The Book of Mistakes: 9 Secrets to Creating a Successful Future


It starts with readiness to change:

Readiness is when your desire is stronger than your distraction. So often we begin our journey of transformation and it falls short due to distraction.

-Essentialism: Get rid of your distractions, or the giving of energy that is not helping you go where you need to go.

-Personal Development: Change the capacity you have to carry the things that you need to take you where you want to go.


#1 Mistake: Working on someone else’s dream. Find YOUR purpose. Determine who you want to be, not what you want to do. How will the things you are going to do affect others? “Don’t become a wandering generality. Be a meaningful specific.” What do YOU want, what are YOU trying to achieve? This is a vital evaluation.


#2 Mistake: Allowing someone else to define your value, and accepting false labels. How often do we label ourselves incorrectly? And how often would you let outside forces put labels on you, even when they limit you? People who succeed put a label on that is bigger than themselves, and expand themselves to have a capacity to do more than they ever believed they could.

You don’t have to accept the labels others put on you, or the labels that you put on yourself that are hindering you. Let go of those labels, and RE-LABEL yourself with what you want to be. Put those labels on, and put those thoughts “on” that are going to make you thrive.


To find out the seven other mistakes, and how to create a successful future for yourself, go order Skip’s book at!

Show Transcription

[00:26] Welcome to The Ziglar Show, where we inspire your true performance. I’m your host Kevin Miller and today Tom Ziglar and I talk with Skip Prichard, author of “The Book of Mistakes – 9 Secrets To Creating A Successful Future”. Skip is the former CEO of Ingram Content Group and Harvard Business Review labelled him as a rare social CEO and a “relentless giver.” But check this out…how Skip grew up is incredibly interesting. Both parents attended seminary. Told they could not have children, they were headed to the mission field in a Third World country. Skip’s mom became pregnant, eventually having six children, so they made the mission their home. Taking in people who were abused and addicted, and Skip’s fascination with success began. He was intrigued with…Why would one person succeed while another would fail? Wouldn’t you love to know the answer to that question?! Some high points we hit:

  • Servant leadership
  • mistake – working on your dream, not someone else
  • Determine who you want to be, not what you want to do – and having a clear purpose attracts people
  • mistake – allowing someone else to define your value
  • mistake – accepting excuses

[01:48] Again, the main issues Skip covers are what he saw that made a difference between two equal people…which would succeed and which would not. It’s fascinating!

[02:01] Get his book and connect with Skip at

[02:10] Let’s dive right in and talk with Skip.

[02:17] Well Skip looking at your book which I was so grateful to get an advance copy so I feel much more informed in the rest of the populace is going to get this shortly and look at the website I saw an incredible amount of testimonials from some people I knew like my dear Dad Dan Miller but then also I think the entire shelf of every guess that I’ve ever interviewed on Ziglar and they’re all endorsing your book. So just really honoured to have you here today.

[02:42] I’m so glad to be here and it was amazing to have all of these terrific endorsements, maybe we used your show as the list to go after these many major people but these are wonderful friends all influencers of mine. And I am thrilled to have them in the book and I am also thrilled to be here, so thank you.

[05:14] I’m initially interested in your personal story and what you lead off in the book with as, “The Riddle”. So you’re one of 6 kids and your parents made your home a ministry to scores of people, primarily those coming from hard lives. And from that you saw people and wondered “why did two people with similar challenges end up with such dramatically different results?” That question feels like somewhat of a holy grail to personal development, self- help and the root of human progress. Do you see it with this gravity?

[05:54] I really do. It was an extraordinary way to grow up. I was fairly different, my parents took and they were supposed to go off to a third broke country, they couldn’t have children they were told and then that was their plan but my mom ended up getting pregnant having six kids. So she said well let’s just make the mission our home, let’s bring people in. Let’s just open our home to whoever needs it. So we brought in the abuse, the addicted and the abandoned I like to say and the only commonality was they all had problems, we all, we all do. And I would see some of these people some would stay for a night, some would say for years and literally years and one would go off maybe go to community college, get a job somebody else would do the same thing but then would circle back would be back on drugs, would be stuck in abusive situations etc and I really was and of course I was listening to Zig Ziglar cassette tapes and I was interested wait a minute why did you have the same kind of grounding, the same counselling, the same input but you went off and succeeded and you kind of circled back and are stuck. And I just became fascinated with that and I started studying that and of course listening to the Zig Ziglar tapes, it started to inspire me to go to the library and start to really fill my mind with a lot of thinkers that you know Jim Roan and Earl might get on others and I started really thinking about what is this and that question became and still is something that I ponder all the time.

[07:36] So an overall premise you lay out right from there is ask, seek and knock. You cite Jim Rohn as motivating you to become an asker, seeker and a knocker. But right there, you had aspiration. I love words, the definition of aspiration is: a hope or ambition of achieving something. In your experience, and maybe especially as a youth with people coming from a really low place, no silver spoons, no privileges, no reason to succeed according to most, why did some end up…aspiring, and others not? Or can we ever know??

