Zig Ziglar

Time to Think

I have a method for learning I call the think principle: think about what you are being taught and understand how to do it right, think and then do it right, do it right without thinking. I use these three steps as a guide for my learning process.

There are a variety of learning styles – visual (images), auditory (listening and speaking), read & write (reading and note taking), and kinesthetic (hands on) but they all follow this simple pattern of thinking. The difference is in how any one person receives the information they are learning and makes it part of their thinking pattern. I myself am a reading and note taking learner.

Ancient Roman Emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius placed great importance on thinking and said, “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”

 

Here are the three steps to learning unpacked and explained:

You start out not knowing. If you aren’t confused at first, then you don’t understand how complex learning is. You must remain open to the fact that every time you learn something new, you will need to take time to think about what you are learning. If you aren’t willing to have this level of discomfort than you won’t learn new things.

In 1913 Niels Bohr built the first model of electron orbitals on the hydrogen atom based on quantum theory. Bohr is quoted saying, If you aren’t confused by quantum mechanics, you haven’t really understood it.”

Then you start to know. Think about how you are going to accomplish the challenge, not why you can’t. Once you understand how something should be done, you must think through the process while you repeat what you learned again and again until it becomes second nature. Failing at this point is just one step away from success.

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”– Zig Ziglar

Now that you know, you should go. Don’t overthink that which is simple, and don’t underthink that which is complex. The level of thinking involved in learning anything new is dependent upon the complexity of the task. At some point you have to trust that you can do it, and then just do it.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee

 

 

 

What sets you apart?

what-sets-you-apart-is-the-difference-you-makeIn a world where achievement is expected and measured every day, how can someone stand out? What sets you apart is the difference you make in the world being you. Why do we work so hard to fit in? You are unique and meant to stand out.

“Strengths lie in differences, not in similarities.” – Stephen Covey

The college application process is very competitive. Good grades and high SAT scores are only the entrance fee. Colleges want to know what sets you apart. Did you play sports, or a musical instrument? So did a lot of other applicants. But what you have done to make a difference using your grades, sports or musical talent is unique to you.

Applying for a job? Education and experience are expected. But what you have done with your education and experience. How have you made a difference in the world?

If you want the best chance to get into the college of your choice, or get the job you desire, go ahead and tell your story, how does it all fit together into the unique you?

“If you want to make a difference you have to be different.” – Andy Andrews

If you aren’t in the right place to apply to college or for that job, then you have the opportunity to look for ways to set yourself apart and use what you have to make a difference.

“It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you use that makes a difference.”– Zig Ziglar

In the end it’s the execution that matters.

two-paths-to-the-endEveryone doesn’t have to agree with you. What matters is that everyone aligns on the outcome and then figures out the path to get there. In fact, if execution is the key then disagreement will get you to a better place. If everyone agrees there is no new thought or challenge. It has been said that, “We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t.”

So how do you work through disagreement to get to execution? Here are three distinct steps that will lead to the right answer:

Disagreement. Start with the belief that disagreement is nothing more than people feeling free to voice a different opinion, or question an assumption. You should not only let this happen but encourage it to happen in the right way. Zig Ziglar has said, “You can disagree without being disagreeable,” and the right atmosphere for disagreement should be maintained. Questions raised, ideas shared, and objections levied are all documented to be taken into consideration in the next step – discussion.

“Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Discussion. Never discount an idea that is different than your own. Instead, each question asked in pursuit of the desired end state deserves an answer, and every objection should be heard and talked through. This is the only way to process the honest disagreement.

“An oil lamp becomes brighter after trimming; a truth becomes clearer after being discussed.”– Chinese Proverb

Decision. At this point you are ready to make the decision as you now have more knowledge than when you started this process. The disagreements have been raised and thoroughly discussed so that the next step is clearer. Decisions made in this way will be carry the most impact.

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”– Tony Robbins

Want to be generous? Get more to give more.

generous with your giftsA generous person must first be a successful person who is focused on what they have before they can think about how to use it. Understanding what you have and getting more of it is half of the equation – the other half is how you use what you have. Success only comes from finding a way to bring these two pieces together – the having, and the giving. Zig Ziglar put these two concepts together when he said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

Understand what you have. When we talk about being generous, money is the obvious first place we go to. But money is only the beginning and in the long run the lessor of what we have to give. We are all endowed with gifts that we can be generous with – Time, Knowledge, Encouragement – to name a few.

We don’t really know what others are looking for so as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

Getting more of what you have. There are many books and conferences dedicated to getting more money, so let’s look at the how we can be dedicated to get more of the other gifts we can give.

