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(SALES) Two Deaths, Two Lessons


There were two deaths last week which caused me to reflect upon their impact on the world around them.

One was the death of the small community newspaper that gave me my first job in media. Considering I now make a living helping broadcast and online media to grow, many of my clients will be surprised to learn I got my start as a newspaper reporter.

Those who look for blame in that papers demise will probably point to the usual suspects: consolidation or technology.

Some will lament the days when local owners were as passionate about the communitys success as they were about the papers success. On its death bed, the weekly was owned and managed from afar by a large newspaper conglomerate. The failure must be the "fault" of consolidation. Sound familiar?

Others will blame technology or new media. In its heyday the paper employed 14 full-time people. Technology had made it possible to produce an arguably better product with only four people.

In reality, my first employers "death" is nobodys fault, and no one is to blame anymore than someone is to blame for my hair turning grey (although I sometimes joke with my kids that its their fault my hair turned grey).

So lesson number one is simple. Change is inevitable, not bad, maybe sad, but unstoppable. And those same interview skills the papers reporters learned and the marketing skills of the ad sales people are transferable and invaluable to whatever new media platform jumps in to fill the void left by the papers death.

The second death which caused my reflection was the passing of 86-year-old motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar. Mr. Ziglars 25 books, countless audio tapes and seminars, and multi-million dollar motivational company influenced the lives of literally millions of people around the world.

Ive often been skeptical of motivational speakers and their lasting impact upon people. The mere term can conjure up images of hype and pomp lacking in substance.

After all, motivational speakers extol the virtues of positive self-talk and we all know only crazy people talk to themselves. And seeing the world through rose-colored glasses can cause you to be out of touch with reality.

But there is no mistaking the indelible quips of the likes of Zig are more than just hype. There is strong scientific evidence about the power of positive thinking on adrenalin levels, energy levels, and on physiological and psychological well-being.

Weve all heard the true tales of people doing seemingly impossible things, like lifting cars off of accident victims, when can-do attitudes trigger an adrenalin rush.

One of Zig Ziglars quotes, You can get everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want, has been a guiding light thats served me well with my family, my employees, and my clients.

And when there is a task Im facing that I dont relish, I simply recall Zig saying, If you are going to have to swallow a frog, you dont want to have to look at that sucker too long. Procrastination is the enemy of progress.

So lesson number two from last weeks obituaries? I cant think of a single happy or successful person who got there focusing on negatives or whats wrong. Every happy and successful person I know has been influenced by someone like Zig, who helped them look optimistically at how things could be rather than dwelling on the shortcomings of how things are.

Wayne Ens is the president of ENS Media Inc. and producer of SoundADvice, the radio e-marketing system and advertiser seminar that is persuading local advertisers across North America to drop their print advertising in favor of a radio-Internet media mix. He can be reached at 

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