Love

Remembering Stephen Covey and Zig Ziglar

Two great men who were mentors and friends to me passed away this year—Stephen R. Covey in July and Zig Ziglar just this past week. I’d like to share a few thoughts about these wonderful guys.

Stephen Covey was a devoted husband to his wife, Sandra, and dedicated father of nine, grandfather of fifty-two, and great-grandfather of six. He was also a great friend and colleague to many, including me.

A great memory I have of Steve was when we did a session together in Salt Lake City. During my presentation, I talkedstephen_covey about how the most popular management philosophy was “Seagull Management,” where managers don’t come around until something goes wrong—and then they fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everybody, and fly out.  That line normally got a good laugh from audiences, but not this time. Then Steve whispered to me, “Ken, the seagull is the state bird of Utah.” Oops!  He later told me about the role the seagull played in Mormon history.  When the early Mormons were settling in Utah and planting their fields, they were plagued by swarms of locusts that began eating all of their crops. The people thought they were going to starve to death. At one point they looked up and saw a huge cloud of seagulls flying toward them. They thought the seagulls were coming to finish off what the locusts hadn’t eaten.  Instead, the seagulls ended up eating all of the locusts, saving the settlers’ harvest and their very lives. Steve even took me to the place in downtown Salt Lake City where they have a statue of a seagull.

Steve was such an inspiration and a teacher to so many.  He was a giant in our field and a very special human being.  His legacy here on earth will go on for years to come.

Zig Ziglar had a big impact on me. During the times we were on the platform together, he modeled for me that it was okay to share my faith as long as I wasn’t trying to convert folks. He told me, “Your faith is part of who you are, and people want to know what makes you tick and what is important in your life.”

Zig ZWhen I was 65, I called Zig because Margie and I had been invited to the 59th Anniversary of his 21st birthday. I asked him, “Zig, are you going to retire?” I will never forget his reply: “There’s no mention of retirement in the Bible!  Except for Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and David, nobody in the Bible under 80 years of age made much of an impact. I’m not retiring—I’m re-firing!”  What a difference his phrase of “re-firing” has made in my life the last eight years.  I quote him all the time. In fact, I’m working on a book on “re-firement” and my coauthor and I are going to dedicate the book to Zig.

One last thing I learned from Zig.  He once told me, “I never met a golf game I didn’t like.”  Ever since, I play a lot of N.A.T.O. golf—Not Attached To Outcome—and I enjoy the game so much more. He was an inspiration to everyone fortunate enough to meet him.

It’s always tough to lose important people in our lives. I think the best way to honor them is to make sure you reach out—today—to the people you love, and tell them how important they are. As Margie says: “Keep your I-love-yous up to date.” You’ll never regret it.

Categories: Leadership, Learning, Life, Love, Management, Motivation, Relationships, Uncategorized, Values | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

Thanksgiving Thoughts from Ken

This week brings one of my very favorite holidays—Thanksgiving. I love it because it’s not focused on gifts and things like that. It’s about what everyone brings to the table. You pass around the turkey and the dressing and all, and it’s a chance for everyone to really express what they are thankful for. I hope you’ll be able to do that.

I’m thankful that I live in this country. I’m thankful that I had a wonderful mom and dad who always lifted me up and a great sister who encouraged me constantly. I’m grateful that I met my wife Margie and she’s been my companion and my love and my partner for over fifty years now—it’s unbelievable. I’m thankful for our son Scott and our daughter Debbie and what they’ve brought to my life, and all of our grandkids who are all really special. I’m blessed to have a sweet little dog, Joy, who is a perfect example of unconditional love. I’m thankful for a wonderful God who loves me and loves you and loves all of us. I’m grateful that I’m healthier and in better shape than I have been in years. I’m thankful for everyone in our company. I think we’ve created a wonderful place and we want to continue to build on that as we go forward. We’re all in it together and we support each other.

I like to say, “Life is a very special occasion—don’t miss it.” Part of that is being thankful for the blessings you have. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t troubles along the way. But life is a very special occasion. Every day when we wake up we need to be thankful that we have another day to share and be with people and maybe make a difference.

So this week, reach out to the people you really care about and love, and tell them you care. I’m wishing you all the very best and I’m thankful that we all have an opportunity to make a difference in the world. Have a wonderful holiday. Recognize how blessed you are and reach out and tell people that you love them.  Take care.

Categories: Family, Gratitude, Love, Relationships, Values | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

Take Care of Each Other During the Holidays

This coming week is the week people can really get stressed out if they work on it.  We’re rapidly approaching the heart of the holiday season. Hanukkah begins on December 21st and runs through the 28th, Christmas is coming up next Sunday the 25th, and then Kwanzaa begins on the 26th.  It can be a busy and stressful time, with all of the celebrations, traveling and gift-giving attached to the holidays.  We all need to keep a sense of humor and laugh and enjoy this time of year. Don’t knock somebody down trying to get into a parking space.  Remember, this is the time to feel the spirit of love and appreciation and thankfulness.  Keep things in perspective as you go along—even if you don’t get all of the shopping done that you expected to.  It’s a special and meaningful time. Reach out and give somebody a hug and tell them that you love them—that’s probably the most important gift.  

I came across a wonderful quote by Henri Nouwen.  He was a Catholic Priest from Canada who spent much of his life ministering to the less fortunate and he has written some great things over the years.  Just listen to this as a way to think of this holiday season:

“More and more the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, sit up on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them.  It is a privilege to have time to practice the simple ministry of presence.  Still, it is not as simple as it seems.  My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, and to be a part of some impressive project is so strong, that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets.  It is difficult not to have plans; not to organize people around an urgent cause; not to feel that you are working directly with social progress—but I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and to tell your own.  To let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them but you really love them.” 

Isn’t that wonderful?  I think that we get busy with work, busy with shopping, and aren’t practicing the whole wonderful ministry of presence—simply being present with people we care about.  So today and throughout the holidays, consider the idea of just being present with each other.  Maybe what you ought to be doing first is to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own.  Let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, you truly love them. I think that’s what the holiday season is all about. Take care.

Categories: Happiness, Life, Love | 1 Comment

What Does ‘Lead with LUV’ Mean?

Categories: Commitment, Leadership, Love, Management, Workplace Culture | 2 Comments

Lead with LUV – Treating People Right

Categories: Humor, Love, Positivity, Praise, Relationships | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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