My blog this week continues the journey on the subject of influence. One of the voices that had influence on my life was Zig Ziglar. He was a man of impact.
I remember first hearing Zig speak at a seminar in San Francisco. His unusual speaking style was his trademark. His presentation content was absolutely inspiring. He was among the very best in motivational speakers. No one could leave the room without feeling a lot better about life and their future.
Little was I to know that within a few years, my radio work would take me to Texas. We attended a “megachurch” in downtown Dallas with a legendary preacher, W.A. Criswell. Before the church service, there was very large adult education class taught by…Zig Ziglar! I jumped in. Why not? A lot of his motivational material was used to draw in his audience, which averaged around 1,000 souls per week.
A good portion of Zig’s influence was his personal touch. Once a month, he would invite class newcomers to his home in Plano. Zig and his wife Jean would host an evening gathering where Zig would go a little deeper into his faith story. Before leaving, everyone attending received a copy of his book, Confessions of a Happy Christian.
His adult education class, his personal invitation to his home, his gifting a book, and his willingness to connect were all aimed at having influence. Not just positive thinking influence. Positive LIFE influence.
Last week, I focused my blog on two key thoughts on this topic of influence. First, you and I are not as original as we might think. Each of us is a composite of many sources of influence.
My second point posits the reality that much of what shaped who we are came from sources over which we had no control. The critical aspect of life growth is to make influence choices over what we DO have control. Those decisions affect our overall health, our impact on others, and our legacy.
We usually think of the people who influence us. But we forget how much all forms of media impact us. Making wise choices here requires discipline.
Part of my daily routine includes a 30-minute stationary bike ride—while listening to music. That is followed by approximately 30 minutes of “devotional time”—reading my Bible and praying. What I listen to and what I read helps shape my day. I choose that influence. It impacts my life.
Transparently, I’ve made and continue to make a lot of choices that are not working for my good. Those choices may also impact others. But I’m responsible for those choices and the consequences that follow.
You would be well served to take a closer examination of what most influences your life today. If you want to have more influence and impact, decide to modify your intake of the negatives. Choose to move in a new direction.
As Zig said, “You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to positive, life-changing content, and by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.”
The Bible is a repository of help on life change and becoming a person of influence. The Apostle Paul wrote, “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” (from The Message, referring to Galatians 5:22-23)
We’ll continue our influence journey next week. Meanwhile, let Zig impact your life today by avoiding any “stinkin’ thinkin.”
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Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to www.1160hope.com for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app.