Episode 2: Leadership Wisdom with Tom Ziglar

About This Episode

Tom Ziglar shares a few fun stories about his father Zig Ziglar, the results of believing in yourself, how to bring joy and happiness into your life, and much more. Enjoy this Episode with Tom Ziglar and Don’t Ever Stop Chasin It!


Transcript for this weeks message


Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this segment of The Horsemanship Journey. We are the leader in personal development for horse people. And today we have a man whose name is synonymous with improvement, synonymous with leadership, synonymous with goals, synonymous with positivity. The Horsemanship Journey is proud to present Tom Ziglar, Tom is CEO of Ziglar and a key collaborator on his father, Zig Ziglar's 30th book, Born to Win.

Tom carries on the organization's profoundly simple philosophy, and that is that you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. He shares this lesson with billion dollar companies, small business owners, prestigious academic institutions, and today he shares that with The Horsemanship Journey. This allows clients to take their lives and their businesses further than they've dreamed possible. Tom, thank you so much for taking your time to be with us today.

Tom Ziglar

Thank you so much for having me. It's a blessing to be here.



Tom, that's a pretty short introduction. It's such an honor to have you with us. I'm wondering if you could just tell us a little bit more about Tom.

Tom Ziglar

You bet. So I was born into this business. I've been in it for 58 years, kind of raised on attitude, self-image, positive thinking, the idea that work ethic is key to anything we really wanna achieve in life, as well as mindset. You put those two things together on a character foundation, then you can go and do just about anything in life you set your mind to.


So I've been blessed. My father  Zig Ziglar, we believe he impacted 250 million people in his life. That's through his, books. Now it's over 45 books have been published and about 10 of them have come out after he passed away, which was 10 years ago, which is amazing. We just took his, recordings, his audio recording speeches that he gave and transcribed them made them books. So what does that say? It says that the timeless wisdom is even more timely today. The principles, the virtues, the values that we teach.

So I got my start early, became the president and CEO of the company about 28 years ago. And now our primary focus is on two things, supporting and equipping our coaches and our Ziglar legacy certified speakers and trainers, and also doing a lot of work in leadership, especially leadership today and all these disruptive times. So I get to speak and write and travel and carry on the legacy. So nobody has a better, a job than me. I'm just blessed.


Tom, you do have a legacy and I mean, I don't know if it's possible, but if there is anyone who is not familiar with your father or your work, I was wondering if you could just tell us a little bit more about any fun stories that you had growing up with Zig Ziglar and just give us a little bit more background about your father and the business and how it came to be where you're at now.


Tom Ziglar

You bet, so dad, you know, he's kind of like  the all, you know, the all American story. He grew up in LA, lower Alabama. Uh, he used to tell that and everybody would crack up, move to Yazoo city, Mississippi when he was five years, or when he was three and then his dad died when he was five. So, he was raised in the middle of the great depression. He was the 10th of 12 kids. And of course his mom being a widow, she had a lot of responsibility. She also only had a fifth grade education and dad had to start work when he was six years old. So, you know, he just reminds me of so many people whose legacy was, "Hey, if we're going to make it happen, it's up to us.

 And we're going to have a can-do attitude. We're going to be positive. We're going to treat each other with integrity and character andkindness and respect and humility and all these things." And so he getsstarted in life, goes into the military, gets out, gets his first job in salesand for two and a half years, he didn't sell anything. Well, he did. He soldhis car. He sold his furniture. It was hard.

And then he was at a meeting and a guy named PC Merrill came at the break. And PC Merrill was somebody that dad really respected and admired. He was a leader well thought of, and PC Merrill put his hands on dad's shoulder and looked him in the eye and said, Zig, in all my life, I've never seen such a waste. But, and remember the but canceled everything before it. But. if you believed in yourself and went to work on a regular schedule, you could be a champion.

And so, because somebody else believed in him, he made a decision that day to figure out what it means to believe in yourself. And that started his journey on personal development and growth. And then he said, go to work on a regular schedule. He made a commitment to start knocking on doors at9 AM every day. He was in the door to door sales business, selling cookware. That year he finished number two out of 7,000salespeople. And in the previous two and a half years, he'd never been in the top 5,000. And so dad had a dramatic transformation because of his belief in himself and his understanding of who he was and whose he was. And... So then you become kind of like the golden child, right?  

