I was on my way back to Chicago when I was informed that instead of the aisle seat I had reserved the plane had been overbooked and if I wanted to get on the flight I would have to accept a center seat. I wasn’t a very happy camper – but I thought I could endure the three hour flight without having a tantrum. As it turned out, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Sitting in the window seat was “Zig” Ziglar who passed away today at the age of 86. I recognized him immediately.
Those of you who do not know who Mr. Ziglar was have missed the opportunity to enjoy the warmth and positive attitude that he brought to the world of motivational speaking. He was truly a genius – and unlike so many people who broadcast one image on stage and another one off, Zig was just as upbeat as a seatmate as he was in delivering one of his famous seminars. I left the plane feeling that I owed United Airlines some additional compensation for allowing me to sit next to him.
Zig Ziglar was the author of 30 books on the subject of motivation, positive attitude and how to be successful. I cannot even begin to imagine how many thousands of seminars he conducted and how many hundreds of thousands he motivated to be better people than when they entered the auditorium to hear him speak. He was truly a champion of the positive.
Born the tenth of twelve children, his father died when Zig was five years old. He began selling peanuts to help support his family when he was six. Later he turned to door to door sales, vending pots and pans and ultimately began his career as a motivational speaker. Here was truly a self-made man – and a man who shared that success with countless others along the way.
There are many Zig Ziglar quotes that I love but perhaps my favorite is this one:
“Building a better you is the first step to building a better America.”
Zig, we’re going to miss your genuine honesty, your upbeat outlook and your never quit attitude. You were the real deal – a terrific American and one of our most valuable assets as a citizen of the world.