skip to Main Content

Choose To Win with Tom Ziglar | Ep. 169

BDD 169 | Choose To Win

We always have an option in life. We can choose to win or to lose. When we choose the right things, life tends to work out and a lot better way. Tom Ziglar, CEO of Ziglar Inc., talks about his book, Choose to Win: Transform Your Life One Simple Choice at a Time, a game-changing book about transformation and winning at life. He also shares why he wrote the book and explores the concepts of changing our mindset, what’s holding people back, finding an accountability partner, problem finders versus problem solvers, and becoming our highest self. He also touches on his philosophy on goal setting.

Listen to the podcast here:

[smart_track_player url=”″ title=”Choose To Win with Tom Ziglar | Ep. 169″ artist=”Jesse Cole” image=”” ]

Choose To Win with Tom Ziglar

BDD 169 | Choose To Win
Choose to Win: Transform Your Life, One Simple Choice at a Time

On this episode, we have Tom Ziglar, the CEO of Ziglar Inc. Tom speaks around the world. He hosts The Ziglar Show and is the author of Choose to Win: How to Transform your Life One Simple Choice at a Time. He’s a game changer. I’m pumped to have you on the show, Tom.

It’s great to be here.

Thank you again for having me on your show, The Ziglar Show. I loved being there with Kevin, your host. What was the goal? You’ve grown up in an unbelievable leadership family and now you’re like, “I’m putting out my first book.” What was the goal with this book?

The goal is pretty simple. There’s much in our industry about, “You should just be happy. You should feel better. You should be motivated. You should be excited.” If the right person tells you that in the right way, at about 10% of the time, it works. The rest of the time we hear it and we’re like, “That’s not good enough. I need a plan. I need some ideas. What can I do specifically?” That’s what Choose to Win was all about. It’s not about life is unfair and hard and all that because it is. Life is tough, but at the end of the day, we got a choice. When we choose the right things, life tends to work out and a lot better way.

I love how you keep it simple. I believe if you keep things simple, it makes everything else easier. Many times, we try to make things complex. You grew up in this family where you’re hearing leadership ideas and thoughts every single day. I’m really intrigued on why this message?

I’ll just shoot straight with you. One of my friends called me an intellectual engineer. I got all excited about that. When you google it, there’s an acronym called NERD. I owned my nerdiness. I own the fact that I like to know the why behind the why. That’s really the reason why I approached it from a foundational perspective, from a why behind the why. I believe there’s a sequence that gets you better results than just doing it haphazardly. I believe there are certain foundational things that if we don’t get it right, as soon we can, they’re going to come back and we’re going to have to deal with it later. The book is the whole process of, “I want to leave a legacy. I want to make a difference. I want to do things that ripple through eternity.” What can I change right now in a very small, purposeful and intentional way that’s going to create a better tomorrow which will allow me to do the same thing? It’s about momentum. It’s about these little things that we can do.

You start the book with why, which was made famous by Simon Sinek and my book, Find your Yellow Tux. It’s really find what makes you stand out and why do you start with the why? When you talk about success, significance and legacy, you’ve worked with many companies, why is it important for you to start your book that way?

The bottom line is as Zig Ziglar said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any direction will do.” If we’re going to make progress, it should be in the right direction. Here’s an illustration. When my daughter was in high school, she was a junior, we took her up and she sat through these two days of tests. I had a psychologist there and it was awesome. As they look at all facets of her personality, gifts, talents, strengths or weaknesses, preferences, what she liked, what she didn’t like and her physical attributes, this is what they said. They said, “A pie goes 360 degrees. What we’re going to do is we’re going to show you in which direction you should head off. When you go to college, we want you to be thinking about courses and ideas in these general areas.”

It wasn’t the end-all purpose. “This is what you’re going to do.” It was just saying, “For you and your life and the way you’ve created, you might want to head off in this direction. As you gain more information, it will help you hone in into what you’re doing.” When you start with why, when you identify your gifts and talents, when you dig inside and say, “What am I built for?” you go through that process immediately. There might be 50 opportunities in front of you, but they all fall into that same area. If you just head off in that, you’re going to be much better off.

The great advise there too as you mentioned earlier in the book is just start. Many people have all these big dreams and thoughts. They don’t write them down. They don’t actually start making progress to them. They’re not patient enough. When you talk about changing your mindset and just starting, what does that mean to you?