Everybody wants you and all these companies started recruiting him and they wanted to train sales training, right? They wanted to train salespeople because he built big organizations. And as he started doing that, he realized it wasn't the sales skills that made somebody a top performer. It was their self-image, it was their belief, it was their attitude, it was their motivation, it was their purpose, it was their why, it was...all the things and dad had a great saying, he said, it doesn't make any sense to put all the right skills on the wrong person.

And so now you fast forward his career through the decades, it was all about personal development and character and integrity and motivation and goal setting and attitude. Because no matter what you do, if you do it with those principles behind it, you're gonna have success, you're gonna change lives, you're gonna impact people.

 So that was his trajectory. And as the company grew and the reach grew, we started doing more things. And then about 15 years ago, it's like, okay, so what are we gonna do to carry on the legacy of Zig Ziglar because he's one of a kind. Nobody can speak like Zig. People would come to him all the time and say, I wanna be the next Zig Ziglar. And he would always say, oh, that's a big mistake. There's only one and that person's already taken, but you can be the best version of yourself possible. And so he encouraged people to look at their own gifts and talents and experiences and to maximize those. That's why Dad came up with this definition of success. Success is the maximum utilization of the abilities that God gave you. And that's just a powerful thing because no matter your background, where you came from, how tough your start was, circumstances beyond your control, all those things that happen to us in life, it's irrelevant in our quest for success because we don't compare ourselves to other people. We look at what we have and how we've utilized that and that's just been a huge encouragement to other people.

So that's kind of dad's background and now in our company we are focused on working with people who want to carry on this life-changing message. And we work with organizations and leaders from around the world to where they can take these ideas, these principles, these concepts, not just the foundation of integrity and character and the virtues that we talk about all the time, but also the practical application of how do you walk it out? How do you walk out showing respect to your team? How do you walk out demonstrating humility to those in your community. So we teach the application as well as the foundation.


Very good. Tom, I wanted to share with you one experience I had. I first heard about Zig Ziglar. I had a sales job when I was in my early20s, but just, one short experience. Fast forward to 20, the beginning of 2016.So I had I had back then I had a DVD series and I think it might have been I'll see it. See you at the top. I can't remember sure which one it has. I have a couple of those CDs and I would listen to them in my truck. And I was going through a lot of changes. I was starting an auction company. I'd been to auctioneer school. I was going to become an auctioneer. But I took one thing out of that and I'd had a three by five card and I wrote down three goals. That's it. Three little phrases on one three by five card.

Now I'm under the instruction of what I'm listening to in these CDs from Zig Ziglar that I'm going to read these three goals on this 3x5card every day. So I would go to my tack room, that's where we keep the saddles and all the gear for the horses, because I'd be secluded. And I had a microphone out there and I'd practice my auction chant in front of a mirror and every day I would read this 3x5 card. And I put some lofty goals on this card. I mean, to me they were just almost unreachable, and one of them had to do with the sales goal. I said, well, this year in my new auction business, first year, we're going to sell a quarter million dollars worth of gross sales in our auction business. And I had a weight goal of how much I was going to weigh. And I had one other personal goal on the three by five card.

And every day I'd go practice my auction chant and I'd read my three by five card in the mirror. And I didn't do this for the entire year. I did it for probably six or seven or probably closer to eight months or something. I would practice pretty much daily without fail. At the end of the year, I was looking back and I looked at my goals for the following year in 2017 and I went to the tack room and I saw that three by five card and it just so happened that we had $362,000 worth of sales. I met my other two goals and to me, I don't believe in coincidences, not at all. It just didn't happen that way. And so...I just looked in the mirror and I said, thank you, Zig. So just wanted to share that with you. Tom, on your website, you talk about an idea. And I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about the idea that what you do is important, but why and how you do what you do is even more important.

Tom Ziglar

Yeah, you know, dad created the, it's a term and it's pretty common spoken now. He, called it the be, do and have philosophy. You got to be the right person, do the right things, and then you can have all that life has to offer. But our culture is backwards. Our culture is all about, well, I want to have this. And if I have to, I'll do this. Right. And people's identity is around the doing. If you ask somebody, tell me about yourself, they'll usually tell you their job, right? They don't tell you who they are. They tell you what you do. And so what we do is we go very foundational and we say, okay, what's your why? You know, when you look at your life, your impact, the thing that makes your heart sing, the thing that gets you excited, what do you.

