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056 | The Happiness Expert: Stella Grizont, Founder of WOOPAAH

056 | The Happiness Expert: Stella Grizont, Founder of WOOPAAH
Published on
September 14, 2020
056 | The Happiness Expert: Stella Grizont, Founder of WOOPAAH
Juhll Online Marketing Agency
Juhll Online Marketing Agency
A boutique digital marketing consultancy with over 20 years of experience. Transparent, data-driven, committed to your goals.


Stella Grizont
Company Name




Stella Grizont is a happiness expert, executive coach, and speaker. Stella is the founder of WOOPAAH - a corporate coaching service that has helped over 1,300 individuals in 19 countries on how to find deeper career fulfillment. Stella sits down with Chris to discuss how employees and leaders can shift their mindsets in order to find greater joy and satisfaction in their professional lives.


  • How Stella gamified employee engagement to improve job satisfaction at Y&R
  • Stella's degree in applied psychology (aka happiness) from Penn State
  • WOOPHA 1.0 and how the brand started as an immersive experience agency
  • Stella describes her career and mindset AHA! moment
  • The importance of shifting focus from 'what should I do?' to 'how do I want to be?'
  • How the work happiness method helps to improve overall career satisfaction
  • The importance of having a mentor or individual to keep you accountable for your personal goals
  • Inside the growth mindset model and how individuals are motivated
  • The financial impact of having unengaged employees

Stella Grizont

Happiness Expert | Founder

Stella Grizont is a happiness expert, executive coach, and speaker. Stella is the founder of WOOPAAH - a corporate coaching service that has helped over 1,300 individuals in 19 countries on how to find deeper career fulfillment.

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This episode is sponsored by Juhll. They are a full service digital marketing consultancy that has over 20 years of experience helping your business grow sales online. They've helped most of their clients grow more than 50% year over year by helping them meet their digital marketing goals.

Juhll Digital Agency works with companies who are doing $50 million in top line revenue that have a marketing budget of $2 million. They build your company from the ground up and they also help you in creating a strategy that will work best for your team.

You can email Chris Snyder, President of Juhll Digital Agency, at, or contact their team today and find out which of their services will work best for your success story.

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Tweetable Quotes

"We all need someone to call out when we're kind of being slippery with our boundaries or with our truth." - Stella Grizont


"And so it's very important to realize what's been instilled in you. And do you still want that? What is it that you really want vs. maybe your mother's voice or your teacher's voice or your coworker's voice. What's true for just you?" - Stella Grizont


"I think that having a practice that helps you train your mind to notice your thoughts. And to not let you be swept up by those thoughts. So that's really what mindfulness is all about: noticing the thoughts without letting them lead you down a certain direction." - Stella Grizont


Mentioned Resources

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Stella Grizont

Happiness Expert | Founder

Stella Grizont is a happiness expert, executive coach, and speaker. Stella is the founder of WOOPAAH - a corporate coaching service that has helped over 1,300 individuals in 19 countries on how to find deeper career fulfillment.

Episode Transcript

Chris Snyder [00:00:43] Hello, everyone. Chris Snyder here, host of the Snyder showdown president at Juhll Agency and founder of FinTech Startup Banks dot com. On this show, we take a no B.S. approach to business success and failure told through the stories of the top executives who have lived them. Join us today as we get the unfiltered backstories behind successful brands. Quick message from our sponsor. Juhll is a full-service digital consultancy, and we focus on helping executives solve their toughest digital world problems while working as an extension of the executive team. To learn more, go to Juhll dot com. That's or you can email me directly. It's OK, without further ado, today our guest is Stella Grizont. She is a happiness expert, executive coach, speaker, and the creator of the Work Happiness Method and the founder of WOOPAAH. She works with overachievers and organizations who are seeking deeper career fulfillment and dedication to elevating the well-being of themselves and their employees. In a nutshell, she wants us all to work happier and live better. Over the last twelve over the last 15 years, Stella has coached over fifteen hundred individuals in 19 countries while also helping large corporations like Google, Johnson & Johnson, Aramark, and Genentech. Welcome, Stella.

Stella Grizont [00:02:09] Hi. It's great to be here. Thank you.

Chris Snyder [00:02:13] Thanks for being here as well, say we always kick off these podcasts by the audience and me learning a little bit more about yourself. So if you could tell us a little bit about your upbringing, where you grew up and how you got to where you are today. Be fantastic.

