Episode #107

The Path To Happiness


Episode #107

Dr. Elia Gourgouris

Dr. Elia Gourgouris is the president of The Happiness Center, an organization of world-leading experts in the field of Positive Psychology dedicated to creating personal success and happiness. He is also Founding Partner at The Global Institute of Thought Leadership, an organization that brings together bestselling authors, world-renowned speakers, industry experts and pioneering thinkers who all share a common goal: Changing the world of ideas.

Dr. Elia is the author of the #1 best-selling Amazon book, 7 Paths to Lasting Happiness, which has been translated in Mandarin, Cantonese and Greek. He recently co-authored the highly acclaimed book 7 Keys to Navigating a Crisis: A Practical Guide to Emotionally Dealing with Pandemics and Other Disasters. His message is featured in respected publications and media around the world.

With his Positive Psychology background, he has helped thousands of people both in their careers and in their relationships to achieve success and better work-life balance. As a keynote speaker he frequently presents at international conferences and Universities focusing on corporate wellness, mental health, positive leadership, building trust, loyalty, resilience and agility. As a coach, Dr. Elia works with company executives to help them build a culture of trust, accountability, and empowerment. The result is that happily engaged employees are more productive, collaborative, and innovative. Dr. Elia also co-hosts the weekly The Kindness and Happiness Connection podcast and was the Executive Producer of the Reality TV show Cash Cowboys and is currently working on a new Reality TV show called The Kindness Givers!

Dr. Elia was born and raised in Athens, Greece, where he became a National Swim Champion. He moved with his family to Santa Monica, CA when he was ten. He received his BA in psychology from UCLA, and then went on to receive his MA and PhD in psychology. Listen in as Elia shares how he was branded at birth, we discuss the importance of mindset and the many pivots throughout his journey. 

Episode Timestamps

Lori Brooks: [00:00:00] Elia will welcome and thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:00:04] Thank you for having me. It’s my pleasure. It is my honor.

Lori Brooks: [00:00:10] I am truly excited to have you here. I am so interested in how you became known as the happiness doctor and I can’t wait to dive into that portion of the journey, but before we get there, I want to rewind the clock just a bit.

Let’s go back to the days when you were in St. Junior high or high school. Let’s think about a time when an elder, a teacher, an aunt or an uncle would ask you what it is you wanted to be when you grow up, what did you think life was gonna look like?

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:00:45] You know, that’s a wonderful question, but I will go back even younger. To be honest with you, I will go back to the age of five. When my grandfather Eliya, who’s named my carrier and I are. who died soon after that? So I don’t have a lot of memories of him, but one day he pulled me aside and I’m going to traveling from the Greek. But basically in essence, he says, my boy , if you want to be a happy life, all you gotta do is do something good for someone else every day.

And you’ll be the richest man in the world. And now in my five-year-old little boy, Somehow we clicked. It made sense though, do something good for somebody else every day. And I’ll be a happy man. And that was, I think the beginning of the journey in a lot of ways.

Lori Brooks: [00:01:29] It certainly was because that seed was planted the seed of recognition. The seed of reciprocity is something that’s very strong and holds true, you know, throughout society. That’s, one of those, psychological pieces that humans as a whole just don’t have any opportunity to overcome and in a lot of ways. And so that seed was planted and you obviously recognized, okay, as long as I’m doing good for others, Good will be for me. So what do you feel like actually sparked the entrepreneurial journey in life for you?

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:02:06] You know, I, I remember just in middle school and high school for whatever reason, and I was a painfully shy boy, not like I am now, I’m the crazy Greek extrovert.

But back then, you know, new to the United States and, you know, shy about my English and, you know, just kind of as an immigrant kid coming over with my. For some, for whatever reason, both boys and girls trusted me and they used to come and tell me their secrets. Like, I remember that, like I came here in the seventh grade America in California, and I remember people just, they just feel safe with me for whatever reason.

And somehow I helped them in the field helping somebody else and see them walk away with a smile or with a nod or with a thank you. It was almost like intoxicating. So I said, I want to do that now. I did know. The word psychologist. I didn’t know what that was as a career. I just knew that I wanted to help people.

And you know, that has been my purpose for 50 years. Like I, I, you know, to make a difference in people’s lives or an organization’s lives. Cause I switched over to my second half of my career and  just leave this world a better place than I found it. And that truly is what I live and breathe every single day.

And I’ve had for a long time and I haven’t deviated too far off from that. I mean, this is a core of who I am and what I believe in and what I, how I try to live by. With family, extended family, friends, and then clients, patients, whatever.

Lori Brooks: [00:03:24] It started as a safety zone was a safety zone there I use developed for not just those that were around you at school, but then a wider audience.

