Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In Memory of Zig Ziglar–Building a Legacy

Many people around the world are mourning the passing of Zig Ziglar today - master salesman, speaker extraordinaire,  the king of inspiration and a great father and family man.

Many of us can relate stories how the right piece of wisdom at the right time from Zig’s amazing repertoire helped us to close that big deal, persevere through difficulty or even pull us back from the brink.

And there were times when Zig provided us with a bit of fun even when he didn’t know it.

There is a story on Tom Ziglar’s (Zig’s son) blog that I shared with Tom a few years that I would like to share here.

The story was written from me to Tom directly and he posted it on his blog.  I include the story here exactly as I wrote it.


Before I retired my strategy brain to devote my time to important challenges in the world, especially the needs of children, I used to work at Microsoft in NYC as a strategy advisor.

During difficult meetings or when teams would get stuck, I would often quote a story or two of your father’s to help people see things in a different perspective.  At some point, people began to call me into meetings that I wasn’t a member of to hear me share a story or two from your father’s incredible repertoire.  I helped create a lot of fans of your father’s work.

At some point, people started calling me “Zig”, after your father’s stories and one day someone said “There is only one Zig Ziglar – we will call Harry “Dig Digler” because we really dig the stories he shares with us from Zig Ziglar’s collection”.

At that time I was living on the road in a corporate apartment and on the day it was time for me to leave the apartment, I took the last of my stuff and went to a local Starbucks to relax.

A couple of hours later, a good friend of mine called my cell phone and he was very angry that I hadn’t told him I had left the apartment.  I replied that I didn’t think it mattered but apparently it did and here’s why.

Jonathan and I are very close, having worked together in NYC for about 15 years – our spontaneous banter and humor was well known.

Apparently, a fine southern gentleman had taken occupation of my corporate apartment after I moved out.  Jonathan called the apartment, he answered and Jonathan asked to speak to Harry.  The gentleman indicated that there was no one there by that name and Jonathan made the incorrect assumption that I was trying to impersonate your father’s southern accent.  So, being the spontaneous person he is, he asked to speak to Zig Ziglar.  The gentleman indicated there was no one there by that name either so Jonathan then asked to speak to Dig Digler.  The gentleman said there was no one here by that name and feeling a little frustrated, asked Jonathan who he was really looking for.

My friend was getting frustrated also since he thought I should have stopped playing games by now and so he said “I’m looking for you and I’m coming over right now”.  The guy replied “I’m calling the police” and hung up.

Apparently he used the caller id to call the local police and they stopped by my friend’s house just to make sure my friend was “ok”.

It was after the police left that he called me.

So I love your father’s stories and the way he presents them – they have been a great source of inspiration for me over the years and I have been blessed with the opportunity to connect many people with your father’s work.

However, when I think of your father, I also think of my friend and the day police visited him because he was trying to find “Dig Digler”.

Thank you for letting me share this story, Tom, and thank you to you, your father and your supporting teams and families for making this world a better place.  We need the work of people like you more than ever.


There are millions of people who were touched, inspired and educated by the great Zig Ziglar and his legacy is immeasurable.  His son Tom and the great people in the Ziglar family and organization continue his great work.

Can we say the same about our legacy?

Are we trying hard enough to make this place one that has more knowledge, more inspiration and more love in it?

Are we striving hard enough to live by his many life principles, one of my favorites being “Make Gratitude Your Attitude”?

How do we know?

Rest in peace, Zig – you have earned your rest.

In service and servanthood,


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