Time – There is a finite amount of time so in reality we can’t get more, but if we want to give more of our time we can prioritize how we are using the time we have. Start by deciding what activities are the most important then align your time to accomplishing those.

Knowledge – We all know something, and most people know a lot. If you want to be generous with your knowledge, then the path to getting more is fairly simple – read more, study more, discuss more – strive to learn more each day, a little at a time.

Encouragement – Lifting others up requires much more passive skills than we think. The key activity of encouragement is listening. This requires that we strive to gain more patience to search for just the right moment to ask the right question, or perhaps point out a new direction for someone to consider.

Robin Sharma talks about creating Perfect Moments in our lives and in the lives of others. All of these perfect moments revolve around experiences with those that we are closest to. He says, “Living a gorgeous life doesn’t require a lot of money. Just a lot of dedication.”

Using what you have. In his book The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino writes about achieving a life of abundance. The main character in this book learns the full measure of success when he is told, “Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving.”

Understanding what we have and how to get more of it only leads to success when we are generous in sharing. Find ways to be in situations to use what you have for the benefit of others. Measure your opportunities against the yardstick of generosity and you will find success will be yours to receive and to give.

A second chance.

second chance

Sometimes good people make bad choices, that doesn’t mean their bad, it means their human. A bad choice isn’t the end, but it makes the next choice that much more important. Legendary NBA coach Pat Riley said, “You have no choices about how you lose, but you do have a choice about how you come back and prepare to win again.”

“We cannot start over, but we can begin now, and make a new ending.” – Zig Ziglar

Give yourself a second chance. We are often hardest on ourselves when things don’t go as planned. You think you let the team down. As long as you stay focused on your goals, sometimes second chances work out better than the first because you can learn from your mistakes and improve on your success.

“I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.” – Benjamin Franklin

Give others a second chance. Allow other people to try again. Encourage them to get back up and do it again. Tell them what they did well and ensure they understand why the first chance didn’t work and what they are going to do to make the second chance work. Keep your belief that everyone genuinely wants to succeed.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Robert Kennedy

Make the second chance count. A second chance should bring us closer to succees. Don’t just jump back in and try harder, try smarter. Second chances are not given to make things right, but to prove that we can be better even after we fall.

“If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters.”– Claire Cook

Stop chasing what doesn’t bring success

chasing successWhat you do should align with your goals for success or you shouldn’t be doing it.

Eddie Rickenbacker had an interesting career. Throughout his life he was a World War I flying ace, a comic strip and book writer, the President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the President of Eastern Airlines. When asked about the secret for his success he said, “I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through – then follow through.”

Rickenbacker had hit upon the simple truth of success that many have found, “Decide what you want to accomplish, then go do it.”

If you know what you want, but don’t do anything to get it, there can be no success. If you don’t know what you want, and do anything without regards to where it will lead, there can be no success.

Here is how you stop chasing what doesn’t bring success:

First define success (what do you want to accomplish).

Earl Nightingale was one of fifteen marines who survived the 1942 attack on Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Arizona. In 1949 he was inspired when he read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and decided that the six words, “We become what we think about,” were the answer to his questions. Nightingale became a motivational speaker and produced The Strangest Secret, the first spoken-word recording to achieve Gold Record status and went on to write and record over 7,000 radio programs.

When you define success by establishing goals, you will focus on those goals and become what you think about. Nightingale was so sure of this that he said, “To achieve happiness, we should make sure that we are never without an important goal.”

Second design success (a plan to reach your goals).

Tony Hsieh started an online advertising network called LinkExchange which he later sold to Microsoft for $250 million. He joined Zappos as the CEO and later sold Zappos to Amazon for $1.2 billion and remains as CEO. Even though Hsieh has achieved professional and financial success, he has said the secret is to, “Chase the vision, not the money.” Hsieh had a vision, and demonstrated as CEO of Zappos, that happiness can drive success, “Whether it’s the happiness our customers receive when they get a new pair of shoes…or the happiness our employees feel being part of a culture that celebrates their individuality.”

When you have a clear vision for success you need an equally clear plan to achieve it.   Here are the core values of Zappos, the plan, they use to achieve success through happiness:

1) Deliver Wow Through Service 2) Embrace and Drive Change 3) Create Fun and a Little Weirdness 4) Be Adventurous, Creative and Open-Minded 5) Pursue Growth and Learning 6) Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication 7) Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit 8) Do More with Less 9) Be Passionate and Determined 10) Be Humble

Third align with success (adjust your plan and keep it focused on your goals).

