Good Habits, Good Choices Are Keys to Success

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The son of one of the world’s most influential motivational speakers, salesmen and authors on leadership and personal success says one of the lasting impressions his father made on him boils down to a single word. Choice.

“The biggest life lesson that I learned from dad is that I have a choice,” said Tom Ziglar, son of the late Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar and today CEO of Ziglar Inc. “If I choose the right input – who I associate with, what I read and what I listen to – then it changes everything else about my life.”

It was a message that resonated throughout Ziglar’s one-hour talk before students, faculty, business professionals and other guests at Youngstown State University’s Williamson College of Business Administration Thursday. His talk centered on the influence of his mother and father, the importance of family and friends, and his lifelong efforts to improve the quality of life and work for himself and those around him.

The Cliffe College of Creative Arts and Communication’s Department of Communication and the Williamson College of Business sponsored the talk.

“Anybody who has been successful in their life – they’ve made choices to get there,” he says.

At the start of his talk, Ziglar posed a simple question to the audience: “How many of you here today believe there’s something you can do in your personal life, your family life, or your professional life in the next week that would make things worse?”

The entire audience raised their hands. Next question: How many believe there’s something you could do in the next week to make things better?

Again, all hands went up.

“Without realizing it, in your own mind, you have the power to make things better or worse, and the choice is yours,” Ziglar said.

Today, Ziglar speaks around the world to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, academic institutions, and a host of other organizations to lend his insights on leadership, business and performance. His father, he noted, emerged during the 1960s as an important voice for professional and individual development, and estimates that he reached more than 250 million people during his career.

“He would get at least 15,000 people per speaking engagement, 30 times out of the year,” he said. Zig Ziglar died in 2012.

Ziglar said he initially didn’t see himself on the talk circuit like his father, since the two possess entirely different styles and personalities. Indeed, he was often referred to as an “emotional engineer,” and recalls looking up an acronym for the term. “It’s spelled N-E-R-D,” he laughs. “I was a more behind-the-scenes guy.”

And, he emphasized his father’s presence is always with him when he is speaking at an event. “Every time I’m speaking, I wear one of his ties.”

Ziglar persevered in his own right by using many of the lessons driven home by his father, several of which deal with the sometimes difficult challenge of changing bad habits to good habits.

Addressing three of these habits are critical in creating a path to success in a person’s professional and personal life, Ziglar said.

“The first is input,” he said. “What you feed your mind determines your appetite.” Input involves making choices about what or who to listen to, or about who one should associate with in order to preserve a positive attitude toward life and work.

A second habit – one he said that his father credited his success to – was establishing character and integrity. “Trust is the byproduct of integrity,” he said, which follows a person throughout their entire life.

And third, Ziglar said, was developing a habit of “persistent consistency.” In other words, hard work on a daily basis.

Once in practice, these good habits stand to have a profound impact on an individual’s life no matter what they are engaged in, Ziglar said. Individuals can then apply these tools to their profession, family or personal relationships.

“It was a great experience,” Yossi Dahan, a finance major at YSU, said of Ziglar’s talk. “You can apply this to anything you do. It was very informative and very inspirational. There are a lot of good points we can practice and change our life with.”

Ultimately, these changes lead to living a life of significance and leaving behind a legacy that is rich and rewarding, Ziglar said. “You can transform your life once simple choice at a time,” he said.

Pictured: Tom Ziglar, CEO of Ziglar Inc.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.