I don’t know why it popped in my mind, but I thought of salespeople. If you’re listening on the phone or in the podcast and you’ve ever been in sales or you are in sales, when I do sales training, I’ll often ask this question, “How many of you would like to get one year of sales experience in 90 days’ time?” 100% of the hands go up. Here’s the rocket science. I say, “Make four times as many calls.” Because in sales, there’s a learning curve. I’m learning and I’m studying and I’m practicing. The learning comes from the feedback. It comes from customer interaction, prospect saying yes, no or maybe. That’s where we learn. When I say, “Just start. Get going,” it’s because we’re going to learn things. Every step we take, that’s going to inform us, “Do I need to adjust to the left or to the right?” If we stay where we are, we never learn.

[bctt tweet=”What you can change today in a very small, purposeful, intentional way will go a long way to create a better tomorrow.” username=””]

It’s so important. I talk a lot about doing and then learning. You have to start doing then you can learn and move forward and about increasing your output. It sounds like you train on that so much. There’s a lot of people, Tom, you’ve probably heard it, even yourself now, are a personal brand. Everyone to an extent is a personal brand. You want to start getting more leverage, start making more of an impact. You’ve got to increase your output, the things that you can control. If you’re putting out one post a week or one post a day, how do you increase that? When you just mentioned, “Make four times the calls,” it’s so simple. My question is what’s holding people back or even what’s held you back?

I’ll just speak to what held me back. What are other people going to say? What if I call four times as many people and I get four times as many noes? The reality is, I will. I’ll get it four times as many noes. As I get better, I might get three and a half times as many noes and I’ll get a lot more yeses. It’s a mindset. When I first started speaking, I was very apprehensive. I didn’t want to do it. I was nervous. I had that thing in your gut you get me sometimes when I am in front of the right group of people. I had to come home and go, “What’s the deal?” This is the deal I had in my mind. I thought people wanted me to speak like my dad. It’s like being Jack Nicholson’s son. There’s nobody that’s going to play the game that way. There’s nobody who’s going to carry the stage like my dad did.

Then I realized something, other people weren’t expecting me to speak like my dad. They were expecting me to be the best version of Tom Ziglar that I could be. That gave me the comfort to say, “I’ve got a dry sense of humor. I’m a little bit of an intellectual engineer. I’m a little bit of why behind the why, so why don’t I run with that?” As you said, “Amplify who you are.” For me, that’s how I got started. Now, the interesting thing is dad never said, “I want you to speak. I want you to sell. I want you to run the company.” He never said any of that. All he said was, “Whatever you do, do with 100% effort and 100% integrity.” That’s a pretty strong guidance.

One thing that you mentioned there was the comparison trap. Many of us get in this point where we’re trying to compare ourselves with others. It happens first in our mind that we’re trying to think literally who are we trying to be like? As soon as you eliminate that fear, it makes it very easy to start. I’m sure you are working with more of these groups and these businesses and speaking. It’s happening more and more because everybody is amplified. They’re out everywhere. They’re using filters. Their highest self is they’re showing and it’s like, “How do I be that way?” Is there a way that you could train someone? Again, I think this is Business Done Differently, but you got to get to the root of it. You’ve got to train yourself to not compare and not worry about what others think and just start being you.

One of my mentors is Seth Godin. One of the things that he does differently is he never reads a review. He never looks at feedback. He never looks at somebody’s response to a post. One of my good friends, Bob Bodine, says, “Go where you’re celebrated, not tolerated.” What do we do? We get all hyperventilating over people who are critical, people who say, “You need change this or change that.” We ignore the people who are standing up and applauding.

I heard Simon Sinek talk. Somebody asked him, “Have you ever had a bad speaking engagement?” He said, “No, I’ve never had one.” They’re like, “How come you’ve never had one?” He goes, “I don’t go to those engagements. I only go to places where people believe in what I’m saying and I speak in front of those people.” I’ve had some bad speaking engagements. I’m sure you may have. Maybe I’m in the wrong room. Have you ever been in a situation where you’re like, “I shouldn’t be speaking to these people? They don’t feel the same way or believe the same way.”

One of my friends is doing a little bit of work with Eric Thomas. He said that Eric had struggles because he got me notoriety and then he got invited to my areas that were a little out of his sweet spot. Then he realized, “I can have a message for everybody, but the people who are most going to embrace it are the people I can relate to and all of us are like that way. Why not make 10 % or 20% of extraordinarily happy and not worry about the 80%?”

BDD 169 | Choose To Win
Choose To Win: Whatever you do, do it with 100% effort and 100% integrity.


