Wednesday November 28th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL
Zig Ziglar passed away today – or at least his physical body did. His body of work has touched millions over several decades, and he will live on through that. If there ever was a life well spent, his was right up there with just about anyone in my opinion. He made the most of his time here.
I have enormous respect for Zig Ziglar for several reasons. He was a pioneer and a legend, and neither of those is easy to pull off. He built himself up from obscurity, and stayed there. It took a long time to accomplish, but it was worth the effort. He’ll go down as one of the all time greats.
Although I wasn’t necessarily a rabid fan of much of his recorded stuff, the fact he cranked out so much of it should not go unappreciated. He was very consistent, and his work ethic was at the top of the spectrum. I know how difficult it is to create ONE audio or video program. He put out product after product after product, and wrote books too. That doesn’t count his speaking career.
Zig Ziglar became his own brand, and I’m sure he was paid handsomely for it. He was the top name in motivational speaking for years, but never rested on his laurels. Jay Leno was known as the top name in standup comedy during the boom years, and he had a stellar work ethic as well.
Coincidence? Hardly. A hearty work ethic is a must for any entertainer, and that’s exactly what Zig was. Nobody can truly motivate anyone else, and I’m sure Zig knew that. But he presented a message in an entertaining way, and those who wanted to be motivated latched on and heard it.
I have his book ‘See You At The Top’, and I really like it. His audio programs weren’t on my list of favorites, but that’s no disrespect. His style and delivery were a bit syrupy for my personal taste, but that takes nothing away from what he accomplished. He achieved a level of greatness.
To me, motivational speakers have to be listenable for long periods of time. That’s not easy to do, and it becomes a matter of personal preference just like music. I can’t stand Pink Floyd, but I know millions of others love them. Are they right? Am I wrong? Personal preference is just that.
As far as speakers go, people like Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer I could listen to all day. Earl Nightingale is another. Stephen Covey, Deepak Chopra and Zig Ziglar I can’t. That doesn’t take anything away from the greatness of any of those people, and I still respect every one of them.
My friend Steve ‘The Homer’ True is a sports talk host on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee. His father is Dr. Herb True, a very big name in the speaking field. Homer has always been a huge supporter of my comedy, and frequently comes to see me perform when I am working the Milwaukee area.
Homer asked his dad to call me years ago and give me some encouragement, and I never forgot it. A ten minute phone call made a huge impact, and that’s what Zig Ziglar’s work did for a wide variety of people from all walks of life and will continue to do for years to come. That’s what we all should aspire to, and many of us who do still don’t come close to achieving it. Zig Ziglar took it to the highest level, and for that he deserves major kudos. He sure gets it from me. Zig was big.