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Pericles Rellas of ‘Abundance & Prosperity’: Emotional Intelligence; What It Is, Why It Is So Essential, And How We Can Increase It

Acknowledge. I think it’s safe to say that almost all of us, at some point in our lives, have tried to deny that we are experiencing a certain emotion. Whether at the movies when the dog’s life is in danger and we feel the hot burn of tears forming in our eyes or when watching a tear-jerking YouTube video with a friend. We fear being judged if we show emotions or thought of as being weak or a “cry baby,” so we try hard to force them down. Over time, we get better and better at hiding these emotions to the point where they become completely muted. We say things like “I’m just not very emotional” or “Emotions are for kids.” If you want to expand and grow your Emotional Intelligence, the first step is to acknowledge that you have emotions rather than trying to suppress them. It may seem odd, but when was the last time you actually acknowledged having emotions, to yourself or someone else? Start by declaring it to yourself out loud.

a part of our series about “Emotional Intelligence, I had the pleasure of interviewing Pericles Rellas.

Pericles Rellas is a Prosperity Coach who has worked with tens of thousands of people over the past 25 years to live lives of power, purpose, and prosperity.

When Pericles first began his coaching business, he noticed that his clients exhibited what he now calls a “condition” around money. Regardless of how much more they made, their situation and experience around money remained the same — stress, anxiety, dread, and just treading water or being behind.

He knew there had to be something causing these phenomena, so he set out to understand what they were and how they could be transformed. Over the next two years he created his Abundance & Prosperity programs.

For over 20 years, Pericles has used his mastery of mindset, together with his proprietary distinctions around money, to help his clients create a new relationship with money and unlock the abundance and prosperity they desire.

Pericles was born and raised in Los Angeles, before moving to Paris, France, from 2015–2018, where he enjoyed traveling all around Europe and soaking in different cultures and lifestyles. Pericles believes that we find power in our differences, and he considers it an honor to support people from all walks of life and in many varied situations — whether during his decades as a coach, or previously, in his 15 years as a Stage Manager and Company Manager for live theatre, or his 23 years as a business owner. In 2018, Pericles returned to the States and now lives in Las Vegas, NV with his husband, Ben and their dog and constant companion, Harry.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

oth of my parents began their careers in live theatre in New York. After getting married, they moved to Los Angeles where my mom gave up her acting/singing career to work and raise a family, and my dad transitioned to writing for television. Needless to say, I was influenced by their love of the theatre and gravitated toward live theatre myself. Stage Management is where I found my home and heart while attending college. After getting my Equity card, I continued to work in live theatre in Los Angeles and Boston with a short stint in Toronto, Canada. Working with people from different backgrounds and areas of expertise helped develop my love of interacting with people. Being a Stage Manager involves working with actors, directors, writers, designers, producers, and crew members who all have different needs, wants and ways of approaching things. It was a challenge to find the best way to bring them all together. Most of the time I was successful, but not always. I definitely learned from my failures and celebrated the successes. I also think my years as a Stage Manager gave me the life experience I would need later when I decided to launch my own coaching business.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