I want to go into one of my favorite quote from the book. It was simple. You said it in a speech or Q&A and you didn’t even realize it. The fastest way to success is to replace bad habits with good habits. It’s so simple. We can very easily write down all of our bad habits and replace them. Talk to me how someone in business right now can apply that.

Who are you frustrated with? What’s holding you back? What’s keeping you from hitting your number, growing a little bit and developing the right person? There’s a new quote, it’s not mine. I read it somewhere, but I love it. It says, “A tree’s fruitfulness depends on its rootfulness. Another way to look at it is what’s the fruit that you want your business to have? Is it wowed customers and total referrals and how are you going to grow and all those good things? What is the root that you’ve got to feed in order to get that fruit? What is the thing that’s preventing you from feeding that root? I was talking with a guy and he wanted his dream job. He’s working the day job and he says, “I’m going to build my own business.” I’m like, “That’s awesome.” He goes, “For the next six months, I’m going to come home. I’m going to spend an hour or two every day in the evening building my dream job and on the weekends, three or four hours. Six months from now, if everything goes well, I can quit my day job and do my dream job full-time. It will be ready.”

Three months later, I’ll touch base with him, “How’s it going?” “I really haven’t done anything.” “Why not?” “When I get home, I don’t have any energy.” “Why not?” Could it be because he’s having six bags of Cheetos for dinner every night? He’s carrying around some extra weight. The point is, the bad habit of eating the wrong food causes the physical result of not having energy, being overweight and not having clarity in the evening that prevents him from his dream. What’s the little bad habit that we can change that allow you to get your drain? It seems like a business habit, but it’s not. It’s a physical habit that is holding me back. We talk about the ropes that holds us down in the book and that’s how a business needs to look at. What are the little bad habits that you can replace with a good habit?

Stop eating Cheetos. It’s how do you start your day on purpose? You can’t control a lot of the things that happen to you throughout the day, but you can start your day whether it’s getting up a little earlier or writing down. You go in the book about goal-setting and you give a great story about a gentleman who wanted to get a certain level in revenue. He completely changed that. Can you share that and how that leads into your philosophy on goal-setting, the additional $300,000?

One of my good friends, Michael Watts, is in the book. For five years right after the mortgage crisis, he was in high-end home remodeling. For five years after the mortgage crisis, he didn’t make any money. He barely had enough to pay himself and his people. He comes to me and he says, “I want to set a goal to earn me money to make a profit so I can pay bonuses to me and my people.” I said, “How much? He said, “I’m at $1.7 million in the last several years. I want to go to $2 million.” We set the goal. He’s a detailed guy. He wrote it out and then I started corresponding with him. Every quarter, I had a call with him. At the end of the first month or the quarter, he’s a little bit ahead. The end of the second quarter, he’s substantially ahead. I talked to him before the end of the year, he was going to hit his number, $2 million in the middle of November. When I talked to him in January, he hit $2.3 million. Here’s the deal. He had done $1.7 million. He had a goal to hit $2 million and then he hit $2.3 million. I said, “Michael, I can understand being laser-focused and getting to $2 million, but how the heck did you get from $2 million to $2.3 million?”

For about a minute, he was quiet. He’s a thinker. I am like him and he is like me. He comes out and he says, “The reason that I went from $2 million to $2.3 million is I worked on my goals every day.” I’m like, “Okay, I got it. You did an extra $300,000 because you worked on your goals every day. He said, “Yeah.” I’m like, “Michael, that’s $25,000 a month. $25,000 times twelve is equals $300,000. He goes, “That’s right.” I said, “Most people, they work on their goals between six and ten minutes a day because all you do is review and put your priorities down. Record what you did yesterday and plan your day. Is that what you did?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “Eight minutes a day, 30 days in a month, that’s 240 minutes.” He goes, “Yeah, where are you going?” I said, “You made an extra $25,000 a month and you spent 240 minutes doing it.” I said, “You’re making $100 a minute working on your goals. Isn’t that crazy?” He had a plan and he had an accountability partner. He committed to doing it every day and that’s what makes the difference.

In goal-setting, you say you’ve got to write your goal in detail. You’ve got to work on the goal every day and then find an accountability partner. Tell me about the accountability partner because I write down goals. I write down plans every day and I’m writing constantly. The accountability partner, how does that works? Do you have them as well? Tell me what that looks like.

