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A Week with Zig Ziglar: Part 1

By August 22, 2011November 29th, 2012Encouragement, Leadership

Zig Ziglar! The man!

John Maxwell pays tribute to Zig Ziglar in his book “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.” He heard Zig at a seminar say, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”” Maxwell realized in that moment what was missing in his communication skills. It was that encouragement, which set Maxwell on a path to be a great communicator and connector of people.

Seth Godin did a post about Zig where he claims Ziglar “invented modern day motivational speaking.”

Bottom line: Zig Ziglar is an amazing man who has had a tremendous impact on our culture.

I had an incredible opportunity recently to interview the famous Zig Ziglar.

You may not know that about four years ago, Zig had a fall down a flight of stairs. His children now help him in the business, so his son Tom was in on the interview and adds some of his own thoughts, which I indicate throughout the interview. This week I’ll be sharing some thoughts from the legend…Zig Ziglar.

The interview was random at times, because I couldn’t keep up with the wit and wisdom, so I gave up following my notes. I’ll share it in interview style over several posts. My questions are in bold and his answers follow. Whenever you see a parenthesis along the way, those are my thoughts on the discussion.

Here is my interview with Zig Ziglar:

Mr. Ziglar, are you willing to tell us about your accident?

Well, I fell down some stairs about four years ago, but through it I learned to embrace the struggle. (He is so incredibly positive that he never lingers long on the negative of a situation.) It was fortunate that I hit my head…that’s the hardest part of my body…

(Through this injury, Zig had a brain injury and now suffers from short-term memory loss. His long-term memory appears fine and he certainly was engaging throughout the interview.)

Obviously this has impacted your ability to do some of the things you are most passionate about doing.  How have you adjusted to this change in your life?

I’ve not had to change anything. I’m not quite as busy because I’m getting older, but I still write and speak. I have short-term memory loss, but my mom always said, “If you always tell the truth you don’t need a long memory…”

Tom: He still feels he has a message to tell.

Zig: Tom and/or his sisters help me now. We have the same message we’ve always had.

(Tom serves as CEO of Ziglar, Inc., and his two sisters work in the company. Julie is an editor and speaker. Cindy does customer service.)

Have you learned anything as a result of this setback?

Although we didn’t like it, in many cases it has brought us closer together as a family…

It gave us the home court advantage. We’ve always believed that if you are part of a family…close together….it makes life easier…

As a result, one daughter moved closer…our children now travel together…

Tom: So many people are dealing with their own struggles…they see someone like Dad…who is the definition of success…and now he’s dealing with this injury…yet his attitude and his mission are still the same…it’s encouraging to them. He’s not quit. He’s just figured out a different way to accomplish the same things.

Zig: I’m busy as a one-armed man calling on twin sisters…and loving every minute of it.

(Click HERE for part 2 of my interview with Zig and read some about how a painful childhood impacted who Zig is today.)

Has your life been impacted by Zig or someone he’s impacted…such as John Maxwell? 

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Ron Edmondson

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  • @mugsyloans says:

    I always hated reading. "See You At The Top" was one of the few books I ever read 30 years ago from cover to cover. Zig was instramental in making a life changing impact on me at that age with that book and continued to throughout my professional career. It was because of his inspiration I went successfully into self employment at an early age and with limited funds and education. He touched thousands of lives across the globe and will be missed. You can say so many things about him that are great, but the greatest one to me was he led as close to one life as a person could. He wasn't phoney, behind closed doors and inside the 4 walls of his life he was the same person we saw speak, and thats rarely found in today's culture.

  • sheri says:

    Great person, he spoke at a church I was a member, when Ike Reighard was pastor. Purchased some of his books which have great statements to get people motivated.

    Sometimes we spout out terms and phrases and expect people to follow them which would make their life better; however when life circumstances come our way (which I have found out, it does eventually), we change our speech. Glad he is still the same with his positive outlook and making the best of it.

  • Dan Black says:

    Great interview and thoughts. I have always loved the quote about helping others first.

  • charles says:

    Yes I first listened to Zig way back when ( dark ages ) as a young college student. I count his "See You at the Top" in my top 5 along with Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Og Mandino, Tom Peters.

    I am with Josh, can't wait for the rest of this interview

  • Josh wooley says:

    I love listening to this guy. I first heard him when i was selling cars 10+ years ago and conitnue to listen to some of his audio recordings occasionally still. Also enjoyed his book Over the Top. His positive attitude is very catching and he seems like a great guy. Glad you got a chance to meet him and i am interested in seeing the rest of the interview.