The last time I heard Zig speak…

Did you ever meet someone who leaves a lasting impression forever?

You might meet briefly or know someone over many years.  Yet, that heart-to-heart connection is felt deeply.  And you never forget.

Zig Ziglar was one of those people.  While I only spoke with him once in person, I heard him speak on stage several times.  He was one of the most riveting speakers I've ever heard.  He shared deep insights with a humorous drawl.  Using his personal stories to emphasize the lessons learned, he captivated a crowd.

While Zig is no longer alive, his best-selling books, tapes and videos are still available, and his messages live on. He was one of the world’s most popular motivational speakers. Over his 40-year-long career, he also wrote over 30 best-selling books on leadership personal growth, faith, selling, family and success. He influenced millions of people, including U.S. Presidents and other world leaders.  He spoke from his heart with wit and integrity.

Let me share a story about the last time I heard him speak.  It was 2009, and I was attending a Get Motivated seminar in the suburbs of Chicago.

Filing into the stadium, I noticed a HUGE auditorium, filled to capacity with multiple levels and rows of people... at least 1,000 or more.  On the roster were a number of prominent speakers, who I've forgetten.  Except for Zig and his son, Tom.

I'll never forget what I heard, saw and felt that afternoon.

Unlike any other presentation, this one was very different because of Zig’s physical condition.  In late March 2007, Zig’s life instantly changed. He had fallen down a long flight of stairs in his home, seriously injured his head, and was unable to do the simplest things.

But his inner programming on thinking positively and his many friends kept his spirit strong. He even wrote a book, “Embrace The Struggle” about his story.

I was holding my breath as I watched him slowly mount the stairs to the stage, holding onto the railing, with his son closely at his side. They both sat down on chairs, and Tom explained their new presentation style.

“Even though dad sustained a serious head injury,” said Tom, “he still wants to keep speaking. My dad says it’s not over till it’s over.  We’re going to do this presentation as an interview because my dad has some memory loss.”  Zig was a man who was willing to be vulnerable, and you could hear a pin drop as Tom and Zig spoke.

Afterwards, Tom showed video clips, a montage of Zig’s past talks.  I think most people knew this would probably be the last time they'd ever hear the great Zig Ziglar in person.  I felt moved to tears by their loving interview.  Zig was so courageous to face the fear of forgetting his stories, and yet willing to give his insights to the best of his ability.

Zig loved every moment on stage.  And we as a unified crowd of fans loved him back.  He wasn't embarrassed if he forgot something because Tom was there to support him.  What an inspiring example of love, kindness and leadership!

Here are three unforgettable tips by Zig:

1. “You will get all you want in life if you help enough people get what they want.”

2. “Make your car into a university. Spend the time in your car listening to tapes and learning."

3. "People say that motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily."

Nobody wanted the presentation to end.  When Tom and Zig concluded, the audience rose in unison to give him a standing ovation. We were clapping for Zig’s spirit. His unstoppable attitude. His faith and determination.

It was an historic occasion.

As Zig would say at the end...
If you do this, and by you, yes I mean you, I will see you at the top.”

What a legendary leader.   Now -- it's your turn...
Step into your greatness!

Here's to YOUR success,