And you kept growing that safe zone and that safe zone turned into a career and a practice. And of course, as you mentioned at the age, then you had no idea what a psychologist was and that wasn’t your thought process, but you knew there was a feeling. There was something in you that you truly enjoyed creating a feeling for someone else.

And that in and of itself is what really started propelling you on that journey. I absolutely love that story because there’s not too many people that have that self recognition to understand what it is that truly makes them happy. Make other people happy. So I commend you for that recognition. And I, I really do, hopefully you don’t mind, but I credit that to your grandfather cause he really is where, where that seed

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:04:27] There’s an earlier story believe it or not. Even before that, that you know that Brandon. As, uh, uh, the happiness kid, which is the, which is the word that proceeded my grandfather, like the, like literally it started the day I was born. I was born a long time ago.

This is a true story. A long time ago in Athens, Greece, before people could get into the birthing room with Instagram and Facebook, like FaceTime and all that. So, you know, back in the old days, just my mom at the surgeon, you know, so the story was told me growing up, my dad shows up kind of a tough Greek guy drinking his whisky smoking.

He comes up through this. And I guess, uh, you know, behind this little window, there was me and four other little babies world wrapped up in the same generic white blanket back in the day, which one’s my son. And I guess at that moment, I had a smile on my face. So the nurse, my dad says your son, he’s the happy one.

So I was told that story growing up, you are born out of the woman happy that’s what’s my brand now. And here’s the important thing for the audience. Fast forward, 25 years now, I’m in graduate school, getting my PhD in psychology. And the professor is sharing with us, you know, the whole concept of nature versus nurture.

In other words, is it our genetic predisposition that makes us who we are, or is it the environment? And I had this terrible thought, like, wait a minute, what do you, my dentist shows up like 15 minutes late. It goes up the same little window. Same nurse asks the same question, which one is my son. And at that point I’m having terrible, like stomach pains and I’m screaming my head off and the nurse starts, my dad goes, your son, she’s the cranky one.

And then I’m told right. Well, Elliot, you came out of the womb, cried. You miserable a little bit. And I thought about that, how we are all branded. We’ve all been branded early in, in arguing that some brands are positive. Obviously the happy one I’ve embraced it and lived into it because it’s a great brand, but there are other great brands, the princess, the cute one, the smart one, the athletic one, the kind, you know, the kinds of smart, whatever.

There are a lot of the creative ones. But in working with people and especially with women in my, as a clinical psychologist, my private practice, and beyond that, there are so many brands that are negative and downright horrific, and I’m not going to go through all of them. I’ll just tell you the top three, the most common.

And that’s not me saying that that’s my clients in my friend, people saying that to me over the years. Right. And they’re terrible. And you will say, but Elia, who would say that to their kid? Believe me. I don’t know, but the ugly. The fat one and the stupid one, think about what a powerful effect that would have growing up.

It’d be called that. Now my happiness book comes out five years ago. I’m on a book tour and I’m in North Carolina in a, in a women’s conference, me and 500 women. And I’m sharing this story. And my point at the end of the story is like, look, if you don’t like your brand, give yourself permission, empower yourself.

To change your brand. Now you don’t log. And I have to live with that negative, horrible brand while I’m in the middle of my talk. Like I like fluffy right now in the corner of my eye, this 70 year old woman gets up gray hair. It kind of starts waving her arms. Like really threw me off from my game. I’m like, you know, I’m trying to get my dog, but I can’t ignore her because they still give me some somewhat.

I sub it. I’m like, yes, ma’am in front of the entire audience. Just so you know, after listening to you. I want to change my brand. And for the last 70 years, this is really a key seven decades. I have been called stupid fat and I’d leave. And then a couple of cuss words. It, you know, Laurie, the police got so quiet.

You could hear a pin drop. I don’t think I would ever be that vulnerable to share that in front of 500 people. So everybody was done. They’re looking at me, I’m looking at her. Like this has never happened to me in all my talks. Right. And I’m like, well, man, What would you like your new brand to be? And her name was Leah, by the way, she goes, well, from now on, I want to be known as princess Leia.

And I turned to her and said, yes, you’re a majesty, you know, kind of like the star wars thing and everybody cracked up and it became this lighthearted moment. And the reason why I shared this story with you is this because if a 70 year old woman can change, Anybody else can do it. If you don’t like your brand, if you inherited a negative brand that you’d no longer associate with, get rid of it, a date and choose as an adult.

And I was a kid anymore. Choose your brand. Right. So, so my happens brand started on the day it was born. My, my grandfather’s got five helped with that, but that’s been my whole life just like that.

