Filmmaker and motivational speaker Greg Reid is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, and the CEO of several successful corporations. He has dedicated his life to helping others achieve the ultimate fulfillment of finding and living an abundant life of purpose. Greg has inspired thousands with his books and has motivated audiences around the country for the last two decades. His 30 books can be found worldwide; twelve of them have become bestsellers, and eight went on to become number-one bestsellers.

He teaches the principle he learned from his mentors: to achieve extraordinary success, one must first help others to succeed. His unique style has made him a highly sought-after keynote speaker for corporations, universities and charitable organizations. Ask Reid how he’s doing, and he’ll respond with “always good,” and when you part ways, he’ll likely offer a suggestion to “keep smiling”-a friendly reflection of his powerful message to maintain a positive, solution-seeking attitude, and a reminder that true success comes in the giving, not the keeping.

TAMMY LAWMAN: You’ve seen success in so many areas: as an author, as a filmmaker, and as an entrepreneur. Most of us have a hard enough time being successful in one area. I was going to ask you what your secret is. It sounds like you have that drive and something inside that propels you.

GREG REID: Yes. It’s self-motivation that inspires me personally to get going. I don’t know if that’s something that can be taught, as much as it’s something that is hard-wired. The reality is that we can train ourselves to get into the habit of doing right, positive, constructive movements forward, and take it and go from there. Also, as the cliché says, “Success leaves clues.”

The big secret for me is I surround myself with people who get the results that I want, and then just duplicate what they’re doing with my own twist. It’s not rocket science. It just makes sense.

TAMMY LAWMAN: That’s great advice. You’re not always recreating the wheel. At least you’re allowing someone else to share their story and, hopefully, not duplicating the mistakes that they’ve made.

GREG REID: Yes. Why reinvent the wheel when you can just put a hubcap on it and have a new one?

TAMMY LAWMAN: That’s awesome.

GREG REID: It’s so true. It was so funny. When I wanted to become an author, I didn’t ask, “Who’s struggling as an author and not making any money?” I went to Barnes & Noble and bought all the number-one bestselling books. I read them and called each one of those people who wrote them. I said, “I want to do the same thing. Will you teach me?” I sat down with them and duplicated their efforts.

I’ve been published in 37 books in 30 languages. It’s not because I’m a rocket scientist or a great guy. I’m just smart enough to surround myself with people who are getting the results that I want. I duplicate their success with my own twist.

TAMMY LAWMAN: I think a lot of people would be very shy about contacting someone who they admired, like a number-one bestseller. What kind of response did you get from people you contacted?

GREG REID: It’s easy. This is the most incredible fact. When I did Three Feet from Gold-which we’ll talk about in a little bit-I had the opportunity to sit down with everyone from the guy who invented string theory to the president of NASCAR, Miss America and all these incredible people. Over my life I’ve realized the most successful people are also the most accessible people.

Let me be clear. When you’re very new at something and you’re fresh, you’re green, you’re growing, and you’re brand new, you’re easier. You’re go-lucky. People at the very pinnacle and at the top of their game are easy and happy-go-lucky. They have nothing to prove. It’s the people in the middle who are a pain in the neck. Avoid those people.

TAMMY LAWMAN: That’s good advice for our audience. Don’t be afraid to try to reach out to someone who’s really successful, or who has made a living or made up a process that you’re interested in learning more about, because it’s more likely that they’re going to be willing to help you and share some of their information, as opposed to hiding it.

GREG REID: That’s true in any walk of life. All that success is great, but it’s the same thing if you’re a fireman, don’t hang out with the other brand new fireman. Find out who is the fire chief. Who’s the top person? Go hang out with him. Pick his brain. It doesn’t make a difference what walk of life. If you’re a school teacher, a police officer or a janitor, surround yourself with people who are getting the results that you want.
Ask them what they did to get there, and then duplicate it with your own style. You’ll be amazed how quickly it will start coming to you.

