Jeff Zelaya

One Year Old Counting

It makes me so happy to see my son’s love for learning. It’s inspiring to see how hungry he is to learn and fun to watch his insatiable curiosity as he reads, counts and explores the world around him. He’s not even two yet but already he’s surpassing my expectations by learning how to count in English, Spanish, French, Japanese and Indonesian. He’s also reading books, pronouncing new words phonetically, knows his shapes, colors (in English & Spanish), animals, opposites and is starting to learn basic math. I’m confident he’ll be able to do some elementary mathematical operations by his 2nd birthday this summer. As a first time dad it’s a little scary to see how fast kids can learn but it’s also encouraging and it inspires you to devote more time to teaching them and challenging them, in my case my son is challenging me right back. Watch Eli count in 5 different languages in the now viral video.

Click To See Smart Baby Lessons

My baby reads his first book

My baby reads his very first book all by himself. At only 16 months Elijah has done a fantastic job of learning his ABC’s, 123’s, shapes and words. Yesterday, he surprised me my reading word for word Karen Katz’s book: “Where is baby’s belly button?” Watch him in action below:

where is baby's belly button

I wanted a pat on the back but instead my wife gave me this:

A few weeks ago I spoke at the TRSA Marketing and Sales Summit in Baltimore. I presented on the topic of LinkedIn and Social Selling to a group of about 50 people. During my presentation I got a lot of great engagement from the audience and overall felt very good about how things went, a couple of audience members came up to talk to me after my presentation and one even extended an invitation for me to speak at another conference that he’s organizing. 

On my way out the door the organizer of the conference promised to share with me any feedback they received about my presentation. She mentioned that  they were passing out a survey after every speaker and attendees would be filling them out providing comments and ranking the speaker’s overall performance on a scale from 1 to 5. I thanked her, left the event and didn’t think much of it till today.

This morning as promised I received an email from the event organizer with a note explaining that I had received the highest marks of all the speakers at the conference and that they would be interested in booking me again for a future event. She also attached an excel spreadsheet with the survey results of my presentation. 

I was happy to read all the great comments and forwarded the email to my wife to share the good news with her

…what happens next I will never forget. 

LinkedIn Training Reviews for Jeff Zelaya

Within minutes of forwarding my wife the email, my phone rings and it’s her, I pick up the phone expecting a pat on the back, a “Congratulations!”, “Great job honey!” or praise along those lines. 

But instead our conversation went something like this:

Wife: Good speaker? Just good? They gave you a 3? and what’s with the 4’s?

Me: Babe, what do you mean? Didn’t you see all the great things they said?

Wife: Didn’t you tell me that you want to be the best? 

Me: Well yes, yes I do

Wife: Could you have done a better job? 

Me: umm….yes

Wife: This is your bread and butter, this is your craft…

Me: Yes…

Wife: Well then there should be no doubt in everyone’s mind when you finish your speech that you were great…you got that! You know you’re fully capable of that, you know your potential. Don’t settle for 3 or 4….keep working till you’re the best. 

{Awkward Silence}

Wife: But I just want you to know that I’m very proud of you honey…keep it up and kill your presentation tomorrow. 

We hung up shortly after that and I was reminded why I love my wife so much. 

My wife doesn’t let me settle for good because she knows I could be great. 

I came looking for a pat on the back and instead I got a kick in the butt….

a kick in the butt that I needed. My wife was not satisfied in hearing that I was good when she knows in her heart that I have potential for greatness. 

It’s true that behind every great man there is a great woman. If it wasn’t for my wife I wouldn’t be the successful man that I am today. My wife has been my inspiration, my rock, my biggest critic but also my biggest fan. She isn’t afraid to tell me the truth and knows how to light a fire under my butt when I need it. 

I still remember ten years ago celebrating our anniversary eating mcdonald’s, sitting on the floor, in a bare apartment,  in the dark (because we were past due on our electric bill). We were broke and barely living paycheck to paycheck but she stood by my side. She knew we had something money couldn’t buy….

We had love and we had ambition. 