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Lori Brooks: [00:09:03] I absolutely love that story. I thank you for taking us all the way back to the very beginning, the fact that. You were branded as the happy baby is hilarious because it’s true. I’ve heard other people have those moments of branding their child in one way or another. You know, luckily in, in our household, the nicknames, for some reason, my father always came up with nicknames relative to food, but I understand what you mean. There are those branding moments in life that can kind of steer. Your thought process and your mindset and your mindset is one of the biggest pieces when it comes to not just the entrepreneurial journey, but the life journey as a whole, you know, that’s actually how I start off with my clients is a mindset transformation program.

Because before we get into working on your business, I have to know. That you’re actually ready to do so. And that your mindset is in the right place for success in your practice, because if it’s in a negative state or a fail mode, We’re not getting anywhere from the get-go. So it doesn’t make sense to start mindset  is the key foundation, in business building as well as life.

So I appreciate  you bringing us all the way back to that grant piece. Huge. And it’s so funny that you have that branding from birth. I absolutely. So as you, you know, moved forward through high school and you saw that this was appealing, that you enjoyed creating for other people. And this was something that you really honestly recognized was a direction you wanted to continue moving in.

How did you begin taking those footsteps? Did you decide to. I’m going to school. This is where I’m going or going to get degrees, or was there another pivot in the journey? How did that evolve for you?

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:10:59] Well, nobody has asked that question before. That’s a great question. Here’s why, so I went, I was 17 years old when I graduated. So I, as at one as a 17 year old freshman at UCLA and got a degree in psychology. So I’ve done by the time I was 21, but then kind of like fear setting in. I’m not sure if I want to be a psychologist, because if I hear people’s problems every day, what if I get depressed? Like, I don’t want to like, lose my happiness.

Right. So I kind of went off and did some, I got my real estate license whenever I do something different for a couple of years. And then only to return back, not too many years later and to get my, a PhD in psychology, but it wasn’t like back to back to back. I had to take some time to think about what I wanted to do, but ultimately my heart really wasn’t helping people that overrode by fear of getting sick.

And I do not. Do people get depression? I don’t know. I was the again, man. Right. I don’t know if psychologists get depressed. It turns out that they have one of the highest suicide rates in four white collar professions. Right, right after dentists. Apparently. So yeah. Well think about it. Who likes to go to the dentist?

Nobody like

I do. No, I do too, but you know what I mean, people like, like, I don’t want to go to the dentist. Like they have this negative reaction.

Lori Brooks: [00:12:19] Yeah, no, I totally agree. I totally agree. Prior to the dentist that I have right now, I used to hate the dentist. I was one of those people, but my dentist right now is actually the one most awesome family dentist, unit.

They’re actually a husband and wife team and their daughters actually run the front office and they have a, you know, a whole slew of their team. They’re outstanding. But I do understand when that negative mind frame when it comes to the dentist and just not being opposed to it. I do.

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:12:49] I do mine too. I literally live next door to us, basically literally lives next door to us. So just, I love him. He’s a great biting the end of the path. I mean, really. So going back to the psychologist, you know, the concern or the fear that that would be burdened by listening to people’s problems. And I think that was humble legitimacy.

Lori Brooks: [00:13:08] Yeah, no, there definitely is. I can only imagine, you know, when you are burdened in that manner, how heavy that can feel over time. compounded at that because it’s not just one person, it’s not just your spouse. It’s not just your kids. You’re listening to a slew of different issues and scenarios that are difficult, , to.

, digest on a regular basis , without having it affect you in some way, shape or form. So I can completely understand why you would have taken that step back. And I asked that because of the fact that there are those much like yourself who take that moment , you have to stop and think, and I need the audience to hear those moments for them to truly understand that no journey and seamless note that gets on the entrepreneurial journey and just keeps going forward. And, and their trajectory is 100% straight know everybody’s path has a pivot of some sort, and we never know where it is or what it’s going to look like, or how much of a hiccup it might be, or a hill that we have to climb over.

But yeah. We do that and we get through it and we find ways to move forward. And in your position, it was a personal thought process. It was reflection. It was recognition of whether or not this was truly something you could take on. , you know, my, my younger brother who is now a nurse was at one point a pharmacy tech,  and he loved being a pharmacist enjoyed that thought process in that role.

But he hated the work environment because most pharmacies are in basements and the environment that, that he ended up, you know, being surrounded by, it was not something that kept him in a positive state. It was dark, it was dreary. It was not something he enjoyed. And so he moved on and, and now he’s a nurse, but you know, everybody story has that pivot. They all, most people have a moment. Yeah.

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:15:02] There’s more than one.. Usually it happened later on in my career too. I had a much bigger pivot actually than that one because you’re right. It’s not a trajectory straight to the top of their ups and downs. Some deep valleys in some way. Absolutely. Right.