[bctt tweet=”If we’re going to make progress, it should be in the right direction.” username=””]

There are several ways to be an accountability partner. You have to be at a pretty high level of maturity to be your own accountability partner. I noticed some people who can pull it off. They can do it. That’s a small percentage. I would say less than 5% can really do that. Now, you’re going to go out and you’re going to find an accountability partner. It’s somebody who’s on your team, who loves you, who wants the best for you and who will call you out when you’re not doing what you said you would do. That’s an accountability partner. That can be daily, weekly or monthly.

In an ideal world, it’d be somebody who knows your heart, knows where you want to go and you’re touching base with them probably once or twice a week. They’re like, “Where are you? Did you do this? Did you finish that?” Workout partners, it’s easy. You find a workout buddy. You go together three or four times a week. “How did you eat? Are you getting on the scale?” The odds of success go way up. Whatever you want to accomplish in life, an accountability partner is that secret sauce. Goal-achievers do that. They write it down in detail. They work on it every day and they have an accountability partner.

It’s a big piece too. No one wants to cross the finish line alone. Whenever you accomplish something, you want to be doing it with someone else. Whether you have a team, whether you have accountability partner, it makes sense. It sounds simple. You write down your goal, you commit to it every day and then you have an accountability partner and you hit. Can you give us other business examples of people that you’ve worked with that knocked out of the park and how they did it?

There’s so many of those. I’ll give you one. This is how I wrote the book Choose to Win. For many years, I raised my hand. I’m going to write a book. Guess what happens? “I’ll do it tomorrow.” I get one of my best friends who is also my age and he said, “You’ve been telling me about writing this book. We just got to go do it.” We get together and we fly out to Albuquerque. We get an Airbnb. It’s this beautiful home in the mountains for $95 a night. For three days, all we did was write a book proposal. We outlined the whole book. This is all my stuff. He’s done a thousand of these. This is my first one. That’s the first clue. I get somebody who’s done it before.

We write this thing. I write a couple of sample chapters and within a few weeks, we send that off to the publisher. Then the response has come. Where sending it off to ten. We got six noes and four yeses. We were blessed. We picked one. When the publisher says, “I want you,” and you say, “Yes, let’s get married,” then you sign the agreement and then they send you a little bit of money. They were really nice. If you’re giving me what you promised by the time you promised it, then you can keep your money. Otherwise, you got to send it back. If you really want to take accountability partner up to the next level, do this. Find an accountability partner or your best friend and just give him $5,000 in cash. Tell him, “I’m going to weigh this weight. I’m going to finish this book. I’m going to do this, whatever it is by this day. When I do, you just give me the money back and if I don’t, you just keep it.”

It’s fascinating when I read about it in the book. You used $10,000. I’m glad you went down to $5,000, but have you seen anybody do this?

I’ve probably made that offer twenty times and not one person’s done it. Here’s the crazy thing is they all believe it will work. They’re scared.

BDD 169 | Choose To Win
Choose To Win: When people get laser-focused on a problem, it becomes a reason they can’t do anything. They never get over to the solution side.


Where a lot of podcasts do sponsor and ad reads, I do games because we’re a little bizarre here at our ballpark. Tom, we’re going to do our first game if you’re ready. It’s truth or dare. Which one would you like first?


What is one time that you, throughout your profession going through the business, did not push yourself, that you absolutely held back other than the book that you didn’t follow the advice of your book?

There’s too many to count because we all know what we did and we all know what we could have done. We do product launches on a regular basis. We come out with a new product and we do this stuff. There’s this fine line between how much ownership do you take in and how much do you turn over to the team. At the end of the day, if you own the business, then that’s your baby. I would say on more than one occasion, I’ve let things go further than I should have even though I knew I should have been in it. When I go back to it, it’s just lazy.

It’s not fear that you have any more. It’s more just the laziness and lack of execution.

It’s not planning in advance, the check-in dates. It’s poor planning for me. Then it’s the shiny object. Right now, the thing that I have to work on the most for me is discipline. That’s why I set aside my first three hours a day every day in what I call the perfect start. If I get my day right and you’d get all the stuff proactively done, then the rest of the day goes great. That’s a discipline I have to do because I don’t have the discipline or the natural instinct to do it throughout the day.

Start the day on purpose. In other ways, you can set the date or add a constraint like you did. You said, “I have three days. I’m going to get this book proposal done. If you want to get things accomplished, you’ve got to set a date and commit to it. During our games, we have 4,000 people dance. We have them sing. We do sing-offs where we actually play a song and when that stops, people have to finish that lyric. Normally, it’s 2,000 fans versus 2,000 fans. Tom, it’s just you. When that finishes, you have to sing it. This is a positive song. It’s very famous. Are you ready? Have you ever sang on a podcast before?

