From Spoke to Center: What Zig Ziglar Got Wrong

In 1978 two significant things happened to me. One certainly more significant in eternal value but both caused a major change in my life. The first I prayed the sinner’s prayer and gave my life to Jesus Christ and became a born-again Believer, more on that later. The second is I met Zig Ziglar through his book See You at the Top. Several years later I went to work for The Zig Ziglar Corporation and remained there for over five years. One on the many things I learned from Zig was the whole concept of “life balance.” At that point, I was in my second marriage and perusing the brass ring. It was all about work and getting to the next level. Zig helped me understand the important of balancing faith, family, health, finances as well as career.

Bobb Biehl's Alphabet Soup

Bobb Biehl is a proven personal coach. He has devoted his life to helping leaders like you clearly define and reach your dreams. He's an executive mentor and it's what he enjoys most! Since 1976, he's consulted personally with over 500 senior executives. In that time, he's met one-to-one with over 5,000 executives and invested an estimated 50,000 hours in private sessions with some of the finest leaders of our generation.

Bobb is a master of asking the right questions. Let's take a trip through the alphabet with Bobb as he asks you some of his most potent questions!

# - $2,000 / HOUR To focus on your largest boulders fast, ask yourself what professional activity you do that is worth $2,000 per hour. And, ask yourself what activity you do that is worth $20 per hour. en concentrate on the big items and try to eliminate the $20 items.

A - ASSUMPTIONS “All mis-communications are the result of di ering assumptions,” according to Dr. Jerry Ballard...and lead to frustration, pressure, and tension. To get to the bottom of a frustrating situation fast, remember this quote. Begin listing your assumptions.

B - BALANCE Life is a constant struggle for balance. Balance is a result of one word...schedule. Typically you determine your own schedule. Therefore, you schedule your own balance/imbalance. Plan basic balance into your life by scheduling many of the really important things into your life a year in advance (family vacations, personal retreats, time with parents, etc.) At this point in your life...it may be the only way to achieve any semblance of balance!

C - CREDIBILITY When your visibility exceeds your ability it destroys your credibility.

D - DELEGATION When you are doing something that someone else on your staff could do 80% as well, you are probably wasting your time. Learning to delegate effectively is even more important in determining the size of your contribution in life than your native intelligence is.

E - EXCITEMENT What are you really, really, really (yes, you need to repeat really 3 times) excited about today? This is a non-threatening but very profound question to ask a person. It is also a great question to ask each team member over lunch, dinner, or as a team discussion.

F - FUN Fun is “uninhibited spontaneity.” Things that are inhibited and not spontaneous seem boring. Think back to the last time you were having fun. Why was it so much fun? The activity was uninhibited and spontaneous.

G - GOD If God does not exist it changes everything! God does exist and that changes everything!

H - HEART “When you meet a man you judge him by his clothes...when you leave a man you judge him by his heart.” (An ancient Russian proverb)

I - IF, BEFORE YOU DIE If you could only accomplish three measurable things before you die, what three things would you accomplish?

L - LEADERSHIP IS Leadership is Knowing WHAT to do next... Knowing WHY that is important...and, Knowing HOW to bring the appropriate resources to bear on the need at hand.

As a leader keep asking yourself... What next? Why? Where will we get the resources?

M - MENTORING Ideally, Mentoring is a life-long relationship in which the mentor helps the protégé realize her/his God-given potential.

N - NEW NORMAL When major change comes to most people, they keep waiting for things to “get back to normal.” When this “I just want it the way it used to be” feeling hits you, or someone you love, remember the phrase a “New Normal.” It really helps in the adjustment to difficult new realities.

O - OPPORTUNITY “Last year’s unexpected success is next year’s opportunity.” —Dr. Peter F. Drucker

Have each person on your team identify what surprised her/him with how successful it was... then ask, “How can we take full advantage of this opportunity to make this area 10 times as successful next year?”

P - PROBLEMS - HUGE What one huge problem are you dealing with that you would happily pay 10% of your annual salary to have solved for you?

Q - QUESTIONS If you ask profound questions you get profound answers! If you ask shallow questions you get shallow answers! If you ask no questions you get no answers at all!

R - RAW REALITY If we just look at “raw reality” where are we?

S - SINGLE GREATEST STRENGTH What is your “SINGLE GREATEST STRENGTH”? What do you DO the very BEST? There are many things that you do “better than most.” But which do you do the very best? What does each member of your team do the very best? It is your responsibility to maximize that strength.

T - TIMING - GOD’S God’s timing is perfect... even when it differs from our plans.

U - UNIQUENESS What is our unique market/ministry position? What can we do that others can’t? How can we maximize our positive uniqueness?

V - VISUAL PERSPECTIVE Draw a picture of how you are feeling right now...this gives you “visual perspective” and can snap “fog” into focus very quickly!

W - WANT What do you really want from life? What do you really need to get there?

If you enjoyed this article full of leadership insights from Bobb Biehl, you'll enjoy hearing from him at our live learning venue even more! Join hundreds of leaders learning together how to operate their company well, all on a biblical platform at the Leadership Summit 2017 in Hilton Head, SC on May 3-5, 2017. Find out more here.
Can't make the Summit but crave more learning? Tune in to our Convene online leadership learning portal!

No Limits

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.                      - Matthew 19:26, KJV


I love the way Oprah Winfrey captured the secret to her success on the last day of her show’s 25-year run:


"People often ask me what is the secret to the success of this show. I non-jokingly say, ‘My team and Jesus,’ because nothing but the hand of God has made this possible for me."    -  Oprah Winfrey, The Oprah Winfrey Show - Final Episode (5/25/11)


“I always knew I’d be a millionaire by age thirty-two,” said Oprah in 1987. “In fact, I am going to be the richest black woman in America.” Nineteen years later, with a net worth of $1.4 billion, Oprah has become not only the richest black woman in America, but also one of the richest people in the world.

