Soul Food for Friday: Some of my Favorite Quotes from Zig Ziglar

When I began as a pastor in Arkansas, I discovered a TV show called something like “DAWN”. It was a series of motivational speakers on at 6 a.m. or so on a cable station out of Dallas, Texas. It was there that I first heard Zig Ziglar speak. I learned about setting goals, top performance, having a great attitude, and best of all faith in Christ and a dynamic way to tell the story.

As the years went by I had a couple occasions to hear Zig speak in person. Bringing his best each time, and committed to bringing out the best in his audience. I always remembered his challenge at the end that called us out to set some incredible goal, to believe the best that God wanted to bring out of us or our kids, and to have an attitude to win, and if you do this then he would  say, “I will see you, yes, I mean you at the top!”

Zig Ziglar from

This week I was saddened to hear of Zig’s passing. Happy for Zig who now has reached the ultimate top in his life, sad for those of us who loved to hear him motivate and an engine that was running strong at 80 plus years. This week’s Soul Food for Friday is dedicated to some of my favorite Zig Ziglar quotes and the lessons they taught. I hope the point your way to see you at the top with Zig one day.

Quote 1: “Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you.” 

Zig taught me with this one to lead with great courage. If God calls you to take on whales, then get ready to eat them up. Such words provided a great “with faith” approach as I step out in leadership. I also learned the power of great picture language when communicating. Zig could turn a phrase and inspire me to find that quick wit in communicating as well.

Quote 2: “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

When I began to dig into my purpose in life and came up with 2 words, “Build people”, part of that digging hit solid ground with this commitment in life to build others up.

Quote 3: “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

During the late 80’s, my mantra was your attitude determines your altitude. Zig taught me the power of attitude, especially a positive one, and how I got to choose my attitude each day.

Quote 4: “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”

Building off Jesus words to go the extra mile in carrying a Roman soldiers equipment (Roman soldiers could require Jews to carry their equipment for a mile). Zig discovered how the road clears out to those who serve. Such a clearing out was not a call to get off the road, but to lead down that 2nd mile of the road of service.

Quote 5: “Ability can take you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there”

In an age of get quick rich motivators, Zig learned to build hearts and lives as well, especially his own. He was quite a character in many ways. He taught me to lay your life out there when you speak and to build a heart that matters no matter your financial balance or faith imbalance.

Quote 6: “Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation”

Zig re-enforced the cub scout motto I learned in 5th grade: “Be prepared.” He also taught me to have a passion to be a life long learner, fueling the discovery of a reading habit, and tapping into the core strength God has given me in life and in my leadership.

Quote 7: “Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.”

I read that quote in his book, Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World, and thanks to God and to Zig’s emphasis on encouragement and bringing out the best, Sharon did a great job raising our girls and I learned the power of building for the long haul versus tearing down for the short one.

As you remember Zig Ziglar, what’s your favorite quote? What key lesson did he teach you?



Filed under Leadership Quotes

3 responses to “Soul Food for Friday: Some of my Favorite Quotes from Zig Ziglar

  1. Fred Campbell

    Zig was such an encourager in my life. I took pride in being a “professional salesman” anytime I heard or read his thoughts about selling or about life. My favorite quote of his: “The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity.”

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