[bctt tweet=”Train yourself not to compare and not to worry about what others think and start being you.” username=””]

I never have. Unfortunately, I don’t have an ear or I’m not much of a music guy.

I stayed positive for you, Tom. It was Don’t Stop Believing by Journey. That’s a big message in your book. It’s about belief. You’ve got to go in and choose to win. I want to go into a few more things from the book. Problem finders versus problem solvers. The quote from Zig was, “Identifying a problem is not negative, it’s a positive. It only becomes negative if you continue to focus on the problem, instead of focusing on a solution.” Share with me how this problem solving, and you had a great story about the copier, has become a part of your business and companies that you’ve worked with.

I work with people one-on-one too. The reality is when we saw problems, that’s the greatest thing we can do for other people and for ourselves. Rabbi Lapin says, “When you solve a problem, you’re offered a reward with a certificate of appreciation.” The only problem is, is that people get laser-focused on the problem. It becomes a reason they can’t do something. They never get over to the solution side. What are the kinds of thought processes that I go through if somebody has got a problem that’s really bugging and gnawing at them? We identify the problem and then we move into action. We ask ourselves this, “Is the problem something that happened in our past? Is the problem something that’s going on right now or are we worrying about something in the future that could happen?” If we’re in the past, we can’t do anything about it. All we can do is make friends with it, learn from it, forgive ourselves, forgive others and take those learning lessons to the present.

If we’re in the present, then what we do is this. We identify the problem and then we look at the possible solutions that we have control over and we put an action plan over that which we have control over. If we don’t have control over it, that goes into the prayer bucket. That goes into God. He’ll take care of that. Now in the future, people are either positive-focused in the future or a negative. In other words, they believe something good is going to happen or something bad is going to happen. This is something that I catch myself in and probably everybody does from time to time. You wake up in the middle of the night and there’s that thing gnawing at you. What do I do? I used to try to go back to sleep.

Now, I get up and I sit down at my office and the first thing I do is I write a gratitude list. All I’m doing is I’m trying to reframe my brain into all the things that I have control over and all the things I am grateful for. Then I look at that fear, that worry that’s in the future and I go, “What’s the deal here?” Identify that. Then there are certain actions that I can take that will significantly reduce the chance of that worst case scenario happening. I move that issue from the future into the present. I build an action plan to go get it. Then the parts of it that I have no control over, I’ve got to turn that over to God. Whether it’s past, present or future, it’s good to identify the problem, bringing it into the present, put an action plan around it and then let go of what you have no control over.

Your ability to simplify that is astounding. If you think about all the problems that we worry about, how many of them are in the past or the future which you can’t control? If we all look at that, we’re running a business, we’re in a business and we eliminate those from our mindset. Just focus on the ones right on hand and not worry about them saying, “How do we take action?” That may be the most a-ha moment that I’ve had in a long time because it’s almost always we’re worrying about things that could happen or that already did happen. It’s fascinating, Tom. I think that’s brilliant. There’s also looking at many problems. I love if you could share the copier story because we are fascinated here by finding ways to solve problems in unique ways.

To get a little background in our story, when I started with our first team in Gastonia, we had $268 in the bank account. I couldn’t pay myself for three months. When we came to Savannah, within three months we over drafted our count. My wife and I had to empty out our savings account and we were down to our last dollar. We had to find every way to solve problems, not by using the money. We had to get creative. So many businesses don’t think about that when either taking care of their employees, taking care of their customers or just keeping their business moving forward. That copier story, if you could share that or any other examples, it would be outstanding.

BDD 169 | Choose To Win
Choose To Win: Integrity is more important than a short-term win.


The copier story, this was a number of years ago. We were good friends with Dave Ramsay and I wish I’d known him earlier in life. I started taking his advice and I was paying attention. We had leased our copier and a guy comes up. Our office manager at the time comes up and says, “Our copier lease is up. We’ve been paying $1,200 a month. Now, we can pay a thousand.” I’m like, “How long is the lease?” “39 months.” “I don’t know about you, but $39,000 for a copier that’s a four-wheel drive vehicle is what that is. Can you give me the exact model of the copier?” It was a nice one. This is a printer complex and we do workbooks in two sides and color. It’s cool. Then the office manager said, “Not only that, at the end of 39 months, we have the opportunity to buy it. She said it’s $4,000 and only $6,000 more dollars.” It was $5,000 or something and it’s $44,000 to own this copy after 39 months. She gave me the copier, the exact codes and everything that went with it.

