"A goal properly set is halfway reached.” – Zig Ziglar
Zig Ziglar. It starts with the name. It sounds like a name of a character from a comic book – but the man who had that name offered invaluable insights for small-business owners.
His parents named him Hilary, number 10 of 12 children. He grew up during the depression in Yazoo City, Mississippi. Think that builds character? Zig Ziglar from Yazoo City. Tell me you wouldn't remember his name if you had the pleasure of meeting him.
He died November 28, 2012, a few weeks after he turned 86, or, as Zig would say, a few weeks after "celebrating my 65th anniversary of turning 21."
I’m happy to say I met him, twice, and had the pleasure of hearing him speak to a big crowd a few times. I felt more alive after those experiences. My favorite was hearing him talk fondly about his wife Jean (the "Redhead") when telling a story, as a carefully considered way to make his point:
"I asked that Redhead of mine (she is a ‘decided’ redhead, meaning that one day she just decided to be a redhead!) to marry me and she said, 'no.' I asked her the second time; she said, 'no.' Third time, no. Fourth time, no. Fifth time, no. Sixth time, she said, 'yes.' No, she did not change her mind. What she did was very simple. She made a new decision based on the new information which produced a new feeling."
When he was on stage, motivating and inspiring large groups of people, he always delivered, like a Cy Young pitcher. Go ahead. Try to write a 40-minute speech that keeps people engaged, makes you laugh so hard you fall out of your chair, and leaves you with the kind of wisdom you never forget.
He worked hard to be a top salesman before becoming a sales trainer and motivational speaker. My mentor, Ned Bennett, Executive Vice Chairman at optionsXpress, told me that Zig was the one who "made me feel proud to be a salesman. He completely changed my perspective about myself."
While Zig’s words are motivational and inspirational at any time, they are particularly relevant as we roll into a new year and many of us set lofty goals (“resolutions”) for ourselves and our businesses. Zig’s advice? Don’t wait for January 1st. Decide what you want to do, and start doing it – but he says it best. Take a moment to watch this video for a dose of motivation to inspire you year-round.
Here's to you, Zig. May we all have that kind of affect on our world, in 2013 and beyond.