If you find it difficult to make decisions, or you worry that your
decisions are not good decisions, or you lack the confidence to make
decisions in a timely manner... you're not alone! Many people express
their concerns about their decision-making abilities. But if you ask
them, "What's your routine for making decisions?" they often will tell
you they don't have one. Truthfully they do, but they don't recognize
it, or they don't like it. Their decisions are based on SOMETHING, and
if they stop and think about it they'll discover what it is. However,
it's much better to purposefully and thoughtfully develop your
decision-making system, and then follow it whenever you need to make
I'll share with you some basic rules I follow:
1. If I'm really tired, I don't make significant decisions (except in
2. If someone is pressing me to decide something "right now," unless
an immediate decision is critical, I say, "If I have to decide now, the
answer is no. After I have had a chance to catch my breath and review
the facts, there's the possibility it could be yes." Then I put the ball
back in his or her court and ask, "Do you want my decision now, or
should we wait?"
3. I like to determine the maximum benefit of a decision, assuming
that everything goes my way. Then I ask, "Suppose nothing goes my way?
Suppose this doesn't develop and materialize as I expect it to? What is
my maximum exposure? What would I lose?"
4. For significant business-related decisions, I run them past my
advisors. These people are successful in their businesses and
professions and have a considerable amount of knowledge, experience, and
wisdom, all of which are musts in the decision-making process. I get
their advice and follow their recommendations, with good results in most
cases. If the decision is too minor to involve my advisors but I still
want input, I get my family together to look at the pros and cons.
5. I like to pray about my decisions. I ask God to help me see the
truth of my motives and to lead me in the way I should go. If I'm about
to make an unwise decision, I simply don't have peace about that
decision, and I consequently act on that feeling of unease. I ask
myself, "How will this decision affect all the areas of my
life--personal, family, career, financial, physical, mental and
spiritual?" Obviously, not all decisions affect all areas, but if the
decision involves a financial reward but also carries considerable
family sacrifice, for example, I think carefully as to whether what I
give up is compensated for by what I gain.
One final note:
Prioritize your decisions. Some are more urgent than others!
Don't Forget to Live
First I was dying to finish high-school and start college. Then I was
dying to finish college and start working. Next, I was dying for my
children to grow old enough for school, so I could return to work.
Finally, I was dying to retire. And now, I am dying
We live as if we are never going to die, and we die as if we never
Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right
I feel that I owe the teachers of Topeka USD 501 a debt that I could
never pay. Especially my 7th grade typing teacher. If it wasn't for her,
you wouldn't be reading this right now.
In the summer of 2001, a teacher and football coach from a high school
in Derby Kansas contacted me. He'd been receiving my daily inspirational
messages and asked me if I'd come speak to one of his classes. Feeling
my heavy debt to the teachers in Kansas, I accepted his invitation and
set aside a date in October to visit with his class. Finally, I'd be
able to give something back and make a payment on my debt. I notified my
brother who lived near by and asked him to pick me up at the Rose Hill
airport. I was thrilled he would have a chance to see his "little"
brother talk to and inspire some kids.
As we all know now, the events on September 11, 2001 changed every
thing. Including private aviation. I was able to make it to Rose Hill
Kansas in October for my commitment. My brother picked me up at the
airport and took me to the Derby High School, where we were treated to
lunch. The Coach informed me of a change of plan and that I would be
talking to the High School, not just 20 to 30 students in his class. I
hadn't prepared a message for a group that big and was sure my brother
could tell, this was not what I had volunteered for. I talked to all
those kids that day, I improvised on my feet. I did the best I could,
but in the end, I was disappointed in myself that day and the talk that
I had delivered.
That following Sunday, I took some time to talk to my friend and Sunday
school teacher Zig Ziglar. I explained what had happened to me that
week. Zig listened to my story and I'll never forget what he told me
"Tim" he said, "Let me tell you a story. I was in Columbia, Missouri
some time back. I had to deliver a speech to a group. The night before,
staying in the Hotel, I got sick. I managed to make it through the next
day. It was not one of my best. I was feeling lousy, but I was there to
do a job. So, I worked hard and did the best I could. That night, I'd
made another commitment to go and talk to another group. Oh, Tim, let me
tell you. I really didn't want to go. I'd made the commitment, so I
showed up. I knew then I shouldn't have gone. I got on stage that night.
I felt really bad. Of course, not as bad as I felt the day afterwards.
Much like you're feeling now. I really felt like I had let them down.
