I was inspired.
Those three words describe how I felt the first time I saw Zig Ziglar speak over 40 years ago.
A large part of the reason I ended up in speaking was because of author, salesman, and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar.
Yesterday morning the news of Zig’s death after a bout of pneumonia inspired people to share their memories and stories of Zig.
Today I’ll share one of mine.
A number of years ago, I had the privilege to be interviewed alongside Zig by Bill Glazer.
Zig began by talking about growing up during the depression and how that influenced him. He said that besides his mother being an incredible role model, he noticed something.
He said throughout his life he observed in every decade that regardless of what was going on in his community, he noticed that some people lived in nice houses, took great vacations, and drove the nicest cars. And that even when the economy was bad, some people thrived and that in good economic times some people still struggled for survival.
Zig said those who did well realized that they couldn’t do anything about the national economy, but they could do something about their “personal economy.” He said those that thrived, no matter what was going on, accepted responsibility for their own economy, in other words they worked hard and did whatever they had to do and whatever is necessary to not only survive, but flourish.
When I was growing up I saw both sides of that experience firsthand. My family had times of doing quite well and I also remember being one step away from food stamps. So I started at an early age searching for principles and strategies for what made the difference.
No matter what the small town, big city, good economic times, bad economic times, no matter what those variables are, in every area, you can always find somebody who’s doing really, really, really well even if everyone around them is weeping and wailing and gnashing teeth.
As an entrepreneur, you may want to follow Sam Walton’s lead. When asked about the recession in 1991 Walton said, “I’ve thought about it, but I’ve chosen not to participate in it.”
During our talk, Zig hit on a couple of key principles that allow you to be one of those people that thrive no matter what the conditions. Not surprisingly, one of them was how to get motivated.
Zig said, “Don’t wait to get inspired. You have to manufacture your own inspiration and motivation.” He said you do that by talking to like-minded people and reading books. Zig read over three hours every day for over 30 years. His reading material included autobiographies, newspapers, and the bible.
Zig said everyone can find a mentor—and should. That who you associate with and what you read are great sources of inspiration.
He also said that you refuel and restart your motivation by re-reading things that inspire you so you can be reminded of what you need to know and the things that motivate you.
I agree. Repetitive reading and mentors are key. If you’re hanging out with anybody that you don’t need to have a notebook to scratch notes in, then you should evaluate who you are hanging out with.
Author Clem Stone discussed inspiration to action. Inspiration to action or action to inspiration, it doesn’t matter where you start, you just have to find out what gets you there. For me, I start working and find the inspiration in the work.
But what happens when you are inspired and you are missing something other than skill—what do you do then?
Zig said that when there is someone that is very knowledgeable, but not living up to his or her full potential that the missing piece is the picture they have of themselves.
Zig talked about his early selling days. He said his self-image was of when he was a boy who was always struggling. He quoted Dr. Joyce Brothers, who said “You can’t perform in a manner that is inconsistent with the way you see yourself.” In other words, if you see yourself struggling you will always be struggling. If you see yourself poor, odds are you’ll be poor.
Struggling financially for over two years as a salesman selling waterless cookware, Zig went to a meeting—that he almost missed. (There’s an important lesson in that alone.) The president of the company Zig sold cookware for and Zig’s hero, Mr. Merrell, pulled Zig aside after the meeting.
Mr. Merrell told him, “I’ve watched you for 2 ½ years and I’ve never seen such a waste. I believe you could be a national champion if you just recognized your own ability, believed in yourself and went to work on a regular schedule.”
Zig said nobody ever said he could be a champion before. Having a man who he had a great deal of respect for telling him he could be a champion was a turning point in his career. He began picturing himself as the champion that Mr. Merrell said he could be. That year he went from the bottom of the sales rung and became No. 2 in the company out of 7000 sales people. When his self-image changed, he became successful.
I’ve seen this over and over. You can have all the skills in the world, but your confidence level needs to match or exceed your competence.
The first time I really ever saw this was when I was working with chiropractors. I was doing coaching with hundreds of doctors. We’d give them identical systems and they would have identical numbers of leads coming through the door—but one would be stuck while another would be skyrocketing.
You have to change what is going on internally.
One way I’ve seen this happen is when a successful and credible person takes someone aside in a mentoring or coaching role and tells them they can do better, much like what happened to Zig.
Another way is at events. I’ve seen people come to seminars where they are suddenly exposed to hundreds and hundreds of people getting phenomenal results, the success in numbers has an effect on them. When they see that a successful person doesn’t appear any smarter or any different, the exposure hanging out with successful people triggers something—and once it happens, all of sudden it seems to happen again and again.
Repetitive reading and repetitive exposure of hanging out with like-minded people who are successful has an effect. Seeing, reading and knowing Zig had an effect on me—a gift I’m glad I got to receive.
A positive self-image is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
And not to get all corny…
But this holiday season, if you know someone who doesn’t have one, you have the power to give it to them…and it won’t cost you a penny.
Do it as a tribute to Zig.
Note: You don’t need to wait to receive the gift of a positive self-image. If you need a mentor or coach to help or you are looking to experience success in numbers, we can help. Check out our different mastermind and coaching groups and eliminate the barriers that are holding you back while being inspired by the members in your group. Or attend one of our upcoming events…from Fast Implementation Bootcamp to SuperConference, we hold events all year round to give you live, in-person access to the best minds in marketing today…which draws an attendance of some of the most successful entrepreneurs and small business owners in the world. Find out more…
Not a member yet? Get on the right path with the Road Map To Success – Getting Started System now. You’ll get $648 worth of strategies, tactics and money-making marketing plans for FREE. To get this now go to www.DanKennedy.com/rmsreport