Stella Grizont [00:02:27] Sure. So I'll start with my parents. They are Russian Jewish immigrants, more like refugees who came from the motherland. And I grew up a little bit in Chicago, a little bit in Dallas, Texas, a little bit in New Jersey. And then I found my way to Barnard College where, because I had, if any, you know, I think your listeners, if they have if they're first-generation, there's a lot of pressure to always make money. So I chose economics as a major. And I do not remember one equation from econ, but I probably if I would have listened to myself more, maybe done English or something, I don't know. So I thought I was going to go into investment banking. And I remember I was an intern working at JP Morgan and I was pulling those hundred-hour shifts. And one day I just - I lost my voice. I could not speak. And that's when it hit me for the first time in my life. I was like, wow, there really is a mind-body connection. I've lost my voice. I can't speak. But I've also lost a sense of who I am. I do not belong here. And so that really inspired me. This was, I guess, my junior year in college to explore advertising because I thought, well, advertising is business, but it's also creative and I'm a creative person. And so I thought, well, how do I you know, we were at Barnard Columbia University. These Ivy Leagues are very there's no practical. I mean, maybe now there is. But there was you couldn't take an advertising class. And so I decided to bring the advertising industry to us by creating the student organization, doing all this networking with agencies, and creating internships for all these students, including myself. And so my first job was at Y & R and I thought I was this was my dream job and I wanted to be in strategy. And eventually, I got into strategy and I thought, yes, like I finally arrived and I again, I found myself walking these crazy hours and I was getting all this positive feedback. And I just noticed it getting harder and harder for me to, like, wake up and go to work in the morning. And then other things started to break down. I started to get sick. I started to get grumpy. So I started being, like, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, like excited. And then I just started to become like a lot of the old-timers, they're a little bit jaded. And so I didn't really like who I was becoming. And all I really wanted was to learn. So I think a lot of young employees who are ambitious, they just want, like an opportunity to grow and learn. And I thought, I'm so cheap to this agency and I'm probably like one of them. You know, I was very, very motivated. I had a lot to give. And I thought, man, just throw me like a learning bone. You don't even have to give me more money. Just give me something that acknowledges my work and gives me an opportunity to grow. And so that then triggered another idea which I created at Wyner, which was called the Y in our generators, where that line was at that. Yeah. Where I created basically a gamified system to reward employees who went above and beyond with all sorts of rewards, like maybe lunch with the CEO or a pass like trade magazine. So learning opportunities and that was the most exciting thing I had done in my very short career. I think that was like three years into work. And so something started to like a little thread started to form. Right. So I really enjoyed helping others find their way and getting the acknowledgment, the recognition, the growth that they deserved. I stayed at the agency, but then I kind of stumbled into this organization that was helping women launch their businesses. And as things in the big ad world started to feel a little stodgy and not creative, I was finding a lot of inspiration in the startup that was helping these other startups, these women make their dreams come true. And so I started doing it on the side as just like a pet project. And then a few years later, they asked me to be their second. And so I decided to make that leap because. I like I said, it was getting harder and harder to show up in the morning. Once that employee reward recognition. Thing launched and I had to return to my day job. I just felt like really grueling and I'm sure everyone listening has been there where it's just been hard to wake up in the morning. You're dreading the day ahead. And so I for me, I found myself like eating the Nutella out of the jar with like a tablespoon. And it just was it was really dark. And so I decided this place feels like home. Helping women make their dreams come true is just the most exciting thing ever. So I'm going to go to this startup. And so I helped over a hundred thousand women in their business journey. And it was before entrepreneurship was cool like it is now.

Chris Snyder [00:08:17] It was, you know, what year is this?

Stella Grizont [00:08:19] But that was two thousand and two thousand five, I think.

Chris Snyder [00:08:25] Yeah. That was the kind of the beginning of where the digital at - not the very beginning I would say the late 90s - but early 2000s, you know, we had that bubble, and then it just started to come back. But I don't know why entrepreneurial beat an entrepreneurial and grinding and all that became cool. I don't know how that happened. But yeah, that was right during the beginning of a very serious upward trend in starting companies, being an entrepreneur, advertising digital advertising.

Stella Grizont [00:08:59] Yeah, I remember Facebook was just like - Facebook groups hadn't taken off quite yet, and I wish they had because ah ah companies spent a lot of money and doing what Facebook groups then did and we didn't do it very well. Oh, so that leaves me to the point of the next rise. So here I am, finally passionate, feeling energized by the purpose of my work.  And then eventually I found myself back in that Nutella jar questioning what am I doing? What's this all for? Like. Just feeling up against the wall and burnt out once again. And so, you know, there's a theme. Right. And we always have a theme in our lives. Like, what are those signs and symptoms that you get? And so for me, it was this like sense of burnout and the Nutella. And so we had investors then. This is like now two thousand eight maybe I started before 2005. I'm like losing track of time. But anyway, 2008, the crash happened. And so as an employee, I was let go. But I actually owned a franchise. I owned two franchises with a partner of that business. Stayed on as a franchise owner and. But when I got laid off, I just felt like I heard a whisper. I heard this like, now's your time. Like now's your chance. And so I still was running my own franchises, but I also thought I need to go and create my own thing because I was feeling limited by the structure of the company, by some of the leadership decisions between investors and leadership and all that. It got just like messy. And so I just thought, you know what? I have to go and make up my own rules and then I'll be OK and then I'll be happy and then I won't burn out and then I'll feel creatively driven and all these things that I wanted. And so I. I had caught on to the threat of what brought me alive, which was helping propel people, helping them. Actualize their dreams, helping them grow professionally. And so I thought, let me go. I stumbled upon applied positive psychology, which is the study of what the scientific study of what makes life worth living and work worth doing. And so, U Penn, had just announced its fifth class so you could get a master's essentially in the science of happiness and well-being. And so I found the application. It was doing like five days. I rush it in and then I got it. And so I thought, OK, and I've helped thousands of women launch their businesses. I have I'm getting a degree in happiness like I've got this. Like, this is totally gonna work. And of course, one year later, I'm, like eating Nutella again. And I'm in a fetal position feeling totally depressed. I'm turning away business. I remember I had like the W Hotel reach out to me to do some work with WOOPAAH. And I was just like I just couldn't I didn't want it. I couldn't. I was just sabotaging my own success.

