. Hear Alison recount her history-making expeditions, the lessons in leadership they’ve taught her and how you can achieve more than you ever thought possible. Listen to Alison Levine on ep. 390.


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  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. Longitude by Dava Sobel and The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. That I kept learning French and kept playing the violin.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. My grandfather's watch. I only wear it on special occasions, and every time I've won the Emmy, I've had that watch on.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. My grandfather.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. My grandfather would always say, "the most important part of a job is preparing for the next job. So when you finish a job, you clean up, you put everything away so that you're ready for the next job."
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. When I was younger, and when I was right, I wanted to be right. I wanted to prove that I was right. And as I've got older, I've realized that being right, even when you're right, isn't necessarily effective.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. Curious and always striving to do better.