One of a generation of motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar, died last week at the age of 86. When I began to perform myself in the late 1980s, it was often tapes by Ziglar that I would listen to as I drove from ‘gig’ to ‘gig’ and which influenced my own style enormously.
Born in 1926, the tenth of twelve children, his father died when Zig was 6yrs old – to be followed by his younger sister, just two days later.
In 1943, at 17, he joined the US Navy, and was selected for their fast track programme of officer training, which allowed him to go to the University of South Carolina. On leaving the Navy, he became a salesman and subsequently a sales trainer. In 1968, he became a vice president and training director for the Automotive Performance company, based in Dallas, Texas.
It wasn’t until 1975 (aged 49), that Ziglar wrote the first of, at least, 25 books – “See you at the Top” – and became one of the most popular motivational speakers on the international ‘circuit’.
He continued in this vein, embracing social media along the way, and influencing millions of people. His philosophy was one of human potential – recognising that the obstacles to anyone achieving their best lie within the individual. He spoke of the importance of balance within people’s lives, of the impact of negative and positive thinking about situations, and how they affect our attitude to the world. He spoke passionately about the importance of continuous learning in life, and he concluded that it was those who give most who gain most.
“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
For a more detailed account of his life and philosophy, take a look at this article from Success Magazine.
He continued as a speaker until very recently, having handed over operational responsibility for his business (www.ziglar.com) to his son and son-in-law in 2005.
For a short 9 minute sample of Ziglar’s brand of motivational speaking take a look at this video…