I’ll See You at the Top was the trademark line the late Zig Ziglar used to close his motivational talks. Ziglar, 86, died last week. I had the privilege of hearing Zig speak several times during my career. He was the keynote speaker for Chick-fil-A’s annual event four times over the last 35 years.

Although I’ve heard a lot of speakers over the years, Zig’s messages still impact my life today. As I think about it, most of the speakers I’ve listened to over the years have not had a message that lodged in my heart and mind. For leaders, I think that raises a question for us: what is the message we’re communicating that is profound enough, clear enough, compelling enough and sticky enough to be memorable? Said another way, when you and I die, if someone were going to write a blog post about us, would there be a central idea or theme? Is there a compelling message we’ve consistently articulated and modeled sufficiently such that others actually get it?

Although Zig impacted my life with several big ideas, I believe the biggest comes from the heart of what he did for a living. He motivated people. In addition to being a business leader, a husband (married 66 years), a father, an author, and a follower of Jesus, he was a motivational speaker. Often challenged and even criticized about his chosen profession, he stood firm in his belief he was adding value to people’s lives and their careers. A reporter once said, Zig, “You know motivation doesn’t last.” Zig’s response, “You are correct – neither does bathing, but I recommend doing it regularly.” Motivation matters, and it doesn’t last. The implications of this for us as leaders are huge.

What motivates the individuals on your team? Have you ever asked them? My guess is you’ve got a wide array of drivers represented in those you lead. Some will be motivated by challenge, some by reward, others by increased responsibility or recognition and still others will be motivated by the vision you’re pursuing. One of our roles as leaders is to unleash the potential in our people. Don’t miss the critical role of motivation in the process.

Your life will be summarized in a sentence or two – what do you want yours to be? For Zig, he helped people excel; he helped them realize their full God-given potential. He devoted his life to challenging, encouraging and equipping men and women around the world to make it to the “top,” whatever that represented in their world.

Thanks, Zig, for helping me and a generation of men and women get a glimpse of our potential and for stirring the belief that we might just be able to turn our potential into reality.

Zig, I’ll see you at the top![GLS_Shield]

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.