Zig Ziglar was one of twelve children raised by a single mother, who he said thrived on adversity, after his father died when Ziglar was five years old. At the age of twenty-one he became a cookware salesman and manager where he learned and practiced techniques for success over the next twenty years. He published his first book, See You at the Top, when he was Forty-Nine, after it was rejected by thirty publishers. Ziglar went on to publish over twenty books with millions in print, as he traveled the world speaking and motivating audiences for nearly forty years.

If you want long term success you have to be able to adjust your plan without ever adjusting your goal. Zig Ziglar stayed focused on his goal of spreading the importance of a positive self-image even though his plan may have changed. He is quoted as saying, “When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there.”

Seating Chart Leadership

classroom seating chartIn school classes each teacher has a seating chart. These are first set up alphabetically to help the teacher learn each student’s name. As the year progresses, students may move to seats that better suit their particular needs. Some students do their best in the front of the room as they see the board better, others move closer to their friends because they learn best in social settings. No matter the system used to place students on the seating chart, it is all done to help them achieve the best possible outcome.

Successfully leading a team also requires a seating chart. Like the school classroom example, this seating chart needs to adapt over time to help your team achieve success. In his book Good to Great Jim Collins talks about great companies as a bus. The bus drivers are the leaders and their main job is to get the right people in the right seats on the bus so they can arrive at the right destination.

Here are three ways leaders can use the seating chart to help their team achieve the best possible outcomes:

Help your team align to their talents

The best performing teams recognize the diverse talents of each individual, make sure they are in the right seats, and fit them together to achieve a common purpose. According to Gallup, “The best opportunity for people to grow and develop is to identify the ways in which they most naturally think, feel, and behave, and then build on those talents to create strengths.”

People want to be personally successful and on a successful team. Unless we all operate in our strength zone, we will be less successful than we could be. Aligning people with their talents is a sure way to give them the best shot at being all the can be.

Help your team aspire to be great

Being in the right seat and excelling in the right seat are two different things. People may be naturally gifted with talent, but it takes work to become great. Reaching greatness requires diligently practicing to hone your strengths. Inspirational author H. Jackson Brown, Jr. says it this way, “Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.”

There are many self-motivated people who may challenge themselves each day, but sometimes it is easier for others to see what we can become. The leader’s role here is to challenge your team to succeed today beyond yesterday and tomorrow beyond today. Ralph Waldo Emerson put it like this, “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”

Help your team help others

Achieving personal greatness by being in the right seat and becoming your personal best is a great accomplishment worth celebrating and emulating. The ultimate in success is never just our own personal achievements. The real accomplishment is always in helping others learn from our actions and succeed even beyond our results.

For those driven to success, the steps from personal to team success and from team success to other’s success are mere extensions of the same desire to be the best. Those who want to be the best will be searching for the next step. Zig Ziglar highlights this search when he says, “There is a certain amount of dissatisfaction that goes with knowing that your time, talent and abilities are not being properly used.”

Your role as the leader is to now change the seating chart once again so that the best individuals can become the best leaders.   As Ronald Reagan said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets people to do the greatest things.”

Employee rewards and motivation

rewards show me the moneySHOW ME THE MONEY!

Cuba Gooding Jr. says that line many times in the movie Jerry McGuire.  As a professional football player, Gooding’s character knows what other players earn and he wants to be similarly paid for his contribution to his team.  As you watch the movie it becomes evident that the line, “Show me the money,” wasn’t really just about the money; it was about recognition and respect for the character’s abilities.

In a recent survey by Gallup, people were asked if they would continue to work if they won a $10 million dollar lottery. You may be surprised to find that even among those actively disengaged, only 40% would stop working, and 20% would stay in their current job.  At the other end if the spectrum in terms of job satisfaction is those who are engaged.  For this group only 25% would stop working and 63% would stay in their current job.

These hypothetical lottery winners now have at least a comfortable $5 Million after taxes, yet the majority of them will still keep working. Why?  Because job satisfaction is not just about being shown the money.  Certainly employees want and deserve to be fairly compensated for their work.  However like Maslow’s hierarchy, once the need for food, shelter, personal and financial security are met, people seek relationships, respect, and opportunities to do their best.

The great Zig Ziglar put it like this, “Employees have three prime needs: Interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company.”

Interesting work.

For work to be interesting it must provide an opportunity for employees to use their strengths, grow personally and make a difference.  Without these three opportunities work is a drudgery, boring and meaningless. Here’s why:

Using strengths.  According to Marcus Buckingham, former Global Practice Leader with Gallup, and coauthor of Gallup’s best-selling management books First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths,A strength is an activity that before you’re doing it you look forward to doing it; while you’re doing it, time goes by quickly and you can concentrate; after you’ve done it, it seems to fulfill a need of yours.” Working in your area of strength is fun because you are good at it.  No one wants to be in a job where you struggle all day.

