Joel Zeff gives Advice and A Humorous Perspective on his Big Idea Appearance!

The whole experience as a guest today was exciting, fun, energizing; and happened extremely fast. I have watched the Big Idea since it started because it really is the only show that captures the spirit, energy and ideas of the people who make business work in this country.


Every show is an eclectic mix of personalities talking about their passion.

The show was kind enough to ask me to blog about my experience. So, I thought I would jot down a few thoughts and then include a recent article I wrote that will give some more details to the five points I discussed on today’s show.

1. One of the coolest aspects of appearing on The Big Idea is sitting in the green room before the show and talking to the other guests. It is very energizing to be in a room with people, just like you, who are passionate about their work and ideas. I spent most of my time talking with the Blender Guys and the team behind Just Between Friends. The Blender Guys have inspired me with their great idea using funny videos on You Tube to market their product. And, as a father of two children, Just Between Friends, is a brilliant idea. I can’t wait to get home and clean out my garage.

2. Bill Zanker (I think it was him) threw out the perfect new name for the Grill Charms. Stake Your Claim gets my vote.

3. At different times during my interview, I have no control of my arms. Many people suffer from this affliction during an interview. I am just the one pointing it out to everyone.

4. During the interview, Donny massaged my shoulders. Frankly, that small fact makes me feel very special. To put that in perspective, I was on the same show as Carmen Electra, and I was the only one to receive a shoulder massage during the interview.

5. Speaking of Carmen Electra, unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to meet her. We did walk past each other in the studio. I am not sure, but she was probably thinking, “Is that the guy Donny just massaged on air?”

6. During the show, the other guests are watching the taping in the green room. When the Blender Guys were putting together the final ingredients to blend, we all kept cheering to add a bottle of glue. The glue didn’t make the final very cool mixture. Still, I think it was funny that everyone kept yelling at the monitor, “Put in the glue!”

7. Donny and I were wearing very similar suits. Our shirt color schemes were also the same (we were both working the purple). I pointed this out during my interview. I am pretty sure Donny had no idea what I was talking about. I am not sure why I am bringing this up now. Actually, I have no idea why I used valuable national air time to discuss our similar tastes in clothes.

8. I do want to thank the wonderful staff of The Big Idea. Thank you for all of your help, support and advice. And, thank you for making me feel comfortable and welcome. It was a pleasure working with everyone.

And finally... the article

We have to do something about grumpy people at work. Grumpy people are like zombies, infecting normal people with their apathy, negativity and lack of energy. Grumpy people get to work, find out there are no more blueberry muffins, and stay bitter the whole day. They spread their grumpiness like a zombie virus.

We must help our employees and managers learn to take responsibility for their passion, energy and happiness. Too many times, employees let other people’s actions or words determine their happiness. Happiness is a choice. Unfortunately, when we give control to other employees, managers, customers, or vendors, we are never very happy.

Would you, as a normal, sane person, really make the choice to wake up in the morning, comb your hair, brush your teeth and say, “Man, I am bitter, frustrated and angry. I can’t wait to get to work.” No, you wouldn’t. Yet, people do that every day. We have no control over many issues in the workplace. We always have control of our attitude and how we react to those issues. We do have a choice to wake up every morning happier and more energized. And happy people get to work early when there are still blueberry muffins.

When we are happy and having fun at work, we are more creative, productive and effective. We are better leaders. The choice to take ownership of your attitude is an important key to everyone’s success. As we start the New Year, here are a few thoughts to help make the necessary choices to create a happier work life.

1. Tell someone what you need to be happy. We all need opportunity. When was the last time you told your manager specifically what you need to be happy? We think everyone can read our minds. Until we have small microchips implanted into our skulls that send instant messages to cell phones explaining our emotions, we might have to speak up. The next time you have a great day at work, take a moment to write down what made that day special. Now, you have a list of what you need to achieve success and happiness. Ask for it. Demand it. Work hard for it.

2. Change the way you think. Most people come to work and say, “How can MY employees and customers make me successful?” Change the dynamic to: “How can I make the people around me more successful?” Ask this question every day. More importantly, answer the question and create action. You will be amazed by the change in your attitude and work environment. The hard part is the first step: asking the question.

3. Stay in the game and be Batman. Have you ever seen a child dressed as Batman walking in a store with his mother? Believe me, there was an argument. The child wanted to go to the grocery store dressed as Batman. The mother, not wanting to risk embarrassment, wanted the child to wear normal clothes. Do you know why my 4-year-old dresses like a ballerina or a princess every day? A 4-year-old does not give up. The only way you are going to fail is if you quit, and anyone can quit. If you stay in the game, you might have to stay late, work harder, learn something new or get out of your comfort zone. If you stay in the game, the only thing you have to look forward to is success. And if that fails, just dress as Batman.

4. Always be open and flexible to change. People don’t like change. Change involves moving stuff. Here’s an example: Ask someone to help you move to a new house. Watch their face crinkle up and eyes dart upward, as they search for an excuse to help you move. Change is going to happen every single day. You are going to have to move stuff, literally and figuratively. How you deal with change determines your success, productivity, creativity, passion and stress. Be open. Be flexible. Live healthier. And always have a good excuse handy when someone asks you to help them move.

5. Figure out what work you would do for free. Once you do that, figure out how to get someone to pay you. If you don’t do this, you will wake up one day as a “Bye-Bye” person. They are everywhere. Their minds are gone because they are “Bye-Bye”. They tend to hang out with the grumpy zombies, infecting young, energetic employees with their negativity and constant whining. You can easily spot them at work near vending machines, break rooms and smoking areas. At least once a week they will have a dentist appointment, sick dog, out-patient elective surgery or “jury duty.” They play a lot of sudoku during the day.

The truth is you don’t want a job, you want a passion. How do you get a passion? Create an environment of opportunity and positive support and you will be amazed by what you can accomplish. After you build the foundation, you will start to care. We only care about something if we have responsibility or ownership. Guess what happens when you care? You start to have passion. Now, go take ownership of another blueberry muffin.

Joel Zeff ( is a national workplace expert, speaker and humorist. His spontaneous humor and vital messages have thrilled audiences for years. Corporations and organizations nationwide seek him out to motivate and energize their employees on such topics as work/life balance, passion at work, creativity, communication, teamwork, and leadership. His first book, “Make the Right Choice: Creating a Positive, Innovative and Productive Work Life” was just published by John Wiley & Sons. For more information on his book, please visit

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Joel Zeff and Joel Zeff Creative retain the ownership and rights to this article. This article cannot be reprinted or published without the written consent of the author.