In 1989, my dad and I decided to go to Greece to see where his parents were born and meet our relatives for the first time. We were going to be there for 3 weeks, so I decided it would be fun to go to Cairo for a few days since we were so close. Cairo was an incredible city and nothing I had ever experienced before could have prepared me for the chaotic and yet beautiful energy that flowed and pulsed all around. This was before smartphones and easy internet access, so my preparation was done by Fodor’s travel guides. We were quite overwhelmed and had a bit of trouble adjusting. Nutan, the manager of the hotel where we were staying, asked me how our visit was going, and I expressed a little distress. She smiled and said to meet her in the lobby the next day at 8am. We set out the next morning excited and a little nervous. She hailed a cab and gave instructions in Arabic. After a harrowing drive through the streets of Cairo, we arrived in Old Cairo where she proceeded to show us shops and sites that most tourists never get to see. She introduced us to friends and shop owners who treated us like royalty. After an exhilarating day which included her taking us to lunch, we arrived back at the hotel. I thanked her for such an extraordinary experience and offered to pay for the cab and lunch, but she emphatically declined. I thanked her again and then asked why she had been so generous with us. She explained that when she was about 9 years old, her mother sent her to the U.S. to visit an aunt. This was her first trip away from home and alone. Shortly after arriving, she and her aunt got into a huge fight and her aunt threw her out of the house, literally. Walking down the street crying, a woman stopped and asked what was wrong. Nutan told her and the woman asked if she had any other relatives or friends in the U.S. Nutan said she had another aunt who lived in another state. The woman bought her a ticket, called the aunt to make sure she knew she was coming and sent her on her way. Nutan told me that this was just her way of paying back the debt she owed to that kind stranger in the U.S. who helped her so many years ago. I was stunned. Not just by the story, but by the fact that I was the beneficiary of such an extraordinary kindness. I think of that magical experience and Nutan to this very day. Her kindness inspired me to be kind and generous with others whenever I can. Ultimately, I think that experience was a major driving force in my wanting to make a difference for others.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

The person who first inspired me to be a coach was Candace Shivers. I was participating in a seminar and she came in to talk about her leadership program. I remember her walking to the front of the room filled with about 150 people. When she turned to face us, I was clear that she owned that room. All she did was walk up and turn around. But in that instant, I knew she had what I wanted. From that moment on, she became my mentor and coach. She inspired me to be of service to others and showed me how to get out of my own way in order to accomplish that goal. She also became one of my best friends. To find one specific thing to share would be hard. But what I will say is that she taught me how to deal with everything with a sense of humor. We were always laughing. And even when we were dealing with difficult situations, she taught me how to use humor to break the tension and ease people’s pain — including my own. To this day she is an inspiration to me and the work I do.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I registered for a personal development program many years ago. I had never done anything like it before, so I was a little apprehensive, but it was highly recommended by someone I trusted, so I decided “what the hell.” About a week before it started, I ran into a friend I had not seen in quite a while. As we were catching up, I mentioned the upcoming seminar. I told her that I really wasn’t sure about it because another friend told me he was going to register but had a weird experience at his introduction. He had been invited by someone to come to their “Money” seminar to find out about the program. The seminar leader asked the participants to share what breakthroughs they had had that week. A woman stood up and shared that she always ran out of money by the end of the month and had to call her dad to ask for more which would then lead to an argument. Her breakthrough was that this month, everything had happened the same way, but when she called her dad for more money, it hadn’t devolved into a fight. “Can you believe that?” I told my friend “That was her breakthrough? They didn’t fight? How about making more money? Seriously!? What a loser.” My friend looked at me and simply said, ‘Pericles, that was me. And the seminar leader was my husband.’ If there was ever a single defining moment in my life, I can honestly say that was it. I literally felt my entire world shift. I saw myself in a way that I had never seen before. I saw a closed-minded, judgmental jerk — someone I didn’t like at all. I had never seen it before, but it was now as clear as day. It was my first breakthrough in life, and I have never looked back. It opened the door to my being able to do the work I do today. To this day, my friend and I share that story and love to laugh about it.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

First and foremost — never stop growing: emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. We are either expanding or contracting. There is no standing still. If you think you have arrived, and there is nowhere left to go, then you are contracting. There is always something new to learn, or an opportunity to grow and expand in all areas. Beware of those who say they have the “answers.” Seek out those who keep asking questions, because that is where true growth emanates. Next, keep things simple, never take things too seriously and always be true to yourself. You can do great things and still have a sense of humor. You can change people’s lives — but never forget that you are no better than anyone. You can make millions — but never lose your humanity. Finally, if you want to make a difference in the world, then you must recognize the difference others can make for you. There isn’t any interaction I have that doesn’t provide value for me as well. Treat everyone with honor, respect and dignity. And most importantly, always be your authentic self.

