Leadership: Remembering Zig Ziglar

Hola Todos!

Mr. Mike’s post this weekend to his Seton Hall University leadership community reminded me of my first job coming out of undergrad – a sales job for an advertising agency.  As a young (and very green) sales trainee, my boss was a big fan of Zig Ziglar and it just so happened that Zig was doing a presentation in Philly so I was lucky and got to go to the event – and the word event is an accurate description.

Prior to attending the event, I had no idea who Zig Ziglar was and all I knew was that I was going to get paid for a day’s work to attend this event without having to pay for the ticket a win-win.  I do recall vividly that the price of the ticket seemed astronomical compared to any rock concert I ever attended. Besides Zig, a number of prominent leaders (including General Norman Schwarzkopf who also passed on recently) presented as well.  In addition, I vividly recollect table after table of books, cassette recordings (remember, I was 23 at the time), and other Zig Ziglar swag for sale everywhere – and people were waiting in line with cash in hand to purchase his stuff.  I kept saying to myself, who is this guy?

Zig Ziglar was one of the first motivational speakers.  What I liked the most of Zig was that he had two careers.  He was a sales manager and sales trainer for a number of firms throughout his career but his speaking career came much later in life.  Zig published his first book in 1979 – at the age of 49.  Zig did not have Twitter, a blog, social networks (I bet he did have an old-school mail newsletter though) – he build his brand the old-fashion way which was always a central theme in his talks.  Success is hard work so roll up your sleeves and get cracking!

Zig was known for clever word play – many of his critics called it “corny” however but that’s OK.  Learning from failure has been a theme of a number of posts here on DigNuggetville and I think one of Zig’s best “Ziglarisms” was “Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.”

Mr. Mike has a handful of additional “Ziglarisms” in his post below.  Mike, the floor is yours…


On November 28, 2012 the Los Angles Times headline read:  “Zig Ziglar dies at 86; motivational speaker inspired millions.” Ziglar was a great man and teacher, who changed the lives of millions through his books and public speaking.  At the beginning of this magnificent New Year let us pause a moment to reflect on Ziglar’s gifts to us.


“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”

“Every choice you make has an end result.”

“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

“If you want to reach a goal, you must ‘see the reaching’ in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal.”

“It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you use that makes a difference.”

“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

“If you can dream it, then you can achieve it.”


May you fill your life with purpose, conviction and vision of what can be and who you will choose to become.  Live every moment of your precious life with passion, unbridled enthusiasm and joy.   Act to realize your dreams.  Look at the world through new eyes – to find the undiscovered and infinite possibilities it offers.  Serve others that they, too, may find their greatness.  Continue to learn, grow and stretch yourself… to be more than they ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more. On your journey, remember Ziglar’s counsel to great leaders:  “If you can dream it, then you can achieve it.”  Life is so very beautiful.

Have a beautiful day, a fantastic week and a joyous, magnificent New Year!!!



Contact Information:

Michael M. Reuter

Director, Center for Leadership Development

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528

Email: Michael.Reuter@shu.edu