It’s important to remember that the journey is more important than the destination.
Michael Ray Newman is the CEO of Zig Ziglar International, a consulting firm that helps people achieve significance in life through the time-tested teachings of Zig Ziglar. Ziglar influenced more than a quarter of a billion people during his lifetime, and Michael has committed his life to paying those lessons forward.
Where did your entrepreneurial spirit come from?
I’m a doer. My enthusiasm has helped guide me along the way. I really had no choice but to work and hustle if I wanted to eat. I might not be the smartest person in the room, but I have confidence that I will outwork anyone.
I had a life-altering moment in my early 20s. I was about to become a father for the first time, and I was lost, broke, and unemployed. I went to a garage sale and was frustrated after a guy refused to budge on the price of some baby clothes. Instead, I picked up a box of cassette tapes and went on my way. One of the tapes said “Zig Ziglar” on the side, and I assumed it must’ve been the name of a hair band. I was a bit surprised to hear Mr. Ziglar’s inspirational message when I popped the cassette into my tape deck.
Listening to Mr. Ziglar’s insight helped me form my life’s mission statement. I’ve owned more than a dozen companies, but my mission statement has never changed. As Mr. Ziglar powerfully said, “You can get whatever you want out of life if you just help enough people get what they want.”
What does your typical day look like? How do you make it productive?
When I’m most productive, I work through my W.I.N. list — What’s Important Now — from start to finish. Instead of a traditional to-do list, this motivational tool reminds me of what I want to get out of each day and what I would like to achieve. I find I’m much more likely to reach my goals if I make a written commitment to them. That’s what my W.I.N. list is all about.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Paralysis by analysis is the enemy of productivity. Just do it! While it’s easy for me to say it, I’ll admit it’s sometimes difficult to stick to this motto. I’m a walking contradiction — I’m an outgoing introvert, and I can easily live inside my own head. But if I’m working on a project with someone halfway across the country, I usually want to jump on a plane and get in the same room with that person until the job is done. I hate being distracted when it’s time to make a decision; I prefer to make the call based on my gut instincts and the input of my most trusted teammates.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I’m passionate about personal and professional development. Everyone has the ability to grow in life, but there’s no guarantee that growth will be easy. For many people, development is difficult and sometimes painful. It’s important to remember that the journey is more important than the destination.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Sitting around and brainstorming only goes so far. It takes incredible effort to transform your dreams into reality. I’m always on the go, but self-discipline keeps me on target. I arrive early for meetings, and I always take on a full load of tasks to stay involved in various ventures. I also fully embrace deadlines, as the pressure helps me crank out projects.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Seek mentors, and lean on their wisdom. Humble beginnings can help you achieve long-term growth later in life.
I’ve started a wide range of businesses. Some succeeded; some flopped. I’ve sold knives door to door and created tech companies from square one. I did it all without the benefits and resources many entrepreneurs enjoy today. I learned from my experiences and from the hard knocks in life, without the ability to seek answers via Google or YouTube.
Remember to be careful about where you’re getting your cues and who’s giving you advice. If your life coach is a 27-year-old kid, you might want to back up and re-evaluate. Find reliable mentors who have put in their 10,000 hours of work and can help you achieve your goals that much faster.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
It was a tip at a restaurant. I like to reward hard work when I am eating out and come across a waiter or waitress who goes out of his or her way to provide great service. I see a nice tip as more than a simple reward. It’s my way of paying it forward in the workplace because it helps cement a good work ethic as the foundation for that waiter or waitress.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I’m throwing a curveball for this answer — it’s the hardware itself that helps me be my most productive. I couldn’t do anything without my iPad or my iPhone. Considering how often I travel for work, they help me remain accessible, regardless of where I might be.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
There are many great books out there, and I do more listening than reading, but the Bible is full of meaningful stories with profound and enduring life lessons. Reading (or listening to) the Bible helps me stay focused and centered. And trust me, it will help you keep the heat off later in life!
What is your favorite quote?
This is an easy call. I firmly believe the most direct path to significance in life is to personify servant leadership. My favorite quote comes directly from Zig Ziglar himself:
“You can get whatever you want out of life if you just help enough people get what they want.”
- It’s important to remember that the journey is more important than the destination.
- Remember to be careful about where you’re getting your cues and who’s giving you advice.
- Humble beginnings can help you achieve long-term growth later in life.
- Paralysis by analysis is the enemy of productivity. Just do it!
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