This is Show #387, and we’re listening to Zig talk to us about personal standards — having personal standards and making them high standards. This is not an awareness most people are ever given. The great news is we can clarify and state them now, and start shaping ourselves around and benefitting from them…now.

OK, folks, we have a new type of show we’re putting in the queue for you. We get a LOT of questions coming into Ziglar. Questions on applying the principles of success to your personal life. So many of you email us, post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Now we’re going to give you a platform in a new Q&A show. We’ll see how we — and you — like it. If it proves valuable, we’ll keep it in the rotation…Zig clips, interviews, and Q&A shows.

We know it’s one thing to hear a great message, but another thing to take action on it. We’re all unique, complex, and live in differing circumstances. So…ask a question and Tom Ziglar and I will discuss it. Once in a while, we’ll bring in a special guest to field questions as well.

As you read Zig’s materials, listen to the show, or…you’re welcome to come to us with any questions related to Inspiring Your True Performance, personal development, and…progressing toward better things in your life and work. Bring them here. Go to…

Today we’re hearing from Zig. He comes to us from a seminar series where he’s been talking on relational health. But then he asks, “How do you apply all this relational health focus to the marketplace? To our jobs and businesses?”

Here, then, I give you 11 minutes of classic Zig onstage:

Zig cites the story of hoeing beans for his mother, and she’s not satisfied. I love what she says here: “For most people, what you’ve done would be perfectly all right. But you’re not most people. You’re my son, and my son can do better than that.”

I grew up with this. This gift of higher expectations. Now, some of you had this skewed in an abusive, negative fashion. Nothing you EVER did was good enough. You may have gotten this from a parent or teacher or someone who was literally putting you down. They did not have your best interest in mind. This is tragic, and I am so, so sorry. You have some work to do to get past this.

Some of you were given this perspective of “never good enough” from well-meaning people who thought they were doing something good. But when your work is never good enough, it builds resentment, or bad self-image, and more.

What Zig was showcasing here was from a loving parent who honestly recognized his somewhat shoddy work and knew the long-term value of calling him to more. It might have been good enough to accomplish the job of planting and growing beans, but she was going beyond the task at hand to grow, well…a Zig Ziglar!

Again, “For most people, what you’ve done would be perfectly all right. But you’re not most people. You’re my son, and my son can do better than that.”

I’ve been working through Zig messages with my 10- and 11-year-old boys, and this is one we’re going to hit on.

It calls to mind Seth Godin’s book, Linchpin, and making yourself indispensable in your job. It’s simple math. Do the job, and you’ll generally stay in the job. Go above and beyond, and you’ll get promoted. You’ll find greater opportunity. You’ll become the boss or the owner.

I’m amazed at how shortsighted the masses are. They do enough to get by. And they get passed over for promotion; they get let go when the budget gets tight or someone better comes along.

Though I will say, I surely don’t go overboard here. I’m not a prisoner to excellence and perfection in everything, by any means. There are plenty of tasks that I do just enough to get by, primarily if it’s just me. I’m a very shoddy snow-plower on my long driveway.

But when it comes to a job for a client or presentation to an audience or any service to another, it’s time for excellence.

To Zig’s mom’s statement…two main points:

  1. What are your personal standards? Mediocrity, or striving for excellence? What do you call yourself to? I’ve had this talk plenty of times with my kids, and countless times with myself! Most people stand for…nothing that you would be aware of. But, great people…have personal standards they adhere to and call themselves to. Folks, this is a worthy exercise to stop and do. Worth stopping this recording and giving…even five minutes. Do you have any personal standards that are clear in your own mind? That guide and lead you and provide bumpers for your life? If people who knew you were polled, would they be aware of any perceivable personal standards that you live by? You may very well come up with some. But whether you do or don’t, I bet you can write some down.
  2. She called him to something greater. She believed in him. Who can you call to a higher standard out of love? Again, it made me think of my kids. Sometimes I just don’t want to take the time. I have the kids clean up their room just so I can walk through without impaling my foot. And I let them get by with shoddy work. That is…training. Even if I only do it once in a while. They need to learn this skill and awareness.

“Standards – do our best, not be the best.”

This is just personal conviction and value. One thing it brought me to was an anchoring point back in my pro-cycling days. I turned pro in 1992 at the age of 21 and raced at the pro and elite levels for just over a decade, even through the births of our first three kids. Somewhere along the line — I wish I knew who to credit — someone said that every time you quit a race, it’s easier to quit again. In cycling, DNFs are common. One hundred fifty may start; only 50 might finish. I had a period, while racing in Holland for a Dutch team, where I DNF’d a lot of races. If you fall behind enough, you’re done.

But what grew in me from that statement went past racing and into training. On hill interval day, when the training plan was 10 hill repeats, I grew to fear quitting, even there. Training alone. Afraid it would train me to allow…quitting.

Today it’s still as relevant in pushing through. Doing a good job, completing a job.

Though it harkens to Oscar Wilde — “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

On days when I felt bad, then and even today in my running and working out, I don’t have to be a prisoner and violate my head, heart, and body. But…you get the point. Positive habits and high standards.

Next, Zig talked about his mom being a wise person. And I love this statement from him in defining wisdom:

“You’ll never see an arrogant, wise person.”

That statement knocks out a lot of people who deem themselves wise. Who want to be seen as wise. And I think gives permission to all of us to walk in and own wisdom. In humility.

“You’ll see an arrogant knowledgeable person, but not wise.” I appreciate this, because it separates mere knowledge from wisdom. You can go through formal education, ace every test, and get every degree known to man, and not be wise.

I recently saw the movie “Concussion,” starring Will Smith. It’s the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered the consequences of head trauma on football players. I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Omalu speak a couple of weeks ago at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, along with my wife and her brain research buddies. Dr. Omalu joked at his own expense, just as they depict in the movie, about his long string of degrees. From MD to MBA…I think he has seven…plus a good many other certifications. He also admits he led a very lonely life and battled depression and alcoholism at the hands of his devotion to work and education and not…winning relationships. Now, however, later in life, he is married with one or two kids.

But what made Dr. Omalu the feature of a movie was not his knowledge. It was his wisdom in seeing a need and an opportunity and taking a massive risk to pursue it. It’s a great movie to see on this perspective and for this reason. I recognize him as a wise man.

Next, Zig cites a frequent quote, “Failure is an event, not a person. I wasn’t a bad boy; I’d just done a lousy job.”

I think it’s an easy statement to nod to, but most of us don’t realize how much past failures impact and handicap us. I know many people who don’t relate to the statement at all. They wouldn’t think it applies to them. They are doing fine, maybe even well. But they’ve settled. They’ve coasted into cruise control. Some failures and fears have taken the zest and passion and adventure from their lives. They’ve given in to basic comforts.

It’s a great exercise to just ponder the thought…to think of some failures, to think of your life, and really ask yourself if you’ve been limited. If you shy away from trying new things, risking much, putting yourself on the line, pursuing desires…

“Praise the performer and call to a better performance.”

OK, that’s a wrap for Show #387. In Show #388 we’ve got a great interview on “successful systems.” Then Show #389, I’m hoping we’ll do our first Q&A show with me, Tom Ziglar, and your questions! Again, go to

Thanks for tuning in, folks, I’ll be with you in the next…Ziglar Show, inspiring our true performance together!