Our guest is a doctor and had a Ph.D. twice. He’s got a star on the Vegas Walk of Fame between Donny, Marie and Elvis. One of the most accomplished unskilled mentors I’ve ever had. This guy doesn’t allow his qualifications to get in the way of achieving some fantastic things. If this guy phoned me up and said, “I’m going to be a national of the weekend,” I wouldn’t doubt it. Read and get enough out of it, to get you out of the way of your obstacles and your objectives. Stop thinking, stop worrying, and stop planning, start doing. Enjoy the episode. I’m going to introduce you to Greg Reid.
Greg, welcome to the show.
I’ve been looking forward to this.
I want to get a couple of things bashed out of the way quickly. A lot of people think they know Greg Reid. We’ve known each other for many years. We actually met at the Pentagon. A lot of people see this colorful Barnum and Bailey Showman stage way. They don’t get to see the hard-working grindstone boy that I’ve got to see. Give me a little bit of a background on how you grew up, what it took to be you, and where you are now. Let’s get an elevator pitch on the Greg Reid.
What’s cool is that you and I have known each other so many years, and we still like each other. That right there in itself is pretty novel. Greg wears some flamboyant jackets and jumps all around States, but real Greg’s pretty mellow person. He lives on the beach here in San Diego, California, up Carlsbad, love my life. For those of you who are not familiar with my career, I’ve published about 82 books, 45 languages. I’ve had about 36 bestsellers. It’s been a great journey. The best thing about it, is I’m the least qualified person to do what I do. I’m not afraid to share that with people. Meaning that I’m dyslexic. I can’t spell, I can’t write, I can’t read. I understood the power of working your strengths and hiding your weaknesses. If more people did that, more things could be accomplished.People never remember what you said, but they will always remember what you made them feel. Click To Tweet
A lot of people allow their obstacles to define them, and you’ve just caught it straight out there. You’ve allowed it. You’ve avoided them, find them, and got someone else to handle that shit. What was the mindset that allowed you, to not allow it to become a massive obstacle?
I realized that I have my weaknesses. Rather than sit there and try to dwell on it and worry about it, I said, “Okay.” I got the gift of gab. I talk from stage. I can share a message. However, I’m not good at writing. I found people that were the best ghostwriters and editors that could take my words, and craft them in a way that people would want to read it. What a concept. I told you this before. When I wanted to become a bestselling author, I didn’t go to people who wrote great books. I didn’t give a crap. I didn’t want to be a great writing author. I wanted to be a bestselling author. I went to Barnes & Noble and I bought those books. I asked them how they did it, and here we are now.
To get some accuracy in there, you can talk from stage, so can million other people. You’ve been able to delve into communicating to the audience what they need. I’ve never ever seen you push anything. You’ve made stuff available. You’ve introduced people to concepts. You provided them opportunities, but you’ve never been the ShamWow guy on the stage. As flamboyant as you are, it takes ten seconds after you’ve been on stage. You see that you’re very interactive with the stage and you want to help them. Why was it so important for you to want to help so many people?
People will not remember what you said, they only remember how they felt. If I can share a story, I call it a song. What I do is I share songs. A song is about 2 to 3 minutes. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end. It has a little hook at the end of it. You don’t remember the exact message, but you remember how you felt during the song. You remember the little ditty. I realized if I can get people to sing along to those songs after a while, those concepts become their own. It’s not about the messenger. It’s only about the message.
We’ve spoken before regarding triggers. You’re good at creating that trigger. In fact, the persona of you is a trigger that gets them attention then you feed them your message. I’ve also come to know something very much about you, is that you are an incredible hacker. You’ve already shared a secret of a quick one. You didn’t want to create a book, you wanted to create a best seller. A lot of people say, “You’ve got to have the goalposts to be able to shoot the goal.” They’re looking at the wrong goalposts, you’re a guy that literally went, “I’d like to be a doctor. Let me find a way I can become a doctor.” Let’s be blunt, you are a doctor. You have the title as Dr. Greg Reid. Tell us the story behind that?