Chris Snyder [00:12:44] Was it because you were providing you're doing things for other people that they wanted you to do instead of doing the things that you felt like needed to be done more? Morgan, I'll call it an agency service or it's just a service. And you're like, OK, these guys want me to do a bunch of stuff for them. And I'm smart enough now to see around the next corner and it's just more of the same. And that just sucks.

Stella Grizont [00:13:07] Well, WOOPAAH 1.0 I'll call it actually was very different. So my vision was to create basically an adult Disneyland and to basically have grown-ups experience all in ultimate creativity and slow and just Technicolor beauty like one where, you know, those moments, you catch them every now and then when you're like, yes, this is what life is all about. So I was like, how do I create immersive experiences to - it enables people to experience that state. And so the reason why I went to Penn is I wanted to understand what does play really mean and to study among adults. And like, how do I get what is happiness and how do I get people into that state of just bliss? Because that's if we're in that, you know, that's really that's why, you know, that's available to all of us. But we're usually blocking ourselves from it. So so I created these immersive experiences. People were splashing paint all over each other. There were so I would have this some 16-foot moving truck that I drove in Manhattan and parallel parked myself in high heels. Wow. I, I couldn't believe I was just I remember driving across town in this, like, moving truck and I had like huge heels on. I was going to I think it was like midtown. Well, all the bankers are because I thought they really need a good scream. I should bring it back because I think the world needs a good scream right now.

Chris Snyder [00:14:54] Wow that's a knockout seller. I don't know how you scale it, but I love the idea.

Stella Grizont [00:14:59] Yeah, it was a great idea. It was hard to scale because I wasn't I was self-funding it. Yeah. So I'm what I'm always like it will come back somehow. You know, maybe someone will fund it for me, but. So anyway, I did these immersive experiences and they were so powerful and so transformative that they were uber production heavy. And I hate production. Like I was in Home Depot every day. I was like building sets. It is like I'm not good at that. And so I would get like 10 percent satisfaction from the actual experience. But then everything to create it. It was so draining and so that's why I was in a fetal position. And that's why I was like having an oh shit moment because I just spent all this money. I left whatever version of a career I thought I had. I told everyone I was doing this and now I hated it.

Chris Snyder [00:16:00] Did you ever feel like it? I mean, you know, Ivy League schools, great education, obviously a hard worker as you were going through these different experiences. Did you ever feel like, well, if I screw this up, I can always go be an investment banker?

Stella Grizont [00:16:15] Right. I never felt that because I didn't like that. So I, you know, I knew I had to do something I cared about. And so I was just I was alarmed because I thought, what do I do now? Like, I don't want to go back to that. Climbing the corporate ladder. And then the startup thing, like where do what? What does that amount to?

Chris Snyder [00:16:42] Well it wasn't yours. And you strike me as the kind of person that is confident, smart enough to know that you have your own ideas that can work if given the opportunity and simply mindlessly following someone else or asking them very nicely to cooperate very politically. t's just it's just draining and kind of stupid.

Stella Grizont [00:17:06] So many things that were draining. But the thing is, I then when I had my own business was like in a similar state. And so, for me, that was a major aha. Because I thought, well, what if it wasn't the big corporate ad agency, you know, the clients that I thought were like not being risk-takers, not being like, risky enough. What if it wasn't the startup and the leadership? Like, what if it's been me all along? What if that's interesting? And so that actually is the genesis of all the work I do now, which is about how to take your power back and take ownership over your experience because you have more control than you think.

Chris Snyder [00:17:56] Instead of really blaming everyone else for not seeing it your way. You know, whatever 15 years of from your internship at I think you said J.P. Morgan with an undergrad in Econ all the way through your master's of applied psychology, a.k.a. happiness for 15 years, you were probably like, you know, hey, why don't you guys see it my way? I'm amazing. Can't you see it? And now you come to this realization. How old were you when you realized that you were the one that basically you were big enough to basically blame all this on yourself and then create a solution for it? Because I don't know anybody that thinks that way.

Stella Grizont [00:18:38] I think about 30. I mean, look, it's I had the realization around 30, maybe I was like twenty-nine, but then it took me four or five and still learning it. Right. So it's I had the initial like aha but then it took me a lot of time to, to feel like OK, well now that I know that what is it that I really want and how can I take responsibility over my experience and how do I build a business around what's really energizing for me. What brings me alive.

Chris Snyder [00:19:18] How did you come to this though? Did you go in some kind of Dalai Lama hike for 3 months? Because I honestly, I think about everyone, especially an entrepreneur early and not everyone, but a lot of people in both corporate America and entrepreneurs. It's really, really hard. It's a grind. And when you get to the top levels, my boss is a jerk here. She's a jerk. I didn't get promoted. So and so. Like, it literally is toxic. Yeah. And so how did you realize I'm going to be a contrarian and stop pointing the finger at everybody else and I'm going to really explore how I get my own mind straight. How did this epiphany come to you?

Stella Grizont [00:19:58] Well, I think it's just enough pain, right? Like, I went through so much of a roller coaster up and down and the burnout at multiple touchpoints of my career, I think I just realized, like, I don't want to do this again and I need to crack this code. nd so I then hired a coach to help hold me accountable to what I knew and to kind of feed me and drip me my own work. And interesting. So, like I hear I am right. Like, I had a Masters in happiness. Right. And then I. I helped all these entrepreneurs. And I was depressed and I was not. My business was not doing well. And so I felt like a total impostor. So I felt like, you know, it was time for me to, you know, just grow up and. It was hard, but it took me a while, it took me a while to figure out how to pivot and how and how to align myself with my values and my vision and in a real way because I think I was always chasing what I thought was a sexy goal. And I think that's what we all do. We. We choose these goals that sound really right. And I was achieving my goals, but I was feeling miserable while doing it. And so I kind of flipped that on its head. Now, with my work and the work happiness method, which is: start with the state you want to experience and then pick the goals that will get you there.

Chris Snyder [00:21:36] Yeah, I was gonna ask you about that. I think there's a question that you ask: how do I want to be? Rather than what should I do? Yeah. And so before you answer that question, I sort of feel like. We're usually about the destination, and I don't know if that's a cultural thing and it's just you'll never have a big enough mountain because once you climb this one, you'll have another one. You'll have it. You'll never have a good enough car because there's always a better car. If you're riding coach, you want to ride first class. If that's a cultural thing. Maybe you have some comments about that. But at what point did you say: How do I want to be? Which is a very kind of very powerful, introspective thing rather than - OK, What should I do now? Oh, I should go. I should not work at a bank and I should go to work at a creative agency. Oh, now I should go. No. What should I do now? I should go work and I should start my own company. I should do that. Oh, I should go work at a store. If you just keep going and going and going. What was the genesis of this very, what I perceived to be a very powerful question: How do I want to be?

Stella Grizont [00:22:46] Yeah, I think. Well, my WOOPAAH, which started off as this immersive play experience company. What I realized in designing all these amazing play experiences was that it doesn't fucking matter what the experience is. What matters is the state of mind. And I can be playful and help people be playful no matter what. So I don't need to create these like amazing kind of in-person experiences, I can help them do that with their mindset. And so so that that was like a little insight. And then it was just like what you went through, which is, man, I don't want to be burnt out again. And I don't want to be, like, chasing after the wrong thing. So so what is it that I want to, like, feel and be? I mean, I think it was just, you know, I think it it it. It took a while. Actually, you know where it came from. It actually is how I found my husband. Someone once gave me this advice of I'm just remembering this now. Like, you know, when you're dating, you make a list of, like, the ideal person you want to date.

Chris Snyder [00:24:10] The Ben Franklin clothes for the spouse. These are all the things I want. These are all the things I don't want.

Stella Grizont [00:24:18] Yeah. And so I. But I was getting what I wanted on my list. Like, good family kind person. Right. But my friend at the time gave me a small adjustment. She was like, well how do you want to be in your relationship. And how do you want that person to make you feel? And so when I got clear on that, that's when I started to see a shift and then I actually found my husband not soon, not that far after that. So because when you're just describing the outcome, it doesn't mean that person is going to make you feel seen or loved. They can be a perfectly great person, but not make you feel activated. And so I just apply that to my work life. Like, how do I want to be in relation to my work? How do I want to be? Who do I want to be during the day? And then. OK. So if I want to feel vital and if I want to feel like I'm, you know, being of service and I want to feel like I'm, you know, inspired and creative, then what's going to. What type of work will induce, like, get me there?