Lori Brooks: [00:15:18] So you got on the path, you decided, okay, this is where I’m headed. What was that next piece for you? What was that headache that you were just describing? What was that next valley point that you had to overcome?

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:15:33] I saw client patients for 18 years and I loved the first 16 years in love with my work. I loved it. Loved it, loved it. And yeah. But the last few years, I really struggled physically. Like I hit the wall because there’s, you know, you can’t really share whatever you hear. Like, you know, the confidentiality, you can’t share anything. So when I found out, after I retired from, by as a psychologist, that the typical psychologist last for 10 years before they get burned out, if they see 25 patient hours a week, like actual patients that considered a time, well, I did it for 18 years.

I used to see 45 people a week. I was working like a month. My wife is like, you’re going to have a heart attack. I’m like, no, I can handle it. Like very arrogant and stupid, basically you and like, I can have, well, I did for 16 years, but then I just started hitting the wall physically. And, you know, and physically like, as, you know, Laurie physical pain, like emotional or mental or spiritual pain, if it gets bad enough, it brings you to your knees.

Like literally. So that’s what happened to me. It brought me to my knees and because I’m a spiritual person, you know, Yeah, I was helping so many people. I’m trying to think of it. And I’m like, basically, God, why is this happening to me? And, you know, whatever you want to call that voice that you hear, whether it’s your intuition, your higher self, that still small voice or the spirit of God, I don’t get what you attributed to that voice.

It’s this thing that said, Elia, I’m trying to take in a different direction. You’re not listening to me short quote, but crystal clear why this is happening. Well, Lori, guess what I did with that wise voice? I ignored it now, Lori, what happens if you ignore your inner, your intuition or the screen get better or worse?

Lori Brooks: [00:17:17] Yeah, no, there’s never a good result there. It’s no, it’s like ignoring the result of electricity

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:17:24] and again, why did I ignore it? I noted it out of fear. So that’s the commonality, right? Fear. The first group of fear now and what was the fear? The fear was that I had a thriving practice making a lot of money, helping a lot of people that were the doctor. You’re going to have the feel of the title that was like all ego driven, so illegal. Right. And I was afraid, well, when you ignore, and this is one of those absolutes in life, because I’ve listened to that voice for 35 years and every time I have listened to it and then acted upon it, it has always worked out.

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This is an absolute day. If you have solution life every time, because I’m not perfect human being, every time I heard the voice. Lori. I’ve always paid the price always. So of course I ignored it for six months and guess what happened to my health got a lot worse. So now I’m in and out of hospital , I won’t bore you the details anyway, my life is really miserable.

Now I’m back on my knees again. I’m like, okay, God, why is this happening to me? So finally I needed to be hit with a two by four. Like really? And again, even I’m trying to think in a different direction. You’re listening to me. I want you to spread the lights to a lot more. Was it kind of cryptic because my, my natural men’s depending and like, well, how am I going to make money doing that?

Like, I still have young, we have to provide for my family. But even though it wasn’t enough, finally, the last statement was end. If you don’t change your ways, I’m going to call you your home. By the time you’re 50. And I was 42 and my mom died when she was 51. So to me, 50, wasn’t that like? And I’m like, and that was it because I, and I, and I realized that I have to do it because.

I didn’t want to die. I still have young kids at home. I want to live a longer life. You know, I don’t want to die. Like my mom did basically in the end, so I had to transition out and that’s what happened. I transitioned out, it took me like nine months. Cause it’s not easy to, to shut down at full practice.

I really had to transition, like it took me nine months to shut it down. But I did. And I learned a lot about myself during that process because my body was. Basically what I ended up in the hospital, a couple of surgeries, even though it was transitioning and not taking your new referrals and trying to work through people and get them out and have a helium.

Well, my body was just had hit the wall. So I get very close to the exiting this life. And after a couple of surgeries, ER, and all that stuff, I finally grabbed the doctor there. The one that I said. Because when you spend like six long nights at the hospital at night, when all the nurses are going in and out, Dutch are gone, you do a lot of thinking.

A lot of praying, a lot of talking to God, to yourself, whatever. And I’m like, this will never happen to me again. Like, I’ve been a promise to myself yet, this will never happen to you again. But I needed to know why is this happening to me? And the surgeon came to me and said, look, we think you came in because you worked your three days from completely going in.

Like really? And then he said either excessive drinking or excessive stress. Well, I don’t really drink. So I knew that it was an excessive stress. So 18 years worth of people telling me other secrets, the abuse, the sexual abuse, the depression, the students, like all that stuff. Right. Divorce it, break that I was storing all that in my body.

And I was clueless because on the outside I was happy, go lucky. But on the inside I was killing myself because of this. And I, and then I realized, so it’s been a long time since then, you know, I’m healthier now than I was 16 years ago, like by far, and I will never get burned out. This will never have , I learned my lesson.

