This week, we’re joined by Rhea Lalla, an entrepreneur, certified trainer, parenting coach, speaker, author, and an emotional intelligence specialist. She is the founder of Build Great Minds, she offers private coaching, online courses and leads live seminars on building highly developed emotional, intellectual and creative skills sets in kids, so they achieve success in all areas of life

Prior to starting her own business, Rhea has been a part of the corporate world gaining valuable experience in coaching and training, all the while working with executives and senior management. She has worked all over the world in places like North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Caribbean.

Back in 2012, she started Build Great Minds which offers parents private coaching, online courses and leads live seminars on building highly developed emotional, intellectual and creative skills sets in kids, so they achieve success in all areas of life. Rhea is helping parents conceptualize unwelcome patterns in their behavior and teaches new ones, useful to both the parent and the child.

Whether she’s building apartments out of shipping containers in the Caribbean or helping parents develop a healthier, more nurturing and more fulfilling relationships with their children, Rhea is constantly searching for a way to improve herself, determined to see the world in the most beautiful, positive way possible.

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Rhea’s Origin Story: What Experiences Have Led Her to Become an EQ Specialist

“I’ve always been in the world of emotional intelligence.” – Rhea Lalla

Rhea’s upbringing was unconventional. From a very young age, she was guided to express her creativity freely, in terms of perspective taking and self-awareness. There is a strong connection between Rhea’s ability to sense, feel and respond to people’s emotions and need, and the simple game of trying to guess what are other people in the park thinking. Learning and growing through these games, in a safe, loving and nurturing environment, allowed her to pick up emotional cues and patterns in behavior, essential aspects of emotional intelligence.

But these guessing games also allowed her to understand and develop a crucial technique she will later come to use and apply in everyday life situations. The ability to produce different explanations for why a certain scenario played out, informs you about the complexities of life. There could be many reasons why a person did what they did or said what they said, and it is important not to get attached to the idea there is a one, single way of interpreting the situation. Allow yourself to witness a whole spectrum of possibilities, and choose to accept the one which will give you the most optimistic and positive version of life.

“You start accumulating a variety of reasons as to why somebody is behaving, or responding or communicating in a particular way. And what you learn is not to get attached to any “one” way of thinking.” – Rhea Lalla

The Importance of Naming Emotions in Early Childhood Experiences

“So much of how we see the world, how we respond to the world, how we feel about ourselves, is intrinsically determined in those first 5 to 10 years.”

We discuss how much the formative years of our development affect what type of person we’re going to become. All of what we’re experiencing as children is seeping into our subconscious, conditioning the way we see, feel and interact with the world around us.

Not being able to name a specific emotion is a real problem for children. The frustration it brings forces them to shun and disassociate from certain emotions, which can eventually be wiped out from their emotional landscape. It is the parent’s role to recognize specific emotions that the child is experiencing, and to propose a name for what they’re feeling.

“It’s so important, at a very young age, to help children understand their emotional space and give them language.” – Rhea Lalla

Are Emotions Being Neglected in Today’s Society

“I think that emotions have been ignored far too long, and this is our opportunity to do a deep dive into the places we may have been afraid to.” – Rhea Lalla

It looks like doing anything to get away from feelings has become a standard in dealing with them. Distracting ourselves and not allowing to feel our own emotions is a huge part of the problem people are experiencing in their everyday lives. Rhea invites us to feel our feelings. Emotions are in our physiology, and we need to allow ourselves to experience them with the entirety of our being. They have been designed to help you on your life’s journey, and if we’re so focused on dismissing them, we will be losing a valuable source of information about the world, and distort the way in which we interpret life.

“A human being is a human feeling.” – Rhea Lalla

The Parenting Journey and How to Re-parent Yourself

“Parents will always do better than what their parents did, and that’s the natural state of things.” – Rhea Lalla

Rhea believes that working with parents has been the most challenging aspect of her entire career. Helping people help their children is a noble, but also a very difficult task. But the secret to being a better parent is not some knowledge and wisdom you can just acquire and have all the answers. It is not an achievement you unlock. The answer lies in the approach. It’s about asking the right questions, and being open and creative in answering them. No two situations will be completely identical, and neither will there be a “one-size-fits-all“ solution. The real gift in Rhea’s teachings is understanding that in order to really achieve transformation, you need to ask yourself the question: “What is it about me, that created that?”

“There is no arrival point… It is every day, you say, “I’m going to climb a mountain”, and you make 3 steps up and 2 steps down. But the difference is, every day you say, “I want to be on the mountain!” – Rhea Lalla

Nonverbal Communication and Why is Feedback Important?

“It’s in the slightest eyebrow tweak, it’s in the slightest lip curl that the entire message gets changed.” – Rhea Lalla

There is a completely latent aspect of communication we’re often overlooking. Beneath all the verbal, there is a sea of nonverbal. A world of gestures, movements, postures, facial expressions which not only convey valuable information, but are often coinciding with the spoken language, and looking for congruity between the two is one of the arts of understanding emotional intelligence. That is why we need to be authentic in our nonverbal communication if we want to get our message across and in a clear manner.

“If much of what we’re doing is in our blind spots, you have to fetishize feedback.” – Rhea Lalla

Yet, so much is still unavailable to us, especially about our own behavior. Some things are just a matter of perspective, and that is why feedback is such a useful tool in transformation and self-improvement. Rhea shares her own experiences about asking for and receiving feedback from her friends, partner, and even her own children. It’s important to explain the end goal of the process of asking for their opinions because these are the people who love you the most, and their first instinct might be to protect you or to rationalize away from useful criticism.  

“Do the work, know that there’s no perfection, and just watch how beautiful all that unfolding can be.” – Rhea Lalla