Don Green is the Executive Director for The Napoleon Hill Foundation. Hill was a motivational speaker forerunner and established the Foundation prior to his death in 1970.
Sam's Dream Blog: With so many people talking about motivation and success these days, how does the Foundation ensure Napoleon Hill remains at the forefront?
Don Green: Hill wasn’t the first one to write about the topic, but the difference between Hill and the rest of the people [that came before and during his time] was he didn’t just get in the back room and write about people. He went out and interviewed them. Not only did he interview a lot of people that were successful, he interviewed more than 25,000 people that he would consider failures. While it’s important to see how people succeed, it’s also important to learn how people failed so you can avoid the failures.
SDB: Hill talks about the 13 keys to success. Similarly, what’s a big lesson you have learned in realizing dreams?
Don Green: You have to find something that you have a passion about. I worked banking for 38 years and I was a bank president for almost 19 years. To succeed in anything, it’s got to be something that you want to do really, really well and that you have a passion for. Some people want to go into a profession that will make them a lot of money, but if it’s not something they have a passion about, it doesn’t take them long until there is burnout. Pick something that you have a burning desire to do. It’s real simple to me: If you love what you’re doing, you’ll have it on your mind when you go to bed; you’ll have it on your mind when you wake up; you’ll have it on your mind when you eat your meals.
Once you have that burning desire, the next step is you have to make plans. The plans may not be complete. So many people have something they want to do and the plans may not be complete. What do they do? They never start. You can always alter the plans, you can get someone to help you, but you have to take action on it.
The final thing is having a belief in yourself so strong that you are not going to quit. So what if it takes you three years to do the book you thought you could turn out in 90 days? It doesn’t mean you failed. It just means it took longer than you thought. What most people do is they quit when it gets a little bit rough. They see obstacles as barriers to keep them from getting there, rather than just something to overcome.
I told the story in my book that sometimes our ship doesn’t come in. Sometimes we have to swim out to where it is. More than likely, if you’re sitting around on your sofa watching daytime TV and drinking beer all day, not a lot of people are going to knock on your door and say, ?Here, I got something for you.?
SDB: What are your responsibilities as Executive Director?
Don Green: I’m responsible for bringing the money in. I do all the negotiating. I do all the contracts with the foreign publishers, and I do the promotion and marketing. I handle the investments and see that meet all our obligations and that we have adequate reserves to carry on the work of the foundation.
SDB: What’s it like to further, and yet still stick to, the original principles of Napoleon Hill?
Don Green:We don’t solicit donations and we don’t send out mailers asking for money. We earn all of our money, which is kind of unusual for a foundation. We publish Napoleon Hill’s books and his materials that were unpublished all over the world. In the last 12 years that I’ve been here, we’ve published with more than 200 different foreign publishers in about any language you can imagine. We get advances when we publish in a particular language and we get royalties off the sales. We use our money primarily to endow scholarships at the University of Virginia at Wise where we are located. We’ve also endowed a professorship in Hill’s name.
SDB: What’s next for the Foundation?
Don Green: I’m working on a book on finance with a lot of Hill’s writings. Our financial meltdown we had was an absolute disaster. It should have never occurred. People with a college education don’t know how to handle finances. They don’t know the simple things. Eisenhower said one time, if you only want security, you can get that in a prison. They feed you, and you have a roof over your head. To truly have freedom, you have to have financial freedom.