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Published:December 20th, 2006 10:16 EST
Zig Zagging Your Way to Success

Zig Zagging Your Way to Success

By Brandon Jennings

Many people look for inspiration when the going gets tough. And odds are, if they found it, it was probably from Zig Ziglar. He has been motivating audiences for over 30 years, and he isn`t showing any signs of stopping.
 
His sales experience includes being one of the top sales persons at a company of over 3,000 salespersons, and number two at a company that boasted over 7000.  However, these achievements pale in comparison to the empire he has built on the foundation of hard work, integrity, and fairness. His goal was simply to help others get what they want, and countless letters praising him for his help tell him he`s achieving what he set out to do.
 
Ziglar is constantly working on ways to improve his programs, but he isn`t just pumping them out chasing dollar signs. He spends enormous amounts of time consulting with Doctors from various fields of study in order to fine-tune the advice he releases to the masses. Recently, he snuck in another little project.

He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule of writing and working at his company in Plano Texas, to visit with Judyth Piazza, host of the American Perspective and CEO of the Student Operated Press, www.thesop.org.

Hi Mr. Ziglar, it`s a pleasure to have you here.

I`m delighted to be here Judy, but when you get to be my age, you`re just delighted to be anywhere.

Some people like to refer to you as the one of the leading gurus of motivation. What do you think about that?

I`ve been called a lot of things in my day, and if they want to call me that, tell em` to go ahead.

It`s amazing to me how you`ve managed to keep up such a remarkable workload for all these years. How do you stay motivated?

I think the real question is how would I not be motivated. I have enormously good health, I have a beautiful redheaded wife, I read for three hours a day, and I`m always writing a book and or preparing a presentation that is designed to help people stay positive. How could I ever get down?

It seems impossible when you look at it that way. You`ve said that, You can have everything in life that you want if you just help enough people to get what they want. " Would you say that`s your motto?

Absolutely, that`s the golden rule in work clothes.

Who were some of your mentors that helped you to get to this point today?

My first mentor would definitely be my mother. She had only finished the 5th grade, but she was the wisest woman I have ever known. I also have what I call my wall of motivation. It has 26 men and women on it who I have drawn inspiration and values from over the years.

You briefly mentioned your wife earlier. I understand that you`ve been married for 58 years.

That`s a fact. I can tell you every detail of the first day we met including the circumstances.

Not too many men can do that.

I won`t tell you I fell in love with her as soon as I met her, but I can say that I knew right away that I wanted to get to know her. She`s the only woman I`ve ever loved. After two years, two months and 11 days of relentless pursuit, I finally convinced her to say yes. And we`ve been married ever since.

Is there something that you were told in the past that you`ve found yourself telling others when you give them advice.

My mother taught me as a child, everybody can`t be brilliant. But everyone can be kind, pleasant, and encouraging. This was simple, but very important.

That`s some great advice. Do you have any new projects in the works?

I just finished one book. It will be over a year before it is published, and I`m writing another book and some programs that have some important principles I hope will hold true for a very long time to come. Part of the reason the programs are not out yet, is because I want to ensure that the principles will have the same impact in the future as they would if I were to release them today.

I saw you have a lot of things available on your website. One of your books that I found interesting in particular was Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World. This is something I can relate to because I have two kids of my own.

Well, I try to make sure my books are on topics that people can relate to. My book, Courtship After Marriage, is used by teachers and trainers all over the place. I was interviewed about that book twice by Dr. James Dobson on his radio show, and the interview has been broadcast nationally 14 times. And that tells me he`s on the same page as me also.

So how did you actually become inspired to take this path?

Well, it was a two-step process. In my first two years as a salesman, it was a desperate struggle for financial survival. And one day, P.C. Merrill told me I could be the national champion. He inspired me and I believed him. Ultimately, I came in second out of 7,000 salesmen. Two years later I saw a man named Bob Bail. I saw right away he was having fun. He was excited, and he was making a lot of money. I was interested in all three of those things. In 1950, I decided I would do it. But I was never able to do this as my full time job until 1972. That was when my speaking and writing career simply exploded, and it`s been going like a house of fire ever since.

 want to commend you on what you`re doing out there. You`ve helped a lot of people, and I just think it`s amazing.

Well, you know, joy comes from what you do for other people. You can be happy in your own way, doing things for yourself. But real joy comes from helping others to get ahead.

I`ve found that myself. It`s always a real pleasure to help students get their names in print out in the real world. That`s one of the reasons I started the S.O.P.

No doubt about that Judy. I`ve had a lot of letters, and the last thing I say and show when I speak to people is a picture of me sitting behind my desk. On top of the desk, there are 5000 letters, unsolicited, all telling me my principles have helped. And that is just another motivator for me to keep doing what I`m doing.

I know you`ve had many exciting moments in your life. Can you share with us your most exciting moment?

Absolutely, it was July 4, 1972, when I became a Christian. My career exploded when I began teaching biblical principles. The stories are all character based, and that`s what really makes the difference.

I know that your son has become involved with your company now.

He`s not just involved; he`s actually the president and CEO. All he let`s me do anymore is write books. He`s the one who takes care of all the hard work to keep the company running. He`s doing a wonderful job. But my son is not the only one around who`s keeping things going. I have an executive assistant who has been with me for 28 years. The woman only has a 10th grade education, but when we did our evaluation not too long ago, she tested as having an educational level slightly above the master`s level. She takes care of almost all aspects of the business, finance, legal and just day-to-day operations.  She is invaluable to us.

It`s great that you give kudos to those who are behind the scenes and not out there in the spotlight like yourself.

That`s where all the real work goes on.

Who is one of your favorite authors?

Well, Fred Smith, he`s my mentor. 90 years old and the wisest man I have ever met by far. Because of him, I have developed sources in the areas of things that I don`t know "psychiatrists, theologians, and physicians. This way I can analyze things, physically, mentally and spiritually. It gives me an extra degree of confidence that what I do is going to be correct.

Where is somewhere that people can find out more about you, and what you`ve got going on?

Well, they can go to the website, www.ziglartrainingsystems.com and they can find out what is going on with us or they can call the main office in Plano Texas 1-800-527-0306 and they can just get all kinds of information. There`s also a weekly newsletter that can be subscribed to on our website.

I`ll definitely sign up for that. I just wanted to say that it`s been a pleasure having you, and I hope that you will come back.

Well, Judy, I never would have been here if I hadn`t been invited, and the same will be true on the next time. I want to tell you it`s been great talking to you, and I want to be the first to wish you well on all the great things you are doing for the world.

Thank you

To hear the audio version:  http://www.thesop.org/index.php?id=190