On Wednesday morning, November 28, 2012 Zig Ziglar left this earth and moved on to his final promotion. Since I worked with Zig for so many years, I was asked to write an article about him for an upcoming book about his life. Considering all he personally meant to me, I wanted to share this article with you as a tribute to a genuinely great man, mentor and friend.
Years ago, when I was a graduate student at Dallas Theological Seminary, I also worked part time at the First Baptist Church of Dallas as the pastor of the “Auditorium” Sunday School Class. Zig Ziglar was the teacher of the class. Since Zig traveled a lot, I handled the weekly needs of the class and taught for Zig whenever he had to be gone. I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with him in many different situations. There were over 500 families in that Auditorium Class. The class size was larger than most churches, so it was a wonderful learning experience for me.
One day I was having lunch with Zig when a gentleman approached our table. After a few cordial words, he asked Zig if he knew a man by the name of “John Jones”. Zig said, “Why, yes, I do.” The man then asked Zig, “What kind of person is John?” Zig thought for a moment and responded, “Well, I really don’t know. I have never had any financial dealings with him.” They talked for a few more minutes and then the gentleman walked away from the table.
Afterwards, I asked Zig why he had answered the man’s question the way he did. The gentleman only asked Zig if he knew John Jones, and nothing at all was asked about his financial dealings with him. Zig answered me by saying, “Until you have had financial dealings with someone, you have not met the real person.” I was young and impressionable at the time and I made a mental note of that concept. It has turned out to be one of the truest realities I have ever known.
Many years later, I sensed that God was calling me out of full-time Christian service into business. We have all heard of people who were in business being called into the ministry, but here I was in ministry, being called into starting a business! I was so lost!
A short while afterwards, Zig and I were speaking at a conference together. After the conference ended, we were riding back to the airport together when I confessed to Zig that I was struggling in running my own business, because all I ever thought about was money. I explained that it wasn’t my intent to do that, but it had become my reality. Money had a tight hold on my heart. I asked Zig if he had ever had an experience like that. He smiled and said, “Money isn’t everything, but it is pretty close to oxygen – especially in business!”
Then Zig taught me two things that would change my life forever. He said, “Don’t ever chase money. You will never catch it! Rather, chase helping people – and money will chase you!” It was one of the greatest concepts anyone had ever taught me. Zig then said one other important thing to me, “If you will keep these 3 issues separate, you will always stay on the right path: 1) Your priority is to help people. 2) Your objective is to make a profit. 3) Your goal is to please God.” I went to bed that night thinking about what Zig had said to me. I woke up the next morning with that concept firmly settled in my heart and mind. I had a whole new feeling. I started applying those truths and life and business have never been the same!
It was over 30 years ago that Zig shared those concepts with me. They have been the guiding force of my business and life ever since that day. How could someone possibly be that wise? How could someone, in a matter of minutes, give me the keys to my business success? When you stop and think about it, whether it is a product or service, the key to success is to “chase helping people”. I have written those concepts on the front page of every calendar or planner that I have used for the past 30 years. They have worked successfully for me in the past and I am confident they will do so in the future as well.
I thank God for Zig Ziglar’s commitment to not only helping people financially in the business world, but also helping them in the kingdom of God. His bold and courageous faith and trust in the Lord has not gone unnoticed. He has touched millions of people who otherwise would have never heard spiritual truths. Zig has a rich reward waiting for him on the other side. I count him a friend, a mentor, and one of the greatest men I have ever known in my life!
I trust these thoughts and words of encouragement will give you guidance in your life in the coming days!
Tip: There was nobody like Zig Ziglar!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm