This Ole Boy Down Home

Dad has always been known as someone with a gift of humor and the ability to tell a great joke to a huge audience. One of my joys in life is to watch Dad tell a favorite joke, because many times he struggles not to crack up before the punch line. (You know you are gifted when you can make yourself laugh!) When Dad was starting his speaking career he created a fictional character called “this ole boy down home,” who was the brunt of all of his jokes. People loved the character and he could rattle off dozens of jokes about “this ole boy down home.”

Then one day Dad was speaking for a group (this was before he was easily recognizable) and before the day began he heard two people talking. One asked who Zig Ziglar was. The other said that he was sure he would like listening to Zig because he was one of the funniest speakers he had ever heard, and he had a series of jokes around a character called “this ole boy down home” that was hysterical. Hearing that conversation changed everything for Dad.

Dad made a decision that day that he didn’t want to be known as “the funny speaker” who created “this ole boy down home.” He wanted to be known as the difference-making, life-changing speaker that gave people hope and encouragement. Yes, that was the day that “this ole boy down home” became a footnote rather than the feature. Humor was no longer the theme, but rather the tool to get everyone to listen to the life-changing words of wisdom that he is famous for.

Imagine for a second if Dad had had settled for the laughs. You wouldn’t be reading this blog.

Question: If you heard two people talking about you, what would you be known for?

In 2009, what do you WANT to be known for? Make it happen! Just start.

Explore posts in the same categories: communication, performance, Success

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6 Comments on “This Ole Boy Down Home”

  1. Karen Syed Says:

    Oddly enough, this has changed over the years. Much like your dad, I was known as the “funny gal.” I could make anyone laugh, you can still read notes and things about me that are newly posted here and there saying that very thing. However, lately, they have been adding other words, like supportive, encouraging, and inspiring.

    I have to say I love the way that feels. As a youngster I was quite selfish and manipulative, but thanks to a wonderful support system in my husband, many of my authors, and especially Zig and John Maxwell, I am a person who I feel is worth knowing and that means so much to me. And the best part is that those words mean that my efforts to give to others is working. It is a true success for me.

    And just for the record, I love to hear your dad talk about where he grew up. My favorite line is, “we didn’t have a town drunk, we shared with the next city over.” I giggle just thinking about it.

  2. It’s difficult to gauge how others see you. God gave your Dad a divine appointment to overhear that conversation and be touched to change his focus. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

  3. Helen Ginger Says:

    What a great gift your dad received that day. He learned what others thought of him. He listened and made a decision that changed the direction of his life. It’s very impressive that he was able to do that.

  4. Love the story about your father. It is interesting how those little moments can change a whole life’s course.

    If people were talking about me, I would hope they say I am an intelligent, compassionate person who writes interesting books and articles. And that is how I would like to be known in 2009.

  5. Matthews Tebakang Says:

    This is so true Ziq. We are all in a process of writing our life stories and it’s up to us how we want it to turn out. The truth is that in order to make a meanignful difference in others’ lives, we ought to be conscious and deliberate in everything we do. Personally I would love to hear people say I contributed towards their dreams and successes in their lives and carreers. Keep on touching us as we aspire to touch others.Thanks-Matthews Tebakang

  6. Alton Says:

    Interesting, but comedy is king, look at the life of Jerry Lewis. Making peope laugh just might be the change in there life that the need.

    I think what you are trying to covey is that your dad make a choice to be something. But first he had to know what he was in order to get to what he wanted to be.

    It is difficult to judge out comes. We never really know how much we effect others.

    thank for the info.


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