The Wall of Gratitude
ReignMakers have the ability to attract others to them and leverage their connections. These connections come in the form of relationships, which must be invested in and developed over time. Without meaningful relationships, life is truly meaningless.
Many people, even believers, wonder why they do not have deep relationships in their lives. Everyone longs for it, but most people simply do not know how to do it. We have all heard, “You have to be a friend to make a friend”, but that simply is not descriptive enough. While being friendly is definitely a great start, our relationships should contain greater purpose and yield fruitfulness. Most of our neighbors, coworkers and even family do not intentionally maximize the relationships in their lives, because, in general, we live in a superficial world. As Christians, however, it is imperative that we understand how to go deeper, and therefore increase our span of influence – much like the monarch butterfly – and we do that through relationships.
“Make Friendship a Fine Art”
The greatest struggle in the area of relationships is the desire to do the work it takes for a relationship to develop. “Make friendship a fine art” is a quote and life principal from John Wooden, a man who knew that instilling success in others was the secret to achieving personal success. Fine art is unique. It is an expression of what is inside you that develops into a priceless possession. It takes the creativity inside of you to craft the perfect work of art. Friendships (and all relationships) work this way. Each relationship will be different. It will require the perfect ‘craftsmanship’ to make the creation a work of art. But once developed, it will become a priceless treasure.
The “Wall of Gratitude”
In the fourteen years I worked for Zig Ziglar, of the countless speeches I heard him give and the personal conversations I had with him myself – and heard him having with others – the single most frequent subject he spoke of was his gratitude for others. I regularly heard him say, “I can clearly see that what I’ve done with my life has largely been determined by the people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve chosen.” Mr. Ziglar often spoke of his “Wall of Gratitude.” The first prominent wall when you enter the corporate office, it is filled with beautifully framed pictures of twenty-seven people that have influenced his life substantially. At the top of the wall are his mother, his wife (“The Redhead”) and one of his daughters that passed away at the age of just forty-two. Also included are the dear Christian sister who led him to Christ, his first grade teacher (who brought his lessons to his home when he was extremely ill), his first employer and several mentors and friends, including Dr. Kenneth Cooper, Mary Kay Ash, Mary Crowley, Bernie Lofchik, Dr. W.A. Criswell, and others. Mr. Ziglar truly understands the importance of meaningful relationships. He understands, and displays so beautifully on this wall, that relationships are ‘everything’ and that he would be ‘nothing’ without the people who have helped him get to where he is today. As he often says, “If you see the turtle at the top of the fencepost, you can be sure he did not get there alone!”
You would assume that Mr. Ziglar liked everyone that is on his “Wall of Gratitude,” but that is not the case. One day my husband asked him about one particularly difficult relationship and Mr. Ziglar made it very clear that even people he did not like have contributed to his success. Sometimes those we struggle with most are in our lives for a very specific reason and help to teach us what needs to change inside of us. His wall is also full of diversity, including both male and female, many different races, diverse economic backgrounds, religions and cultures. I often heard him ask, “What if I was a sexist, or a racist or a fascist? I would not have a personal relationship with Christ, my first book would not have been published and I would not have had the same encouraging best friend. My life would have been very lonely.”
As we are going through the “transformation process,’ it is vital for us to huddle together to ensure we are protected against predators. When we are reaching for new heights or a new place, there is a lot of turmoil and discomfort that can come with it. Change can be difficult. In these moments, we draw upon the relationships we have developed. When we have others alongside us to share in our journey, the transformation process can become much shorter and less painful. Our joys will be multiplied and our sorrows will be divided. The quality of our art will determine the level of increase and, in due season, we realize that we too have become ReignMakers.