Is there a particular book, film, or podcast that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I remember seeing the film ‘Billy Elliott’ in 2000. The story was brilliantly told by a wonderful cast, writer, and director. But the defining moment in the film for me was when Billy’s father finally decided to cross the picket line so he could earn the money he needed to send his son to London for a dance school audition. The union was his father’s lifeblood, and this strike was everything to him. But he crossed the line for his son. He raised the courage to be bigger and better than anything he had known his entire life for his son’s future. It was a profound example of how extraordinary we can be as human beings when we come from pure love.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“The things we can’t be with about others are the things we can’t be with about ourselves.” For me this is such a powerful place from which to work. It can be very challenging at times — trust me, I know. But if I dig deep enough, it is accurate every time. I especially love when someone is really annoying me, and I think “I’m nothing like them.” Then after some real reflection I find that aspect of myself that is exactly like them and all I can do is laugh. When I do get that clarity, I have two choices. First, surrender to “that’s how I am” and just own it. Or, if I don’t like that aspect of myself, transform it. Either way, I get freedom and that behavior in others no longer bothers me. It is very rewarding.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

One of the primary distinctions I created in my work is that money flows like a current, and that it flows in a circle, with us intersecting one point in that circle. So, money flows to us, through us, and away from us and then back around to us, through us and away from us, with a reservoir on the side that we get to keep. When we understand this premise, we can then start to look for blocks in the flow of money in our lives. Because money flows in a circle, a block anywhere in the flow, is a block everywhere in the flow. As we clear those blocks, money can then flow more easily and abundantly in our lives. Over the past year I have realized that this distinction actually holds true for many other things in our lives: love, happiness, joy, appreciation, etc. If we consider that these things also flow in a circle, with us intersecting one point of that flow, we can start to see that a block anywhere in the flow is a block everywhere in the flow. For example, a block in the flow of love coming to us could be resenting the love we see in others, or someone else’s loving relationship. That resentment ultimately blocks us experiencing love in our lives. The same is true for love flowing away from us. If we don’t acknowledge that we love someone or we are stingy in expressing our love e.g., “he knows I love him, so I don’t have to say it or show it.” That also blocks the flow of love in our lives. By identifying these blocks and then clearing them, we increase the flow of love in our lives and, in fact, experience more of it every day. I have been working on bringing the expanded version of this distinction to my work as I have seen how it has impacted my current clients. It is very exciting, and I have enjoyed the evolution of this distinction into other areas of our lives.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. Can you briefly tell our readers a bit about why you are an authority about Emotional Intelligence?

In the 25 years that I have been a coach, one of the most telling aspects of anyone’s ability to be “coachable” is their Emotional Intelligence. Being able to identify areas that are not working is paramount to anyone who wants to succeed and fulfill their dreams. I have found those who not only possess Emotional Intelligence, but are willing to improve their Emotional Intelligence, are the most successful. Being able to identify where someone is relative to their own Emotional Intelligence allows me to work with them in a manner in which they are comfortable, while also elevating their Emotional Intelligence. By doing both things simultaneously, they are able to grow and produce the results they are committed to, and that impacts all areas of their lives in a positive way.

For the benefit of our readers, can you help to define what Emotional Intelligence is?

Emotional Intelligence is our ability to recognize when we are having emotions and when emotions are having us. It is being able to identify when an emotion is having us and determine if it is appropriate to just allow that emotion to have us or shift it to us having the emotion. Much like being self-aware, it is the ability to be aware of the emotions in our lives and how those emotions are impacting the quality of our life and the lives of the people around us.

How is Emotional Intelligence different from what we normally refer to as intelligence?

Intelligence is how well we comprehend things. We can expand that ability through education and life experience. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to learn or understand or to deal with emotions in our lives and how they impact our experience and actions. Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence can sometimes be opposite sides of the same coin. When we find something difficult to understand or deal with, frequently, our emotions step in automatically. More often than not, these emotions do not support us in dealing with the situation powerfully, but rather hinder having a positive outcome. Again, when we recognize this is happening in the moment, we have the opportunity to alter it and create an entirely new end result.

