A Week with Zig Ziglar: Part 3

I continue to share 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 or part 2 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 3 of my interview with Zig Ziglar:

If people used three words to describe you, what would they use? 

Encourager, Consistent, Faith

Tom: I would say he walks his talk, and Dad is a pretty good talker.

How did you develop so many great leadership principles and sayings?

Whenever I have a thought, I always write it down. The first thought sometimes is the best thought and I never want to lose it. I still have fun reading at least three hours a day… a practice I’ve had about 40 years.

The more you know about a subject…the more creative in that subject you can be…so I keep reading…including all the new authors.

You have created a great legacy as a leader, and as a motivator. If people were going to summarize your life’s contributions to society, what would you want them to say?

Here’s a man that loved his family…and he loved them because they always helped him. If the people that help you help you…you should remember those people and talk about them.

My children know that I always put my wife first…

Tom: He wants to be known as a man who loves his family and was loved by his family. Plus, he left a message of hope and encouragement.

Zig: Encouragement is the number one thing that people need today.

A lot of people never hear an encouraging word…encouragement is the missing ingredient in many families…

How do you stay so positive?

You are who you are and what you are because of what goes in your mind. You can change who you are by changing what goes in your mind. If I can’t teach it I’m not going to read it.

I always ask myself when I’m reading, “How can I learn something in here that I can use to help someone out there?”  

(He said he reads business books, self-help, autobiographies, success stories, and Biblical principles. He makes sure he reads something encouraging every day and he avoids clouding his mind with negativity.)

Tom: After his accident, there was so much inside him already that there was no chance for a pity party.

(Click HERE for part 4 of my interview with Zig where I’ll share some random quotes from Zig, which will challenge and inspire you.)

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?

A Week with Zig Ziglar: Part 1

Zig Ziglar! The man!

John Maxwell pays tribute to Zig Ziglar in his book “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.” He heard Zig at a seminar say, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”” Maxwell realized in that moment what was missing in his communication skills. It was that encouragement, which set Maxwell on a path to be a great communicator and connector of people.

Seth Godin did a post about Zig where he claims Ziglar “invented modern day motivational speaking.”

Bottom line: Zig Ziglar is an amazing man who has had a tremendous impact on our culture.

I had an incredible opportunity recently to interview the famous Zig Ziglar.

You may not know that about four years ago, Zig had a fall down a flight of stairs. His children now help him in the business, so his son Tom was in on the interview and adds some of his own thoughts, which I indicate throughout the interview. This week I’ll be sharing some thoughts from the legend…Zig Ziglar.

The interview was random at times, because I couldn’t keep up with the wit and wisdom, so I gave up following my notes. I’ll share it in interview style over several posts. My questions are in bold and his answers follow. Whenever you see a parenthesis along the way, those are my thoughts on the discussion.

Here is my interview with Zig Ziglar:

Mr. Ziglar, are you willing to tell us about your accident?

Well, I fell down some stairs about four years ago, but through it I learned to embrace the struggle. (He is so incredibly positive that he never lingers long on the negative of a situation.) It was fortunate that I hit my head…that’s the hardest part of my body…

(Through this injury, Zig had a brain injury and now suffers from short-term memory loss. His long-term memory appears fine and he certainly was engaging throughout the interview.)

Obviously this has impacted your ability to do some of the things you are most passionate about doing.  How have you adjusted to this change in your life?

I’ve not had to change anything. I’m not quite as busy because I’m getting older, but I still write and speak. I have short-term memory loss, but my mom always said, “If you always tell the truth you don’t need a long memory…”

Tom: He still feels he has a message to tell.

Zig: Tom and/or his sisters help me now. We have the same message we’ve always had.

(Tom serves as CEO of Ziglar, Inc., and his two sisters work in the company. Julie is an editor and speaker. Cindy does customer service.)

Have you learned anything as a result of this setback?

Although we didn’t like it, in many cases it has brought us closer together as a family…

It gave us the home court advantage. We’ve always believed that if you are part of a family…close together….it makes life easier…

As a result, one daughter moved closer…our children now travel together…

Tom: So many people are dealing with their own struggles…they see someone like Dad…who is the definition of success…and now he’s dealing with this injury…yet his attitude and his mission are still the same…it’s encouraging to them. He’s not quit. He’s just figured out a different way to accomplish the same things.

Zig: I’m busy as a one-armed man calling on twin sisters…and loving every minute of it.

(Click HERE for part 2 of my interview with Zig and read some about how a painful childhood impacted who Zig is today.)

Has your life been impacted by Zig or someone he’s impacted…such as John Maxwell? 

5 Reversals of Emphasis…

R E V E R S A L – N E E D E D

Sometimes I think we emphasize the wrong things…

What if we reversed a few things?