Chris Snyder [00:25:30] So there's an actual. So after you've figured that out. That's like the nucleus. It feels like that's the nucleus of where you store. And then have you created it seems like you've created a method to help people better understand or classify how where they need to be. Is it that day or is it a lifelong thing or did you describe that method and how we get there?

Stella Grizont [00:25:56] Yeah. So oftentimes people will come to me convinced that they need to leave their job or convince that their boss is the problem. Or maybe they need to even switch careers. And that, in fact, may be true. But what I always say is like, your life isn't going to start once that change happens, like your life is today. And so the good thing about getting clear on your vision and your values. And I call it the vision generator, which actually came from my work at Y & R what they call generator theme. And so you and your listeners can grab it for free. It's that vision generator outcome. But when they...when they...I totally forgot the question.

Chris Snyder [00:26:49] No, how do we get there? Practically. Because I think what's important is what I like about this show is we want to give people something they can actually do. That's going to help. Now, of course, that they have to walk through. They have to take the steps. So smart people that have been on this show are giving, you know, actionable advice. You know that. You know what it's about. To answer the question, how do I want to be? And then you build a method around it to help people actually get there. So you created something called a vision generator, which is unique to a human being. And then the question is, I guess. Is that something that can change every day based on your state of mind? Or is that something? Yeah. Just tell me how you get through that.

Stella Grizont [00:27:42] Yeah. So the vision generator is the first step. And so it starts. It starts to help you articulate what's the ultimate state I want to experience. And it really helps you think about all spheres of your work life and also your personal life, because you don't stop being who you are. Once you start work, right. You still are a parent or a significant other or a son or a daughter or whatever. And so if it helps you think about who you want to be in all aspects of your life and how you want to be, and then what we do after that is we scrape it for clues on what your values are and your values are the guideposts that influence the thoughts you think the decisions you make, that you know, that the direction you take so that you are moving consistently towards that desired state.

Chris Snyder [00:28:36] And those come from growing up in Dallas in all these different places. Knowing economics, but also, you know, these things or what your culture and your family and everybody's instilled in you for like many years along with your own personal beliefs. Right.

Stella Grizont [00:28:54] Well, actually, what I try to help people realize is what is instilled in you, but not something you've chosen. Interesting, because that's where we get into trouble. That's where I got into trouble is because I had so I've inherited such a strong work ethic. Right. But almost unconsciously. And so it's very important to realize what's been instilled in you. And do you still want that? What what is it that you really want versus maybe your mother's voice or your teacher's voice or your coworker's voice so that that's once you get clear on that. What's true for just you?

Chris Snyder [00:29:37] Isn't this hard? This seems like a logically...I was watching something on Vice TV the other day about these people dropping all these crazy, you know, drugs and acid and they open up the spot of my mind. And now I really know my true being. And I was like, Jesus, we gonna take drugs to do this stuff. It doesn't sound like we have to. It sounds like Stella has a way to get at it. But I also see this could be difficult for someone on their own if it just seems like this needs to look like a walk-along coach with it. Does it, does it or can you do it yourself?

Stella Grizont [00:30:14] So I the format of the work happiness method is either deliver, like when I work with organizations, I deliver them live and I always have Q&A and then I supplement with coaching or if you want to do it with me, you will get like recordings of the modules, but then we get on the phone. So it's always best, I believe, because you can just trick yourself easily or you don't realize where you're kind of on automatic. So and that's why I hired a coach, just because we all need accountability. We all need someone to call out when we're kind of being slippery with our boundaries or with our truth. So it is helpful. And but the thing is, it's you don't have to climb on a mountain top. You don't have to go to some, like, middle of the jungle, like medicinal experience to have like this clarity. You can just do this work with me or there's many coaches who have their own methodology. But it's pretty simple once you just have the step by step and it's not that much time like we do one module, a one our module a week for five weeks. And you get it, you start to see dramatic shifts almost instantly because you're shifting how you think. And so back to like your point, I was just in terms of how long it takes or how quickly you can start using it, it's right away. Because if what you're looking for is let's say it's important for you to be more creative, well, there's infinite ways for me to be more creative today. Like, I can dress up differently. I can make my PowerPoint presentation more creative. I can choose to cook a recipe I've never cooked before. So your life is full of ways for you to be who you want to be once you get that clarity. And so I always tell my clients, if you want to plan for a change, we'll do that. But the time between now and. Then still counts. So how do we make it count?

Chris Snyder [00:32:35] What's the plan? Right? Like, where are we gonna go? Like, we can make a change tomorrow. But you're planning to be in the same spot a year from now when you realize the change you made didn't actually reflect, you know, what I think you called values or principles. That's interesting. You know, I thought a long time ago about starting a Web site, you know, a family Web site that, you know, the family would get together and they would put these things down. So friends, neighbors, and even other family members understood exactly where you were coming from. That way, there was never any question about our values or how we treat people as an example, or how our children are expected to act in public or in private, like whatever. And do you feel like you have to get to a spot of tremendous pain, though, to kind of go through an exercise like this to make yourself happy? Or can they can you do it as a younger person, not having the pain? Could you start this younger?