Can you help explain a few reasons why Emotional Intelligence is such an important characteristic? Can you share a story or give some examples?

Emotional Intelligence can impact all areas of our lives: work, play, relationships, everywhere. Take, for example, someone who is trying to play a game they don’t understand. It is natural for our emotions to come into play and have us feel inadequate, or frustrated, mad or upset. Having emotional intelligence means recognizing those emotions in the moment and choosing not to allow them to run the show. So rather than quitting and walking away, we simply choose to press on and learn the game or say this is not something I am going to get and be OK with that. Another example is finding ourselves in an uncomfortable situation. Perhaps a party where you are going to be surrounded by people you have never met before or talking to a large group of people. Stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions can easily take over. We can surrender to those feelings and let them dictate our entire experience and actions (or worse, not even realize this is happening) or we can recognize that we are simply having emotions and that we don’t need to let them determine how life will proceed. In other words, someone who feels fear, and then acts in the face of that fear anyway, is heroic. They have the Emotional Intelligence to recognize that they simply have fear and then move forward anyway. This is the power of Emotional Intelligence.

Would you feel comfortable sharing a story or anecdote about how Emotional Intelligence has helped you in your life? We would love to hear about it.

In 2015 I moved to Paris, France with my partner. It was the culmination of a ten-year dream for us to live there. It was incredible and life was amazing. Near the end of 2018, he went on a week-long retreat, something we regularly did, and at the end of the week he sent me an email saying our relationship was over. We had been together for 23 years. I was devastated and my emotions rightfully had me. I remember texting my dear friend and neighbor as soon as I read the email and she immediately came over to be with me as I sobbed and sobbed. This was an incredibly difficult time in my life, and it was important for me to let these emotions out, rather than trying to hold them in. And while I did this, I was also aware that there were times when I needed to shift from the emotions having me to me having the emotions so I could function. I had to take care of my dog Harry. I had to manage my business and take care of my clients. So, at first, it was really my emotions just having me, plain and simple. I believe it is an important part of grieving. Then it shifted to where it would go from them having me to a brief period where I would have them, do what needed to get done and then surrender back to them having me. That shifting back and forth went on for a while and gradually became more me having them than the other way around. Today, almost 3 years later, I still have the emotions from time to time, and very occasionally they will have me. The important part is that I never stopped being aware of the emotions I was dealing with — even when they had me. And because of that awareness, or Emotional Intelligence, I was able to move through my grief without ever forgetting who I am and how I want to relate to people. Many people just allow their emotions to have them and thus behave however they “feel” in that moment with no regard for the impact or consequences it will have on themselves or others. This is where Emotional Intelligence not only helped me navigate a horrific time in my life, but also gave me the tools I needed to ultimately thrive again.

Can you share some specific examples of how Emotional Intelligence can help a person become more successful in the business world?

Imagine the owner, manager, or CEO of a business coming to work each day wearing whatever emotion that arose while they were at home. They then interact with those who work for them, with them, and potentially with clients as well, through that emotion. If they are feeling good or happy, then it is a good or happy day for everyone with whom they interact. If they are feeling bad, then the day is bad. Angry, upset, frustrated — you get the point. I call this an ‘Emotional Based Business’. How the business goes each day is based on the emotional state of the person in charge. If you are one of the fortunate few who is always in a great, upbeat mood, this is wonderful. However, if you are like many, and are not even aware that you are running an emotional base business, then the negative impact on your business, and those who work under you, can be insidious. Map this same idea on a salesperson or anyone else who has a job, and you start to get how things can go south very quickly. Having a really bad day with clients or employees can be very hard from which to recover. Having Emotional Intelligence means you are aware of the emotions you are experiencing and can be responsible for how they impact you and your relations with others.

Can you share a few examples of how Emotional Intelligence can help people have better relationships?

