Some people make a lasting impact. I recently posted about the lasting legacy that can come from planting a seed. One person who planted a seed with me was someone whose name has become iconic in the world of motivation and goal-setting—Zig Ziglar.
I was a freshman in high school when I was given the opportunity to travel from Fillmore, Indiana to Kansas City, Missouri to attend the national Future Farmers of America (FFA) convention.
I had never been that far away from home, and had never been in a place with so many people at one time—tens of thousands of young people like me from all across the country.
I remember being in the auditorium with ten thousand young people yelling and screaming and I was caught up with all the emotion. And then they introduced the keynote speaker, none other than Zig Ziglar.
Now, in all fairness, at the age of fourteen, I’d never heard of him. But I remember him walking out on the stage and, within a matter of seconds, having the audience in the palm of his hand.
He began sharing all kinds of wisdom with easy takeaways. I don’t remember them all, but one of the things he talked about I vividly remember even today—goal-setting.
At that stage of my life I hadn’t set too many goals. But Ziglar said, “Young people, a goal properly set is half-way reached.”
He then walked through a process for setting goals. He gave us a visual image of what our life could be like if we would set goals, share those goals, and put those goals in places where we would see them.
He had planted a seed.
The Seed Begins to Grow
As a direct result of that speech, I actually started setting goals. I would write down my goals and put them on my dresser. I’d put them on the bathroom mirror. I’d carry them in my wallet.
Soon I started achieving those goals.
As a freshman, I set a goal of becoming the FFA state president. I achieved that goal as a senior.
I set the goal of becoming a national FFA officer. Out of 500,000 students, only six are chosen to be a national officer, so it was a very lofty goal. But in 1990, I was back at that same national FFA convention, running for a national FFA office.
And yes, once again, the keynote speaker was none other than Zig Ziglar.
This time I wasn’t sitting in the back of the auditorium. I was sitting about twenty feet from the stage. The entire time that Zig was talking, I felt like he was talking only to me. It was as if the 10,000 other people that were in there with me just disappeared.
At one point Ziglar got down on one knee, pointed at us, and said, “Young people, you can have everything in life you want if you will simply help enough other people get what they want.”
Once again, a seed was planted.
Two days later, I walked across that same stage as the national FFA President who would lead the entire organization for the next year.
A Special Invitation to Grow
Zig was so impressed with the national FFA organization at that point that he offered a scholarship for any of the national officers to come to Dallas, Texas to attend his Born to Win conference.
Born to Win was his premium conference that CEOs and presidents of companies flew in from all over to attend. Ziglar offered it to us, a group of nineteen- and twenty-year-olds.
But he didn’t stop there. Not only did he invite me there on scholarship, but he invited us into his home, because he personally wanted to make sure that we got the most out of our experience.
We got to spend time with him, interact with him, sit down with him, get to know him, and laugh with him. No doubt about it, by the end of that week one thing was crystal clear to me—I was born to win, and my life was not to be wasted.
Ziglar had planted yet another seed.
I listened to his cassette tapes over and over. In fact, I still have those cassette tapes today. I’m not sure I even have an apparatus that will play them, but there is no way in the world I would ever get rid of them because of the impact and the difference that it made on me.
Still Having an Impact Today
As I look back on my time with Zig Ziglar, I realize that the wisdom that he planted in me some twenty-five years ago still stays with me today as a father and business leader.
Even though Zig Ziglar is no longer on this earth, I am here to tell you that his legacy lives on through the values he planted intentionally in the hearts of countless people.
I’m also very privileged today to still be connected with the Zig Ziglar family. His son Tom Ziglar recently invited me to be on his podcast, The Ziglar Show. I spent an hour with Tom and Kevin Miller, talking about family, the future, and the value of being intentional.
In addition to discussing the relevance of Zig Ziglar’s message today, we talked about the message I care so much about—how to win at home.
Given Zig Ziglar’s extraordinary impact on my life, I was both humbled and proud to be a guest on The Ziglar Show.
I would encourage everybody to visit the Ziglar blog here and subscribe to be alerted when the podcast episode goes live there on January 26.
Check it out and enjoy. And be sure to plant a seed with someone today.
Question:How has Zig Ziglar influenced your own growth story? What other people planted a seed in your life when you were younger? I’d love to hear your story. You can share your thoughts by clicking here.