TAMMY LAWMAN: Wonderful. Let’s talk a little bit about Three Feet from Gold. What is your book about?

GREG REID: The latest book is called Think and Grow Rich-Three Feet from Gold. Back in 1908, 100 years ago, Andrew Carnegie, the richest man in the world, gave a young, aspiring author named Napoleon Hill a letter that would introduce him to the greatest minds of that generation. He sat down with Edison, Ford, Rockefeller, Taft and all these incredible people.

From these words of wisdom, he created the first-ever formula for success. It was called Think and Grow Rich, which is now the 20th bestselling book of all time. In 1970, when he passed away, W. Clement Stone and his attorneys kept the foundation going and protected the teachings of this great philosopher. In 2008, exactly 100 years later, the CEO of the Napoleon Hill Foundation wrote a very similar letter of introduction and gifted it to me.

They gave me an opportunity to sit down with today’s icons, today’s movers and shakers. Instead of asking them why they were rich, cool or successful, we did it from a very unique perspective. I asked them one simple question, “Why didn’t you quit? What made you keep going? What made you persevere when other people would give up?” From that we wrote a story, an incredible allegory, called Three Feet from Gold, teaching us never to give up on our dreams when we’re that close to the finish line.

TAMMY LAWMAN: That’s absolutely powerful and positive. You said you talked to some pretty powerful people. Can you talk a little bit about some of the people?

GREG REID: Yes, but let me first share Three Feet from Gold. A lot of people probably remember the story, but I’ll recap it. There was a guy named R.U. Darby. This is taken from the first chapter of Think and Grow Rich. He went out west and had gold fever. He found a little hole, started digging in it and discovered gold. All excited, he went home and told his family and friends.

They chipped in money to buy equipment to pull it out by the truckload. The first ore cart came out filled with gold. They figured that they were done and they were rich. They would retire. Then all of a sudden, the gold ran out. They kept digging but there was no more gold. Defeated, Darby walked out of the mine and said, “I quit. I give up.” He saw a junkman walking by.

He said, “Buddy, give me $200, and I’ll sell you the mine and all the equipment. I’m going back home.” The junkman realized the equipment was worth thousands. He said, “Sure, you have a deal.” He went to an engineer who was brilliant and said, “What happened? The guy hit gold and they ran out.” The engineer laughed and said, “That’s so simple. It’s easy. Everyone knows that gold runs in a straight line like a pencil. It’s called a gold vein.

“They popped in one side and hit gold and popped back into dirt. Go back to where they discovered treasure. Go three feet the opposite direction, and you’ll tap back into the vein.” The junkman pulled millions and millions of dollars out, which still fills Fort Knox today. The moral is: how many times have people quit one class short from a degree, sales, marriage or marketing? It’s easy to quit, but the people who persevere and don’t give up when they’re that close are the people we write stories about down the line.

TAMMY LAWMAN: That’s so true. We’re probably the most frustrated at that point where we’re just about to succeed, and that’s why we give up.

GREG REID: Napoleon Hill had a great quote. He said, “The greatest accomplishments of all time have come just one step away from our greatest setback or failure.” That means it’s the darkest before the dawn. Everyone knows the clichés. The reality is that our greatest successes almost always come right after the darkest, toughest times when we’re beaten and we’re down.

The reality is that when we’re going through experiences and we feel beaten and down, that’s when we have to kick it into high gear, because we know our success is around the corner. You talked about the people who I interviewed. One of my favorites was named Genevieve Bos. She started Pink magazine. I asked her, “Can you give me one little tidbit that can help people when they want to give up?”

She said, “Yes, that’s easy. Never let your mistakes or your setbacks define your value as a person.” I asked, “What do you mean?” She said, “It’s really simple. There’s an old story.” She pulled out a $100 bill and said, “Do you want this?” I said, “Yes!” She said, “Great. Why?” I said, “It’s a $100.” She crumpled it and said, “Do you still want it?” I said, “Yes.”