It’s twice over. What happened was I had a bucket list when I was a kid like 17, 18. I made these impossible goals of 80 things, running with the bulls in Pamplona, to swimming with sharks, to writing books, to making movies impossible at the time. The last thing that was on the bucket list was to get a PhD to be a doctor because I barely graduated high school. I was sharing with a friend of mine who said, “You’re not going to believe this, but in India, they have Harvard University where they have 37 campuses.” The last guy to get an honorary degree was Ted Turner. He goes, “I’ll throw your name in the hat and see if they’ll no bite.” Two weeks later they called up and said, “Congratulations.” To give back, I asked my friend, Tonino Lamborghini, to fly over with me. We did commencement speeches throughout the entire country and return.
You’re never worried about the qualifications. You’re worried about the end goal and you find a way to make it happen. You’ve done that. You’ve got a brilliant movie out, which is the true story of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the originator, Frank Shankwitz, that actually did that. That’s been doing well. Is it on DVD and that stuff?
To back up Frank Shankwitz, the short version is I was interviewing Frank for a book I was writing. At the end of it, I said, “What is your wish? What did you ask for?” He said, “No one asked me.” I said, “I’m going to grant the wish of the founder of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.” I go, “Do you want a Lamborghini? A house? Whatever it is, I’m going to give it to you.” He said, “I just want my story to be told, so my grandkids know I did something cool.” It took six years, millions of dollars. We finished the theatrical run. We became Oscar qualified. We go for a nomination. It’s on all DVDs at Walmarts, Targets all around the country, and streaming on everyone at your devices at home.There's a dream, then a challenge, and then victory. Almost everyone quits in challenging times. You’ve got to keep pushing through Click To Tweet
How much quantification did you have in doing a movie?
One of the greatest interviews I did was a guy named Truett Cathy. He founded a company called Chick-fil-A restaurants. I asked him, “Truett, I want to be a billionaire like you, what do I do?” He looked at me and said, “Stop planning.” I go, “What? That goes against everything we were taught.” He said, “Last year you had a lot of plans.” I go, “Yes.” He goes, “How did that work out for you?” He goes, “Take action, have a goal and move toward it and then look for unexpected opportunity to help you.” He says, “If I want to get to the end of the street, that’s my goal. I get off my sofa and I start moving towards that goal. I start looking to the kid, leave a skateboard or a bicycle out to make my journey short. If I get lucky, I’ll wave down a neighbor driving by and hitch a ride to the end of the street. Either way, I’ll get to my goal. I just don’t mind stories were formulated that way.”
You’ve taken that concept and you now have a Walk of Fame star in Vegas as well. I don’t think anything it’s unbelievable. You realize that everything is believable. Tell us about the star.
I got a star on the Walk of Fame in Las Vegas, literally right at the Eiffel Tower of the Paris Hotel. As you stand on it and look across the street is the water show for Bellagio. I’m six away from Elvis Presley and Donny and Marie go to after me. Then all the way down the line, what a great blessing and opportunity this was.
We’ve got it very clear that you’re a guy that doesn’t take no for an answer. He doesn’t look at his inadequacies as any reason, why he shouldn’t be hugely successful in anything he desires to be. I do remember standing in your house and you showing me a box of letters. Tell us about those books or letters.
The first book I did was called The Millionaire Mentor that I wrote many years ago. When you write a book, you write a thing called a query letter. It says, who you are, what’s your message? Why are you an expert? Who’s going to read your book? I sent eight of these query letters out every single week and eight returned envelopes were saying, “Go away. You suck. You can’t write. You’re not qualified.” I was turned down by 268 publishers, agents, and printing houses in a row. The 269th one said, “We’ll do your book. We have faith in you, but we want you to change the title, the beginning, the middle, and the end.” I hired a ghostwriter who took my words and crafted them where people want to read it and went on to become a global phenomenon. It started my career. If I would have stopped after 50 or 100 or 212 or 200, the bottom line is that you have to have stackability. First, there’s a dream, there’s a challenge and then there’s victory. Almost everyone quits in challenging times. You’ve got to keep pushing through.
Why keep the box of all those letters? I’ve had friends over at your place as well. We did a Speakeasy at your mansion down in San Diego. You just pulled that box out and turned it upside down. I don’t think people realize how many 200-plus letters are. You kept them all. Why?