Fast forward ten years later and we are no longer broke…we are not wealthy either but we are rich with love and ambition. No matter how much we accomplish together…we both know that there is more still left for us to do. Our work isn’t finished, as long as our hearts beat and there is air flowing through our lungs, we will keep striving do more and be more. We will never settle for a “4” when we know our life was meant to be a “5”….I had almost forgotten that until Emma gave me a gentle reminder this morning :-) 

Thank you babe for not letting me forget that there is greatness within us.

I love you and thank you for always pushing me towards my God potential!


Zelaya Family

Sales 2.0 Speaker at 2014 BXSI Annual Sales Conference

I’m beyond excited to be presenting at the upcoming 2014 BXSI Annual Sales Conference.

BancorpSouth Insurance Services has booked me

as their featured Sales 2.0 speaker.

Sales 2.0 Speaker - Bancorpsouth Sales Speaker

As my 2014 Social Selling Speaking Tour continues I am thrilled to be seeing an increasingly amount of awareness and acceptance of Sales 2.0. The top sales manager and sales executives understand that sales is evolving and changing. The high pressure, fast talking, “salesy” tactics are not as effective as they might have been in the past and if you use them today the only thing you will “close” is the door behind you as you leave  the prospect’s office with no sale, no relationship and a bad reputation!

As technology like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and smart phones change consumer behavior and the buying decisions so should the way salespeople use these channels to their advantage. Social selling is no longer in its infancy and now there is solid proof and detailed social selling case studies that conclude what many like myself have already witnessed first hand…

Social Selling is here to stay because it gets results!

Only those salespeople that adapt will be able to survive and thrive in a technology & data driven world. The Sales Management at BancorpSouth Insurance Services has made the decision that they want their sales reps prepared and educated for Sales 2.0 and that’s exactly what I will be doing come this Friday, August 8th in Jackson, Mississippi. Looking forward to hanging out with the hundred of BancorpSouth team members that will be present for the 2014 BXSI Annual Sales Conference. I’m BRINGING IT! So I hope you guys are ready!! :-)

About BancorpSouth Insurance Services

BancorpSouth Insurance Services is powered by BancorpSouth Bank; a wholly-owned subsidiary of BancorpSouth Inc., a $13.4 billion-financial holding company based in Tupelo, Mississippi. Business Insurance magazine ranks BXSI as the nation’s 33rd largest brokerage and the 4th largest bank-owned agency. BXSI has 33 offices across 9 states with over 600 insurance and risk management professionals ready to serve.

Interested in booking a Sales 2.0 speaker for your Sales Conference?

Let me know! Click here to contact me today.

The Best Gifts In Life You Can’t Buy on Black Friday

The best gifts in life aren’t sold on Black Friday

The best gifts in life never go on sale

The best gifts in life are the ones that money can’t buy

The best gift in life is the PRESENT.

So enjoy your PRESENT moment, whatever it might be and whatever it could be.

The best gift will make you happy and successful and I promise you it’s never going to be something material.

And even when at first you think of the best gift being something physical…go a little deeper and ask yourself:

What will this gift do for me?

How will this gift make me feel?

Why do I REALLY want this gift?

If you answer these questions as honestly as possible, you’ll understand that you never want a tangible gift.

You just want the feelings that this gift gives you. What are those feelings?

The best gift in life that you’ll never hold in your hand because you will hold it in your heart instead.
I pray that you get the best gift this holiday season.

From the Zelaya Family

Check Out The Zelaya 1st Annual Family Thanksgiving Picture

Zelaya Family Picture - Thanksgiving

Jeff, Emma and Eli Zelaya

Our family is growing and we couldn’t be more excited! I am so grateful for my wife and son, they have helped make my 2013 the best year ever. This picture was taken on Thanksgiving or “Black Friday Eve” as some so disrespectfully have called it. I uploaded this picture with a quote:

Black Friday shopping for what, I’ve got everything that I ever wanted right here – Jeff Zelaya

5 Tips To Optimize Your Goal Setting

I am a strong believer that goals are essential to success…and in order to achieve goals you have to create daily habits that will propel you towards them. Studies have shown that it takes 21 days to create a habit…so this blog post is timely. Let today’s post serve you as a swift kick in the butt, in case you’ve  forgotten about those goals you committed yourself to on the 1st.