It’s an apples to apples comparison. I found out that we could buy this a copier for $13,000. I’m like, “We can pay $39,000 over 39 months or we can pay one-time $13,000.” We wrote a check for it and we bought it. Then the manager said, “That lease comes with all the maintenance, all the support and all of the things,” and that’s expensive. I said, “Go back to them and tell them that we’re going to buy it outright, but what would they charge to service the machine?” It was $100 a month. It was almost nothing. 39 months times $100 a month is $3,900. For $16,900, we owned the thing and it would’ve cost us $43,000 if we’d done the lease. People make decisions based on how much money I got to put out right now. That has nothing to do with the true cost of ownership. Just a little bit of education. How much did that save us? $25,000.

Everyone needs to look at every single buying opportunity or even giving opportunities to their employees. How do they do that? It sounds simple. Back to when we came to Savannah, we had to get a new ticket printer, a ticket broker, a ticket system. Ticket Master, Ticket Return, every ticket company, it was $1 or $2 surcharge on every ticket. Plus there were fees and all this. I was like, “We’re not doing that. That’s not fans first.” They’re like, “Every company’s doing it.” I’m like, “No, let’s find another way.” We ended up getting our own banana shaped tickets, printed them and no surcharge, no charge per ticket and no service fees. We sell over 100,000 tickets a year. Through three years, it could have cost us about a $500,000. Instead, we’ve spent less than $30,000 in three years.

That’s what everyone’s doing. It was actually making it a worse experience for the customers. When you buy tickets to a concert and you’re like, “Where’s this other $30, $50?” We eliminated that. We have no extra charges and we’re not getting charged either. There’s always another way. You need to be a problem solver and not a problem finder. I resonated with that and I think about your whole thing, choosing to win. It even comes down to little choices like that that can help save your business or help save an employee’s job because you’re more profitable and more successful.

One of the lessons I learned is that it’s not A versus B. If I go to Harvard, I’m going to have this education versus take the scholarship at the University of Texas. This is a Seth Godin illustration. Which one’s better? It’s not A versus B. It’s what would you do if you didn’t have $200,000 in debt? Could you buy a business? Could you buy a house? Could you intern anywhere in the world you wanted to for that same $200,000 and audition for and make sure the place you want to work is the right kind of place? Maybe there’s a dream business that you want. Could you go and apprentice for somebody who’s doing it crazy in another market and work for them for free rather than dump $100,000 in an education that doesn’t teach you how to run your dream business?

It’s a very dangerous thing sometimes to have a lot of money because you stop making decisions. You make decisions, “We can spend that,” when it might not be the best way to make a decision. I’ve been fortunate, I’ve never had a lot of money. It’s actually helped us with our decision. I want to get into the ninth inning here and get into rapid fire and maybe one more game. A few of the things I noticed then because is the, “I like because…” notes and the victory list. Could you share a little bit about those?

One of the things we’ve been teaching here for years is we have these little, “I like because…” cards. It’s a little a notebook and we’ll have 50 little I likes on the sheets. What you do is when you catch somebody doing something good, something observable, you simply write their name on it. “I like Kim. I like Henry because…” and then you write it out and you just hand it to them. That’s a little affirmation. We’ve had people that use them in all situations, whether they’re out to eat and they leave a nice tip. You never leave a bad tip when you do this. You leave a great tip and you tell the person who served you, “I like you because…,” and you mention. Maybe they brighten the day, they took time to talk or they went back to check on your order for you. Whatever it is, it changes everything. When you have a culture that does that, when a company does that, then the people in the company ended up getting a desk full of, “I like because…” cards.

[bctt tweet=”The fastest way to success is to replace bad habits with good habits.” username=””]

You’re having a bad day, here’s the bad day fix. You’re having a bad day, you pull out your drawer and in there are two things. There are all your “I like because…” and you start reading those. The memories come flooding back of what people have said about you. Then there’s the other thing which is the victory list. That is you just create a list of your victories. What did you do? What did you do in junior high and high school and college? What did you do at your first job or second job? Maybe it’s a victory of your luck was at zero and everybody had turned away from you and you had this opportunity to take advantage of the situation but you said, “My integrity is more important than a short-term win.” You remember that and you write that down. When you’re feeling down of getting beat up, you read those two things and it reminds your brain of what other people say about you, what you can do, the victories you have had. The greatest indication that you can do it again is that you’ve already done it.