Stella Grizont [00:33:32] Yes, I absolutely that's my mission is to help people not go through the pain that I went through and kind of have. It took me, you know, ten plus fifteen years to get the clarity, but we could just cut all that out. You know, let's just start earlier. And so I am doing some work. I'm planning to do some talks with I used to do talks for college students and even seniors in high school. And they, I mean, this generation, I feel like they're getting there already. So much more involved than I was. And I feel my generation, they're just soaking it up and they get it and they got it. And so I think the sooner they get it, the better for them and the better for all of us. Because if we're all just taking care of ourselves and know ourselves, then everything is better. It's all good for all of us.

Chris Snyder [00:34:34] So, yes, the airplane thing, you got to know it's tempting to put the mask on someone else first. But if you don't take care of yourself first, there's not much you can do with anyone else. So this is real interesting. So tell me about some of the themes you might see because you've talked to thousands of people. Tell us some of the themes you might see or hear redundantly, some of the words or some of the ways people describe their unhappiness. Is there no one size doesn't fit all. But can you give us any clues as to where people really start to get tripped up thematically?

Stella Grizont [00:35:11] Yes. So there's generally I think one of the big themes is not feeling like you have a sense of control. And so whether it's I my I don't have control over my earnings or I don't have control over my team or I don't have control over my partner. They're doing things I don't like and I don't know how to influence it or I feel stuck or, you know, that is a big theme. And ultimately you know, that that's kind of the whole point of you knowing yourself and I call it an inner skill, is you can actually manage your mind, manage your thoughts, manage your actions. And that actually gives you a tremendous sense of control. You can't control what everyone else is doing. But when you start to witness yourself in action, doing something that actually brings you joy or elevates you, that's actually how organic confidence develops. Is your witnessing yourself do something that is important to you? So I'd say control is a major theme like feeling stuck, just not knowing what it is that you want. Right. So having achieved a great deal of success but not feeling satisfied by it. Right. So like what you were saying, there's always gonna be a better car and whatever. So and then not knowing how to actually go about it, figuring that out is another really big theme. And, you know, relationship challenges are always people really matter in positive psychology. One of the founders of positive psychology, Chris Peterson, would always say people really matter. And we know that the number one predictor of our happiness is our relationships. But they're also probably the number one driver of our dissatisfaction. And so figuring out that that that dynamic and how to have difficult conversations, how to express your needs in a calm way, how to have healthy boundaries, how to say no. Those are all things that are better, that are challenges, but also things that we address in the work happiness method.

Chris Snyder [00:37:35] Yeah. How does positive psychology relate to learned optimism? I've looked at some stuff and read some stuff about learned optimism and I'm hearing positive psychology. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Stella Grizont [00:37:50] Yeah. So Martin Seligman, who's one of the founders, you could say, of positive psychology, he was the head of the American Psychological Association at the time when he had this insight of like, oh, psychology studies, what's wrong with people and how do we get them from negative five to zero? We should also be using the same empirical approach to ask ourselves what's right with people and how do we get them from zero to plus five. And he became famous for his work around learned optimism. So it came from. He was actually famous for studying depression. And he would observe in animals how you could actually teach or an animal could learn to be helpless, for example. He did it on puppies. But I like using an example of how they train baby elephants or how they used to train baby elephants in circuses where, you know, you take a baby elephant, you would tie a rope around its foot and. And tie that around a pole, so no matter what it would do, it couldn't escape. It would want to escape. It would want to run away, but it would just eventually learn that, hey, no matter how hard I tug, I can't break free. And then that baby elephant would grow to be very strong and very big. And eventually, it wouldn't even need the rope because of in its mind, it already believed, no matter what I do, I can't break free. But meanwhile, the elephant could have totally in the turn, could have put up just, you know, so. And that's the same thing with us. And so what Martin Seligman found is that, yes, we can learn to be helpless, but we can also learn to break free and to be optimistic. And so optimism is. He talks about like it's how we talk to ourselves and how we describe when negative things happen. And so we can talk to ourselves and say, oh, man, this is always going to be this way. I'm to be stuck. Or we could say to ourselves, you know what, this isn't permanent and it's a really crappy situation. It's not because I'm a horrible person. And also it's just this one part of my life that needs some attention. It's not like all other aspects. And so learned optimism is basically you practice the three P's, which is it's not permanent. It's not pervasive. It's not contaminating everything. And it's not personal. It's not defining me as a person. So. So the relationship is that the founder of positive psychology is also the person who came up with this theory.

