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 I was fortunate enough to meet and attend seminars with Zig Ziglar from 1999 to 2008. His ideas and philosophies influenced many lives, including mine. His teachings emphasize a positive way to live and interact positively with others.

 An excerpt from Create a Life You Can’t Wait to Live by Zig Ziglar       (11-6-26 to 11-28-12)


When people consider where to give some of their income for charitable or nonprofit purposes, they often think this way: “Gee, I don’t feel very passionate about any of those causes, and I want to really feel strongly about what they’re doing if I’m going to give my money to them.” Have you ever thought that? Have you ever said that yourself?

If you treasure your money, you probably won’t be giving much of it away. But if your heart gets involved as a result of coming to know the people you’ve been asked to help, you’re much more likely to support them financially as well as physically and emotionally. Do you see the difference? One view says, “When my heart kicks into gear (i.e., when I feel passionate), I’ll invest my resources.” But the correct view is, “I’m going to get involved because familiarity will increase my awareness, and once relationships are established I’ll want to invest more than just my time and energy.”

Let’s say your passion is to own your own flower shop someday. Right now, you’re not involved with flowers except as a hobby and impressing your neighbors with your gorgeous gardens every spring. But the children have left the nest and you know the time is right to make this move—to give wings to your passion. If I were to come to your house and spend an hour talking with you about your passion, I’d be looking for signs that you’re investing your time, talent, and treasure. I’d be looking for bookshelves full of books on flowers and running a small business, magazine subscriptions on the same subjects, your class schedule for the course on entrepreneurship and small-business management you’re taking at the local community college, check stubs from your payment of dues to the appropriate floral associations, your applications to several local flower shops where you plan to work as an apprentice for the next year or so to get experience, the syllabus from a success and motivation seminar you recently attended…and on and on.

The fastest way I know to build and develop your passion in a given area of life is to invest your time, talent, and treasure in it.


Do you want to keep your passion alive? Find a mentor—someone who has the same passion—and make arrangements to meet with that person on a regular basis for inspiration. There is nothing more inspiring to me than meeting with someone who is already successful at what I have a passion to do. Inspiration is caught better than it is taught.

There is no better way to stay inspired than by spending time in the presence of inspirational people. There is a healthy sort of peer pressure that keeps pushing us forward, a symbiotic effect that causes us to become more in the group (even a group of two—you and your mentor) than we could become by ourselves.

How do you find a mentor—someone to inspire you and help keep your passion aflame? In short, you ask. Obviously, you have to first find someone who is doing what you want to do, and preferably someone who does it well, shares your values, and has plenty of experience. Then, you ask. There are other resources available on mentoring relationships that you can read. But it boils down to your courteously inquiring as to whether this person would agree to spend a set amount of time with you on a regular basis to impart what he or she has learned about “the business”—whatever it is you have a passion to pursue. You’ll be surprised how many people—especially retirees—would love nothing better than to have an outlet for imparting the passion they’ve been pursuing for decades.

Find someone inspiring and attach yourself to them, but only if you follow the Golden Rule of Apprentice-Mentor Relationships: don’t become an apprentice unless you’re willing one day to be a mentor yourself. That’s what happens naturally in extended families. Apprentices grow up to be mentors—and it’s the way passions stay alive for generations.


Sometimes we have to get up and get involved in order to find inspiration and keep passion alive. The bigger the movement is in which we choose to get involved, the more we are inspired. Which inspires you more—being the only person sitting in a football stadium or being one of 70,000 screaming fans who are just as excited as you are about the home team?

Whatever your passion, get involved in it at a level that’s bigger than you are. When you become part of something bigger than you are, you become accountable. You become inspired to do your best. You become motivated to not let others down. And that fuels your passion in ways that can’t be described—it can only be experienced.


One of the things that spurred me on as a rookie speaker was my imagination. I pictured myself speaking before crowds of thousands of people, knocking them dead with my humor and wisdom and humbly receiving their standing ovations. That didn’t happen overnight, but I never allowed that picture to be erased from my mind. And eventually, everything I had imagined, and then some, became reality.

Bruce Barton made an interesting observation: “I do not like the phrase, ‘Never cross a bridge until you come to it.’ It is used by too many men as a cloak for mental laziness. The world is owned by men who cross bridges in their imaginations miles and miles in advance of the procession. Some men are born with more of an imagination than others, but it can, by hard work, be cultivated—not by mere daydreaming, not by lazy wondering, but by hard study and earnest thought.”

Whatever your passion is, turn your imagination loose and let it inspire you to keep working to make your dreams become reality.

Remember: it’s your job to fuel your passion, and inspiration is the fuel you need.


“Success and Happiness “are not a matter of luck, not an accident of birth, not a reward for virtue. The most successful people are the ones who have something to do, somewhere to be and someone to love. Each person is responsible for being successful and happy. Each person must search for it and be in a continual state of earning it. To merely succeed is not an end in itself. For success to be meaningful it must impact other people…to impact the world…to live life from the inside out. ‘Success and Happiness’ starts with the choices each of us makes—they determine the person we will become.”

The Race  —  attributed to Dr. D.H. “Dee” Groberg

Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face,      my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.  A children’s race, young boys, young men; how I remember well,      excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell.  They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race      or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.  Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son,      and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire,      to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire.  One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd,      was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.”  But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip,      the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped.  Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace,      and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face.  As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now.      Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow.

But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,      which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win that race!”  He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,      and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.  So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,      his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.  He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.      “I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”

But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face      with a steady look that said again, “Get up and win that race!”  So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.      “If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”  Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten…      but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.  Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye.      “There’s no sense running anymore! Three strikes I’m out! Why try?  I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought. “I’ll live with my disgrace.”      But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.

“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “you haven’t lost at all,      for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.  Get up!” the echo urged him on, “Get up and take your place!      You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win that race!”  So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit,      and he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.  So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,      still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win.  Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.      Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.

They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place,      head high and proud and happy — no falling, no disgrace.  But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place,      the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race.  And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,      you would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd.  And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”      “To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”

And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face,      the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.  For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.      And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.  And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,      another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!”


The race, like karate, is about finding the strength to keep going no matter what the circumstances. Sometimes, a word of encouragement is all it takes to push us over the finish line. 

This inspirational poem tells the story of a boy in a race who falls again and again. Each time the boy trips, he wants to give up. He knows that he has lost any chance of winning and what’s worse—he has disappointed his father who is watching from the sideline.

Even so, each time the boy falls, he gets back up and runs as hard as he can. His father’s words give him the motivation he needs to power through: “You haven’t lost at all; for winning is no more than this, to rise each time you fall.” The Race is a moving example of perseverance against all odds. This profound lesson in determination will help you win the race of life.

Posted in Dojo Newsletter.