I have a box in my drawer with every note that I’ve ever received. You probably do too. It’s simple and every company should do that. I started in 2016. I talked about it a lot now, the Thank You Experiment. I started writing a thank you letter every day and the impact that it had on my life in that year 2016 was unbelievable and I couldn’t stop now. Now, I’ve written over a thousand thank you letters. They’re all custom made and I send them out. They’re bright yellow. We brought it into our organization. Our director of tickets who started as an intern, he has one fan a day and every fan, every day he does a thank you to a fan. We do short little videos. It’s not just a text message, it’s not just an email. It’s amazing when you put that into your life, how it just spreads and how it’s impossible to go to sleep not feeling grateful.

I don’t know if you’ve heard this one as well but my wife and I, every night before we go to bed, we do rose rosebud. Literally, a rose is something great from the day. I’ll do one, she does one, then we do another one, then she does one. A bud is something we’re looking forward to in every single night. We finish our night with that. I’ll be falling asleep at 8:30 and she’s like, “Rose.” We never miss a night. If I start my day with a thank you letter, I’d finish my day with the rose rosebud. That’s why I love the “I like because…” and the victory list. It’s great. Sometimes you feel like, “Am I making progress?” If you write down all your wins over the last year, you’re making huge progress. Affirmation card, is that similar? You said affirmation cards in the book as well.

In Ziglar, we have what we call our self-talk or affirmation card. You can actually go to and download it. It’s free. It’s all the character qualities that you already have inside of you. Honesty, loyalty, integrity, character, discipline, love, hard work, discipline and desire. There are over 40 of them. You read it out loud to yourself, looking in the mirror. You say, “I’m Tom Ziglar. I’m a man of character, integrity, hard work, discipline and desire.” You just go on. You start reading it. Here’s what happens is all of these character qualities are within us but we have to do four things. First, we have to recognize that they’re there and then we got to claim it. You’re like, ‘Yeah, I’ve got it but it’s not really mine.” We claim it and then we got to develop it. Every person in prison has some level of honesty and some level integrity. They do. The reason they’re there is they didn’t develop it. They didn’t know how to do it or they didn’t take the time to do it. Then finally we recognize it, we claim it, we develop it and then we use it. What this affirmation card does is it imprints on our brain and it says to our brain and our subconscious mind, “This is my operating system. This is how I do life.” You will be amazed this gets the greatest life change in the shortest amount of time of any little three-minute thing we have. It’s just reading this out loud to yourself in the mirror are claiming these qualities. It’s powerful.

You do it every day?

I don’t do it every day. I have in the past, but I don’t do it every day. I do read and input that type of information into my mind.

You developed and demonstrated one of your traits probably of integrity or honesty by being honest right there because very easily, you could have said, “Yeah, I do it every day.” It actually has been developed and ingrained in your mind. I’ve been grilling you. Now, we’re going to flip the script. You are the host of show, you can ask me one question.

BDD 169 | Choose To Win
Choose To Win: Find a way to teach something in a very unique way that could resonate with people.


Thinking back to the hardest time you’ve ever been through, it’s like the end of the rope, you’re hanging on and you are struggling. If you could go back in time to that very moment, what would you tell yourself?

I get asked a lot about sleeping on the air bed, having no money and the struggles and I never thought that it was really that tough of time because I’ve always been focused on believing in what’s next. I do remember when I was in college and I found out my dream of playing baseball was shattered literally. I tore everything in my shoulder and my whole life was baseball. I turned the camera on myself and got emotional because I had no idea what to do. What I’ve learned, as crazy as it sounds is everything happens for a reason. That was the best thing that ever happened to me because it got me not to play baseball, but to deliver an experience for thousands of people. What I would tell myself is believe in yourself, follow the path. It’s belief. It’s tough. Now, I always tell my younger self to invest in myself. I need to invest in myself with people and books and everything I’m doing, but it’s belief. Belief is everything. How much do you teach that at Ziglar?

It starts there. We teach the be, do and have. You’ve got to be the right kind of person, do the right things and you can have all the life has to offer. My story wasn’t as dramatic as yours, but I played college golf. I thought I was going to be a pro golfer. I fell in love with something else, so I knew I wasn’t going to play golf. I tell this story and you probably heard the same thing. If you have it, I’m telling you. I tell that story from the stage. I get done and this guy comes up to me and he goes, “I’m glad you’re doing what you’re doing. The world has enough pro golfers.” I’m telling you, the world has enough baseball players.

