#52 Books – Born to Win: Find Your Success
Zig Ziglar is your classic, old-school sales trainer. Get beneath the 70s era salesguy persona and the Southern Baptist preacher delivery and you find that there is a reason why his work remains a classic.
When I was growing up, Mom was a real estate agent, a broker, and telecommunications sales manager (beepers, anyone?). Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale, Brian Tracy, and Dale Carnegie were all in heavy rotation in Mom’s cassette deck in the 80s and early 90s. My younger brother took these involuntary lessons from our rides in the car and ran with them in his adulthood.
My natural state is reclusive academic, so it is only now that I am realizing how useful these teachings are.
Born to Win is Ziglar’s final book. This book distills the teachings from his entire career, with his son’s addition of a business model for entrepreneurs and business leaders.
I started to put together my Meaningful Flow service before I read this book. Seeing Ziglar’s model – plan to win by clarifying your objectives, prepare to win by increasing your skills and developing your map, and expect to win by doing the work and keeping your attitude positive – was incredibly validating.
The fundamentals of Ziglar’s work boils down to
“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what THEY want.”
Everything Ziglar presents is to support you in helping others.
To successfully help others, Ziglar argues, you need to build a personally strong foundation of values and purpose. The values he recommends: honesty, character, faith, integrity, love, and loyalty. If you read across the spectrum of leadership literature – you will see variations on this theme. Fundamentally, it helps to be strong and clear internally before one can truly make an impact on his or her environment.
Knowing my values and why I am doing something helps me make decisions. It helps me evaluate and reflect on my interactions. Being able to ask – “Can I help them get what THEY want? Did I succeed in doing so?” – provides a good metric for my performance with clients.
Underneath that question, “Can I help them get what THEY want?” is an evaluation of whether the client and I are a match.
– Do I understand what they want?
– Do we share values and purpose within that understanding?
– Do I have the skills to help them?
If all 3 are a resounding “yes” – then we are in for a great relationship.
If one is a “no” – the best thing I can do is try to point them in the right direction and see if I can find someone in my network who is a better fit.
Growing up, I saw Ziglar as the consummate salesman, teacher of closing techniques, and the type of guy to avoid like the plague. Ask my former co-workers about my reputation for terrorizing vendor reps.
After reading Born to Win, I’ve finally realized that there was more depth to Ziglar’s message than I ever gave him credit for.
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