For many years, I felt that way. Regretted that night. Then a funny
thing happened a few years back, I was talking to another group. After
I'd finished, I was signing books for the crowd. A man came up to me. He
looked me in the eye and told me that he'd heard me speak that night in
Missouri. Tim, a cold shiver ran down my back. I prepared for what he
was about to say. Instead, he said... Zig, your speech that night in
Missouri turned my life around. Tim, I was speechless. I didn't know
what to say to him. For years I'd been feeling bad about that night.
Then I realized that God had put me there that night. That man needed to
hear my words. Even if, they weren't the words said the way I thought
they needed to be said."
I looked at Zig. I could see in his eyes what I often feel in my heart.
The paychecks that come in words from God. A simple thank you. A story
of how the work we do because of our faith, changed a life. It was
definitely a Zig moment.
He continued: "Tim, God put you there. Never second guess where you're
supposed to be."
Only Zig could pick up a man, with his words and make you feel like you
could fly again.
Zig and I would talk from time to time. I always expressed how much I
appreciated his insight. His dedication to his faith. He would always
brush it aside. I don't know if he never learned how to accept a
compliment or if it was just easier for him to brush it aside and act
embarrassed. I prefer to think it was just his humble way. His servants
heart. His big heart trying to give enough people what they want.
For those of you who knew Zig, you know that look on his face he got
every time he shook a person's hand. I often tell folks it was his way
of recharging his batteries. The energy he got from a handshake. It
propelled him. He loved people. Of course, he loved Jean and God more,
but he truly enjoyed meeting and talking with people. My true pleasure
knowing Zig was not his Godly advice, but watching him shake those hands
and seeing that smile on his face as he was doing what he loved.
Zig told everyone: "You can have everything in life that you want if you
just give enough other people what they want." Now that the final
chapter of his life has been written, thousands of people around the
world are telling their stories of how Zig gave everything in life... to
everyone. Inspiring them, changing their lives and picking them up... so
they could fly again.
As for me, the debt that I owe to Zig, is bigger than the one I owe the
teachers in Kansas.
Hilary "Zig" Hinton Ziglar
Nov. 6, 1926 - Nov. 28, 2012
"How do you account for your remarkable accomplishment in life?"
Queen Victoria of England asked Helen Keller. "How do you explain the
fact that even though you were both blind and deaf, you were able to
accomplish so much?"
Ms. Keller's answer is a tribute to her dedicated teacher. "If it had
not been for Anne Sullivan, the name of Helen Keller would have remained
According to speaker Zig Ziglar, "Little Annie" Sullivan, as she was
called when she was young, was no stranger to hardship. She was almost
sightless herself (due to a childhood fever) and was, at one time,
diagnosed as hopelessly "insane" by her by caregivers. She was locked in
the basement of a mental institution outside of Boston. On occasion,
Little Annie would violently attack anyone who came near. Most of the
time she generally ignored everyone in her presence.
An elderly nurse believed there was hope, however, and she made it her
mission to show love to the child. Every day she visited Little Annie.
For the most part, the child did not acknowledge the nurse's
presence, but she still continued to visit. The kindly woman left
cookies for her and spoke words of love and encouragement. She believed
Little Annie could recover, if only she were shown love.
Eventually, doctors noticed a change in the girl. Where they once
witnessed anger and hostility, they now noted an emerging gentleness and
love. They moved her upstairs where she continued to improve. Then the
day finally came when this seemingly "hopeless" child was released.
Anne Sullivan grew into a young woman with a desire to help others as
she, herself, was helped by the kindly nurse. It was she who saw the
great potential in Helen Keller. She loved her, disciplined her, played
with her, pushed her and worked with her until the flickering candle
that was her life became a beacon of light to the world. Anne Sullivan
worked wonders in Helen's life; but it was a loving nurse who first
believed in Little Annie and lovingly transformed an uncommunicative
child into a compassionate teacher.
"If it had not been for Anne Sullivan, the name of Helen Keller would
have remained unknown." But if it had not been for a kind and dedicated
nurse, the name of Anne Sullivan would have remained unknown. And so it
goes. Just how far back does the chain of redemption extend?
And how far forward will it lead?
Those you have sought to reach, whether they be in your family or
elsewhere, are part of a chain of love that can extend through the
generations. Your influence on their lives, whether or not you see
results, is immeasurable. Your legacy of dedicated kindness and caring
can transform lost and hopeless lives for years to come. You can never
overestimate the power of your love. It is a fire that,
once lit, may burn forever.