For a while, I’ve been working on a new book. The title, and the concept of the book are still under wraps, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a thing or two from it. Over the weekend, this book provided its first lesson to me.
When a manuscript has been completed, one of the first tasks an author takes on is to collect endorsements. This (being) is my fifth book, so I’m well aware of the ups and downs involved in collecting endorsements. In short, it’s easy to gather endorsements from professionals who are at the same level as you are. The real challenge is to climb above your level and try to gain endorsements from those people.
I’ve tried, for over 20 years, to land a world-class endorsement without a lot of success. Now, with a couple of bestsellers under my belt, I was ready to reach for an endorsement from someone at the top of my field. Amongst others, I reached out to the great Zig Ziglar. The experience brought out four separate emotions.
- Emotion #1 – Surprise. Within three hours of my attempt to reach Mr. Ziglar, I received an email from his daughter, who is his personal assistant.
- Emotion #2 – Sadness. I had no idea, but four years ago, Mr. Ziglar fell down a set of stairs and suffered a head injury. He copes with it as only Zig Ziglar can: He has a positive attitude that inspires others around him.
- Emotion #3 – Disappointment. Due to his injury, he struggles with his short-term memory. This makes it very difficult for him to retain what he reads, so he is unable to offer forwards or endorsements anymore.
End of story? Or course not. After twenty years of being turned down by the heroes in my industry, a fourth emotion emerged. Shock. Mr. Ziglar’s daughter told me of one final book Zig Ziglar has finished and was releasing. She then asked if I would be kind enough to write an endorsement for Mr. Ziglar’s book. Let me say that again: She asked ME if I would write an endorsement for Mr. Ziglar’s book!
Don’t think for a minute that I am under the illusion that my career matches the career of Zig Ziglar. As a matter of fact, my career isn’t even close to the level of Zig Ziglar’s career, but the moment was surreal just the same… as was the privilege.
Consider the irony here: After twenty years of writing books, and searching for endorsements from my heroes, I finally made direct contact with one of them. However, instead of writing an endorsement for me, I’m asked to write an endorsement for him!
Needless to say, I was honored, flattered, and of course, a bit frustrated… at first. But then the significance of the moment caught up with me. No, I wasn’t given the gift of a set of words from a hero who probably doesn’t know who I am. I doubt he has ever heard me speak, or even read one of my books. Instead, I was able to provide a gift of a set of words to a hero whom I have seen speak, and whose books I have read. As a matter of fact, I would bet that he has no idea the impact he has had on my life. He will now.
In the end, what I thought was a disappointing turn of events became a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was able to speak for a generation of people who, like me, wanted to connect with an icon and sincerely say; “thank you for all your words.”
By the way, karma is a funny thing. Soon after doing this small favor for Zig Ziglar, the great Brian Tracy responded to my request, and sent a wonderful endorsement for my book. It turns out Mr. Tracy does know who I am, and although I doubt he has ever heard me speak live, he has read one of my books. In fact, he claims he keeps it on a shelf in his office.