I used it as my inspiration because at the beginning I was sad. It became amusing and my fuel. What I did is I took those letters and I literally taped them on the wall in my office and it became wallpaper. When you walked in, it was all of this rejection. I used that as my vehicle to keep going because I knew I was onto something. I just didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t let that unknowing part stopped me. I kept those letters as an inspiration, so I could go back because the same people that rejected me are the same big publishing houses that are doing my books now.
It was clear that rejection has never been anything of concern to you. It’s clear that skill has never been a requirement. You achieve in anything, from a movie producer, an IMD profile to being a doctor. You’ve got an event that’s recorded in Forbes, and Entrepreneur is one of the number one go-to events if you can get in. It’s called the Secret Knock. Why launch it and what is it?
There’s an article and a Speakeasy as part of this, we are going to be named the top three events in the entire world that you cannot attend, that everyone should go to. The idea is that many people talk about who they’re going to bring in, and what you’re going to learn. It’s the same old crap everywhere you go. What we did is we created an environment where we say, “To come to our establishment. It’s $3,000. We will not tell you where it is. We will not tell you who’s going to be there. We just tell you the city, state, and the date so that we can make your plane reservations.” Right before we leak privately to our members where it’s going to be so that only those people show up, but then here’s the key. This is one thing that you do, that I love about you. You got to deliver. All of a sudden, we start parading Lamborghinis out, the inventor of UGG boots, the founder of Make-A-Wish, the inventor of the credit card, President Vincent Fox, the private Skypes with Edward Snowden and hiding in Russia. The whole idea is that we perform and deliver so then they go home and tell their friends. The next event is standing room only because of word of mouth.
How long have you been doing Secret Knock?
We’re going on our fourteenth year and it started with twelve people in my living room and it grew to its own phenomenon. You’ve seen it. We don’t do any ads, no Facebook, nothing. You can only go if you’re been invited. The whole idea is we surround ourselves with positive likeminded people. You don’t have to be a millionaire, a billionaire, success story to attend. You have to have the mindset that you’re ready for that. If you own a pizza parlor, there’s a million places to go. If you’ve got five pizza parlors and you lost all your friends because no one understands you, we’re the tribe you’re looking for.
That’s the thing that I’ve noticed as common. Most people come to your event with no real expectation other than to grow, have the ideas challenged, and be in an environment of go-getters. You’ve done well to craft that culture, without crafting a culture. You’ve not done Facebook. You’ve done any of those things. I’ve never seen an advertisement for anyone of your events, and in a world of Ad water pop Insta guru, you’ve not done any of that. Let’s be completely blunt, the market over the last few years has got saturated with billionaires leaning up against cars that they don’t own with billions that they don’t have. How do you combat that?
I don’t try to be like everybody else, nor do I have to fight in the market for people that are just wanting to pretend. The whole reason we did our environment and our events, just like you do a Speakeasy is rather than hanging out with coaches, teachers, mentors, and authors, we surrender ourselves with the people who’ve actually done it and who’ve accomplished what they want. It drives me crazy to see someone learn how to write a bestselling book from someone who’s never even had one at Barnes & Noble before or someone who says, “Here’s how you be a public speaker,” but they haven’t ever spoken on a major stage and it’s kind of buyer to beware but it’s also shamed on the buyer if that’s what they choose to go. The realities are, do your diligence, seek counsel, and not opinion.We can say the same thing a thousand times, but when we're on stage, we make sure it sounds like it's the first time. Click To Tweet
You said at the beginning that you sought out the best person for the problem you had, and you got people that are done it to action. It’s very hard in an instant perfect world for us to be able to get into that credibility. You can stand up, “I made $13 billion last year.” The bottom line of it is no one can validate that true. Me and you, we were very close, great brothers, but I’m a hugely cynical person. We’re talking to a guy here and we’ve already stated is one of the world’s greatest hackers of just getting shit done regardless of the skill level required to do it, you’ll find a way. How do people actually sift through? What kind of questions should they be asking themselves before they approach people to spend $199 to join a course from someone who’s never done it before?