It was so painful. The more painful the lesson, the greater the lesson, right?

Lori Brooks: [00:20:54] Yes. Yes. No pain, no gain. It’s a true statement.

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:20:58] I’m not suggesting people get close to definitely not the ones that don’t learn from me. I wasn’t, I was an idiot. Like I wasn’t gonna be a big thing. Like, there’ll be a knucklehead, like me learn your lessons, the voice, like act on it.

Don’t be delaying it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, but. Wow. No, but that self-recognition is so important. It’s so important. And it’s not an uncommon story, again, I have heard it. I’ve experienced it. you know, much the way I became an entrepreneur, I was in very stressful scenarios. There was a lot going on in life.

I ended up with Crohn’s disease. Stress-induced right, exactly. And it was, it was blatantly me having a wake up call in life. Too much going on, Lori got to slow it down and figure it out and take that moment to look at myself. And that was my self reflection moment of, yeah, this isn’t the way I want my life to be gone.

 This is, you know, I need to make some big pivots and, and that was my pivot moment. And I totally understand that moment because when you’re laying in the hospital, like you said, you do a lot of thinking, a lot of thinking, a lot of thinking, and there’s a lot of clarity that comes from those moments , of self-reflection. And I’m sure that that made a big trajectory for you, as you stated, you know, you’re healthier now than you were even 16 years ago. So what do you think was the biggest piece for you that helped you make that. That helped you have that self-recognition that helped you really stop and say, okay, this is it. This, this is that moment was it really the, the hospitalization itself.

 No, no, no. It was at the moment that I, first of all, I’m trying to take you to a different. And I want you to spread the light to a lot more people there basically than doing one-on-one because I mean, 45 hours is a lot of patient hours to see per week.

That’s a maximum, like I was above the maximum. I couldn’t see more people like there’s no physically able to do that. So, and in my methods, you know, I guess the good Lord wanting to spread the message to a much wider audience. But the coming home, like for me, it was a very specific, like I’m going to call him by the time you’re 50.

And I’m like, whoa, my mom died when she was 51. That’s realistic for, in my genealogy. Kind of like, it’s not like my parents would be 90 in labor. Like, well, I’m not going to die when I’m 51. Like, I’m like, okay. The spoken word spoke exactly the way that he needed to get my attention. So I ended up at that. And then, you know, I had a dear friend that said, you know, you’d make a great executive. Now I was so naive about corporate America. You know, I didn’t know anything about it. Like what’s an executive coach. Like I’d go to soccer and baseball, my kids. I don’t even know what you’re talking about. You got to know your skill set, the way you communicate, the way you are with people, your empathy, your, you know, high EI

I didn’t even know what EIwas back then. Like, you know, you’re like, so here’s a consultant and don’t company. And he hired me and I started , my own happiness center, which is an organization of worldleading experts in positive psychology. I brought them on board and I just started working and helping organizations find wellness and positivity and communication and all that stuff. So it was just that it was almost a very easy transition. Believe it or not. I was very fortunate because again, the fear was, I’m not letting go my private practice because I’m making a boatload of money and I’m like helping out and all that stuff. So that transition wasn’t as hard as you might. I mean the first year, obviously, you know, when you start something new, you’re not going to be at the peak.

Like I wasn’t before, obviously, but eventually it became even more successful doing something different than not being a clinical psychologist. And that’s a, that’s an amazing.

Lori Brooks: [00:24:52] No, that definitely is you really listened to the inner voice. That’s what occurred. You really listened to that moment, that inner voice, that piece that told you, you know what, there’s more to this than just the one-on-one.

And I think there is a moment in everyone’s practice when they get to that point where they’re doing too much of the one-on-one and there is, there’s only so many hours in a day, so many hours in a week, right? When you get to that max out point, you have to figure out which way is best in order to scale, not just for your own good, but for the sake of the clients, because there’s only so many people that you can honestly help and serve.

If you continue to do the one-on-one format. As you began to recognize, okay, you’re going to make this pivot. You’re going to start working in corporations and you’re going to sunset your practice. What do you feel like were some of the steps you took there to kind of move yourself through that transition when you began sunsetting the practice and really kind of starting up in, the corporate world?

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Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:25:51] You know, what, what I discovered was that because they worked with senior leadership. Nevermind that later after the name CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, whatever, all the CIA stuff afterwards, they’re just people, I don’t care how much money they may come up. Power. That habit there are behind closed doors. They’re just people.

And because I wasn’t the normal coach because I had a psychology background. I mean, I didn’t go to like, get certified as their coach, my psychologist. Yeah. What they liked about it is that not only do we talk about business and strategy and so on, but I could talk to them about that personal stuff where they really, the higher up you go into the orange, start, the left, the lonely radius.

