Thursday, November 29, 2012

Positive Reinforcement

A great man with a great story died yesterday and a world of positive thinkers will mourn his passing.  The name Zig Ziglar is synonymous with inspirational speaking and his life was a testament to positive thinking and tenaciousness.  A devout Christian and force for wringing the most out of life, Ziglar once said, "I am not going to ease up, let up, shut up or give up until I'm taken up!   As a matter of fact, I'm just getting warmed up!"

Many epitaphs will be written about this man, who died of pneumonia at age 86, so I won't attempt to compete for the job of recounting his amazing life story.  However, I will recount how I felt the only time I heard him speak in person.  It was at the old Dallas Reunion Arena in the early 1990's.  He was the keynote speaker for a seminar on salesmanship and leadership skills attended by nearly 15,000 people.  Other speakers were Bryan Tracy, a world-renowned author and motivational speaker; Stephen Covey, author of the best-selling book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People"; and even Troy Aikman, 3-time Super Bowl Champion and Hall of Fame quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.

As each speaker came forward that day, the crowd became more and more motivated.  They applauded, laughed and cheered and, basically, were whipped into a frenzy of positive thinking.  I was right there along with the crowd and wondered at one point how it would be possible to get any more motivated.  Then Zig Ziglar came to the podium.  In the vernacular of our time, I was like OMG!  This man had the ability to have you hanging on his every word and from his first sentence the audience was hooked. 

My brother-in-law and then Manufacturing Manager for my six-year old companyADvent Supply, was with me that day.  I thought it would be great for him to hear and see what great training and motivation was all about.  Frankly, while hopeful, I was concerned that David might not be impressed.  He is a laid back person and gravitates toward the basics without a lot of appreciation for high-powered rhetoric or sparkly foo-foo.  Half way through Ziglar's presentation I looked over and David was totally enthralled, riveted as I was to this man's charismatic style and rock-solid principals.  At the end of seminar I felt like I could run through a brick wall.  I felt empowered to go back to my business and fulfill the vision I had for it, my customers and my employees.  David felt the same way.  And the reason for that was Zig Ziglar.  It is often said about people when they leave this earth they will be missed.  In the case of Zig Ziglar, it could not be more true.


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