She dropped it on the ground and stood on it and said, “Do you still want that?” I said, “Absolutely.” She said, “Why?” I said, “It’s $100.” She asked, “But why is it that when we get crumpled, thrown to the ground and stepped on, we think our value changes? It’s just part of the process that we’re going through. Never let your mistakes, setbacks or circumstances define your value of what you’re going through.”

TAMMY LAWMAN: When you were interviewing these people, what was the one thing that they had in common that kept them from giving up on their dreams and their goals?

GREG REID: It’s something called ‘stickability’. Napoleon Hill coined the phrase. They found something called their ‘knowing’. There’s a huge difference here. A lot of people say, “Go find your passion or what you believe.” Unfortunately, that’s not enough. I know it sounds hypocritical, but it’s just not enough. The reality is that when you say, “I believe I’ll find love,” that’s cute.

However, you may say, “Oh, no! I know I’ll find love. I’m on and I’m going to my local church. I’m asking my friends and family. I have a vision board of what I’m looking for. Here are the qualities.” Chances are that your laser-beam focus is going to help you find exactly what you’re seeking. If more people could find what they know inside their hearts, it might be career, family, or business success, something that they know within them, then they have the stickability to not let other people determine what they can and cannot do. They can accomplish great things on this planet and make a positive impact for those around them.

TAMMY LAWMAN: Is there something that people can do? Is there some kind of process they can go through to determine what’s inside them? How do you know when you find your passion?

GREG REID: It’s a great question. In Three Feet from Gold, it was so amazing. In this industry-and I know you have some great people you’re interviewing as part of this process-one of my personal frustrations in this industry is that a motivational speaker can walk a cow out on stage and tell you that you need milk and the important nutrients, but he doesn’t teach you how to get the milk.

It drives me nuts. What we did in Three Feet from Gold is put it all out there. We teach you how to get that cow, bring it to market, milk it, make meat, and make sales from it. It comes down to this: it’s something called the success equation. The success equation works like this: the most successful people on the planet are not defined by money. We’re talking about serving a purpose-filled life.

They follow something called: P + T x A2 + F = Success. I know it sounds like a math test, but it’s really not. It’s basically simple. When I explain it to you, you’re going to fall off your chair. The most successful people follow this. The ‘P’ stands for what you referred to earlier as ‘passion’. Passion is defined by asking, “What would you do if you could do it for free?”

A lot of people say, “Follow your passion and the money will follow.” I think that’s a lie. I think that’s not true and is bad advice. People say, “Passion is enough.” I think that’s a lie, and I think that’s bad advice. I watch “American Idol”; it’s one of my favorite shows. A lot of the kids are filled with passion, but passion is not enough. You have to have passion plus the ‘T’ which stands for ‘talent’.

What are you good at? If you’re passionate about singing, but you’re not talented, I’m sorry. You’re just not going to make it. That’s the reality of life. That’s the ‘P’ plus the ‘T’. The first ‘A’ is very important. It’s ‘action’. You have to do something. If you’re passionate about singing and you’re talented, but you don’t do anything, you’re not going to make it.

If you’re passionate and talented and take action, but you only sing in the shower or a dive bar, chances are you won’t make it. The second ‘A’ is ‘association’. It’s the people who you surround yourself with. Imagine surrounding yourself with someone in the music industry who’s connected. The ‘F’ is having the ‘faith’ that that’s what you’re supposed to be doing.

If you’re passionate about singing and you’re talented and good at it, and you take action and associate with someone in the music industry and have faith, knowing that’s what you’re supposed to be doing, chances are that you’ll find success. Each person has their own success equation for what they’re supposed to be doing while they’re on this planet.

TAMMY LAWMAN: Wow! That is a very simple formula once you break it down. It makes perfect sense. If it’s so simple, why do people come up short?

