Zig Ziglar is my favorite speaker of all time. I have attended his Born To Win course in Texas, where I got to attend his Sunday school class and sit behind him and The Redhead during church service. I have seen him speak 9 times to live audiences.
One of my biggest thrills was approaching him at The World's Biggest Bookstore in Toronto and having him greet me by name. You could have knocked me over with a feather.
Above: Zig and his grandaughter Alexandra, daughter of Tom Ziglar
Many people have for years maintained that there is a direct connection between the physical, mental and spiritual, and that our faith has a direct bearing on our health. Now there's a fascinating book entitled It's Better to Believe by Ken Cooper, the fitness expert who got Americans to run. Dr. Cooper, in clear, concise terms, spells out the reasons for his convictions. He quotes experts as far back as the fifth century Greek philosopher, Socrates, to back up his claims that deep personal convictions and values do wonders for almost every aspect of physical and emotional well-being.
One of the modern-day experts who concurs with Dr. Cooper is Dr. Herbert Benson, a professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Benson has identified what he calls the "faith factor" in physical and emotional healing. He defines this faith factor as a means of natural healing that is made possible by the interaction of two forces: A strong personal belief system that accepts the importance of caring for the body, and the practice of prayer and meditation as part of those beliefs. Psychology Today reports that a decade-long study of 2,700 people showed that after accounting for risk factors, only one social attribute - increased church attendance - lowered mortality rates. In one rigorously controlled study of elderly women, the less religious had mortality levels twice that of the faithful.
Dr. Benson reports that patients with firm religious or philosophical convictions who practice the disciplines of meditative prayer tend to have more success in healing certain health conditions, including reducing high blood pressure, relieving headaches and backaches, and overcoming mental depression.
In his book, It's Better to Believe, Dr. Cooper provides insight into the hand-in-hand relationship of a faithful, God-centered life and a program of exercise and nutrition. One thing that will appeal to all of us is that the treatment provided by God is free. Major point: Use all the resources available and I will SEE YOU AT THE TOP!
I had the great opportunity and honor of assisting Zig Ziglar for several years. I often get asked how I got such a cool job, and looking back on it, I am still completely amazed by how things lined up for me to serve him and his family. (I will save the story for another blog because it needs its own attention.) This honor allowed me to spend large amounts of time with Mr. Ziglar in the car.
Today I was reminded about a collection of those special car times together, the times Mr. Ziglar called “airport rides.” An “airport ride” was when I would go to his house to pick him up for a flight. Since he had flown over a million miles in his life, this was a regular occurrence in our relationship. (The mere fact that I was driving to Zig Ziglar’s house and picking him up and driving him to his destinations never really settled in my mind. It was similar to how I felt in college playing football; I had butterflies every single time I stepped onto the field – and I had that same anticipation every time I was with “THE Zig Ziglar.” Never was there a moment that I was not aware of the magnitude of the time I was about to spend with this amazing man.)
Several things about these “airport rides” stand out with me today:
The first occurred before we entered the car. Mr. Ziglar lingered and lingered and lingered with his lovely redheaded bride. He was the most prompt man on the planet and he saw promptness as a special quality and never liked being late. But bring his “Sugar Baby” into the mix…and all the wheels fell off. The world stopped for her. If you just walked by while he was in his “see you later mode,” you would think he was going to be gone for months on end. This behavior was not just limited to before he left for business trips; he wanted to be with her, even if she were just leaving the room to get a glass of water. His attention to her was beyond magical.
After I had to tear him away from her, we would drive toward the airport and he would ask several questions and catch up. He was always an interested and caring person and wanted to know how I was doing.
Next he made his airport calls. “Airport calls” were the phone calls that he made every single time he was scheduled to leave Dallas. He would call each of his kids and express how much he loved them and was thankful for them. Sometimes he would reach them live and sometimes he would leave a voicemail. But, he made sure to call his whole family prior to and after every trip.
If there happened to be any time left for another call he would call his mentor. This great man, the modern day father of motivation , speaker, author of more than 30 books, who was around 78 years old at that time, would call HIS mentor! Hello…What?????? YES, he had a mentor, a brilliant man and business leader, Fred Smith. And get this. Mr. Smith was in his 90s!
They would bounce ideas off each other about future, vision and family. They shared laughs. Each one of them would listen. Each one would discuss the new book idea they had in their head. It was an ideation session like no other. They knew the things they wanted to accomplish could take five years to complete or even ten!! So, this man in his late 70s was talking to His mentor, who was in his 90s, and as a listener to these wonderful men talking, my perspective of mentorship soon changed.
You never get too old for a mentor. Ideas never cease to come to you. Passion is always possible and love is the key.
1. Are you making your “airport calls?” Your family (outside of God) is the most important thing to you and your life no matter how famous and successful you become. Some people think family can hold you back from accomplishing major life goals. Many people sacrifice their families to move up the ladder or achieve certain corporate goals. I witnessed that at the end of the day in the life of a Mega-Star it was his family that made him great. Do not confuse your priorities!
2. We never arrive at a place that we do not need a mentor or coach. No matter the number of New York Times best-selling books you write, you still need a mentor! When you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room. Leave margin for growth and instruction in your life. Do not allow yourself to get caught up in your self-perceived greatness and push away the people that could help you accomplish and be more than you are today.
3. It is not by chance that my first writing is about key relationships and continued growth. Without the right relationships in your life you will not be able to sustain growth all the days of your life. Without a healthy home and family, we are attempting to run into the wind and uphill.
And a parting thought:
The idea of continued growth is that you will need to reinvent yourself many times in this life. If you do not continue to establish new relationships and learn new things, then your ability to reinvent yourself has diminished. If you are waiting for the world to catch up with you then you are going to be left waiting. Zig Ziglar stayed fresh even in his late seventies and eighties, having an impact on people right up until his passing at age 86 in 2012. What a life well lived! How about you?
Jay Hellwig is the Executive Pastor of Create Church, a life giving church launched in Richardson, Texas, in January 2014 and Vice President of Corporate Relations at Generational Equity, named M&A’s 2013 Consulting Firm of the Year. Jay worked as Zig Ziglar’s personal assistant from 2006 to 2011. With now over 20 years of professional experience, both in the corporate and non-profit sectors, Jay’s greatest joys are to bring resources and people together to benefit families across North Texas and beyond.
Zig Ziglar is known as America’s Motivator. He authored 32 books and produced numerous training programs. He will be remembered as a man who lived out his faith daily.
June 18 International Sushi Day
June 19 World Sauntering Day
June 21 Go skateboarding day
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Other people and things can stop you temporarily. You’re the only one who can do it permanently.
~ Zig Ziglar
Tragically, 58% of our citizens, once they complete their “formal” education, never read another meaningful book—that’s a shame because the person who doesn’t read is not much better off than the person who can’t read. ~Zig
Zig Ziglar, “America’s Motivator” and bestselling author, has written what is sure to become a beloved classic, Born to Win.
Ziglar gathers his 40+ years of teaching about success, what it really is and how to get it, and puts it all in one easy-to-understand book.
In Born to Win you will learn how:
• You can begin to win right away
• Two driving forces fuel action
• To stop worrying about results
• Being born to win can drive your business to new levels of success
Zig believes you were born to win, but you must plan to win and prepare to win. Then and only then can you expect to win. Zig shares the exact steps you can take to be the winner you are meant to be! With his humorous writing style and real-life examples, you will find yourself going back to this book again and again.