What is it? What's your why? What's your purpose? What's your big dream? What is it that you're going after? And people will always invariably, they'll talk about two or three things. They'll talk about their family, right? That my family means everything. So the reason you're working so hard is for your family, yes. And then if they're passionate about their business, they'll talk about their customers and the problems they solve and how they make, you know, whatever they do. They help others dreams come true by providing them products and services that elevate their life. And they get real excited about that. A lot of people will talk about their faith is their why, right? You know, this is, this is, this is a long-term deal we're in, you know, this is beyond just this world, I want to make a difference, I want to leave a legacy that ripples through eternity. And so the challenge is, is that most people just kind of dad called it.

He said, be a meaningful, specific, not a wandering generality. And so most people are just wandering down the road of life, kind of doing whatever comes in front of them. There's not intentionality. And so they end up in the, in the land of mediocrity. And then usually something happens and usually it's a disaster, right? The car is getting repoed. You're losing your house. You're, you're, you're lost your job.

The thing you were counting on went away. And then all of the sudden people ask the question, well, why I'm in this world anyway, and they start to, they start to raise their thinking and they, and they get clarity on their why and what it is they really want. And so what we encourage people todo is don't wait for the disaster. Go ahead and figure out your why today. Because here's why. When, when you figure out the why. The how is easy.

And I think Jim Rohn said something very similar. He said, you know, if you've got the why, the how is gonna show up. You're gonna figure it out. Now, the what is critical to this, but the how goes hand in hand, because if you're, you know, people, they're in the wrong business, right? They think they're in the business of selling X or selling Y or doing this or providing that support, but really we're all in the people business, right? We're there to serve that person in front of us. And so when we figure that out and we realize that we can have an impact in somebody's life, whether they say yes or no to the proposal doesn't really matter, but we can have an impact in how we treat them. And so when our why is clear, it changes how we do the work, right? How we show up, how we treat other people. 

And then the what is almost irrelevant, right? If my why is strong, it changes how I do things, which elevates my what, but my what could be anything. And people get focused on the what too often, right? On what they do. So we go why, how, what. Now here's what's cool. When you go back to dad's philosophy, if you gotta be the right person, do the right things, then you can have all the life has to offer.

When you link who you are, the B part, become the right person with the Y, then your identity is not in what you do, but in who you are. And what's interesting is what you do and the stuff you have, you can lose that. That could be taken away. But who you are, it can't be taken away. It can be surrendered, but it can't be taken. And so when our value is in who we are. And our why is to, part of it is to serve other people, right? To help them solve problems. Then we're operating on a different playing field. And when we enter into relationships, whether it's just friendship or business relationships and people see that behind it, you know, our belief in ourself, our, our drive for a purpose bigger than ourselves, our motive to help them be doing have more than they thought possible. Like our motive is right, then life's better, life takes off. So that's some background on that statement. It's a pretty deep statement that I could probably talk on for an hour, but it's a real driver.


It is a deep statement and I appreciate that. You've touched on this a little bit, Tom, in talking about the why, but you're also talking, it's a big theme is that you can get what you want if you are able to get people what they want. And so, we're all thinking about what we want, what we need, we're trying to get our goal orientation and we're driving this thing forward and trying to achieve the things that we want, but this is kind of backwards. And so does this apply to everyone and everything? Just, I want to just talk a little bit more about that idea.

Tom Ziglar

I believe it does. I believe it applies to everyone and everything. So dad's quote is, you can have everything in life you want if you'll help enough other people get what they want. And so it's kind of the golden rule and it's focused on first, I got to serve somebody else. Now our culture is very self-centered. You know, the lie that our culture says is, you know what? Just be happy. Just whatever you wanna do, if it makes you happy, go and do it. There's a lot of talk about, well, that's your personal truth, so it's right for you, so go into it. I disagree with that. Last time I checked, truth cannot contradict itself, right? And so, that's just the way truth is. And so truth needs to, it's a standard that goes forever. Now you can have personal belief.