Let’s put it that. So they will able to disclose to me things that nobody else in the company knew. And I was able to help them on that side as well, while I was helping the corporate side. And the other thing that I did, you know, I started, I had started lecturing before that a little bit, but that began to grow with that.

Like initially, honestly, this is kind of embarrassing, but I thought spread the light to  a lot more people, you know, make a big difference. That means I’m going to go on Oprah and just like blow it up. Right. It didn’t happen that way. That’s not how it happened. That’s what I thought immediately. Cause I’m thinking again, like natural, how am I going to make money and provide for my family?

Well, but what did happen is every year my speaking engagements started expanding, you know, local here in Colorado and before the another stage and so on and so on. And so. And I started getting, you know, kind of this reputation and that led to me writing this book seven past the lasting happiness, which became a number one bestseller, and that really moving beyond the United States to an international keynote speaker.

So now I get to travel the world and get to speak. So that message from that, from the spirit, that voice has actually come to fruition every year, I’ve spoken to more people and then we get to the bank. So all my speaking engagement back in March of 20, 20 year ago, got canceled within one week. And I was like, shocked.

Like, whoa, what am I going to do now? But you know what happened in the last 12 months, besides that I wrote another book about how to navigate the crisis that I spoken to more people in the last 12 months of years, zoom, you know, I ever did about three podcasts a day, but webinars across the world, probably between 40 and 50,000 people in the us.

Which for me is a lot, maybe not before, like really big speaker, but for me that’s a big deal, right? Like for my, you know, where I got from like, and I wouldn’t be able to do that unless I was flexible and adaptable myself to say, okay, you’re live speaking engagement. And I love doing light work. Obviously.

I like, I love people, but zoom has become my best friend. And, you know, there’s different conferences now because they’re virtual. The numbers are a lot bigger. And of course I’ve explained it to India. So I did one webinar. They have 20,000 people like that, even in my dreams without ever happen here.

You know what I mean? But it’s happened and now it continues to grow that way. Yeah. So that prophetic statement, 15 years ago, it has come to fruit. It’s true. Like it’s happened. Different than I expected, right.

Lori Brooks: [00:29:00] ‘ the way we expect  Elia. Right. It’s never going to be the way we expect. We can dream. We can ask, we can plan. It’s never going to work out exactly as we’re thinking it well, but I love that that that came to fruition and that you are. Moving forward with it and, and reaching out to more people. And I love how, as you mentioned, there was that additional pivot that everybody experienced last year as the world’s stood still for a couple of months, couple of weeks.

And, and the world changed. Digital for the first time ever. And it has opened up a lot of doors. It has changed a lot of different things. And there’s a lot of platforms that, you know, much like yourself. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to a lot of people via zoom through the past 12 months, you know, but there’s additional platforms that are now opening that are expanding those doors even more.

So, yeah, there’s, there’s all sorts of pivots and, and continual changes. That are occurring, but I’d love for you to share about the new book that you wrote throughout the pandemic.

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:30:06] This goes back to listening to that voice again, because that’s how it happened. And it happened on March 15th, which would be where the ides of March like Julius Caesar, like in Shakespeare, right.

I guess the same download, but basically said either you need to write a book about the pandemic and you need to get up. In 45 days, not next November, 19 20 21, because there’s a tsunami of mental health issues coming as a result of the pandemic. Now, remember, this is like in the original lockdown, this hasn’t happened yet.

So to put it in perspective, my first book took four years to write. So getting a book out in 45 days, I’m like, are you serious? Like this is going to happen, but I know it’s just right. That’s what, I didn’t doubt that it can happen, but how am I going to do that? So I called my writing partner, your best friend, and, you know, Coach Khan.

That’s his nickname. I’m going to start writing tomorrow morning about this as a topic. Are you in, are you out? And he didn’t hesitate. He goes, I’m in. And literally Lori, we got it up by me. Like under 60 days we got it out and seven keys to navigating a crisis, kind of a practical guide to emotional dealing with academics and other disasters in my life has been crazy since then.

Like literally because, and we wrote it, first of all, I’ve written both of these books for my heart. Not as a piece. Like I’m talking to you right now. That’s exactly how the books are really practical, easy to implement with take action. Every job has to take action or a call to action. And what’s funny is that initially we wrote this for consumers.

Like everyday people that we thought this could be a helpful thing. Just let us do something to contribute to humanity during the pandemic. What we never anticipated was by early summer, when the economy began to open up again, organizations and companies started reaching out to us. Know, we need help.

