A Week with Zig Ziglar: Part 2

This week I”m sharing an interview I did recently with leadership master and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. If you missed part 1, click HERE. My questions are in bold, followed by Zig’s answers. Occasionally, Zig’s son Tom interjects some thoughts. My personal notes and thoughts are in parentheses.

Here is part 2 of this interview:

I read that you grew accustomed to setbacks early in life.   

My father died when I was 5. I was the 10th of 12 kids. I started selling peanuts on the street at 6…and then mowing yards…

I decided you can either complain about it or do something about it…

Some things I can’t do anything about…

I’ve not always been pleased with some of the things that happened to me…but I’ve never complained about them.

Since your father died when you were so young, who invested in you early in life?  

At 12 years old, I started working at a grocery store with Mr. John R. Anderson. He treated me as his son. He knew I didn’t have a father, so whenever he went places he often took me with him. From Mr. Anderson, I learned that if you were kind to people and follow through you’ll have a better career.

Tom:  Mr. Anderson was a very successful businessman who had previously been an English teacher. He would correct Dad’s grammar. Who would have ever thought a 12-year-old boy in the heart of the Depression with no father in Yazoo City, Mississippi, would be an influential motivational speaker?

He had a couple of farms…he would supervise the workers…Dad would see how he treated the African-Americans with respect and kindness…so dad saw that principle in action….

Zig: My favorite quote: “God don’t make no junk…color has nothing to do with it…it’s your heart…”

Your children are obviously a great blessing to you right now.  What does that mean to you?

They are one of the most important parts of my life. I believe children should have a lot of attention. You spend time teaching them what they need to do and the way they do it.

I always say if you will help the children understand why they are doing something, they’ll be more likely to remember it and actually do it. (That works in leadership, too.)

Success in the family begins in the marriage…and I’m still courting that pretty redhead. (He said that several times…he obviously is still madly in love with his wife.) Divorce would go way down if the man wouldn’t quit courting his wife after they’re married.

Tom: My favorite joke dad tells is when he repeats Ethel Waters saying, “God don’t make no junk.” Then dad adds, “God don’t make no junk…and thanks to your mother….neither do I.”

(Zig is a man of deep faith and conviction. He talks most passionately when he mentions issues of family and character. It’s obvious to see the connection between what he values and what he teaches.)

Click HERE for part 3 of my interview with Zig where I asked Zig about the legacy he wants to leave behind.

Do you recognize how the pain of your past helps shape who you are today?

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