Most of us have seen a couple on vacation, or out for a nice dinner, who are clearly not having a good time. Something is obviously wrong, and it is now wreaking havoc on what should be a wonderful time together. Generally, people just plow along, suffer through, and hope that things get better. However, having Emotional Intelligence would allow for one or both to stop and ask, “what just happened, why are we arguing, or upset, etc.?” They would be more interested in resolving the issue than just letting it run its course. This is not to say that we will never have arguments or spats, but rather we would have the ability to interrupt those events by recognizing the negative emotions and choosing to create a new experience rather than the automated one that is given by whatever emotion they are having. By doing so, our relationships become richer and more profound.

Can you share a few examples of how Emotional Intelligence can help people have more optimal mental health?

I think each of us is rather adept at self-criticism. In fact, I would bet that for most of us, no one can be more outspoken about how we have or will or might screw something up than the person sitting in our chair at this moment. Not recognizing this negative and automated self-talk can have a detrimental impact on our mental health and well-being. While I am most certainly not a medical professional, I can recognize the impact this has on the people I have worked with as clients, my friends, and family. Having Emotional Intelligence means the ability to recognize when we do this, acknowledge it, and instead alter it by choosing something new and empowering. Oftentimes, when I screw up, I will simply say to myself “well you really screwed the pooch that time, didn’t you?,” laugh, and then move on. When we can really be ok with our own shortcomings, failures, and weaknesses, it allows us to grow. When we don’t, we just get smaller and smaller until the world we operate in becomes miniscule.

Ok. Wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. Can you recommend five things that anyone can do to develop a greater degree of Emotional Intelligence? Please share a story or example for each.

Emotional Intelligence is something that you can actually improve on your own. Of course, it’s always optimal to have someone to bounce things off of and to shine light on what you cannot see yourself, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take leaps and bounds forward in your development by yourself. Here are 5 things you can do, very easily, anytime or anywhere to develop your Emotional Intelligence. Don’t attempt them all at once, but rather start with step one and, once you are comfortable with it, and have a facility with it, move on to the next step. They are simple and do not require the assistance of anyone else.