I wonder how much better it would be to emphasize:

  • Where you are going over where you have been…
  • Who you will be over what you have done…
  • What you accomplish over what you dream…
  • What you believe over what you deny…
  • What’s in your heart over what has been your actions…

If we did a reversal on the things we emphasized…

Started concentrating more on these things…

Would it change the way you viewed yourself…or the way others view you?

For which of these do you most need to reverse your emphasis?

Is Suicide an Unforgivable Sin?

Suicide sucks!

I realize this is a heavy issue for this blog, but seriously…I have had to sit with people several times after a loved one committed suicide. A clouded or confused mind may see suicide as the only way out, although it is never the right option, but it is never easy reconcile for the people left behind. I believe one of my dearest pastor friends died of a broken heart after his son committed suicide. Sadly, suicide appears to be on the rise. Our local paper reported this week (see article HERE) that our state has been awarded $1.4 million to aid in suicide prevention.

Suicide sucks!

This post is not aimed for those who have ever considered suicide…

If you are at all thinking of taking your life…STOP and call for help NOW!!!

This post is for those who are victims of knowing someone who has taken his or her life…

One of the things I hear after a suicide breaks my heart. Families are often left wondering what happened to their loved one. Well-meaning people often repeat something they’ve heard before…that friends and family members who commit suicide are destined to be separated from Jesus the rest of their lives. They assume that suicide is the unforgivable sin. I’ve encountered people who struggle for years with the thoughts that their loved one died apart from Jesus. The only problem with that assumption is that I can’t prove it in the Bible.

Yes, suicide is a sin.

Murder is a sin…taking a life is a sin…suicide is a sin…

Please don’t resort to that…There is always a better way…

If you are at all thinking of taking your life…STOP and call for help NOW!!!

But, suicide is NOT the unforgivable sin.

The grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient even for this sin…

I’m fully convinced there will be brothers and sisters in Christ who are in Heaven, who were experiencing terrible trials…who felt trapped or helpless…who made a bad decision…who took their life…but fully believed that Jesus was the only answer for salvation.

Jesus describes the unforgivable sin in Matthew 12:22-32. It says nothing about suicide.

I know this is a delicate issue. You might read THIS POST or THIS POST I found which addresses this issue in better detail.

I’m praying for those struggling with this issue as I post this…

Scripture Memorization, Week 34

Over the years, the Psalms have ministered to me during hard times perhaps more than any other Scripture. I like to find a Psalm that speaks to me, encourages me or challenges me…write it on a piece of paper…and hide it in my heart.

Psalm verses such as this week’s memory verse:

Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God…

– Psalm 86:2

  • Do you need reminding this week that He is faithful?
  • Do you need Him to guard your life?
  • Do you trust in Him?
  • Is He your God?

How to Know God’s Will

The world and all its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:17 NIV

Some of my best growth times with the Lord have been during teaching times with my children. I remember when my son asked an important question, “Daddy, what is the ‘will of God’?”

Now, he wasn’t asking, “What does God want me to do?” It was more general than that. He simply wanted to know what the phrase “will of God” meant. He had heard others say the term many times, but he never understood it. My hope is that you and I can also grow through this experience.

I explained to him in a way that has always helped me understand the will of God in my life. Understand this is a paradigm for understanding God’s will, not a script according to Scripture. I believe there are Bible verses that can further define each one of these (I’ve put a couple in parenthesis after each one for example), but my intent here is simply to help people process God’s will for their life.

First there is God’s individual will.

That is for the individual decisions you and I make each day. You know that God cares intimately for you, even down to the number of hairs on your head. God does allow, however, for you to make some decisions for yourself in life. You may choose what to eat for breakfast or you may choose a red car instead of a blue. It isn’t that God doesn’t care which you get, but He most likely will allow you to make that decision. (Proverbs 16:9, Jeremiah 29:4-6, Genesis 13:11)

Second, there is God’s moral will.

God’s desire for you is that you develop your character into the image of Christ. He will present you with every opportunity for you to do just that, but you will play a part in how far you grow spiritually. You may choose to love your neighbor as yourself or you may choose to be a very selfish person. God, however, is very concerned about your character, and for His moral will for your life. In fact, God cares more that His moral will for your life be done than His individual will, because God is in the character-changing business. (Philippians 2:5, Galatians 5:22-23, Romans 12:1-2)

Third, there is God’s sovereign will.