And I'll be a hundred percent. Yeah. That's your personal belief. I believe you, right? That's what you believe. But if you say it's my personal truth, I'm going to be like, yeah, it's more of a belief because you've probably changed your beliefs through time, which means you've changed your truth through times. And since truth doesn't change, it wasn't truth that changed. It was your belief. And so there's a, there's a mentor of mine. He's a good friend. Uh, his name is Rabbi Daniel Lapin. And he says this. He says, the opposite of depression is not happiness. The opposite of depression is purpose.

And so what does that mean? It means that if, and I've done a lot of research on happiness, I believe in all of the stats show this we're in a pandemic of loneliness. I mean, COVID and all the change and all the polarization people feel isolated. And it's different in different communities, but as a whole, you know, you get on an airplane today and the tension is just there. There's a lot of deep felt unrest, right? People are on edge. And part of that is they have bought into the lie that my job in life is to be happy. And when you do the research on happiness, if you, if you seek happiness, you won't find it because that's a self-centered pursuit.

But here's what's interesting. If the opposite of depression is purpose, your why and you pursue purpose, you step into that every day. The amazing thing is, is happiness shows up on the journey. To me, it's almost like our creator created us to serve people and when we do, we find joy and happiness along the way. But as soon as we get self-centered and we're serving ourselves, we can never reach it. We can never attain it. And that's why that quote.

You can have everything in life you want if you'll just help enough other people get what they want. I can't tell you how many hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of, of business owners and salespeople and executives where that's on their business card. That's on their website. That's like their mantra of how they go about doing business. And by adopting that, you're just bringing joy and happiness into your life because it's simply the fruit of serving and solving the problems of other people.


That is excellent. That is excellent right on. Tell us what it was like to be a part of writing the book, Born to Win. How did that all go? That must have been an experience.

Tom Ziglar

Yeah, so that was at the end of dad's life. We published that, I think it was like 12 years ago, maybe 11. Like dad always said, you know, I have a perfect memory. It's just really short. So always laugh when I think about his quote on that. And so what happened, it was kind of interesting. We had a couple of different people that came in to us. They didn't know each other.

And we used to do this program called born to win. It was a three day, uh, workshop, you know, three and a half to four days. And people would fly in from all over the country and dad would teach it. And, you know, and then we had other speakers and trainers there who would teach part of it. And, and it was kind of a life changing. Event, right. And, and so two people who I'm pretty close to without knowing each other had said, you know, you need to bring back Born to Win. You need to come out with the Born to Win program. And so, and it needs to encapsulate everything. So talk to dad, talk to the team and said, you know what? Let's write Born to Win, which is kind of like the summary or the culmination of all the greatest works and philosophies that dad taught. And so that was a lot of fun.

My brother-in-law, Jim Norman was a writer on that book as well. And of course dad oversaw it and it was just, it was great. And a lot of people say it's the best Zig Ziglar book they ever read. And what I tell people is this. If you've read a bunch of Ziglar books, you've got to read born to win because it puts it all in one place. If you haven't read any Ziglar books, you got to start with born to win because It's a fantastic introduction to all the main things and it will just propel you to everything else. So that was a little bit about it.

I'll tell you a funny story. Um, as dad was, um, aging and he, at the end of his life, he had, Alzheimer's. And he, you know, and that's a tough road, right? If anybody's been through that, we all know that that's not a good road. And so he's, he's dealing with that and he's still at this point, he still recognizes everybody and he can tell the stories. He just can't remember the story he just told you.

And so he loved to read. So every day he'd read for hours and we gave him, or he found his book, “See You At The Top” and he starts reading his book, “See You At The Top” again, and he comes to me and he goes, he's reading it, he, he holds it up with a big smile and he says, you know, son, this is a really good book. And it just cracked me up because he wrote that book. That was his first one. That's the one that put him on the map from a, from a publishing perspective, millions and millions of copies sold. He wrote that book as, kind of almost a letter to anyone who wanted to figure out how they could have everything that life has to offer.

And then he wrote things in that book that were his own accountability partner, right? He said, these are the things I believe in and this is gonna be the standard I live up to. And so one of the stories is he talks a lot about health in that book. And when he was writing the book, he started writing it, he was 36 pounds overweight. And he tells the story of how he lost the weight. Well, he lost the weight because he knew that his health was important.