[08:23] Well, it is a mystery. I since then have embarked on, I read a book a day at least and I have interviewed over a thousand people on leadership topics and I have really made this my study, it’s the central part of why this is. And part of it’s mystery, part of it is these nine secrets that I put into this book, things that I’ve seen that are common pitfalls, common problems, common mistakes that people make and that they need to adjust or they need to do differently and so I’ve put them all into into the book. I’ll tell you though one of the big areas for me that I am a student of servant leadership and the earliest part of student servant leadership was one of my favorite Zig Ziglar quotes, although I have many but one of them was you can get everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want. I saw that a servant leadership and I saw that people who really had that in mind of serving others had a different attitude, a different mentality, a different desire, it wasn’t a desire about personal gain it was the desire of influence and that made all the difference in the world.

[11:54] Wow I just love that. This past week out I’ve been studying this and I just today I webinar called the trinity of transformation and my key word for 2018 is transformation. I don’t care where you are in your life, you can transform to another level to another area of impact and I had three words in this trinity of transformation that I’ll share with you but it can’t it comes off of this dad’s quote and when you said the word aspiration, it just kind of keyed on this. I was reading dad’s devotional and he has this quote ‘The degree of hope you manifest by purser varying through obstacles becomes a measure of your passion’. And so the trinity of transformation is passion, hope, and grit right. So grit is that you know that part it out, I’m going to do it no matter what right it’s that Angela Duckworth and stick to and us and all that. And so I’m just curious what how does how open and passion play into the people who stick to it or get out of it or go to that next level.

[13:12] I think it means everything and so many of those things are in this book, I talk right at the beginning in in this book because it’s this story of this young man who meets an older man and then goes on this journey with nine very wise teachers and it starts with readiness. And I say in the book that readiness is when your desire is stronger than your distraction. So how do you make sure that your desire for what you want your goals then your distraction and that the very first mistake kind of plays into that in terms of your purpose. So but before you even begin your journey of these nine mistakes are you ready and readiness has to start with desire over distraction.

 [18:37] That part of the story happens in what you title “The Beginning”, and after the question about fear, the statement is made that “readiness is when your desire is stronger than your distraction.” So DESIRE…calls back to where we started, discussing aspiration. But let me repeat that, “readiness is when your desire is stronger than your distraction.” Talk to us about what are distractions are?

[19:23] For me I think that desire is the key component. It is the beginning I talk about that it’s one of the lots of success in the book. It is the crucial component that most people don’t really have, they haven’t painted the picture of what success looks like enough and so they begin their year with these new year’s resolutions, they begin their goal of starting something but they really haven’t begun with the end in mind. They haven’t really thought about what would this really look like and how badly do I want it, because if they do it it makes all the difference in the world. There’s the old saying when the why becomes big enough the how becomes automatic, that why is the desire really why do I want this and sometimes you find with your goal, I’ve done this is one of my goals and then I look at the why behind it and what really start looking down the road and I go you know what I don’t want that. It’s not going to give me a big enough wide for me to do it and I cross it off my list free myself before I even start and then to go and pretend that I’m going to do this when my why wasn’t big enough. So I think that desire is a crucial component.

[22:03] So this story…I’m not about to give anything away here folks, the point of this interview is to give you great value, inspire and equip you. But you must get the book!!  The Book of Mistakes. Go to and get yours. But at the beginning of the story, the guide says to his student, “I need to ask you, what are you so afraid of?” What intrigued me first, was the question wasn’t “are you afraid” or “what do you fear”, but “what are you so afraid of?” which made the blatant assumption that he WAS afraid of something, or something’s. So you feel this question is relevant for…everyone? We are all suffering, or at least limited by real, existing, working fears?

[23:00] I think it’s so important, we all have fears right. Fear of public speaking is a big one people think about fear of failure, fear of how I will look, we all have them and I think it’s important to just put them down be clear about what they are and to get real with yourself about you know what is it that’s stopping me. And that’s something that I would see so often with the people in our home that would be stopped is something would block them, some kind of fear of something would stop that and oftentimes it was fear of self image right, fear of my self image is so identified with with who I am. I’m a homeless man right and I see myself that way and I have a fear of success, I have a fear of leaving that identity that I have even as a homeless person to be something else or I have a fear that if I’m at this level you see that all the time today right. We’re watching people implode all around in the news every day and often times I think it’s because they’ve achieved a level of success that has eclipsed and succeeded their internal development of who they are and if you are spiritual, internal, mental image is is one level and you achieve a certain level in your mind that’s here you’re going to sabotage yourself to get back to your level or you can increase your personal development to quickly rise to that level of success. And so I think it’s a it’s a constant balance between all those factors.

[24:46] Next, the statement is made that, the student is full, like a full cup, and “before you can absorb a lesson, you need to have room in your cup.” Does this go along with distractions…that to take action on a progression for our lives, we must first divest ourselves of…what?

