Updated: May 23
Many of us want to be the kind of leader who inspires, maybe even transforms, those around us. Emotional intelligence differences and learning differences make the leadership journey different for every person. But one thing that’s true for everyone is that your personal growth doesn’t have a stopping point. Join us today as Pete Perkins-Hurd examines the direct link between emotional intelligence and effective leadership.
Highlight Reel: 0:10 We are misunderstood 9:30 You have no idea what other people are battling 11:00 Emotional intelligence 17:30 Learning and teaching 21:30 Leadership 23:50 Everything you desire has come to pass 29:00 Stay true and keep going
Adrienne MacIain 0:01
Hey, everyone, welcome to the That's Aloud podcast. This is your hostess, Adrienne MacIain, and today I'm here with Pete Perkins-Hurd. Pete, please introduce yourself.
Pete Perkins-Hurd 0:13
Hi, my name is Pete Perkins-Hurd. I'm a writer, I'm an entrepreneur and a podcaster. I'm actually considering myself dabbling into creative consultant as well, these days. So I have a lot of fun projects going on, and I'd just like to share them, as well as my story, with people.
Adrienne MacIain 0:35
Tell me a little bit more about being a creative consultant. What does that mean to you?
Pete Perkins-Hurd 0:40
So I think a lot of people are creative, but we have a misunderstanding of what creativity is. I think creativity can be problem-solving, I think creativity can be logistics, I think creativity can be in so many different areas of life outside of the arts.
Adrienne MacIain 1:02
Pete Perkins-Hurd 1:03
And I want people to, I try to always be creative in business. I think the creative ideas are the ones that win, where you carve out a lane for yourself, you create a niche, and you take a market somewhere where it hasn't been before. I would consider Amazon, the early concept of Amazon, to be a creative idea, a creative endeavor. We hadn't seen something like that before. And we've seen what, how that unfolds. And so I want to help people kind of see themselves as a creative, or at least be able to see their creative gifts and harness them. Because I think we're all better when everyone feels like they're touching or maximizing their potential.
Adrienne MacIain 1:51
Absolutely, I would completely agree. So, I'll ask this first question, what story is the world not getting?
Pete Perkins-Hurd 2:01
Okay, so I feel like, throughout my life, I've been a person that's often misunderstood. And I think that some of the coping mechanisms I used area a tendency to be more guarded, more aloof, maybe even going as far as to say emotionally unavailable at times, cold, distant, just so that I limit my exposure of being misunderstood.
Adrienne MacIain 2:44
Pete Perkins-Hurd 2:45
And so I think, but I think, in my heart, I want to connect with people, I want to reach out and build those foundations and those interpersonal relationships. And I think I had to develop this, but having the emotional intelligence, I always consider myself to be like, having emotional intelligence learning differences. Really high in some areas, and then not so great in other areas, just requires work. And trying to get into my life in sales and leadership and entrepreneurship, you have to have that emotional component. When you deal, when you make anything happen, when you're talking with people, when you're collaborating. So, and I want anything I do, I want to try to enhance, rather than limit, someone else. So I think a lot of times my intentions are there, I think my execution is there, but when you judge people on results, I don't think you're always able to see that. And I think people see me differently than what I really am. This story always comes to mind, and it's like, my doctor, he joked with me one day, I was going to my ear, nose and throat doctor, because I've had issues with ear, nose and throat actually, and he was just going through the list of all my visits and everything and he was just like, Wow, I really have seen you a lot. Like, it was even a surprise to him. He was just like, When people look at you, they think you're a strong, strapping young guy. He was like, But the truth is, you got a lot going on there. You know, you're kind of messed up there. And I'm like, Yeah. You know, dealing with, I have a chronic illness, I have sickle cell disease. And you know, oftentimes when people say to me, and I think they mean it as a compliment, and I try to take it as such, but it's odd when people say, Oh, you have sickle cell? I never would have known. That's sort of, Okay, so what does that look like to you, I guess, is really my question? But you don't always want to ask people that, because that kind of can come off as defensive. But you are curious. So I hope to one day kind of do a study around that, and kind of ask people that and really, in a non-threatening, safe manner, where people could really just be honest and transparent about what they kind of have in their minds that that look like. Because I've been in, you know, sickle cell camps growing up, and networking with sickle cell people now, there really isn't anything that you could see in them that would distinguish them physically. You know, it's not like some other illnesses where there's some physical symptoms or physical traits that are shared. So, but I always think that's interesting about like, Where did that come from? And so when people see me, they think I'm an athlete. And although I do like sports, I love basketball, I love football, I love soccer, I love lacrosse. I've played all these sports except for football. But I don't consider myself an athlete at all. And that would be, I could probably think of 20 other words I would use before that. So I think, for me, it's how do I overcome what the perception of me might be versus what the reality really is? And some people, and I think for a long time with me, it was people won't accept me if I'm completely putting myself out there because they have such a different idea of what I am. And so I almost tried to live in other people's comfort levels. And that's very dangerous, and isolating as well. So, from that standpoint, I think I was, you know, there was the people, there was the person, the version of me that people see and how I interacted, and then there was what's really going on. And that dichotomy creates a shift, and you have to, you know, you're always going to be a different thing, you're going to take on different roles in life. And it's impossible to be great at all of them all the time. Right? But you need to kind of have that sense of balance. So I think I need to be more vocal about the fact that I have sickle cell disease, the fact that I have learning differences, the fact that I have battled depression, even the fact that I have gone through a lot of obstacles, experienced a lot of adversity that's caused trauma and how I've dealt with that. And so I think those are stories that I should tap into, and come at it from a positive perspective, rather than just the more I don't want to say superficial, but the more base level, positivity, where I'm just kind of, like, motivating people, and I'm seeing the best in other people, but not necessarily giving myself that same kind of attention and grace.
