This year two of the most important contributors to productivity and personal development died. First it was Stephen Covey (the author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”) who passed away in July. Last week it was Zig Ziglar - a legendary motivational speaker and a person that influenced so many people with his character, integrity, values, advice and charisma. While I got to know the work of Stephen more than 10 years ago when I read his books, Zig appeared on my radar thanks to a comment one of my friends left on this blog. I’m so glad he did.
I didn’t like Zig’s Texan accent at first
When I started listening to Zig’s podcast Inspiring words of encouragement I was immediately put off by Zig’s strong Texan accent. I’m not English native so his accent was kind of strange and hard to listen to at first. Listening to what Zig is really saying convinced me to keep on getting new episodes and I really liked Zig’s approach to selling, productivity, life and values… and God. After listening for a few months to Zig I decided to buy his book: Better Than Good - which I reviewed on this blog. Loved it and was ready for more Zig content so I bought his ultimate book about selling: The Secrets of Closing the Sale and I loved it, too. In the world of selling it’s great to listen to someone teach you how to close a sale with integrity and ethics and not in a way to deceive anyone.
We are all in the business of selling
Zig’s career begins with him being a salesman and only later in his career he moved on to pursue a speaker career in selling and personal development. What drove him there, he says, is that we are all in business of selling. We sell every day whether we realize this or not. We sell ideas to our spouses, we sell concepts to our children, we sell ourselves every single day. That’s why his principles, based so much in selling, work in every day life.
Zig practiced what he preached
Zig was a loving family man. He was married to the same “red head” woman (as he’d call his wife) and just before his death they celebrated 66th wedding anniversary. His son Tom runs his company and his other children also help out. He wasn’t just saying it’s good to have a loving family. He was living it every single day.
Zig influenced many great people
Laura Stack who is a regular contributor to our Productive! Magazine and was on the cover of issue #9 said she decided to become a public speaker when she saw Zig on stage at the age of 14 (!). Seth Godin wrote a great thank you post last week (and this is how I first found out about Zig’s passing). Many “online friends” of mine confessed their lives were greatly influenced by Zig.
Zig was an exception and he didn’t like exceptions!
Zig’s career was getting stronger with the years passing by. He was 60, 70 and 80 years old and his influence got stronger and he himself admitted “he was just getting started!”. It’s just amazing to see a person being so active in the years where “normal people” want to retire. After all, I “met” him (virtually) when he was 80 something and he influenced me a lot. He was an exception to the rule.
One of the things I remember he said was that we should stay out of making “exceptions” because they may start small as rare exceptions and turn to rules. He referred to situations like we “cross the street at red light this one time” - and then we start crossing the street more often at red. We shouldn’t make exceptions and I try not to… but I fail many times I must admit.
Thank you Zig Ziglar!
I’m glad I got to learn from Zig and I keep on coming back to his books and courses. My friend Ivan compiled a list of great Zig’s quotes and the one I keep coming to is this one:
“You can get anything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Rest in peace Zig, hope you’ll enjoy the peace you deserve and thanks so much for your inspiration and encouragement.
Did you hear about Zig Ziglar before? If so, how did he influence you? Which of his quote do you remember most?