The Most Important Lesson I Learned From Zig Ziglar

11-29ziglar2_full_600I first "met" Zig Ziglar over 30 years ago. I didn't really meet him in person. I met him through a book.

I was still in my "wilderness years." You know, those years when a kid gets out of college and then wanders aimlessly from job to job, trying to figure out what he's going to do for the rest of his life. I tried the PGA Tour…played with lots of the world's best players…but didn't beat them very often, so I made no money. I was a salesman for a Tucson radio station, but didn't make any sales, so I made no money. I even worked 1500 feet down in the copper mines of Bisbee, AZ for a short while to make some money. As good as the money was, that job scared me to death.

I knew I had to figure something out. I was getting depressed and unmotivated, so I deliberately started reading self-help books. I read Think & Grow Rich, Psycho-Cybernetics, As a Man Thinketh, The Greatest Salesman in the World, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and dozens of others. I highly recommend them all.

One of my favorites was Zig's top seller, See You At The Top. I'd heard of this guy with the very weird name and annoying habit of being extremely motivated all the time. He was a "motivational" speaker and filled with all sorts of wise sayings:

"If you can dream it, you can achieve it."

"People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily."

"Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude."

But my favorite Zig quote was this:

“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

That's the one that hit me square in the middle of my forehead. Help other people get what they want. Wow, that made all the sense in the world! 

I've tried to live my life around that credo. Of course, I haven't always succeeded and screwed things up even when I didn't mean to (sorry, Tom). But for the most part, I've done okay, and I will continue to make best efforts.

Many years after reading See You At The Top the first time, I met Zig and his beautiful redhead, Jean, and became acquaintances. What a thrill getting to know one of your heroes. And like many of those who knew Zig, when I'd run into him I couldn't resist always asking the same question, "How are you doing today, Zig?" To which he always responded, "Fantastic and getting better!"

Zig made a difference in a lot of people's lives. That's quite a legacy. He made a difference in mine by helping me get what I want.

Thanks, Zig.