Available, Willing, Obedient


Julie Ziglar Norman never meant to follow in the footsteps of her father, Zig Ziglar, and become a public speaker. Read how she found herself speaking in front of crowds of thousands, as well as her advice for leaders who want to be effective in leading their teams.


4word: What makes a leader great? What traits should a leader strive to possess to best serve their followers?

Julie: I believe that the first trait a true leader exhibits is the ability to be teachable and able to follow others. If they don’t have that ability, they’re not able to follow Christ and be open to His leadings as they should be. Only someone who can follow understands what it is to have someone coming up behind them.

Consistency is another trait I believe is important. The most chaos I’ve ever seen is when you have a Type-A personality leader who also is emotional and runs hot and cold. You must be consistent in your behavior and in your redirection and encouragement. Playing favorites is not OK! Leaders need to know how to love everyone equally and appreciate the strengths of the team. If the people you lead don’t know what “version” of you is going to show up to work, this breeds such an immense amount of anxiety, no one can think straight.

Wheelbarrow with Julie QuoteLeaders should also have the ability to be direct but loving when correcting someone’s work. You can’t be afraid to approach someone who needs correcting. A lot of people are too kind and think they can just overlook mistakes. This leads to emotions running high as the mistakes continue to occur, and by the time the leader works up the courage to confront the team member, it’s an unnecessarily tense situation. Open communication with your team will save your workplace from dealing with this.

Timeliness is another vital trait for a leader. Leaders, if you’re not on time, your employees won’t be, either. They will follow your lead completely. If you start to notice employees coming in late and leaving early, nip that behavior in the bud. I know that in today’s changing workplace, this might be a tricky workplace rule to enforce, as more and more teams work remotely or on various schedules. Determine what aspects of timeliness must be met for your workplace to function, and enforce them!

Leaders should have positive expectations of the people they’re leading. If you expect good things, you’re much more likely to get them! Leaders that are critical by nature, micromanage, or are always looking over their employees’ shoulders create such a tense workplace environment that growth is basically impossible. When you’re an encouraging leader and tell your employees how much you appreciate them, you’re well on your way to creating an atmosphere everyone will thrive in. Daddy added two words to the end of the popular quote, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care – about them.” Learn the names of your employees and invest yourself in their lives. This will have such a positive effect on your team.

The most important trait of all: integrity! If you’re not honest, you can’t expect those in your office to be honest, either. Lack of integrity will shoot down your business faster than anything else. If you mess up, take immediate action to acknowledge your fault and right the situation. Call a meeting, set up a call, do whatever you need to to show your client or team that you admit your fault and are fixing it.

Those, I believe, are the traits that will make a person a respected and beloved leader.



4word: Should Christian leaders bring their faith into the workplace? What does this look like, especially for those who work in a secular work environment?

Julie: My father’s company, which now belongs to me, my siblings, and my niece, is not promoted as a Christian company, even though it is owned and run by Christians. We have had all faiths and denominations represented in our workforce. My father made a point to love and respect everyone that worked with us. We had many international employees who brought the faith and practices of their homeland with them.

Poster - True Love with DAd PhotoEvery Monday morning at 7:30, my father would have a 30-minute Christian devotional time. He considered this time the most important company meeting of the week. It wasn’t mandatory. Anyone who wanted to come could come. He would invite different people to come and share their story with everyone in attendance. This is a tradition we have continued and if any of your readers are ever in the Dallas/Plano area, they are invited to join us. No reservations are necessary.

At Ziglar, Inc., we are presently teaching qualified individuals to be Ziglar Legacy Certified Trainers. We are working to continue my father’s legacy so that his principles will have a positive influence on the generations of the future. As part of this, we don’t hold back about our faith. It’s a well-known fact that my father was a believer. When he would speak at seminars, he would invite those in attendance who wanted to hear the whole story of how he became successful to a “bonus session” immediately following the conclusion of his speaking session. In these added sessions, he would share his testimony with anyone who chose to attend. This allowed him to not “impose” his testimony on seminar attendees, yet still share his story with those who really wanted to hear it. On average, at least 98% of seminar attendees came to the bonus sessions and many of them accepted Christ, just as Dad had.

I have friends who work in places where Christianity, or faith of any kind, is not discussed. This doesn’t change my friends’ behavior, though. They bring Bibles with them to read on their lunch breaks, and they just love people and exhibit their faith through their actions. If you’re being obedient to Christ, you’re forming relationships that are based on loving your neighbor. Your co-workers will see the difference and it’s very attractive. This kind of caring is not “normal” in secular workplaces and it stands out. One of Dad’s books, God’s Way Is Still The Best Way, is about very successful business people who kept God in their workplace. I’d encourage any Christian leader to read it.


4word: The disciples’ manner of doing things struck a particular chord with you regarding God’s will or purpose for your life. Can you share more about that?

Julie: The first time I read the Bible all the way through, I saw this theme emerging, over and over, starting in the Old Testament and going into the New Testament, regarding when something seems good.