This is way back in 1972, but, and he wanted people to see him as an example in that. And so once that went in print, now he's like, has this accountability partner, millions of them out there. And so for him to say at the end of his life, this is a really good book. It just affirms that he, you know, he knew that if he was going to reach as many people as possible. He had to develop these same things in himself on a daily basis. Cuz we're all learning, we're all growing, and we've got to continue on that path and that's what he did every day.


That's a great story, I appreciate that so much. Well, in he horse business, in the horse industry, we know that horse problems are people problems. We know that horses, the relationship between horses and us is just that, a relationship, and that everything begins right here. You know, the things that apply to, they apply to everything. It can be horses or whatever it is. Gave us some really insightful thoughts to think about today. I so much appreciate it. I'm wondering, Tom, what would you like to leave us with today? What have we not covered that you'd like to or last thoughts today for the Horsemanship Journey?


Tom Ziglar

Yeah. I'll tell you a funny horse story with dad, and then I'll give you my last thought. So all of my sisters rode horses. My sister Julie still has horses, and they were all hunter jumper in the beginning. Now my sister Julie's Western pleasure riding, but they were competitive. They did all the stuff. And so my sister, Julie is almost 10 years older than me. And so, the promise was, is I was going to get a horse. The problem was, is we were living in suburban Dallas, right? We weren't, we weren't near a place or had the land to have a horse and it boarding can be a little expensive. Uh, and of course then there's the, travel back and forth and the time commitment and everything. And so I was about 12 years old.

And one of my friends had gotten a pool table. And I came home and I said, dad, I want a pool table like any 12 year old would want. And he said, son, those are a lot of money. You know, we can't do that. Um, and then I said, well, dad, I think I'd rather have a pool table than a horse. So dad did the math and within 48 hours, there was a pool table in our house. And all that always cracked me up because at the time I didn't see why I didn't understand why he was so excited about this, this, pool table, but I could just see that and of course, dad and I, we developed a lifelong golf habit together and that's how we spent our time. So that ended up working out great.

But the last thought that I would share is that, you know, we live in disruptive times. You know, we live in the pandemic and then there's now there's inflation, there's global unrest, political uncertainty, artificial intelligence is coming, the job market's changing, all these things are going on and on. You know, we had the bank runs recently. But the good news is, is that disruption is only going to increase at intensity and frequency. Right? I mean, so why am I saying that's good news? Because the more disruption there is, the more opportunity there is to serve other people. And so I would encourage everybody listening to this to create a mindset that says you love disruption.

And you love it because it allows you more opportunities to serve people in your business and your community and your church and your family, wherever you are, and people are looking for hope and encouragement now more than ever. And so the last letter, the biggest lesson that dad taught me was this.

What you feed your mind determines your appetite. What you, when you choose your input, you choose your output. And so I want everybody to be really conscientious and intentional about what you read, listen to, who you associate with, because that's gonna determine how you see the world and how you treat other people. And instead of seeing disruption as a problem, we see it as an opportunity to serve and we bring that hope and encouragement to those we serve.

 We can have the biggest impact we've ever had. And so that's what I would leave it with. Choose your input, what you feed your mind, determines your appetite and embrace this disruption. Cause it's not going away. It's always been part of life. It's just magnified right now.


Very good. Tom, where do we find out more about Ziglar?


Tom Ziglar

The best place to go is ziglar.com. Ziglar.com is our website. We'll give you all the insights on what we do. If you want to reach out to me personally, I'll just give you my email. It's easy. It's Tom@ziglar.com and just say, hey, I was listening to your episode on The Horsemanship Journey and I'll know about it. And I'm happy to reach out, answer questions and point people in the right direction.


Excellent. Tom, I heard you speak once and you said, I've thought a lot about this, you said that speaking is transference. Today, I think you've succeeded in transference. I mean you can you can feel the genuineness, you can feel the kindness, the integrity in your voice and the power of your message. We pride ourselves in only the top people in this industry and we so much appreciate you taking your time to be with us today. Ladies and gentlemen, Tom Ziglar.


Tom Ziglar

Thank you so much.

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