How can you make a bigger impact and how can you reach more fulfillment and meaning. For me, I can be playing ball but now, I have more meaning and making a bigger impact. It’s the same thing for you. I was like, “We’ll be on an air bed again,” and my wife was like, “Jesse, I don’t want to be on an air bed again. We have a new son.” I’m like, “We will and it will be amazing because that means we’re doing something that’s going to have a bigger impact.” She thinks I’m crazy, but it’s okay. I love questions. It’s one of the best ways to learn. I believe if you want better answers in life. You’ve got to ask better questions. What are some of the best questions you’re asking these days?

One of my mentors, I said, “I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know what to do.” He said to explain it and I said, “If somebody brings me a good idea, I can literally feel my shoulders slump because I know it’s a great idea, but I can’t do it. I don’t have any capacity. I’m tapped out.” He says, “You’re asking yourself the wrong question.” I said, “Really?” He said, “Yeah, you’re asking yourself, ‘How do I do that?’ You should be asking yourself, ‘Who’s the best person to do it?’ You’re so tapped into people who probably have more talent, more expertise and more experience in that one area than you do. That’s leadership.” You said that’s how we change the world. It’s not by assuming everything that comes to us is ours to do. Maybe we’re just the conduit. Maybe we’re just the hub. Maybe we’re just the connector. That question of, “Who’s best to do this,” is a powerful question.

What’s one thing you’ve done to stand out in business and in life?

My main speech for about two years was zombies. I don’t know of anybody in Corporate America speaking on zombies.

[bctt tweet=”Find ways to solve problems in unique ways.” username=””]

Why were you speaking about zombies?

Because at Ziglar, what we do is we take the tough intellectual language disengaged or engagement and we say, “We’re not going to talk about disengaged people. We’re going to talk about zombies because I don’t know what disengaged is, but I know what a zombie is.” We’ve all worked with them. They just go through the motions.

You found a way to teach something in a very unique way that could resonate with people. This question may be the toughest for you because you’ve probably been receiving advice every single day since you were born and your dad’s got five million quotes and numerous books, but what is some of the best advice you see that really stands out for you?

When I was going through the furnace. You’ve shared a few furnace stories already. I was going through the furnace, made some decisions here at the business and you read about the book, that it costs us a lot of money. My good friend said, “How are you doing?” I said, “I’m not good.” He said, “Let me ask you a question. Did you do everything you could now?” I had been. I’d been grinding. I said, “Yeah.” He said, “You need to leave the office. Go home and have a great night and sleep great because in God’s eyes, you’ve done all you can.” That’s a simple thing. That’s a hard one. That’s a hard one to get comfort in.

How do you want it to be remembered?

I have a mission statement. My mission is simple. My mission is to create an environment that will allow you to become the person God created you to become.

It’s as simple as that. You want to be that person?

I want to be that. That sets a really high standard for me. It doesn’t matter whether I’m sitting on an airplane or speaking in front of a group or working with a small team or at home with the family and friends. I feel this desire, this passion and this responsibility to create an environment that will allow the best in you to come out. That’s not a one-sided trip. That also means that I can call you out. Accountability is the key.

On your show, what resonated with Kevin was how I wrote my eulogy to open the book which is a really deep thing to do for someone in their 30s and it’s constantly evolving. You have a personal mission statement. You have a eulogy and how do you want to be remembered. I’ve absolutely loved connecting with you. The book, Choose to Win, is a game-changing book. Thank you for getting it out there, spending the three days and getting the proposal out and making it happen. How else can people learn or connect with you?

The book is easy to find. It’s at and you can find me at Go get the book, then you’ll know all about me.

Tom, thank you so much for showing up and sharing amazing wisdom with our audience.

Thank you, Jesse. Be Blessed.

I appreciate you. Keep making an impact. Take care, Tom.

Important Links:

About Tom Ziglar

BDD 169 | Choose To Win

Mr. Tom Ziglar serves as Chief Executive Officer of Ziglar, Inc. Mr. Ziglar served as President of Ziglar, Inc (alternate name Zig Ziglar Training Systems) since 1996. Mr. Ziglar joined the Zig Ziglar Corporation in 1987 learning every aspect of Zig Ziglar as he climbed from working in the warehouse to sales to seminar promotion to sales management.

He also embraces the following philosophies: To be successful in business, it takes honesty, integrity, hard work, and wise counsel. Mr. Ziglar graduated from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!

Join the Business Done Differently community today: