Zig Ziglar died yesterday at the age of 86. He was motivational maven with millions of followers. His twenty-plus books, uber-positive style, and Christian influence are manifested clearly through his ubiquitously sticky quotes. Dave Ramsey tweeted yesterday, "What's your favorite Zig Ziglar quote?" Here are my favorites with regard to vision and clarity.
As the rest-in-peace tweets and favorite quotes filled the social air waves, I found myself asking, "Was there a special secret to Ziglar's success?" I believe so.
If you trace Ziglar's career in sales, one thing is abundantly clear: He was a great salesman because he was a great student; a student of people, a student of life and a student of other salespeople. In fact his success at its core was driven by his continual intake and carnivorous digestion. Think about it for a minute. Does someone as prolific and successful as Ziglar just sit around thinking of quotes to write? Of course not. Rather, the accelerated learning-living-learning cycle just keeps snowballing. The wisdom, combined with the opportunity to teach others over decades and decades gets remixed and refined into powerful, unforgettable nuggets.
Remember, most very successful people can conveniently stop learning because of the fruits of their success. But a few successful people keep pouring the jet fuel of continued learning to really take them to the top.
One thumbprint of Ziglar's appetite for learning is the preface of his 2003 updated edition of Secrets of Closing the Sale:
Over the past fifty years it has been my privilege to be in as many actual sales situations, selling goods, products, services or job opportunities as virtually anyone who ever carried the tile of salesperson. Additionally it has been my privilege to share the platform with and learn from some of the greatest speakers and sales trainers our country has produced.
He goes on to name twenty-six individuals. And continues...
Over these fifty years I have been a pack rat. I have taken copious notes from many great trainers. In addition I have clipped innumerable sales articles from newspapers and magazines and have learned much by watching salespeople in action. My library includes books and manuals from the greatest writers and trainers of the last fifty years, and I have over a thousand hours of recordings from these and other speakers.
The lesson that Ziglar's life inspires me with is simple. Never stop learning. Once you master a category, the real master keeps learning even more. What's keeping you from reaching the top of what God is calling you to do? Look first to what stops your learning. When was the last time you took copious notes at something that you considered yourself to be really, really good at?
You will find a lot of Ziglar quotes if you look, but his greatest secret is not the most citied quote:
"Life is a classroom -- only those who are willing to be lifelong learners will move to the head of the class." - Zig Ziglar