[25:12] I think divesting of those distractions and being ready for the next lesson and you know in order to be ready, your cup has to have room right. So that’s the analogy. How do you do that right. Well there’s two ways. One is you pour out those distractions, so you get rid of the things that are filling your cup that are just wasted space, that are just not really going to take you to where you go, that’s step one. But the other step is even more interesting to me which is you don’t need to keep the same size cup right. So if I listen to your father’s personal development, discussions, talks all of that motivational activity that he inspired us with most of that was really to expand the size of our cup. And so those two things can get you ready to experience life at a completely new level and I think you want to get rid of the distractions and you want to work on yourself which expands the size of your cup, your capacity to take on new things.

[34:26] OK, at this point in your book, I must deviate. I’m wondering about you. This is a story. A novel of a tale. You’re a business guy with a profound message on personal development and truly bettering ourselves…when did you decide to do it through a story like this…and know you had the storytelling skills to pull it off?

[35:12] I’ve been a publishing executive for many many years, and unusual first time author I think having run many companies and then having a blog and knowing the publishing industry and being a keynote speaker to many publishers and then you want to write your book and everybody always said Oh Skip you’ve got to write the leadership book right, so I know all the publishing rules right. If you want to talk about, if you think about well the you know here’s rule number one, rule two, I know what those are and I broke all of them and in doing this. And one of one of the reasons this you know you can look at the research around stories Jennifer Aker from Stanford says that you remember a story twenty-two times more than a fact, which is by the way one of the reasons why Zig Ziglar message still resonates today. He was the best storyteller that we know, I mean still he has the best. And Hauled Zack who I interviewed, he’s runs the Center for neuro economics studies which that means I’m really smart to me because I don’t know what that exactly entails, but he studied the fact that your brain manufactures more oxytocin and that makes you more empathetic so you become more receptive to the message. So the reasoning behind it in terms of the brain. Richard Branson says the art of storytelling can be used to drive change. Even Nelson Mandela don’t address their brains address their hearts and so storytelling addresses the hearts and then your brain comes along, if it impacts your emotion not just your intellect, and makes it more memorable makes you apply it a little bit more.

[38:10] OK, to the 9 mistakes. The character, an older woman in this segment, says, “I was 30 when I realized what had happened, “My roles were written by someone else and I was playing a part.” and then you name the first mistake, “Working on someone else’s dream.” Before anyone hears this and think it’s just a ploy for self-employment, it’s not. But before that, “My roles were written by someone else and I was playing a part.” Who or what generally writes our role or our part? Parents, family, culture?

[39:12] It can happen in so many places certainly parenting you can say hey why did you major in business, well dad said too or why are you a teacher etc. Your first boss might put you into something, you might end up in finance and because you have a proclivity for numbers but your passion isn’t there and so it could be self employment but it could also be that you find yourself later in life saying why am I over here in marketing when I really want to be in sales. And you can work on someone else’s dream, you can be caught into part of someone else’s dream and I think it’s so important to think about your own purpose, what is my own purpose? I think about sales and I do talks on sales and mistake number one and you know your average sales person thinks I want to make quota but your extraordinary sales leader wants to change the world, your average person sales person as it would say wants to be a wondering generality where is your extraordinary salesperson is a meaningful specific, your average wants to hit the numbers, the extraordinary says I want to serve you to hit your goals why? All of that’s around purpose around what is my purpose not working on someone else’s dream but my dream.

[53:05] Mistake #2 is allowing someone else to define your value”. And then you write that it gets much worse than that “We accept our own labels.” and you get into what I thought of as…limiting beliefs. It’s not hard to hear teh message of…we are all limiting ourselves by the values and perspectives we were given. But the power is in how do we actually change our perspective and belief…and take different actions? Or do we just take different actions as a catalyst for changing our beliefs?

[54:12] Great question a lot of thoughts and there the second mistake is allowing someone else to define or value. It stems from this intercessory prayer or write a book about how we label people and we allow our value to be determined by someone else and I use the example the Book of a nickel. How much is a nickel worth of course, five cents. How much does it cost to manufacture a nickel in the United States today, over ten cents. I mean crazy right, so why do we value something that costs ten cents, why are we valuing it five cents because of the label that we stamp on it and I thought how often do we stop ourselves from succeeding at the ten cent level because we’ve labelled ourselves at the five. How often do we label ourselves in correctly and what we often do is we allow other people to stamp labels on us and they stick. And this happens so much with these people who would come into our home, when you would see the person cycle back and fail it’s because they couldn’t get rid of that label that was limiting them and the people that would succeed would put a label that was bigger than what they are.

[1:02:34] Friends, I hope you are inspired about being or becoming the person who…succeeds. Regardless of your circumstances. Growth minded, not fixed minded! Well coming up next in show 541 we go behind the scenes with Skip, following spokes, Ziglar wheel of life, looking at the highlights, his habits of success, some of those are lifting weights makes him happy, he could do it all day long. But he also loves to eat, it’s his weakness. He’s a passionate believer in dark chocolate. He and his family all sing together and feel it’s a great stress relief. He reads a book a day, but struggles to get adequate sleep. He likes Jim Rohr’s statement of working harder on self than the job, and admits making time for just himself is…difficult. You’ll get a lot from this talk. Till then thank you for letting me walk with you as we inspire our true performance together.