Goals Written Down on Paper

The Zelaya New Year’s Tradition

The Zelaya family has a tradition of ringing in the New Year by spending time discussing our goals for the upcoming year and then proceeding to write them down and create a vision board that will help us visualize the goals as if they are already a reality.

Over the past 5 years we have made this a habit and the results have been amazing! Year after year, we have been able to systemically check off several of those goals that we’ve set. Of course, goals aren’t always static and they change but if you commit to writing down your goals and constantly reflect upon them, I assure you, that you too will get similar results. In this post we will share goal setting tips we’ve discovered that will help you optimize your goal setting so you can maximize the chances of achieving those goals.

Here are the Zelaya’s Top 5 Tips To Optimize Your Goal Setting for 2013

1) Write down your goals in the present tense.

Instead of writing “I want to lose 40lbs” write down “I am so happy to have lost 40lbs” The purpose of this is to trick your brain and subconscious to act as if it’s already a reality. Since your brain is already thinking “I’ve lost 40lbs” your body then kicks in to try to catch up to what the brain has already perceived.

“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.”–Mark Victor Hansen

2) Apply the SMART Principle to your goals

S = Specfic – The more specific the better, what EXACTLY do you want to achieve?

M = Measurable = Add numbers to your goals – Ask yourself how can an outsider confirm that you’ve reached the goal?

A = Attainable = Make sure that the goal is realistic and something within your capabilities.  You want the goal to be a stretch but not extreme, otherwise your brain chalks it up as B.S and completely sabotages you from reaching the desired outcome. The “A” also helps you start think of the appropriate “Actions” to start taking. In other words, what steps will you be taking in order to reach the goal?

R = Relevant = How is this goal relevant to you? The more relevant the goal is, the more passion you will feel and therefore the more likely you will develop a burning desire to achieve the goal you’ve set. If the goal doesn’t really resonant with you, then chances are that it’s not of importance and therefore you will fall short from that particular goal.

T = Time Bound = What’s the deadline for the goal? Deadlines help us stay on track, if you are able to give your goal a deadline, you  build the urgency needed to ensure that you don’t procrastinate and therefore plan the appropriate steps to make sure you reach the goal by that specific time. In setting goals for 2013 – maybe realistically you can’t reach that goal in 2013, well then outline how far you expect to get in 2013, in other words what specific steps will you accomplish and how will it be measured?

“Give yourself an even greater challenge than the one you are trying to master and you will develop the powers necessary to overcome the original difficulty.”–William J. Bennett – The Book of Virtues

3) Review your goals daily

[sociallocker id=”6523″]

When you write your goals down, make sure to put them somewhere you’ll see them everyday. Put it next to your bed or on the mirror in the bathroom. Some of my friends even put them on their odometer so they can be reminded of their goal every time they get into the car. Keeping your goals top of mind, helps your mind create those daily habits that will create the momentum that you need to reach your goal.

“The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.” – Benjamin E. Mays

4) Share your goals with others

Some people are afraid to talk about their goals, I used to be one of those people. I felt like my goal was private, or if I tell someone about it, then what happens if I don’t reach it…I’ll be embarrassed. However, once I started telling people about my goals, I seemed to attract the right circumstances and situations that I needed to reach that goal. For example, telling my friends about the goal of reaching 10 paid speaking engagements in one year, helped me out because since my friends were aware of my goal, when they came across a possible speaking opportunity…guess who they thought about first? Telling people about your goals helps build a good kind of pressure, activates your network to help you to reach this goal and it keeps you accountable.

“The entrepreneur is essentially a visualizer and actualizer… He can visualize something, and when he visualizes it he sees exactly how to make it happen.”–Robert L. Schwartz


5) Create a Vision Board

Humans are very visual and like to not only hear or read things but they also like to actually see pictures of them. Creating a vision board helps you “see” your goals better. If there is a dream car that it’s your goal to have…cut out a picture of it and put it on your board…if you can get to the dealership and actually get the dealer to take your picture behind the driver seat then you’re creating even a stronger vision for your board. A vision board helps take your goals and make them more than just words on paper…you can now start really imagining, visualizing, envisioning and really feeling what it’s like to achieve that goal. Creating that feeling..that passion and burning desire is what eventually will help you achieve  your goals for 2013.

