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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kennedy

The Ripple Effect

Updated: Jun 20

Hacking our way through life in order to get ahead. Shortcuts and hook points and anything else we can do for an edge. It's a rush to the top in a selfie world, but at what expense? In the end will we say it was worth it?

Who have I helped to get ahead? Who have I encouraged? Have I been a good role model for my kids and others? These questions keep me up in the evening because I know I can do better.

These are the questions that haunt me late at night as I fall into John Koenig's definition of "nighthawk," (from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows)... "a recurring thought that only seems to strike you late at night—an overdue task, a nagging guilt, a looming future—which you sometimes manage to forget for weeks, only to feel it land on your shoulder once again, quietly building a nest."

Three titans in helping others get ahead, masters of encouragement and excellent role models who I had the privilege to know, each for over a decade, were Jim Moran, Zig Ziglar, and Glenn W. Turner.

I consider these three men wizards of the "ripple effect." Not only were they enormously successful by every measure during their lifetime, but they left a legacy which continues to resonate with myself and others today.

Jim Moran (The Boss)

Jim Moran

“What finally swayed me to write this book,” said Jim Moran about his autobiography, Jim Moran: The Courtesy Man, "was feeling the obligation to write our book and not my book - a chronicle of the great people whom I've had a chance to work with over the years, especially those at JM Family Enterprises and Southeast Toyota. It's my deep hope that 'our book' will document some of the most memorable contributions which our people have made to the evolution of the American automobile industry — and those contributions by the people I work with have been many."

Jan and Jim Moran at the grand opening of the first AutoNation megastore.

Ask anyone who ever had the good fortune to work for Jim Moran, "The Boss," and they will not hesitate to say he was the best boss they ever had. Period. Why? Because he genuinely cared about his associates. The ripples of his life and leadership at JMFamily Enterprises continue to spread across the country today.

Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar

“You can have everything in life you want,

if you will just help enough other people get...

what they want.”~ Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar was committed to helping other people get what they wanted. He knew what we wanted was to have the spokes of our wheel of life extended to the same length, as far from the hub as possible, for a better ride. The spokes represented areas of our life which included spiritual, financial, personal, family, career, physical and mental.

The Wheel of Life

Jean and Zig Ziglar at a seminar in Macon, GA.

Zig Ziglar delivered every program, every book and every seminar with this in mind. The ripples of his life and his inspiration continue to spread today.

Tom Ziglar (photo taken by sister, Cindy Ziglar Oates)

The Ziglar legacy lives on. Tom Ziglar, "the proud son of Zig Ziglar," is the CEO of Ziglar Inc. sharing life lessons, inspiration, motivation, and hope to billion-dollar companies, small business owners, and prestigious academic institutions around the world.

Glenn W. Turner

Glenn W. Turner doing the jig on a plane he was considering buying, his lawyer, F. Lee Bailey behind him.

Glenn W. Turner (GWT) was a fascinating man born with a cleft palate and a harelip. He was the son of a sharecropper in a South Carolina tobacco farm, destitute, with little hope for any kind of future success. Yet, astonishingly, GWT would grow up and own 70 companies, including Dare to Be Great, a multi-level marketing company founded in 1969. He was featured in an 11-page article in LIFE magazine in 1971, (see cover below), and worth $300M at the time.

One of the many extraordinary things I personally witnessed with GWT over the years was the genuine connection he had with me and other people. He had a rare gift of being able to reach into your mind, shake the doubts out, and make you not only believe in yourself… but in your greatness too.

Glenn W. Turner at his Lake Mary, FL home.

GWT gave examples of individuals who overcame disabilities, misfortunes, loss of loved ones and every other form of tragedy imaginable. These same people went on to become titan’s of industry, presidents, popes, kings and queens. GWT overcame his speech impediment and growing up in poverty to become one of the most influential people in America.

A Glimpse of GWT

GWT shared an inspirational and memorable story about Johann Sebastian Bach:

"Once there was an old man who played the organ in a little church in Germany. He was getting too old and the people of the town decided they wanted a younger man. They heard of a feller named Bach and they invited him over to try out for the job.

"The town was a long way off from where he was, and he walked for days to get there. When he arrived at the church, the old man was playing the organ. It was beautiful. The music filled the church. He was crying as he played, because he knew it was his last day, and when he finished the number Johann Sebastian Bach came and stood behind him.

"The old man looked up, locked the organ and walked away, his heart broken. The young man followed him. 'Old man,' he said, 'give me the key. You forgot to give me the key.' The old man gave him the key and Johann Sebastian Bach unlocked the organ and played the most beautiful music ever heard anywhere.

"Then, the old man smiled. He straightened his shoulders and afterwards he went among the people who heard Johann Sebastian Bach in his first public appearance, and he said to them, 'I gave him the key. I'm the one who gave him the key.'

"Well, YOU have the key. You have the key to be anything you want to be. It's your mind. It can open the door to wealth and happiness you never dreamed of. Don't throw it away. Use it. God bless you."

“Someone, somewhere, has accomplished just as much or more than you with less resources, less excuses and less whining.” ~ Glenn W. Turner

The ripples of GWT's life and his inspiration continue to spread today.

Other People Oriented

How did these three men encourage a lot of people, including me? Among other things, they inspired me to find my own voice and my own passion, then get out of my own way.

Each of these men continue to be role models for me and countless others. Their "ripple effect" is everlasting.

Jim Moran, Zig Ziglar, and Glenn W. Turner were other people oriented. The "ripple effect" is the lasting legacy of one's life. Infectious kindness and encouragement was the power behind their ripples. They helped me be, do and have more than I ever imagined possible. They're the ones who made a dent in my universe.

We may not have the same impact on the world as my three heroes, or whoever your mentors or heroes may be, but by doing what we can to help others get ahead, by encouraging others, or simply by being a good role model for others, we can create our own "ripple effect."

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." ~ Aesop

We can gain knowledge, we can find inspiration and we can benchmark others to gain a competitive advantage. But we can also change the world by helping others get ahead; by encouraging others; by being a good role model - and we can sleep better at night too.

The gift of kindness and encouragement may start as a small ripple. But over time it can turn into a tidal wave impacting the lives of other people long after we're gone.


I’m Michael Kennedy, Olympic Valley, CA resident, married to Nicola Kennedy (in photo above). I’m a writer, photographer and property caretaker. I just want to say thanks for your attention - I appreciate it in such a noisy world. If you enjoyed it, please share with others. It means a lot to me and it helps others see the story.

If you're interested in owning any photos in my gallery: click here, call or text me at 530.608.9150 with inquiries. My email: 

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2 תגובות

Glenn Spiller
Glenn Spiller
21 ביוני

Inspiring post, MK. Sometimes it's very small gestures that can create the ripple. Yesterday I had to go to the SS office in Reno to get a document for my deceased father. The line was very long and we were all standing/waiting outside in the oppresive sun and heat, because the inside of the office was filled to capacity. The older woman behind me (even older than I am) had a walker and an oxygen tank, but she had to endure because she faced losing her apartment over some kind of SS issue. All I did was let her (after much encouragement) go ahead of me in the line to help save her a few uncomfortable minutes; but…

Michael Kennedy
Michael Kennedy
21 ביוני
בתשובה לפוסט של

How fantastic! Thank you, Glenn. What a great example of kindness in action.

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