Surround yourself with people that give you counsel, not opinion. Opinions based on ignorance, lack of knowledge, and experience. Councils, wisdom, knowledge, mentorship they paved the way. If you go to some knucklehead that’s not getting the results you want or a family friend and say, “I’m going to write a book,” they’ll talk you out of it or they’re trying to sell you a program. If I go to Mark Victor Hansen who wrote Chicken Soup for the Soul and say, “I want to write a book.” They’ll say, “Sit down. Here’s what you need to know,” and give me a roadmap from people who can give me counsel. If we would spend our activity only seeking counsel and ignoring opinion, that’s the day your life would change. My biggest questions I asked, what have you done in this chosen field of endeavor to prove that you’re the success story that you’re teaching upon?
If they can’t answer that, that’s one thing. Someone came to me and said, “Greg, I want to write a book. Why are you an expert?” I say, “That’s easy. Go to Barnes & Noble.” For years, 24/7 around the clock, I’ve had at least one bestselling book or back selling book on the shelves every single day for years. Someone says, “Do you want to be a speaker?” Forbes Inc., Entrepreneurs claiming the top ten in the world, but here’s the thing, you and I don’t go around bragging it. We just live it. Everyone knows is sitting there talking about what they’re going to do. You and I get out and do it and surround yourself with the people that are getting stuff done.
One of the things I want to go back to is the actual Secret Knock and the mentality you have in there because you’re a playful, fun, vibrant character to be around. I’m a moody old git, but I can’t do anything but smile when I’m hanging around. You attract quite simply presidents, people in hiding. You mentioned about Snowden, major influences that come to your event. How does the communication between you and them commence in order for them to look at you and go, “He’s the kind of guy I want to hang out with?” I believe you’re a phenomenal communicator. Not only in your events but outside as well. You’re brief and you set a point. You save their time and that’s very respectful. How do you get these people to pay attention to you when you do no marketing? It’s sad to say, a lot of people haven’t heard of you until they have, and then they’re vested.
I’m the most un-famous guy in the world because that’s the life that I’ve chosen for myself. I’ve been so busy doing stuff, I haven’t been had time to go out and promote and brag about it. I’m going out and accomplishing. To answer your question is I surround myself with people when I’m writing these books and interviewing them and I find friends along the way. If I can interview ten billionaires, 1 or 2 of us hit it off. Those are the people that I invited to Secret Knock because our mentality at our event is you got to be cool. Just like Speakeasy, it got to be cool. Meaning, if it’s cold, we’ll go turn up the thermostat. If the water runs out of that table, don’t bitch about it, go put some water. Be a grownup. What happens is we surround ourselves with positive likeminded people. By doing that, you make amazing alliances all along the way.
There are a lot of people out there that they searched for this credibility. There are lots of companies out there that can turn a book around, some of them had a couple of weeks. How important in a digital world is releasing a book nowadays?
That’s extremely important just for credibility and platform, but it has to be consistent with what you’re saying. For example, if I’m talking about financial literacy and I wrote a book about poems about kittens, they don’t go together. I find it important to be strategic when you release what you are coming out with. More importantly, you got to understand that what we want to do is make sure our message is congruent with the words that we speak in the life that we live because everybody’s watching. The second that those things don’t align, that’s where you have something called brand slaughter and you start losing your database.
You pretty crap of branding because you don’t, but anyone that knows you, five of us can get around and we know exactly what you stand for. How do you unbrand yourself and how important is it for people to know the brand that you are? That’s a strange one, but you do have a brand, but you don’t brand it. How do you play that tricky little line?
When I first started in this career, especially my big break was with the Napoleon Hill Foundation. I got a Willy Wonka ticket from the Napoleon Hill Foundation and the Surviving Family to interview all these amazing people and write the Think and Grow Rich series. I also had a fallen suit and dress for success and live that message. Crazy Greg’s a little bit different. I’m more of a beach rat, flip flops, riding skateboard type of guy. The image that I was putting out there on stage was a very professional look where in my home life is a bit more relax and casual. The whole thing is that on stage I delivered the message that the audience would feel, absorb, and think as their own. At home, I surround myself with my friends, coworkers, and the people that I want to hang out with, shoot some pool and play ping pong.