Our employees are scared. They’re depressed, they’re anxious. They have PTSD. They don’t want to come back to work physically. Remember this is June of 2020. We need your out. Can you come and help us? And like bank of America was in New York was the first, the first company that reached out to me and kudos to them and said, can you give , do a weapon or , you know, how to navigate the current challenges while maintaining employment?

Hmm, employee productivity or employee happiness or whatever. So I did that for a thousand BFA employees in New York, obviously virtually it’s so resonated because nobody was doing that so that they themselves did not. This is you’re going to go to all 200,000 employees across the world for bank of America, the one hour webinar, which was basically like 45 minutes and then 15 minutes, Q and a.

It, it kind of blew me up. So that’s been happening. So that’s, what’s been happening self-care for healthcare organizations , for doctors and nurses who are on the front lines, the true heroes, right? These are the firefighters for the last year and a half ago who are sacrificing even their own lives, because there are thousands of physicians and nurses that have died because of pandemic.

Hundreds of thousands have been hit by COVID themselves. And so I do a south care for healthcare specifically for them, for, healthcare industry organizations and you know, what, they still need. The help doctors themselves are suffering from PTSD and they don’t have the time to go to.

Lori Brooks: [00:33:18] Right.

Connect with

Dr. Elia Gourgouris Ph.D.

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Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:33:18] So I’m offering some skillsets specifically, like, okay, I understand you don’t have time to do that.

Here’s how you can take care of yourself, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and that you can do it now. And when things slow down again, you can go and get some continuous assistance. So that has been resonating a lot with you.

Lori Brooks: [00:33:37] That’s outstanding.

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:33:38] You’re doing my party for them because I truly they’re the heroes.

Like what would we be with them?

Lori Brooks: [00:33:42] I was just going to say as just going to say, I can’t wait to grab a copy of it for my brother, because I know exactly what you mean. They, there’s a stress level that they’re dealing with that is astronomical. And it’s not something that I think a lot of them have. They, they face enormous amounts of stress on a regular basis.

Yes. Or whatever. I think the past year and a half has obviously been, um, just so taxing on them. And like you said, there’s no time for them to stop and do self care. Unfortunately, there really truly isn’t. so if there’s a way for them to, you know, Stop and take five minutes to read a book that might help them , I am looking forward to seeing that occur. So 

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:34:22] Or just one habit. Like I, on Friday, like few days ago, I gave a talk on if there was a nursing conference and then it was nursing and healthcare and I spoke self-care for the nurses, right. It’s not always just somebody, the whole healthcare industry. And they just ate it up.

They’re like, this is so helpful. And it’s so doable because I don’t have a lot of time to do, do, to do that. I have to take care of my patients. I have to deal with doctors. I have to deal with hospital administration and I have to do with my own family and extended family. And I’m concerned about bringing some of the home.

So there, the nurse, the stress level for nurses is at the highest it has ever been. And there’s a word getting burned out prior to the pandemic. Just so we’re clear. It’s not like that. Yeah. Right. So there are two heroes. I mean, like, you know, modern NICU, right.

I tell him that all the time. Yeah. He gets a daily texts. Like thank you. Just keep it up. Love you. Keep it moving because it’s true. It’s , it’s

he also needs to look after himself, honestly, like it’s not sustainable to do this work for so long. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually pick would do one thing. I’m not saying change your whole life. Pick one thing in all those areas and do it consistently.

And you’ll, you’re not going to be judged. Surviving. I mean, we’ve been thriving during the crisis. Yeah,

Lori Brooks: [00:35:35] no, it’s not, it’s not, but it is the truth. And doing just that one small tidbit of something can definitely make a difference. And if you consistently build up and include those small little bits bit by bit throughout your day, , it can make a vast difference over time in life and that’s actually what the first portion of my coaching program is on. It’s. Prism perceived reality inspires successful minds. And it’s all about those little tidbits things. Thank you that , you know, people can incorporate into their daily lives to help them just have that positive, successful mindset throughout the day, regardless as to what they’re doing, just small little tweaks that everybody can make for themselves.

So I completely understand. This show is really designed to assist entrepreneurs with, coming up with new ideas for a business and an industry that they may not have been thinking about. So what I’d love to do is think about your practice right now as an author and as a psychologist, if you could wave a magic wand and change something in your practice right now that would make your life easier. What do you think that one thing.

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:36:49] You know, honestly, I’ve been a solopreneur for so long and I’m used to doing things on my own and I’ve kind of liked that, but I am reaching the point of no return. I can no longer do things by myself. And I have to be honest because I need to focus on more of the bigger stuff and I need to build a team.

Like I don’t have time for it. Do you know that I didn’t even have time to, even though people sent me the link to the podcast that I want you to upload it myself, I need somebody to do all that stuff with me. So I can just do my thing, which is shared my message. I have so much content and I know how to deliver it.