Growing personally.  People are genuinely pleased when the company they work for is successful; this brings job security and pride in their association with the company.   Sustained good feelings though, come from also having personal success which only comes through personal growth. Leadership expert John Maxwell said, “Growth is the great separator between those who succeed and those who do not. When I see a person beginning to separate themselves from the pack, it’s almost always due to personal growth.”

Making a difference.  True fulfillment comes from helping others achieve success.  One of my favorite phrases is, “We don’t use people to complete projects; we use projects to complete people.”  Successful projects really aren’t that hard to accomplish.   Focusing on developing successful people isn’t easy, but the rewards are worth the effort. As Tom Brokaw said, “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.”

Recognition for doing a good job

Everyone wants and needs to hear “Good Job.”  It is one of the easiest rewards to give, and one of the best to receive.  It’s good to hear in private, and great to hear in public.  Sometimes we put too much emphasis on “Producing a Moment,” instead of just telling your employees that you appreciate what they did.  Certainly there are recognition ceremonies for special events and those are worthwhile, but don’t forget the quick email, phone call, or comment in a meeting as well.  As a leader you should also realize that this is not only good for the employee but great for the team and the company. 

Tom Rath, Bestselling Author & Senior Scientist at Gallup has studied the effect of recognition in depth.  His findings show that, “Employees who report receiving recognition and praise within the last seven days show increased productivity, get higher scores from customers, and have better safety records. They’re just more engaged at work.”

Being let in on things going on in the company

This one has nothing to do with gossip.  It’s not water cooler talk.  Employees feel empowered and will do a better job if they are involved in decision making that impacts their job.  Involve them from the beginning to the end.  Ask for their opinion when writing your mission statement, ask them what the most important projects are, and ask them what they think is the best way to accomplish the important projects.  Not only will you motivate your employees, you will get better ideas and better results in your company.

“Effective Communication creates Engaged Employees who create Loyal Customers who in turn create Bigger Profits.” – Andy Parsley

Leadership: If you want more – give more

you can have everything you wantHow can leadership be about giving more to get more.  Early in my career I had two questions about this when my mentors shared this philosophy with me. First, I questioned whether I would get more by giving more – would this actually work?  If I focused my efforts on giving more than I received how could that end up as my success?  From an accounting point of view, if more goes out than comes in that gets recorded as a loss.  Second,  “Let’s assume that it did work,” I said. “Isn’t my success the wrong reason to give more?  After all helping others it is just the right thing to do.”

Then I heard the great Zig Ziglar say, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want” 

I confirmed this concept does in fact work, and not just for you as the leader.  This concept works for everyone on your team, your company, the shareholders, and the community.  Giving more to everyone around you than they can give back is the path to success.

Here are the three areas of leadership where you can get more by giving more:

If you want to be successful, ensure the success of others. Your success is nothing but the cumulative success of every person on your team.  The sooner you realize this the closer you are to success.  Think of the football coach.  His success is absolutely defined by how well his assistant coaches coach, how well his players play, and with what level of expertise everyone on the team performs.  His job is to find and lead the best people in every position.  No matter where you lead, your success depends on the performance of everyone around you; your job as the leader is to do everything you can to ensure their success.

If you want to be recognized, recognize others.  Everyone likes to hear “Good Job!” And every leader should praise their staff – that is the minimum. You should also recognize the accomplishments of your team to others – after all they did the work.  This activity will bring more well deserved recognition to your team, and spread the word about their potential for future opportunities.  This will also highlight your accomplishment in building and leading a strong team.

If you want to be promoted, promote others. You cant do more until what you do is being done by someone else – it’s a simple as that.  Strong successful leaders strive for more responsibility, and opportunities to make a greater impact.  If that’s you, then working with your team to get them ready to take your job is a sure way to get yourself ready for the next opportunity.  It also gives the strong successful leaders on your team the same chance to take on more.

So Leaders, if you want more  – give more.  It’s just like Bob Burg said in his book, The Go-Giver, “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”

 

 

The depth of your foundation, determines the height of your success.

foundation of pleasant thoughtsNature has a way of teaching us many lessons if we are careful to observe.  George Washington Carver said, “Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books.”  Walking in the woods you can see many sizes of trees.  The various sizes are due in part to the type of tree, but also to the availability of soil and nutrients for the tree’s roots to spread and form a stable foundation.  Trees will not outgrow their capacity to withstand external stress through the strong foundation of their roots.

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