Do you think it’s important if we want to get out there what our look is?
The realities are for myself as I’m a flamboyant guy, I am bright and I realized that. It’s simple, I’ve got a black backdrop and every time we go on stage, the curtain was either white or it was black. If you wear a black jacket with a black background like you do, you look like a talking head with your hands and your face and that’s it. You look like meat. For myself, I realized if I could just wear a jacket with a little bit of pop, a red jacket, a green jacket, a blue jacket, something like that. I would stand away from the backdrop and then people would think that I’m more approachable and they pay attention because all of a sudden, I’m coming off the screen.
I will often say to make you out of Summit. As far as stage presence is concerned, we definitely have a different look. I do give you little jabs on some of the jackets and the Paisley colors you wear, but you are more vibrant as a person than what you wear. If you get that attention by the jacket, the jacket becomes a secondary real fast once they’ve heard you speak. I’ve noticed when you speak, and I have a lot of speakers that follow me. A lot of people are learning how to speak and wanting to do more speeches. The one thing that I’ve always enjoyed about you is that you are probably one of the fastest people to get off the stage.
That is during the communication and conversation you’re having. You quickly jump off that stage, jump into your audience, start picking on people. You’re a real entertainer. Do you feel that was easy for you to start with or it was something that came to you along the way? Because a lot of people will stand on stage and almost thing that confined to that little area of the walkway, but you have no confinement. You’re off, you’re in the crowd. I can only imagine if I was filming it, that would piss me off because cameras have got to try and follow you, but you off jumping all over, grabbing people, making them stand up, giving him your books, talking to them. Did you pick up on that style or did you start with it?
I picked up on it and I just observed the mentors and the people getting the results that I wanted for myself and I started duplicating it. I realized that Tony Robbins would go into the audience. I realized that Charlie “Tremendous” Jones would engage and interact with the people in the front row. I realized that Les Brown would tell a message when he’s hitting it home from the stage with a spotlight hitting him. As a professional speaker, I make sure I get there early and I walk the stage and I see exactly where the spotlight hits the hottest part.
I make sure that no matter where I am in the audience, I’m right back to that location when I’m making my point so it sets in. The whole concept of engaging with the audience is, everyone’s so tired of listening to talking heads and people just rambling on, but if you can do a short three minutes song in the audience where they feel engaged in, it’s their idea. You finish it up on stage under that spotlight, it sets home. Everything looks casual, but it’s very well-rehearsed. I believe you and I are professionals of our industry. We can say the same thing a thousand times, but we make sure when we’re on stage, it sounds like it’s the first time ever.
Because for a lot of people reading, it’s the first time they’ve ever heard it.
It’s like, who wants to go to a Rolling Stones concert and hear them singing one of their favorite songs like they don’t care? The whole idea is that even though we’ve said it a thousand different times and we know what we’re saying, we have to present it like it’s the first time that they’ve ever heard it. I take that very seriously.
I want to get a myth out of the way. I get a bunch of people, and I know for a fact you do, because we know a lot of the same people that look to you as mentorship. They join your consultant programs. They join your different clubs to be able to have access to you. Who do you look up to and gain your information from?
We have a small circle of influence. You and I are on speed dial, we chat. We constantly throw ideas at each other. My one confident was Dave Corbin, the guy who wrote the book, Preventing Brand Slaughter. He is my go-to guy because a good mentor will tell you what you need to hear and not always what you want to hear. My mentors never said a good thing in his life. He must be a good mentor.
That one’s going to break a myth. A lot of people think that once you start getting into, as good as we are, we’re not at the top of our game. It’s still a journey. It’s a constant journey. It’s constant learning. People look at you and other people in the market and “You’re at the top of the game. You must know it all. You don’t need anybody else.” I would say that the more that you get out there, the more people you actually need.
I would agree to that. More importantly, I’ve got new people that are dressing me for 2020. I come across still. I stick out, but I don’t look so flamboyant. A little bit more professional. I’m working on that. I’m working on new products and new books that are coming out that are more in alignment with the message that I want to start sharing in the future. I sit down with my mentor, Dave Corbin. What happens is we videotape my presentation and we turn the sound off. We watch the mannerisms because 70% of everything we do of communication is nonverbal. That’s what I focus on most. When you get that precise, that’s when you hone your craft and truly step in the greatness that you can.