And I mean, that’s just one of my strengths, but I’m not organized enough. I just need help as a team. I need to have a team behind me in order for me to be able to scale even more. And I’m, I’m connecting with people and they’re opening up a lot of doors and it’s very exciting. But I just feel, I mean, we’re being honest with one another.

I feel overwhelmed. I just feel like I’m being pulled and I’m afraid because I want to do a good job with it. But like when I come on on the show and when I promise I’m the, I want to deliver it because that’s my own personal take. And I’m afraid that I’m starting to lose stuff like I’m starting, um, balancing too, you know, throwing too many plates up there and some of them are going to start to break I’m at my limit.

How’s that completely burned out either. So I’m at my limit to what I can physically do in 24. I need help. I completely understand. And I think that’s a good point to actually address and recognize, because I think there’s always that point where we got to, as we were mentioning earlier, you know, that burnout space where you recognize you’re overwhelmed, you’re spread too thin.

You’ve made too many commitments and get to that place where, you know, you’d like to, you want to serve, you want to over deliver, but it’s really difficult to do. So when you’ve already. Over delivered with your calendar in and of itself. So, no, I completely understand what, what we need is somebody to come over with a true magic wand.

And clean it up for you.

And, you know, I have partners who need the other opening up. A lot of girls. I have partnerships in, in Europe that are doing that. So I have, I feel like I’m in three different continents right in the United States. So I need somebody to basically take over my social media, but like start doing that and deliver the content.

But I can’t keep up with all that. And I’m not good at it. You know, I’m not a technical person, but no, I’m being honest. You’re laughing, but it’s true though, but it’s true. I know my weakness. That’s what I wonder if they, you know, that’s not my, I know my strengths. That’s not one of them.

Lori Brooks: [00:39:27] I understand. No, I, I personally, as surprising as this might sound. I don’t like social media either. I actually don’t post as much as I know I should be. So what I do is I use a scheduler for that. There’s different tools that I use where I’ll take the content that I know I need to get scheduled out and put out there for the week loaded in there and let it post itself throughout the week.

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:39:55] And you a, how to, you know, more than I do, you know how to load it is I don’t even know how to schedule it. Like I’m totally naive. I’m telling you like, so that’s what I need. Yeah, I need somebody to organize it. So it goes out three days a weekend because I got the contents. Not like I’m going to run out.

I just don’t have to do it. Yeah. So I’ll do it awkwardly. It’s not consistent. I know you’re supposed to do it like every Monday at two o’clock whenever I don’t know, but I don’t have that.  But it’s the truth though. And I, this is my life. When you asked me the question, so I got to tell you, this is where I’m at. Like I was, I was better.

Listen, we all have our strengths. We all have our weaknesses. And it is the best of us that take the time to recognize what those are. Elia mean, you have been outstanding. Have truly enjoyed this conversation. Please share the best way for our listeners to find you.

LinkedIn is probably the best way to find me. Dr. Elia Gourgouris. The happiness doctor or Instagram , Dr. Eliya G , I guess those are the brother best two places. And my website would just, okay. I did something and this happened, wait,  dot com. I just redid my whole website. I didn’t do it. It’s DrEliaGourgouris.Com.

That’s my website. And I posted on LinkedIn yesterday and I’ve got like 3000 views that what people have. So I did something at this time. I didn’t do it. I hired somebody. My point is I hired somebody to do that. Knows how to do that stuff. And it worked. Yeah. Good. I’m excited. I can’t wait to go check that out.

That’s exactly what I’m doing when we finish. I look forward to that. Of course. And I will be sure to include links to your LinkedIn, the website and Instagram on our show notes page. Yeah. Certainly Elliott, thank you for joining us today.

The sweetest spirit, before we get off the air, I want the don’t cut this out.

I, I want people to know that Laurie is the sweetest, kindest, like her, the smile that is like a mega watt smile, long embarrassing, you know, do you know what the great thing about getting old and I have gray hair is that I don’t need to pay anybody any cobblers. When I say something to you, I mean it, from my heart, you are just a gem. So. I wish you all the success in the world. And, uh, this has been such a joy. I feel like I’m talking to my best friend. Like I’m not even no, no, really. You know, sometimes you do interviews and you just go through them, you do them and they’re good. And sometimes you connect with somebody and it’s like sitting in somebody’s living room and just having a blast. And that’s what the last hour has been with me with you. So.

Lori Brooks: [00:42:21] Oh, thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed I too. Enjoy it. And I can guarantee that the audience will get a ton of value out of this episode. So I look forward to chatting again in the very near future.

Dr. Elia Gourgouris: [00:42:34] Do thank you, Laurie. Thanks for having me

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