28 November 2012

R.I.P. Zig Ziglar (1926-2012)

Zig Ziglar, known as the Master Motivator, died of pneumonia in a hospital in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex at the age of 86.  Ziglar was born in Alabama in 1926 but spent much of his youth in Yazoo City, Mississippi.

After serving in the Navy during World War II, Ziglar briefly studied at the University of South Carolina.  But Ziglar chose a career in sales rather than studying and started out selling pots and pans.  He went on to successfully sell for various companies. But as Ziglar improved his pitch and sales increased, he developed a basic philosophy which impacted his personal and professional career for more than half a century.

The Ziglar Way considers action, common sense, fairness, commitment and integrity to be the basis of living well.  Ziglar believed that if you lived by this powers of positive thinking philosophy, you would live a balanced life while achieving significance at work and home.

In the early 1970s, Ziglar began his career as a motivational speaker and corporate trainer.  Along with being a headliner on the speaking circuit, Ziglar  authored 29 books, including 10 best sellers on topics like sales, leadership, personal growth and faith.  His "One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar" is an inspiring daily devotional. His self help classic “See You At The Top” (originally titled "Biscuits, Fleas and Pump Handles") still generates strong sales thirty years after originally being published.

Though he was known as the World’s Greatest Salesman and a Master Motivator, Ziglar was not all business.  The Ziglar Way reflected his fervent evangelical Christian beliefs and much of Ziglar’s work had subtle evangelization without sounding too preachy.

Ziglar continued to be a feature on the speaker circuit through 2010, despite a tumble down the stairs in 2007 which impacted his short term memory.  When Ziglar appearing in Washington, DC in October 2010, he was joined by his daughter who guided him through his presentation.  Ziglar persiverated on “winning the home court” and did not realize that he had thoroughly covered that point a couple of times before.  Still, the then 84 year old speaker was inspiring and offered earnest down home advice.

Zig Ziglar, Verizon Center Washington, DC October 2010 (photo: Gail Broeckel)

Ziglar’s Facebook page proclaims:

Though his time on earth has ended, he is speaking with Jesus now in his heavenly home... The angels in heaven are rejoicing and his family is celebrating a life well lived.

A fitting tribute for an American Icon.  But as Zig Ziglar would put it:

"This is not the end of your story...Turn the page and start a new chapter."

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