Working with Zig Ziglar was truly a blessing in so many ways. Whenever he would meet someone in the afternoon or evening, he would greet them with a big smile and an enthusiastic and cheerful, “Good morning.” The person on the receiving end would almost always reply with, “Good morning to you too.” And then would catch themselves saying, “But it’s not morning.” And Zig would reply with a question, “Well then why did you say good morning?” And the person would say, “Because you said good morning.”
That’s where the teaching would begin as Zig would remind the person that we get back what we put out, giving the person an aha moment. We know that when trying something like this, that it all comes down to the delivery. And Zig was so easygoing and good hearted that no one ever took offense to his mini lessons of life.
Another story he would share from the stage is this one. A woman and her 6-year-old son were at home one day. The family lived on a mountain range and overlooked a valley. One day the young boy was getting into some mischief as young boys tend to do, and his mother disciplined him and withheld his afternoon snack until he would apologize. The boy ran out of the house slamming the door behind him yelling, “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.” And as he did a young boy’s voice echoed from the valley saying, “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.”
Terrified, the boy ran back into his house and into his mother’s arms crying. He told her that there was a boy in the valley yelling that he hates me. The mom knowing full well it was the echo encouraged her son to go back outside and shout, “I love you, I love you, I love you,” and see what happens. The boy did as instructed, and the voice was heard echoing in return, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
We really do get back what we give out. Even a smile. Keeping with my Zig Ziglar theme, Zig would always encourage people by saying, “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.”
We are at odds with one another in so many ways and places. And if we are in a state of fear, worry and doubt about what is happening locally or globally, we could all probably benefit by remembering that people will respond or react to what we do and what we say. If we say good morning at 5:00 at night, they may respond by saying good morning back. We must remember that what we are yelling from the mountaintop or by email, text, or social media, that we will also get back what we put out. So why not put out more loving kindness, and reasonableness?
In 1914 during World War I, the Americans, French and Germans, put aside their war for a short time to meet on the battlefield to celebrate Christmas, exchanging gifts, food and stories. This was a world war, and yet they found common ground. After a heavily contested boxing match or UFC bout, the fighters do their best to win, but when the fight is over, they meet in the middle and hug or acknowledge the other out of respect. It happens in other sports too. When the game is over, regardless of who won or lost, you can see players who just spent 60 minutes in battle, kneeling in prayer, or talking to each other and smiling. Maybe they played in college or met while they were on the same team at some point. But once the battle is over, they come together in such a great way.
How about you? Are you greeting and treating people with kindness and respect? Are you sharing your smile with someone who doesn’t have one? I would love to hear you story at email@example.com, and when we find a way to come together to create a better world, it really will a better than good life.
Michael Norton is the grateful president of XINNIX, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.