A Better than Good Life: Zig Ziglar 1926-2012

Celebrating a better than good life!

"You can get everything that you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want." Zig Ziglar's modified version of the golden rule.

November 28th 2012 one of the most celebrated corporate trainers and motivational speakers passed away in Dallas, Texas at the age of 86.  Ziglar was born Hilary Hinton Ziglar in L.A.—"lower Alabama"—in 1926.  He was raised in Yazoo, Mississippi, and fondly recalled many character building moments that inspired him to rise from poverty to greatness.  One of these moments was when he was a child and got kicked out of a public pool because his clothes did not meet the dress code.  Later in life, one of his personal accomplishments was when he purchased a house with a pool double the size of the public one that he was excluded from. 

Raised by a widowed mother along with his 11 siblings, Zig Ziglar's life story is evidence that both the American dream and American exceptionalism exist.  He was a knowledgeful fountain of achievement writing dozens of best selling books and sold recorded integrity based sales and motivation seminars. 

He was the proud husband of Jean "Red Head" Abernathy- Ziglar, married in 1946.  He was the father of 4 children, survived by 3 of them along with many grandchildren.

Mr. Ziglar served in the US Navy during WW2 and attended the University of South Carolina after his military service.  He went into sales during his time in college.  The principles that he had learned from both church and military made it possible for him to become a consistent national sales leader for a waterless cookware company.  Meanwhile he was building a family, started a public speaking career while learning the benefits of healthy living.

His rise from humble beginnings to greatness wasn't without temporary personal and career shortfalls.  His belief that motivation is "a lot like bathing, it should be taken daily."  comes from the fact that motivation wears off and being a self starting sales person is hard work.  He promoted a healthy lifestyle and promoted others to do the same.  He saw the negative effects that drug use and alcholism took on many potentially successful business people which helped him to develop a healthy living philosophy. 

What made him so valuable to the sales world is that he understood that business can be done right and that service matters. He understood that a good salesperson is an asset to any organization, but that dishonestly bad-intentioned ones made the profession regretable at times. 

His books and seminars changed many lives, while his continuing education and teaching helped to provide a path to greatness for aspiring and predominant business people to learn from.

His modified version of the golden rule is a real explaination of how consistent quality service regardless of profession can help to build a successful career for those hard working individuals that didn't come from money, or influential support to start.

It is a sad moment to mark his passing but the knowledge that he still lives through his books and recordings leaves an opportunity for a new generation to get to know and learn from Zig!  He was the founder of the Zig Ziglar Corporation.  You can go to Ziglar.com to purchase a product or to sign up for a free newsletter.  Paying respects to this great business leader is the least that those that learned from him owe.  My prayers and thoughts go out to his family and close friends.

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John Webb December 15, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Thanks for this excellent rememberence of Zig. I always thought of him as a mentor and motivator. Like many others I will miss him. Also, like many others I have dozens of his tapes & books to keep the message alive. Thanks Zig, you made a difference.


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