Adrienne MacIain 9:30
Absolutely. So there's a couple of things that I wanted to dive into a little bit deeper here. I love this question of like, What does illness look like? Right? You expect to see someone who is sort of sickly in some obvious way, but so many illnesses, dis-eases, right, are invisible. You can't see them from the outside. You have no idea when you meet someone what they're battling.
Pete Perkins-Hurd 9:58
Adrienne MacIain 10:00
Have no idea.
Pete Perkins-Hurd 10:02
Adrienne MacIain 10:02
Yeah. And so that's a really great reminder for everyone listening out there: whenever you meet someone, that person is battling something that you just have no idea about, and can't possibly know anything about unless they decide to tell you. And even when they decide to share, you can't fully understand what that means to them. Right? Because your experience of sickle cell might be completely different from somebody else's even. You know what I'm saying?
Pete Perkins-Hurd 10:32
Right. And oftentimes they are. There's a whole, there's so many different forms of sickle cell disease. So that creates, and everyone's body and genetic makeup are going to respond differently to it. And your life circumstances as well. There's some people who have sickle cell, and they don't have medical care, which is a big deal. That changes your quality of life.
Adrienne MacIain 11:03
Absolutely. Absolutely. So the other question that I had was, because we know, having grown up in this system, we don't get taught emotional intelligence, that's just not something that is taught to us. So how do you learn that? How do you learn emotional intelligence and how do you practice it in your life?
Pete Perkins-Hurd 11:24
Well, my story is very different. So for me, I've always had people in my life that were very high emotional intelligence level. So starting off, my younger sister has a high level of emotional intelligence. And hers comes in different ways, hers is very unique, it's interesting. And then I had an older cousin, very high, was like the star quarterback, athlete, you know, but he's very charismatic. Um, even my dad, I would say, has a level of charisma that I just don't always have, you know. Some people can see it in me, but it's not like a universal. I don't know if that's a word that is often described with me. Right? So, and then, you know, as I went through life and high school, one of my close friends had one of the highest levels of emotional intelligence I've ever seen. And he used it in some really awful ways. Right? But, you know, it was manipulative, I always say, like, the show Pretty Little Liars. He was like Allison from Pretty Little Liars. That's the way our friend group kind of was. But god, he's in and, you know, it was. But he was able to do so so skillfully. And I was able to, like, notice, this is what he's doing, you know. Was still kind of, it was a very, and to this day, very odd relationship, you know. We just had another falling out recently about something inconsequential, you know, like, it was just, just weird. And the arguments we have are just off, you know, but there's still a bond there from all those years and knowing that, you know, each other and so that's odd. Then I had another friend, high level of emotional intelligence. He was a star basketball player, got all the girls and, you know, took me under his wing. And, you know, I credit him a lot. I'm writing a relationship book, and I'm dedicating that book to him. Now, since then, he's actually suffered from schizophrenia. And it's very interesting, because when I look back at things, and always hindsight is 2020,
Adrienne MacIain 14:20
Pete Perkins-Hurd 14:21
But there were certain things that he would do even back then, little things, very small, that made the diagnosis makes sense. Because at first, when you hear something like that, you don't necessarily want to accept it. And it was a weird balance between, you know, we thought he was kind of hanging out with the wrong people, people were influencing him, he was kind of starting to do drugs, that really wasn't him. And so we thought it was really that at first, but that's not. It was the it was all a part of this mental issue, you know, mental health diagnosis. And because he was popular and, you know, especially me because I idolized him, that's my big brother figure, there were certain things that if he wasn't popular, that could have been probably caught earlier.