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”–Mario Andretti

Now, it’s your turn. Share with me in the comments below:

What is your New Year Family Tradition?

What are some ways that you stay on track with your goals?

Married Couple Writing Down Goals

Emma & Jeff Zelaya


If you liked this post you might also like:


How To Keep New Years Resolutions – 19 ways to do it



3 Advertising Lessons That You Can Learn From Alex Bogusky

If you’re not in the advertising world than the name Alex Bogusky might not be very familiar. However, if you watch the show Mad Men then you can think of Alex as the Don Draper of Generation X.  Fast Company Magazine has even proclaimed Bogusky as “the Steve Jobs of the Ad World”. Even though you might not be familiar with his name I’m sure you’re very familiar with the brands he’s worked on for example. Does the image below mean anything to you?

Burger King Creepy Bogusky

Well the creepy Burger King was a Bogusky idea. What about truth?


One of the most successful anti-tobacco campaigns in our country’s history was also Alex’s idea.

Coconut Grove_Crispin_Porter_Bogusky_headquarters

You might also be familiar with agency Crispin, Porter and Bogusky. CP+B  headquartered in Coconut Grove, FL still carries his moniker although he is no longer there and has since retired to pursue his passion of social causes.

On March 26 I had the privilege of sitting front row to hear Alex share his latest project which involved learning from the cardboard signs that homeless people use to solicit help. He felt that this is one of the most real forms of advertising because it comes from a real need and pain. From the moment he began I was enthralled and hung on to his every word. He isn’t afraid to be different and to tell it how it is.  I learned a lot from the 90 minute presentation but 3 key things stood out to me.

Alex Bogusky taught me 3 very important advertising lessons. Here they are:

1) Be Genuine.  Alex Bogusky attempted to create his own cardboard signs and get the homeless folks to “fly them”.  All refused – they said that it didn’t feel right and that the sign that they created were better. In the advertising world you can’t just jump in and create a campaign for a client without really understanding their struggles. It is necessary to step into our clients shoes and really experience what it’s like to be them. Then and only then would you be able to create advertising that will resonate with the brand and the audience.

2)  It’s not about the money. Alex Bogusky left Crispin Porter at the height of his career. He was offered a very lucrative offer to stay but instead turned it down in order to follow his passion of social activism. The advertising world is cut throat and can quickly make you into a money grubbing person. The problem with money is that it can sometimes keep you away from true happiness. Many people are only at their job for the paycheck. If that happens to be you, then realize that you will never truly be successful if you don’t step away from that to pursue your dreams. In fact, being unhappy and focused only on the money will in the long run make your work suffer because your heart isn’t really into it.

3) Your Ego will be bruised. In the advertising world you will pour your heart and soul into a campaign only to get rejected by the client. Get used to it! It’s going to happen and be ready for it. Not every one of your ideas will be received with open arms – even when you are at the top of your game. Sometimes this works out for the best because the client really knows that it might not work and sometimes the client is wrong. Whatever the case might be just don’t take it personal and don’t dwell on it. Learn to appreciate that rejection is part of the game and that everything happens for a reason.

Alex Bogusky and Jeff Zelaya

Alex Bogusky and Jeff Zelaya

9 Ways To Be a Leader

leadership tips dale carneige
Wikipedia defines leadership as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”. Being a good leader and work effectively in a team is essential to success. However, becoming a leader is not something that you are born with it is something that you work at becoming. Vince Lombardi once said “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” So how can you work at becoming a better leader. Simple! Start with these 9 tips below:

1) Begin with praise and sincere appreciation
2) Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
3) Talk about your mistakes first before criticizing another person
4) Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
5) Let the other person save face
6) Praise improvement even if it is small. Don’t be stingy with your praise.
7) Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
8 ) Use encouragement make the fault easy to correct
9) Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest

Click Here For More Leadership Related Articles


9 Ways to Prevent Fatigue and Get Energized

energetic jeff zelaya dale carneige tips fatigueAs you wake up today especially after the Heat game and partying last night you might be feeling the fatigue. Luckily, you have the three day Memorial weekend to recover. But as Tuesday rolls around your bed might feel like glue as you try to get up. Battling fatigue is a daily occurrence, we all go thru it, however, there are ways to become more energetic. So why is energy important in the first place? Well, having energy is contagious, if you are discouraged, pessimistic, or lacking in energy, people will feel it. Do you want to infect the people around you with fatigue or energy? The choice is up to you. In Dale Carnegie’s “How To Win Friends and Influence People” he shares some great insight on how you can be upbeat, energetic, and optimistic, so people will feel it. Your new found energy will positively effect the people around you and their outcomes.

Here are some tips that Dale Carnegie recommends to GET ENERGIZED! 

1) Rest before you get tired
2) Learn to relax at your work
3) Protect your health and appearance by relaxing at home

[sociallocker id=”6523″]
4) Do things in order of their importance
5) Focus on one thing at a time
6) Be organized
7) Learn to delegate
8 ) Put enthusiasm into your work
9) Don’t worry about insomnia


Got any other tips? Share them below:

how-to-win-friends-and-influence-people-cover-book free tips download

Click Here To Buy Now!

The AMA Northwestern Mutual Sales Competition Champion!

My flight was scheduled for 4pm on Thursday, it was then pushed back to Friday at 10am then pushed back once again to Friday at 10:55pm and if that wasn’t bad enough the 10:55pm flight was delayed and didn’t leave Miami International Airport till 1:30am on Saturday. Tired, exhausted and hungry we arrived at New Orleans at 3:30 am and still had to drive to our hotel (30 minutes away) and then go grab a bite to eat. Long story short we didn’t go to sleep till 4:30am and try sleeping when you have to be back up at 8am.

But even the sleepless night and the excessive delays didn’t prevent us from walking away victorious.

The AMA Northwestern Mutual Sales Competition began at 9am sharp – so we woke up put on our game faces…

The competition was fierce out of 50 students by 12pm only 5 were left. But it wasn’t over — at 12:15pm we begun the final round and had to do our presentation in front of a large audience and in front of a panel of five judges that will scrutinize your words, tone and body movement. After each contestants went the judges would furiously scribble down their notes and whisper among each other. After we all went the butterflies in the stomach were still not over..they wouldn’t announce the winners till that evening at 6:30pm.

ama northwestern mutual sales competition jeff zelaya

Jeff Zelaya wins 1st place at the American Marketing Association Sales Competition

6:30pm finally crawled along and it was show time. As they got ready to announce the winners, my heart starting beating super fast – I felt like it would give up at any moment and then it came 5th place – Jonathan Santana – my team mate snagged up 5th and I immediately got worried but still held on to hope. 4th Place…..3rd Place and so I knew I was in the top 2 since they had yet to call my name and then 2nd place was announced and my team went nuts.

You would have thought they were screaming for the 2nd place winner but 2nd place was won by someone else so they knew that the only name left unannounced was JEFF ZELAYA and so they called it and up to the stage I ran to take pictures with the big $500 check and claim my…

FIRST PLACE victory for the American Marketing Association Northwestern Mutual Sales Competition. 

An incredible moment and a very happy moment in my life. All the hard work had paid off. But the celebrations weren’t the award ceremony winded down there was still one more big award left unannounced and it was for the AMA’s Top Chapter of the Year AKA the Platinum Award…which FIU WON!!! The crowd once again went wild – everyone wanted to congratulate us and take pictures with us and so the trip that almost never happened concluded in the best finish possible. It was meant to be! Thank you for everyone that made this experience possible. Thank you to our ‘ama’zing AMA family and especially to our Advisors Tim Birrittella and Nancy Rauseo. Love you guys!!

Check our my very prophetic words in this video below…”FIU AMA will be number one!” Whatever you believe you will achieve!