Julie Ziglar Norman often says her dad is the king of “doing life right” and she is the poster child for “doing life wrong.” In Growing Up Ziglar: A Daughter’s Broken Journey from Heartache to Hope, Norman shares how for 25 years she lived every day with regret, shame, guilt, and depression while trying to keep up the positive outer appearance that was expected of her as the daughter of popular motivational author and speaker Zig Ziglar.
Q: What was it like growing up as Zig Ziglar’s daughter?
My dad was not famous most of the years I spent growing up. He was a salesman working on straight commission so he traveled a lot. Dad was (and still is) a good father. He always gave it his best effort. He taught me to obey the law, tell the truth and work hard, but he didn’t become a Christian until I was a few weeks shy of being seventeen years old. Until then, Dad couldn’t have known everything he needed to be teaching me.
When I talk about what it was like growing up with Mr. Positive Attitude himself, I enjoy teasing about waking up to an “opportunity clock” instead of an alarm clock. I point out that most families look forward to the weekend; not the Ziglar family, we looked forward to the “strong end.” When we got the sniffles we had a “warm,” not a cold. Daddy was always positive and looked on the bright side and he brought lots of joy and laughter into our home. He was a fun and loving father who always had a good story and lots of hugs and kisses for his children.
Q: Growing Up Ziglar actually focuses more on the struggles that started as a teen and young adult than stories of growing up. You battled depression and alcohol among other things. What do you think led you down the road of negativity, when you grew up in a background that expressed positivity?
I made bad choices that led to negative consequences. My choices were based on my immature, thirteen-year-old desire to “belong and fit-in” when our family moved from Columbia, South Carolina to Dallas, Texas. The process was complicated by a jealous classmate who started a rumor about me that was so bad that I ultimately earned a bad reputation that I had wrongly been given. I wasn’t actually a rebellious child, at least not openly. I was a people pleaser of the worst sort and that, I believe, caused the majority of my problems.
Q: The primary message of your book is that there is hope in Christ. What encouragement would you offer to someone who believes that they’ve made so many mistakes that their situation is hopeless?
I would share with them the promises of God and tell them I, too, felt hopeless but the truth set me wildly free. Then I would share how the following verse has shown me that all my junk, the messes of my life, are used by God to comfort others…even them and that God will comfort them and use them for His glory, if they will only let Him.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” NKJV
(Guideposts/May 1, 2012/ISBN 978-0-8249-4531-2/$14.99)