  1. Acknowledge. I think it’s safe to say that almost all of us, at some point in our lives, have tried to deny that we are experiencing a certain emotion. Whether at the movies when the dog’s life is in danger and we feel the hot burn of tears forming in our eyes or when watching a tear-jerking YouTube video with a friend. We fear being judged if we show emotions or thought of as being weak or a “cry baby,” so we try hard to force them down. Over time, we get better and better at hiding these emotions to the point where they become completely muted. We say things like “I’m just not very emotional” or “Emotions are for kids.” If you want to expand and grow your Emotional Intelligence, the first step is to acknowledge that you have emotions rather than trying to suppress them. It may seem odd, but when was the last time you actually acknowledged having emotions, to yourself or someone else? Start by declaring it to yourself out loud. Then, acknowledge it to the person looking at you in the mirror (this might be harder than you think). Do this over and over again, until the person in the mirror believes you and is accepting of you as a person with emotions.
  2. Embrace. The next step is to actually embrace your emotions. Acknowledging them is one thing, sort of like acknowledging that you have a younger sibling, but never wanting to spend time with them, much less any quality time. Now, can you really embrace them? Own that you have them and allow them to show up whenever and wherever they appear. Do this without judgement or any loss of power or self-worth. Simply notice them in the moment and just let them be. As with acknowledging, you may find this difficult in the beginning. When possible, go back to the mirror, and share the emotions with the person you see. Watch them as they are experiencing the emotions and see if you can just be with them. When you find you are able to embrace your emotions when they show up, you are ready to move on to the next step.
  3. Expand. As you become more comfortable embracing your emotions, you can then begin to expand them. Just like the younger sibling example, can you start to spend more time with them being vulnerable as you engage in different activities? What people, places, and things conjure up what feelings and emotions for you? Can you allow those emotions to evolve as you go about your daily life? Allow them to, not just show up, but to rise and fall like riding a roller coaster? Which are the most predominant emotions that you experience? What physical manifestations arise along with those emotions? Expand where, when, and what emotions you experience as a regular practice. Just like spending time with someone you love, what new and exciting adventures can you pursue to elicit a more diverse palate of emotions in your life? See how much you can expand your capacity to experience emotions in all aspects of your life.
  4. Create. Having acknowledged that you have emotions, and developed your ability to embrace and expand them, the time has come for you to create. Up to this point, you have been working with the emotions that naturally show up as you move through your daily life. Now you will begin to actively create the emotions you would like to experience in a given moment. Rather than being the effect of an emotion, you are going to be the cause of the emotion. I like to call it going from “Default to Design.” Take a situation where your younger sibling is doing something or behaving in a way that totally annoys you while you are trying to hang out with them. Frustration, and even anger can arise. This final step is Creating your ability to shift that frustration or anger to something more positive, like joy or fun. Prior to your next engagement with your brother or sister, get present to the unwanted emotions that have shown up in the past. Just notice them and then let them go. Then declare out loud to yourself that you are creating fun, joy, and happiness for the two of you during this next encounter. Really get present to having that experience with them and let those emotions take you over. During your time together notice when those emotions are present and when they are not. When they are present, acknowledge, allow, and expand them. When they are not, let go of any emotion that is undesired and redeclare the emotions you are creating. This might sound weird or even impossible, but if you really take it on, you will see results very quickly. What happens is you begin to actually experience those created emotions, and that new emotional state impacts your future actions and interactions with your sister which in turn impacts her. Eventually you will find that you go into interactions with your sister with these new, created emotions as they have now become your new ‘default’ emotions whenever you see her. The step of create can be the most powerful and rewarding as it allows you to transform any situation in your life.
  5. Celebrate. As with anything you are taking on in life, learn from your failures and celebrate your successes. During each of these steps, stop and celebrate every single win. No matter how big or small, when you celebrate, you train your mind that this is something good, that you want to replicate. Become your own biggest fan and supporter. When we forget to celebrate, we miss out on letting ourselves know that we did a great job. And be sure not to diminish a small win. In fact, make an even bigger deal out of it. Our minds literally don’t know the difference between what we are actually experiencing and what we say we are experiencing — so leverage that. The end result is the same. We feel good. We feel happy. We feel empowered. So, honor yourself and celebrate all that you are and all that you become.

Do you think our educational system can do a better job at cultivating Emotional Intelligence? What specific recommendations would you make for schools to help students cultivate Emotional Intelligence?

With few exceptions, our teachers are extraordinary human beings tasked with a profoundly important job. They literally have our future in their hands as they shape the minds of our children so they can become whatever they want in life. If we include cultivating Emotional Intelligence into their daily programs, we could elevate, not just our children, but our teachers as well. The first step is to provide the education and support they need about Emotional Intelligence, so they are fully grounded in it, and able to recognize it in themselves and their students. Then, arm them with a clear and concise method of integrating what actions to take to elevate their students’ Emotional Intelligence in a manner that is seamless to their daily teaching routines. We must offer whatever support they need so this does not become an additional burden. They have enough on their plates already. Bless our teachers.

OK, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

“What can I do right now?” If we all took on this mantra, we could make a tremendous difference in the world right now. Sometimes we lose sight of the small picture because we are overwhelmed by the big picture. I would love nothing more than to make sure that no child ever goes to bed hungry. And, it would be easy for me to become so overwhelmed by this desire, that I just get stuck. “How can I ever do that?” Instead, while I keep this big picture in mind, I have shifted my focus to “What can I do right now?” This is a much more manageable task and one that I can take action on every day. Be kind. Be supportive. Be loving. Be generous. Be understanding. Whatever it is for you, be that right now. Keep asking yourself the question “What can I do right now?” and allow your actions to be given by that. There is not a single one of us who cannot make a difference right now in some way or another. If we all did it ‘right now’ the impact would be profound.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)

Esther Hicks

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Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.