I have heard some people say that they don’t do ANYTHING until they hear a word from Him. And yet, His disciples didn’t wait! “Something in motion stays in motion.” We’ve all heard that principle, and the disciples lived it out. If something “seemed good” for them to do, they would do it, knowing that if what they were doing was not what God had intended for them, He would correct their path.

This practice is how entrepreneurs can find success. Keep going and when you hit a roadblock, go another way. Don’t change the end goal; change the direction you take to get there.



When the Tidal Wave of Change come...4word: Why should leaders keeps themselves available to God?

Julie: When a leader starts leaving God behind, things get very rough in their business. Without a purpose intent on hearing God’s direction, you lose track and start going down bunny trails. You’re swayed by others. You’re no longer open to hearing a redirection from Him or able to see His hand come up in a stop motion. We get so wrapped up in the “doing” that we forget our purpose, and that’s when things don’t go well.

Leaders that keep themselves available to God are always asking for His direction, wisdom, and input. Anyone in a leadership position has so much more of an accountability factor to God than those who are following. So it behooves you to stay open to Him, because He will hold you accountable.



Julie and Zig animated4word: If God has called you to something you didn’t expect, what are some ways you can get past the fear of the unknown?

Julie: When I was wondering how I would know God’s will, my pastor told me I didn’t need to worry about it for a minute, because God would determine my purpose. He asked, “Don’t you believe that your God is big enough to put your purpose right in front of you?” When he asked me that, it was just so simple! Of course I believed that. My responsibility is to have my heart and willingness in a place where I will be available and obedient to Him. Available, willing, and obedient. Those are the three things you need to be when God puts something in front of you that you didn’t expect. If He puts it there, He’ll help you get it done.

I never expected to be a speaker. I was Dad’s editor for twenty years and it never even occurred to me to ever want to speak in front of others. In hindsight, I’m so grateful that God groomed me beautifully to be a speaker for Him. I never wanted to travel. I had girlfriends who traveled for work, and I remember being so grateful that all I did was edit books at home. And then God put me on the road!

The sweet thing was that I got to help Daddy on the road for four years, after his head injury caused short-term memory loss. The very first time I got on a public stage was with the Get Motivated platform, where we had Colin Powell, Laura Bush, sometimes George Bush, all kinds of sports figures, and Rudy Giuliani. That first platform I spoke on was in front of 18,000 people. Because I was interviewing my father I was on that stage with my father. Because I had my daddy right there I wasn’t afraid of my ability to speak. This was where God taught me how to speak without fear, how to negotiate traveling arrangements, and I learned to not let last minute changes upset me.

When you find yourself in a position you never expected, just look behind you and see how exquisitely God has prepared you in the smallest, most minute ways to do the things He’s put before you today. Believe me, He will put you in positions you haven’t particularly strived for so that He will get the credit.



4word: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Get Motivated Big Screen San Deigo 2011Julie: When you share with others who are hurting how God has comforted you and given you hope and strength to endure, that’s the true gift and end result of Romans 8:28. When the Christian community learns that transparency is the key to healing, that God made us to be there for one another and share His hope and love, we will discover what “bottom line” love is really about. We all know we’re not perfect, but everyone is afraid to talk about it.

He’s prepared me to be open and honest about my past. After going through the process of writing my book, I realized that the time I spent in a Twelve Step Program (when I got sober 30 years ago) was where I learned to get up in front of a podium and tell my story. It never occurred to me that that was what I was doing. It was also the place where I learned to read in public, after growing up having difficulty learning to read. It took being in a group of people I knew weren’t judging me for me to get over my fear of public reading.

Learn to say what you need to say. It really is the most effective form of communication. It’s part of why I love being older. I know where I want to spend my time, what I want to do, and where God wants me to invest myself. All I focus on now is what will count in the long run, and that’s a very freeing place to be!



If you’re a leader, take a look at your leadership traits and tendencies. Heeding Julie’s tips, what areas can you improve? If you’re interested in becoming a leader, learn from Julie’s example to be open to the opportunities God places before you, even if they seem impossible!



Please click here to receive these impactful blogs automatically to your inbox.


For two decades Julie Ziglar Norman edited the books of her legendary father, motivational icon Zig Ziglar.  She also shared the Get Motivated platform with him for several years before becoming the dynamic, disarming and refreshingly transparent inspirational speaker and author she is today.  Her unique experience of being raised by the motivators’ motivator has given her a perspective on life and work that keeps her audiences laughing, crying and taking notes. 

Continuing her father’s Legacy of Encouragement is an honor and a privilege that Julie never expected or sought but her willingness to accept the challenge is inspiring audiences in America and abroad.  Her vibrant style of delivery, her honest and transparent assessment of life, and her willingness to share intimate details of personal failures, as well as personal triumphs, has made her a popular crowd favorite.  Her life experience as the poster child for bad choices enables her to minister to those seeking to trade a life full of guilt, shame, fear, and regret for a life filled with joy, peace and hope!  Her latest book Growing Up Ziglar: A Daughter’s Broken Journey from Heartache to Hope, was released in May of 2012.