GREG REID: For lack of knowledge. I didn’t have that information until about seven years ago. For 20 years of my life I was in sales and marketing. I owned an advertising company in San Diego and I was very successful, but I never felt fulfilled. One day someone said to me, “You could be doing the success equation.” I said, “What’s that?” They taught me the concept. I’ve expanded it. Sharon Lechter, my co-author, expanded it. I almost fell off my chair because when I did my success equation, my passion was teaching.

I said, “If I could do anything and do it for free I’d be a teacher, but there’s no money in it. My talent is that I’m a good communicator. I’m a boomshakalaka guy. I can get people fired up. How can I take action with the right people? I know I can become a motivational speaker. I can become an author. I can become someone who inspires others.” I sold my business and dedicated my life toward this journey. Now everything has changed.

TAMMY LAWMAN: You said you’ve owned several different corporations. Tell us about the different businesses you’ve owned.

GREG REID: It was everything from an advertising corporation to a furniture store, from restaurants to self-storage facilities to a clothing line. I make films. We have a movie industry and many different businesses. Some of them are better than others. With some I’ve lost a lot, and with some I’ve done very well. The reality is that we’ve at least done it. We’ve given it a shot.

We went all in to do it. I also realized that the ones that have not succeeded in my life were when I was not living that success equation. I was chasing money. I was chasing an opportunity. I wasn’t really following what I love to do with what I’m good at. I look back and wondered, “No wonder they didn’t go so well.”

TAMMY LAWMAN: What were some of the films that you made? How did you get into filmmaking?

GREG REID: I watched a movie a few years ago-like everyone listening to this call- called “The Secret.” A lot of those people are my friends. I remember that when I was watching it I thought, “Wait a second. These people don’t sit around and think about success. I know these people.” Rhonda Byrne is cool and she edited it very neatly, but there’s more to life than just wanting something in life and it will magically appear at your doorstep.

I think that’s bad counsel. That’s my perspective. I realized that if I wanted a fruit tree in my backyard, I don’t sit around and think about it. I have that vision, absolutely. I have crystal clear picture of what it is I want. That’s where I truly agree with “The Secret,” but then it comes down to the action. If I want a fruit tree I have to get off my backside, go to Home Depot, and buy a fruit plant.

I have to go home and dig a hole. I have to plant it. I have to water it. I have to fertilize it. I have to keep weeds away. In about three years it will grow and will have fruit. I manifested it, but I took the necessary actions to make it become a reality. I realized that there has to be a system to all the things in life that we look for. I decided to do my first movie called, “Pass It On.”

I wanted to interview 12 of the top leaders to ask what they would like to pass on to the next generation, and what actions they did to create a life of sustained abundance. Seventy-two people came out within a month and the movie turned out spectacularly. Everyone gave their blueprint, their actual foundation, their sequence of what it takes to be successful in four separate categories of life.

These are wealth and prosperity; inspiration, or how you get that idea from your head and the ethers out to reality; success, and I just taught you the success equation; and happiness, the things people can do to become happier. From there we created “Pass It On,” and it’s been a wonderful achievement.

TAMMY LAWMAN: If you had to look back on your career, is there anything that you would change, or any other direction that you would fix?

GREG REID: We all do. I would practice more of what I preach. It’s like all of us. The reality is that I’m a human being. There are gurus and people who are bigger than life. Here’s the reality: I’m just a regular guy. In personal development, as I’m learning these things, I’m actually applying them and giving them the best opportunity to succeed. On the same note, we can all look in the mirror and give ourselves better counsel than we actually apply.

Looking back, I would have applied more of the counsel I knew-again, back to that ‘knowing’-that I should have been following all along. It’s like right now. If things are tight, if things are tough, you know you can do actions differently to get different results. Are we willing to do them? You have to ask yourself that because the answers are within.

TAMMY LAWMAN: Let’s go back to the message that you’re spreading with Three Feet from Gold. What’s the best advice you would give to someone who is just starting out and who has a goal and is trying to find that purpose? They have your success equation. What’s the next step for them?

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