Adrienne MacIain 15:21
Pete Perkins-Hurd 15:22
And so that was, you know, things that people just kind of let go like, That was kind of odd. Why'd you do that? No, or it just, certain things that just happened, where it was just like, for an example, one time, you know, we went over to a mutual friend's house to watch a basketball game. He just ended up leaving. Didn't say anything to anybody. He was my ride there. He just left me there. And then a couple days later, he's talking to me like nothing happened. Like that didn't happen. And it was just, and it wasn't malicious, It was just little things like that. And then, I was kind of ,like, upset initially, but I eventually, you know, let it go. And there were just other little things that would happen, like he just does little sporadic moments that no one is really holding him accountable for because of the popularity.
Adrienne MacIain 16:25
Pete Perkins-Hurd 16:27
And in a lot of ways, I kind of hold myself responsible for that, because it was to his detriment, ultimately. And so, you know, how we can just become blinded by certain things. Because I'm someone who benefit from being within his inner circle. You know, in a lot of ways, I guess I was popular in my own right as well, but I was also popular because I had popular friends. And how important that is, when you're in high school, but really, it's not important in the grand scheme of things at all. I would rather have had my friend be healthy now, to this day, and been able to catch that earlier, than to... I could have missed out on a few more parties if that was the case.
Adrienne MacIain 17:19
Yeah, absolutely. So your journey to emotional intelligence. Let's talk about that a little bit more. Where was the kind of turning point for you? When did the tide turn?
Pete Perkins-Hurd 17:31
So I think just being around them, I just picked up on how they did things, and what that was. I saw that their skill set in that level, their gifts, and I just started picking up on things. And then I wanted, when you want to start, starting my leadership journey, when I'm like, for me to do what I want to do with my life, I need to be a better leader. I need to figure that piece out. That's really what's holding me back. And if I can figure this piece out, there's no stopping me. So it was that drive, where it's like, you have to get this together, you have to go all in on this, you can't, you have to be 110% about your leadership journey. And that's the way I've been since I probably say around 17-18. And it's nonstop. I thought, you know, you don't always realize the growth in yourself, especially when it's an ongoing process. There's not a stopping point.
Adrienne MacIain 18:49
Yeah, so that's really interesting. I think some people learn things just naturally, like they're naturals, right?
Pete Perkins-Hurd 18:55
No, no. Not at all.
Adrienne MacIain 18:57
And other people have to learn things by rote. But the good thing about having to learn things by rote is that then you can teach them. Naturals have a really hard time teaching what they do, because they can't break it down into steps, because it's just, it's all one thing for them. Right? I, for a long time, I was a dating coach, but I specified in helping people who are on the spectrum to understand the social cues of dating. Right? What's that?
Pete Perkins-Hurd 19:29
That's very interesting, we have to have a whole separate conversation about that.
Adrienne MacIain 19:32
Right, right. But what I'm saying is, what was interesting about it to me was having to, as a person who just has natural emotional intelligence and empathy, break that down and explain to them what empathy is, and how to recognize it, and how to do it. And how to read the room, and how to read social cues, and how to read body language, and how to give body language. Right? And so it was this amazing experience for me to have to kind of break down what I do naturally for them. But I also found that some of them became the best teachers of each other because they were able to explain it to each other in a way that just made perfect sense to them. Where I would say something...
Pete Perkins-Hurd 20:17
Right. They had been at the spot where they were learning it and not quite getting it, and they knew what that little thing is, just that one word, that phrase or slight gesture, something that makes it all click.
Adrienne MacIain 20:29
I was doing a workshop on flirtation with a bunch of women on the spectrum. And so I'm explaining this thing of like, you know, when a man does this, or when a man says this. And one of them says, Oh, oh, you mean that eye thing? And I was like, What do you mean? And she's like, When they look at you right in the eyes, and they just like, hold it there. And I was like, Yeah, eye contact. And she's like, Yeah, but like eye contact, that doesn't say that to me. It's just like, okay, so I look at you, and like, we're looking at each other's eyes. It's like this meaningful thing that happens. And I was like, Yeah, meaningful eye contact. Right? But they were able to understand it and explain it to each other in a way that I never could. So what's beautiful about you, is that you now have this opportunity to teach people emotional intelligence who don't naturally have that. Right? And leadership. So let's talk a little bit more about leadership. What do you see as good leadership qualities? And how do you, how do you get those?