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Monday, May 12, 2014

Zig Ziglar

"You never know when one kind act, or one word of encouragement, can change a life forever."

American Speaker/Author
1926 - 2012

Words are very powerful. A few words here or there can change a life. Who have been the encouragers in your life? Maybe it was a parent, a teacher, a friend, a child or a preacher? What did they say to you? How did they touch your life? How did they change your life? 

Many motivational speakers have inspired me over the years. Driving to Texas from Illinois in December of 1982 to start a new job, I discovered Zig Ziglar, the grandfather of motivational speaking, on the radio. I didn't know who he was or the impact he would eventually have on my life. I have since met him and seen him on several occasions speak. The last time I saw him speak was at the 2000 National Speakers Association annual convention in Washington, D.C. Like many speakers that I enjoy, I have listened to him dozens of times on tape. I, with his permission, actually tell some of his stories.

One of my favorite Ziglar stories is the story of the man who had an opportunity to visit heaven and hell before he died. St. Peter asked the man where he wanted to go. He told St. Peter to take him down to hell. There he saw a beautiful banquet hall with the finest food and drink you could imagine. When he looked at the people he saw that they were skin and bones and that they were cursing and swearing at each other. He told St. Peter to take him up to heaven. In heaven, he saw the same beautiful banquet hall filled with the finest food and drink. When he looked at the people, he saw that they were healthy and robust and that they were laughing and singing. The man asked St. Peter what was going on. St. Peter responded, "Did you see the silverware." Strapped to each arm was a four foot fork and a four foot knife. Now, we all know we can't eat with such large silverware. The people in hell were so busy getting everything for themselves that nobody got anything. Up in heaven each person would feed the person across from him and that person would feed him back. The message is very simple but powerful: if you help other people get what they need and want you will get everything you need and want.

As creative leaders we have the opportunity to touch the lives of the people we meet through our books, paintings, songs, photographs and stories. Whose life did you touch today?

Zig Ziglar
Motivational Speaker / Author

Hilary Hinton Ziglar was the tenth of twelve children born to John Silas Ziglar and Lila Wescott Ziglar.  When Ziglar was five, his family moved to Yazoo City, Mississippi where he spent most of his early childhood.  His father and sister died a year later.  Ziglar served in the United States Navy during World War II.  He married his wife, Jean, in 1946.

Zig Ziglar began his career as a salesman and eventually moved into motivational speaking. He wrote and published more than a dozen books including See you at the Top, Secrets of Closing the Sale and Confessions of a Happy Christian.

Here is Zig Ziglar telling his famous primp the pump story.