A Tribute To Zig: Marcus Style

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Zig Ziglar passed away today, Nov. 28, 2012. This is a sad day for anyone who’s life was touched by Zig’s motivational, inspirational and life changing books and speaking programs. Let me give you a little story as a tribute to Zig and how he shaped my life in a positive direction.


In the six weeks I spent at Southwest Missouri State University before losing my sight, I was a workout fanatic. My buddy, Kit, and I would hit the weight room practically every night and just do monster workouts. When I wasn’t lifting weights, I was jogging, walking, eating healthy and even doing push ups and sit ups in my dorm room. Why did I become such a health nut? Simple: girls.


I started college at my high school football playing weight of 255. I was fat. There were beautiful girls EVERYWHERE in Springfield and I knew if I wanted to attract any of these hotties, I was going to have to create a more asthetically pleasing version of Marc. Thus, I jumped on the health train. The day before the crash in which I lost my sight, I was bench pressing close to 400 lbs…more than I’d ever done before. I was at the best physical shape of my life.


Then, the wreck. I lost 50 plus pounds in a matter of weeks. It’s hard to eat when your jaws are wired shut. One of the orthopods who first manipulated my hip back into place in the E.R. told my parents later, “Your son is strong as a bull. He’s hurt badly, but he’ll be all right.” Strong as a bull.


It’s well documented through my memoir, “After This…” that I was highly motivated to get back to college. My father, wanting to help me stay encouraged, brought home several sets of cassette programs from his workplace. After my discharge from Barnes Hospital, I would listen to these tapes; Earl Nightengale, Tony Robbins and, of course, Zig Ziglar.


Early one morning, I was listening to one of Zig’s stories. Before he published his book, “See You At The Top”, he had a time of epiphany. The theme of “See You At The Top” was that you can do what you wanna do, go where you wanna go, be who you wanna be. It’s a great book and I re-read it every few years. Yet, before it was published, Zig tells of how he felt disingenuous. Reason being, he’s written a book with “you can be who you wanna be” as a focus…but he wasn’t who he wanted to be. He was overweight. He got on a strict exercise regiment and, after reaching his ideal weight, he allowed the book to be published…but only AFTER he’d become the person he wanted to be.


Here’s the rest of the story:


Soon after the publication, Zig was diagnosed with a life threatening disease. My apologies, but I don’t remember which one. Yet, this disease caused months and months of recovery. Zig’s doctor told him the reason he would survive was because he was in such prime physical shape. Zig had lost the weight and gotten in shape for one reason: to have the integrity to publish his book. Yet, he felt, those months of exercise were God’s training for him to prepare to fight this disease.


When I heard this story, I flashed back to how my docs told my parents one of the reasons I survived was because I was strong, physically. And I related to Zig’s journey…doing one thing for a noble purpose that later, would save my (and his) life.


Zig’s motivational programs shaped my life. He is, in part, the reason I began speaking professionally. Within the National Speakers Association, Zig is looked at like Elvis is viewed in the rock and roll world; almost a saint. About 10 years ago t an NSA convention, I had the opportunity to meet Zig and share this story with him, face to face. He recalled his experiences well and was genuinely pleased he’d had a positive effect on my life. I am just one of the millions who hav a better life because of the messages of Zig Ziglar.


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