Chris Snyder [00:40:41] Got it. Got it. There's something I looked into, as well into some of your work. And you talk about the growth mindset model. Can you talk to us about that? A lot of startups we work with, a lot of growth, companies we work with. You know, our firm helps a lot of companies in growth. And obviously, I think they're talking about just sheer economic growth. But obviously, some of the things you're talking about are highly relevant to this. Can you talk about the growth mindset model?

Stella Grizont [00:41:09] Yeah. So Carol Dweck, who's a researcher at Stanford University, basically found by studying children and how they were testing that there, we either fall into two camps, a growth mindset, which means that with that, I believe that with enough hard work and effort, I can be better. I can change my talents. I can change my capabilities. The other mindset is a fixed mindset which believes, no matter what I do, I'm going to stay the same. And so we usually are on a continuum of the fixed and the growth. And it's different in different domains of our lives. Right. Like, in some aspects, you could be totally growth and some you could be totally fixed. But she found that when she was testing children, she basically would give them like a test that was pretty simple. And one group of kids, she said, wow, you're really smart. And the other group, they would say, oh, you worked really hard on that. Yeah, graduations. And so when you focus on a person's ability, which is you're really smart versus, oh, you worked really hard, you start to see their motivation shift. And so then she offered another test and she said this test is a little bit more challenging. And what she found is that the kids who were told they were smart did not want to do the challenging test. Yeah, the kids who were told they worked really hard did want to take it on. And so they had more of a growth mindset in that like, yeah, I know it's about my effort. It's about how hard I work vs. about how I perceive my abilities.

Chris Snyder [00:42:56] So you change. So you change the reward. Basically, just the system of reward rewards you for hard work, not necessarily an outcome. Is that accurate?

Stella Grizont [00:43:07] Yeah. And it's also how you deliver feedback as a manager. Right. So you want to deliver feedback that reflects that effort or. Hey, I really appreciated your thinking on this on this challenge or how they did something instead of saying you are my best-performing employee because if I'm your best-performing employee and I take a risk, then I don't ever want to not be your best-performing employee. So I might not take that risk. But if you tell me that I love your thinking and I love your ideas, then I'm going to be like, oh, well, let me share this one idea with you. Right. So and Carol Dweck has done a lot of work with organizations and entrepreneurs. And so she has a lot of great research on this. But if it works it at work and it works at home to really focus on people's process and not their talents because their talents can always be grown.

Chris Snyder [00:44:11] Yeah. So let me ask you a completely subjective question, which is probably non-quantifiable at all, but just based on your experience as a happiness expert. How is corporate America, quote-unquote, corporate America doing with all the stuff we're talking about? Because I got to tell you, I mean, I left corporate America in 2008. I, too, came home with my shit in a box, literally in a box, assaulted in the hallway, pulled into a room, and said, here's your H.R. people. I mean, not assaulted. I mean, come on, you can't assault me willing. So but at the end of the day, it's like then you just come home with your shit in a box and it's like, OK. That was, what, 2008, those 12 years ago. Whatever. Has corporate America changed at all? You're talking about happiness. You're talking about these things that seem, you know, the U Penn program was one of the first, I believe, or the first happiness programs. Where were we at corporate America? Broad strokes.

Stella Grizont [00:45:16] Yeah. So we say we know that still 70-80% of employees are unengaged at work. So they're checked out. We know that. 51% of employees are currently looking for new jobs. I mean, with COVID, that might be different, but it's not looking good. But with that said there, it's kind of two questions. It's: what is it? What are the employees perceiving their experience to be and then what are the employers doing? And so employers are getting better at recognizing the importance of well-being at work. So there's a lot more programming that's happening. But I think where both employees and employers are missing, the mark is realizing that where the responsibility lies and, you know, you have to make things fair for people. You have to pay them fairly. You have to set them up for success. But you also, as an employee, have to take responsibility for your own happiness. And that means knowing what it is you want. That means your being able to speak up for your needs saying no when you're tapped out. So there is a responsibility on both sides. But I think what organizations are doing is they're starting to get the memo, but they're not always spending and investing in the right resources to empower their employees to take control over their own experience.

Chris Snyder [00:46:50] Got it. I'll play a little bit of devil's advocate for a long time. I've I just kind of figured, like, look, this is a job. You're here to do work. Am I really in charge of your happiness? Like, let's be real. I mean, look, the job's the job. You have the job. Obviously, as an employer, you don't want to be a tyrant. You don't want to do anything unprofessional. And that is certainly. But what about the Ping-Pong tables, the snacks, the happy hours, the like? How much of this responsibility really lies on the employer? I know some of it does. How much of it is really up to that person, though, to make this work? Eighty percent is a big number, by the way.