I’ve never thought of doing that. I’m doing a speech and when can I watch it with the sound off? I remember I saw a speech. One of the first speeches I did as I came out of the concierge and went into the influencer circuit. I paced around this stage so much. It was like I was just walking into some wrestling ring. Every time you do anything, no matter what you do, the first time, it’s going to be shit. You’ve got to get going and then get good. You have a website. How do we get hold of Greg Reid?
There’s a thing called Google, just put it in there and I’ll pop up everywhere. The main thing is if you reach out to me like a direct message on Instagram, it goes right to my phone or email. It doesn’t go through a secretary. It goes right to me. I realized if you could become accessible, all of a sudden, you start opening up your human side of yourself. We become accessible where people want to reach out and become your friends. The easiest way to get great clients is to do friends with business, with people you like, engage with. That’s what I like to say. Go on to Instagram, DM me on Facebook, send me a message. It goes right to my inbox.
I have noticed that you’re brief with your time. I have noticed how you will walk out or someone put your hand on the shoulder, get into their face, get into their eyeballs, and go “Let’s solve this. Let’s handle it.” You’re an engaged person. That is completely against the first image of the Greg Reid, the showman, the flamboyant, the colorful jackets is the wrapping of the man that I would say no one cares more than you do, for what you do and who you communicate to, and your message. I urge people to get to know Greg Reid, not the funny floor jackets.
I appreciate you saying that. The whole idea is that we’re compassionate. I appreciate the people that appreciate the work that we’ve done. If someone takes the time to say, “I read your book” and it made an impact to me, how dare us not stop and take a couple of seconds, and put our feet towards their feet, look them in the eye and thank them and shake their hand because that’s what it’s all about. When we first started in the industry, we said, “If we can impact one person’s life, we’ve done our job.” Once you start impacting people’s lives in millions, it’s the same exact responsibility. Make sure you reach out and say, thank you. They’re the people that brought you along the journey.
You’re brilliant. If anyone here thinks I’m just blowing smoke up this guy, he deserves it. He’s phenomenal. He is the most unqualified success I know. He could turn around and go, “Do you know how fancy being an astronaut?” I would have no doubt whatsoever we’d be up on the next trip. You’ve got the Secret Knocks coming out. How do people get more information? Do they get onto the list to be able to be qualified for that?
It’s a website called SecretKnock.co. They’ll fill out an application, someone calls you, make sure it’s a good fit, then we bring into our circle sphere of influence.
Anyone that’s reading this or wants to learn more about Greg, get into the circle, get into his phenomenal network. He has some great speakers up there. I’ve been very proud to speak on his stage and bluntly, not being shy. I am the least qualified on that stage. He literally does have the guy that founded credit cards. The guy that invented UGG boots, Frank Shankwitz invented Make-A-Wish. He has some of the biggest people and some of the coolest cut-sides events. I urge you to look up Secret Knock. Greg, you’ve been a stall on this show. It’s been a pleasure to have you here. Any last words people should know?Always take time to reach out to people and thank them for bringing you along the journey. Click To Tweet
I love you. I appreciate you and I appreciate the person that you truly are, Steve.
I’ll speak to you in the next episode.
I hope you enjoyed the episode. If you want to come and hang out with me with some of my friends, you should come into one of our Speakeasies. How do you do this? You head over to SteveDSims.com. Look up the next event, click, get involved. We’ll find out where your problems are. We’ll find out how we can help you. We’ll give you a tremendous event. Hopefully, see you at Speakeasy one day in the future. All the best.
Greg is an entrepreneur known for his giving spirit and a knack for translating complicated situations into simple, digestible concepts.
As an action-taking phenomenon, strategy turns into results fast and furious, and relationships are deep and rich in the space he orbits.
A firm believer in the role of win-win partnerships and making a difference in others to succeed.
He can be found having a great time brewing up inspiration, occasionally breaking into song and dance, and being of service to those around him.