This success has not come by chance. Oprah has made her fortune by setting clear and ambitious goals on both the professional and personal levels. “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret,” she says. “Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”

According to Oprah, the biggest hurdle people need to overcome in order to be successful is their belief that there are limits to how much they can accomplish. Goals need to be set and set high; expectations need to be limitless; and ambition cannot be restrained. “If you believe you can only go so far, it is an obstacle.”


The Bible says that with God, all things are possible.  But, as Christian leaders we must establish goals that are first vetted with Him.   “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5, ESV).  So, make sure you follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in identifying the right goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics to fulfill the path that God has ordained for you (Proverbs 3:5-6) and to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

When establishing your goals, make sure that they are SMART, which is the commonly used acronym for:

  • Specific (i.e., be precise about what you intend to achieve)
  • Measurable (i.e., ensure that your objectives are quantifiable)
  • Attainable (i.e., make sure that your goals are achievable)
  • Realistic (i.e., confirm that your objective is one that you are willing and able to pursue)
  • Time-bound (i.e., identify the timeframe or deadline for achieving the stated objective)


Example of a SMART Objective:  To gain 25 percent of the U.S. market for smart phones by December 31, 2020.


As God’s ambassadors in the workplace and in the marketplace, it is perfectly acceptable to have clearly defined goals and objectives, but we must make sure they are established by God and remain flexible to His timing. For instance, don’t be tied to a specific destination with your business such as going public or capturing a certain percentage of market-share within a certain timeframe. He’ll let you know what to do and when to do it.  Wait for His perfect timing in planning and executing your initiatives.


When you commit your plans to the Lord and allow Him to direct you, your plans are guaranteed to come to fruition (Proverbs 16:3). The Bible says that if you obey God, He promises to make your name great, or enhance your reputation, and make you a blessing to others (Genesis 12:2).  Remember, no one has seen what God has prepared for those who love Him, and no one can change the plans of God (1 Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 43:13).


Riding a Bike In Tuscany Taught Me Why People Don’t Set Goals

I learn a lot riding my bike. We’re in Tuscany for a month and today was the sixth day of riding. Twenty glorious days to go. The first day, and every day since, I simply decided which direction I was going (north, south, toward the hills, away from them, etc.), then got on my bike and went.

Living For The Moment I have spent hours each day blissfully unaware of where I am, just riding through the countryside, impulsively going left, right or straight as it seemed right for the moment. The future and the past don’t play into the decision. I’m just “living for the moment.” But each day I have to find my way back to our fairly remote, countryside villa south of Lucca. The first day it took an hour to find home on these winding roads (even with a digital map), where I could easily have done it in 20 minutes if I knew the area. Each day since it has gotten easier.

“I Just Don’t Know Where I Am” Every day my wife, Diane, and daughter, Laura have asked me, “Were you lost?”, to which I always reply, “I’m never lost, I just don’t know where I am.” Today, I was going through the process of finding my way home, and on an unusually straight stretch of road with time to think, I realized that I get a little perturbed right around this time in every ride, because now I’m actually trying to get somewhere.

That’s when I figured out why people don’t set goals. Because they answer the question the way I did—“I’m not lost, I just don’t know where I am.” On that same late stretch today where I was now trying to hone in on the villa, I realized that I actually do get lost, and I do it once on every ride; when I’m trying to get home; when I finally have a goal.

Measuring Progress Requires a Goal In Alice in Wonderland, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat which direction she should go. He responds wisely with the question, “Where are you going?” Alice says, “I don’t know”, to which the Cat replies, “Then either road will do.” And off she goes, enjoying her adventure.

When I have nowhere I need to be, I’m simply on a glorious adventure with no constraints, no rules, no timelines, and no pressure to perform. Nothing to measure in the long run. I truly am not lost, I just don’t know where I am. But that’s okay, because I have nowhere I need to be.

But as soon as I ask, “Where is home?”, I’m immediately lost, because now I have somewhere I need to be, and at first I don’t know how to get there. My stress level goes up a bit, and I start getting frustrated that I missed a turn, or have to backtrack, when minutes before, I would not have seen any of those activities as missteps. I’m now “failing” (we should call it practice or learning) where I used to have no measure of such a thing.

Too often we see that kind of pressure as negative stuff. But something else comes into focus as soon as I ask, “Where is home?” Instead of just wandering around, for the first time, I’m immediately measuring progress toward some potentially positive future goal.

Living On Purpose All six bike rides getting home have come with a big sense of accomplishment by just finding our remote villa. The same is true on a grander scale with chasing my own personal Big Why, which is To Live Well By Doing Good. Things worth accomplishing always involve a challenge, some stress, and clear measurement of progress.

But utter clarity on where you are going and what it looks like when you get there, makes all that worth it. We can live reactively and any road will do, or we can live on purpose, design our future, and become intentional about getting somewhere. We get what we intend, not what we hope for.

“Where Are You Going?” Nobody’s lost until they have a destination in mind. We shouldn’t ask people if they are lost. It’s a negative question that assumes incompetence. We should instead ask them if they know where they are going; where they want to end up. That’s an interesting challenge that just might change their lives.

Some people work hard at being confused because when they are confused, they are not responsible. “There are so many good choices of where I could end up, I just don’t know which road to take.” The ability to measure progress is sometimes threatening, but a man still finds his destiny on the path he chose to avoid it. You will end up somewhere, the question is whether by default or by choice.

He who aims at nothing, hits it every time.

Off to bed before a big ride tomorrow. Getting home is the biggest challenge I expect to face.

Where are you going?

Article as seen on Inc.com