Stella Grizont [00:47:32] Yes. So. And that the only way we're gonna crack that is by employees taking responsibility. But employees don't know how. Got it. And none of us know. It took me a long time and like a degree and happiness to start to realize it. And so that's why I do the work I do, which is teaching them how to take responsibility because we have it as a science has only started being interested in happiness in the last 20 years. So it's going to take time for us to raise our children with more consciousness, for schools, to start helping students understand where are they energized and how to stay motivated. We're not teaching these skills. And so what employers can do is work with organizations like mine. I mean, there's plenty of others. But to really help teach their employees these inner skills. And the reason why they want to do that is because more than the ping pong tables and the free beer. If you're lucky, it's it will drive productivity. We know that employees who are happier are 30 percent more productive. We know that there are 10 times more creative. We know that they're 40 percent more engaged. So it is worth the organization's investment in their people's overall well-being because that's where they're spending most of their waking hours. So it is very much a bottom-line question. In addition to just a moral question as well, which is are you being fair to your employees, like in making sure that there's fair conditions for them?

Chris Snyder [00:49:22] Yeah, I think if you get some of the table stakes together, you know, a safe, relatively normal work environment with, you know, relatively normal wage for the kind of job that you're doing, you should be able to hold on to people if you really deploy some extra help in coaching around the things that you're talking about. How many questions do you get from the people you consult within the companies you consult with about work-life balance or balance in general? I would think that will come up a lot for someone in your position.

Stella Grizont [00:49:59] It does come up a lot, and especially now with COVID. It's you know, I'm having a hard time. Anyone with children, I think, who has a working parent or two working parents. Yeah. It's just, you know, bonkers. So it comes up a lot. And again, that's why it's so important for us to get clear on your values and what's and how is it that you want to be in your work life and your personal life, because there's no right balance. But it's like if you can go to bed at night saying, here's how I made progress on what was most important to me. And here's the actions I took that were in alignment with what's important to me. Then you can go to bed with peace in your heart. And that's what matters. And so that's what I tell my clients. That's what living on purpose is. It's not some grand mission that you have to achieve every day. It's about, hey, I've made conscious choices that got me closer to what's most important to me.

Chris Snyder [00:50:59] And in control. Right. So it feels like you were way ahead of the curve. When we think about apps like, Happify, it looks like you're doing some stuff there. Headspace. What do you like what are your thoughts on these apps that basically say, hey, plugin and do meditation? And, you know, what's the difference maybe between meditation and mindfulness, and should we be using an app to do that? I know there's a lot to unpack there. Just give me a broad sense of how you feel about the app world. And then mindfulness and meditation, like, well, like, how do you feel about the stuff relative, the stuff you're talking about right now?

Stella Grizont [00:51:40] Yeah. So I love those apps and I use many of them and I recommend many of them in my work. So I think that having a practice that helps you train your mind to notice your thoughts. And to not let you be swept up by those thoughts. So that's really what mindfulness is all about. Is this about noticing the thoughts without letting them lead you down a certain direction? So I can notice myself feeling really angry. But I also recognize that I have a choice in that moment of what am I going to say? Am I going to be really angry with this person or am I going to say, you know what, I need a few minutes. Let me call you back and talk about this once I've had a few breaths. Right. So I think calm has so many great choices. Headspace has so many. They all are great insight. A timer is free all the time. But you have to do the work in curating who you like. But I think right now, especially right now, we have to have a practice where we can get into our bodies, center ourselves and quiet our mind. It doesn't mean that you're not thinking anything. It just means that your relationship with your thoughts is different. You are, you know, sometimes we don't realize. But there's someone who's thinking the thoughts and someone who's thinking the thoughts. That's their conscious state. That's really who you are. You're not the thought. So this could be a whole nother podcast.

Chris Snyder [00:53:25] Yeah, but that's deep. Like the devil on my shoulder instead of the iPhone in my pocket that says, OK, let me guide this thinking a little bit more and get you back to the right space. Well, I got to tell you, you're doing great things. Stella, what websites can we find you on? I know, Rupa, if you want to give our listeners that, I think you're working on a remote, resilient Web site. Could you tell us where we can find you so our listeners can go in and look at your materials?

Stella Grizont [00:54:01] Sure. So if if if you guys are interested in the vision generator exercise, just go to and then Remote and Resilient is something I'm doing in response to COVID for folks who are working remotely. Oh, every week I come out with a video and I offer some webinars on there as well. So you can also go to and sign up to get those resources. And either of those will get you on my email list. You can also email me And that's

Chris Snyder [00:54:44] Amazing. Stella Grizont is a happiness expert. I just. That's just calling yourself that. That's pretty amazing. Right. Or it also applied psychology expert, executive coach, speaker, and creator of the Work Happiness Method. She works with overachievers in organizations who are seeking deeper career fulfillment. In a nutshell, she wants us all to work happier and live better. Stella, thanks so much for being on the show. We will have to do this again. Thanks so much.

Stella Grizont [00:55:16] Thank you.



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