God has a will that is set in stone! It won’t change. It can’t change. It always stays the same! For example, God cannot help but love you because that is His sovereign will. God cannot break His promises, because that is His sovereign will. Some things God has set into motion, and they will never be different. (Job 42:2, Deuteronomy 4:39, Isaiah 45:18)

I don’t know what God’s individual will is for your life. (I hope today it includes your favorite cereal and a shiny red convertible…if that’s your color.) But I can tell you this. His moral will is that you be like His Son Jesus.
That begins with your sincere faith in Jesus as your Savior! And better yet, His sovereign will says that because of your faith in Him, He has reserved you a place in Heaven!

Do you struggle to know God’s will for your life sometimes?

Scripture Memorization, Week 33 (And a video)

This week, I want to encourage you to do something special with the memory verse. Write it on an index card or something similar. Place it where you will see it every morning…perhaps like a mirror where you get ready. Read it a few times everyday. Then pray it as a prayer.

Here is this week’s memory verse:

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. Psalm 57:5

See how it shapes your attitude each day this week.

As an added bonus, watch this video and sing it in the form of a song:

7 Ways to Encourage Your Wife

I’m not a perfect husband…

I’m not a perfect husband…

I’m not a perfect husband…

I would write that 100 times, but I think you get the message and I’d probably lose most of you at number 27. That’s the average number of times you’ll read the same thing. (I just made that up… :) )

But, I’m not a perfect husband…

I have learned a few things and I continue to strive to be a better husband. I know, for example, that part of my happiness is found in Cheryl being happy. That’s not a “if momma ain’t happy…nobody’s happy...” joke…it’s a reality. I love my wife enough that I want her to be happy.

Obviously, I can’t control all the things which happen in a day for her. I can’t stop people from being rude to her as she drives to work. I can’t help the co-worker who is having a bad day to take her bad day out on Cheryl. I can’t stop the pressures and stress Cheryl will encounter by being a pastor’s wife or by being a friend, mother, daughter, sister, or husband.

All I can control is the way I respond to Cheryl and the things I do that encourage her happiness. I have found that just as I strategically think for my ministry, I should strategically think how to encourage my wife.

Here are a few ways I try to encourage Cheryl:

Send flowersWhen they aren’t expected – This seems so trivial, but I honestly have to remind myself to do this. Flowers on a special occasion are nice, but I have found the ones she enjoys the most are sent on the days she’s not looking for flowers. (This could be something besides flowers if your wife isn’t into flowers that much, but I’ve also discovered many of the practical-minded women who say they don’t want flowers actually love receiving them occasionally.)

Reserve a day…just for her – I do this every Saturday. I let few things interrupt this day and none without consulting with Cheryl first. You may not be able to do this once a week and it may not be for a full day, but it should be consistent enough that she can anticipate it. During the times when life is most stressful and you are pulled in different directions, these reserved times give her something to look forward to and reminds her you’ll “catch up” soon.

Give a gift…that keeps on giving – This idea is brilliant, I must admit…but I love to give a gift that takes a while to receive. When the boys were at home and getting away was more difficult, I would give Cheryl a trip for Christmas every year. We would take the trip in May. I would usually pick a location, request brochures, and give them to her as her “big” gift at Christmas. We had months to plan for it, which built positive emotions leading up to the trip and then anticipating the next Christmas trip. (Plus, many of these expenses were paid outside the Christmas spending frenzy, which helped our budget.)

Be a responsive listener – I realize whenever Cheryl says something there is usually a deeper meaning, so I listen for the deeper meaning. I try to understand her thought process.(Girls, guys really do talk in simpler facts, which makes it more difficult for us to understand you sometimes.) Instead of dismissing what Cheryl said, because it wasn’t clear or assuming I know what she’s saying, I ask questions for clarification when needed. (Don’t argue this one guys…Just do it.)

Give her details – Okay, I know, this will hurt…just being honest, but it shows your love for her. Again, I’m not the perfect husband here. (Do I need to write that again?) I’m getting better at allowing Cheryl to ask me questions and I’m trying to tell her when I’ve told her everything I know. I realize details are more important to her than to me. (This may be opposite for you and your spouse.)

Listen without fixing – This is my toughest, but just last week I did this. I hope she caught it. :) I am a fixer. I fix problems everyday. Give me a problem and I’ll be quick to race to a solution. I realize that many times Cheryl simply wants my ear…not my expert insight :)

Brag to others – Let your wife hear you bragging about her to other people. She’s wonderful, right? Let her know you recognize it. Of course, this should be genuine, but I know Cheryl appreciates hearing me affirm her to others. (And Cheryl is wonderful…you heard it here first :) )

Guys, your list will be different from mine, because your wife is different. Some of them will be the same. The point of this post is to encourage you to think strategically about how you can encourage your wife. (So…where is your list?)

Ladies, help us men… We are slow sometimes…

What would you add to my list? How could your husband encourage you?

And remember: I’m not a perfect husband…

You may want to read 7 Top Needs of a Wife.