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“Practice Balancing Empathy and Boundaries”, Lakila & Eric Bowden of ‘Dope People Who’ and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Practice Balancing Empathy and Boundaries: While an ability to be empathetic is a key link in the chain of Emotional Intelligence, being overly empathetic can lead to the use and abuse of emotions. It’s perfectly ok to understand where someone is coming from or their situation without overextending yourself to accommodate their situation if it […]

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Practice Balancing Empathy and Boundaries: While an ability to be empathetic is a key link in the chain of Emotional Intelligence, being overly empathetic can lead to the use and abuse of emotions. It’s perfectly ok to understand where someone is coming from or their situation without overextending yourself to accommodate their situation if it ultimately leads to your emotional detriment. We have coached clients who have partners that are very good at tugging on the heartstrings and relying on sympathetic reactions to excuse toxic behavior, which has the effect of stifling the sympathetic partner’s Emotional Intelligence. By establishing healthy boundaries you improve Emotional Intelligence and that in turn, can improve all the relationships in your life including those with intimate partners, family, friendships, co-workers, and acquaintances.


As a part of our series about “Emotional Intelligence, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric and Lakila Bowden.

Lakila & Eric Bowden are the married, co-founders of Dope People Who, a relationship performance coaching company that helps Black singles and couples conquer limiting beliefs, supercharge their self-image, and amplify their authenticity so they can experience wildly healthy and fun relationships!

After tiring of imbalanced and often stereotyped narratives of Black “Struggle Love,” they created the online coaching program “Unleash Your Dopeness,” infusing their unique and lovingly expletive-laden coaching style into providing the guidance needed to cultivate successful, happy, and whole relationships.

Having worked with some of America’s largest and most celebrated companies such as General Electric and The Home Depot, they bring over 25+ years of experience in Professional Performance Management and People Development to the personal relationship space.

Lakila’s been featured in Black Enterprise Magazine, and as a couple, they are regular podcast guests speaking on a variety of topics including mindful relationship development, radical truth in communication, and intentional self-love as a critical part of wellness.


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?

Lakila: I was raised in Fayetteville, NC by two gregarious and giving parents, Milton and Jackie. From a very young age, my parents did an incredible job of instilling within me a strong sense of self-worth and unshakable confidence that’s stuck with me throughout my life. My Mother, an extremely resourceful woman, kept my two siblings and I engaged in all kinds of activities from science and math programs to sports to civic engagement. We didn’t travel much outside of Fayetteville, but she’d always find a way to make sure we experienced a world outside of our own. I was a Daddy’s Girl coming up, and my relationship with my Dad always reinforced my achievements academically and athletically. He also did a great job connecting with me emotionally, so in childhood, I felt very safe and loved. Even though my parents divorced when I was 13, they continued to parent us together so there was always a lot of love and laughter present throughout my youth. I am grateful to be a reflection of all the best parts of them both.

Eric: Being the son of two military (Army) parents, the first 5 years of my childhood were spent between Ansbach and Nuremberg, Germany. Our family of four was reassigned to the States, where we quickly settled in the Metro Atlanta area before the commencement of my 3rd-grade year. There was a conspicuous difference in the quality of life between the two continents. Most noticeably in the areas of public safety, healthcare, education, and neighborly trust. Nevertheless, I adjusted quickly to my new norm, made friends very quickly, and adapted my movements based on the new guidance “rules for young Black children in America” received from my elders.

Excelling in sports and academics came naturally to me as I began to explore a different landscape with new faces and unique energy. Simultaneously, there was a growing internal yearning to learn more about how people think and what drives them to make pivotal decisions. Having been blessed with a huge extended family (Mom — 15 siblings & Father — 11), there were older cousins, uncles & aunts accessible to satisfy my emotional curiosity. While the males of the family provided solid “man” advice, it was the women that guided me with specific instruction on how to properly handle a heart. Although I was far too young to be dating at that point, their words of instruction were embedded into my soul and they still exist within me today.

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

What inspired us to pursue creating “Dope People Who,” our Relationship Performance coaching company, was a need to focus on healthy and fun Black Love relationships and combat the constant and insidious barrage of imbalanced Black “Struggle Love” narratives dominating popular media, music, and cinema, that are being presented as norms.

Our personal experience in Black Love has been characterized by impenetrable trust, unwavering partnership, satiating intimacy, and a ton of fun so we knew that the reality and attainability of success in Black Love needed a louder voice.

We also knew that due to the real systemic issues disproportionately impacting the Black Community, we had to incorporate relatable, solution-oriented guidance in bridging the gap to positive, healthy, and fun relationships that can often feel elusive for Black singles and couples.

We were inspired to not only motivate our tribe members but to empower them with tools based on proven performance improvement methods as well.

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?

Lakila:

For me, it was my grandmothers, Nellie Bowens and Ruby Richardson. They both loved their families powerfully and made a lot of quiet sacrifices that have allowed me to be unapologetically bold. Nellie, my mother’s mom, who encouraged me never to settle in love, got a chance to meet and spend quality time with Eric before she passed in late 2018. Ruby, my dad’s mom who we call Gran Gran, is 95 today and still sharp as a tack. Years ago, I overheard her on the phone telling a friend “Lakila’s got a determined mind.” I try to live up to that and honor them both every day with our work.

Eric:

One could assume that growing up in a household with two parents that both served in the Army for 25+ years would be stressful or strict, but I’m proud to report that they did a phenomenal job of maintaining a balanced household. Quite frankly, they are both equally responsible for my success with their intentional teachings of mental toughness and perseverance.

As I matriculated through elementary and into middle school, I was very active with sports and extra-curricular activities. Many of which required additional funds for uniforms, travel costs, etc. Although we were firmly in the middle class, there were times where the money for my many impromptu/off-budget activities was not readily available. I requested two hundred dollars for a traveling team baseball outing, and my parents politely told me that “we don’t have it,” which meant that I wouldn’t be able to play when my team needed me the most!

I was devastated! They recognized my sorrow, but they were very intentional at that moment to let me know of all the hard work and sacrifices they’ve made to put our family in a position of stability and abundance. Explaining to me in detail how they were both raised on farms in the country and had to help provide for their siblings, even as young teenagers.

More importantly, they graciously challenged me in a way that didn’t make me feel like a child, but as a valued team member working towards one goal. That goal was, and still is, to take each generation from glory to glory. I accepted that challenge and I plan to provide my child with the same inspiration when the time comes. My parents are my heroes.

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?

Lakila:

This makes me laugh just thinking about it. Last year we participated in a Career Day for a local elementary school in Atlanta. We prepared our relationship talking points thinking we’d be assigned to the older fifth-grade students but we neglected to confirm with the Vice-Principal who invited us to speak. When we arrived, we found out we were being paired with first graders. With no time to readjust our points, we were going to have to wing it, which could get dicey for a couple who spends the majority of their time with adults and very little time around kids.

We met with 4 different classes and each time we shared that we were husband and wife the kids would bust out in uncontrollable laughter and start blushing. For some reason, this fact truly tickled these kids which in turn tickled us and it made for a really lively conversation. Through all the laughter, we managed to break down the concept of love and emphasized the importance of self-love by having the kids share things they loved about themselves. The kids were very engaged especially with Eric dishing out high fives around the room for all the spirited responses. We had a blast and at the end of each session, we were bombarded by a bunch of little hugs. It’s been our favorite speaking engagement to date.

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?

Lakila:

I would suggest choosing not to subscribe to the road being “hard”. Success takes dedication, commitment, and investment without a doubt; however, I suggest choosing to set out on your path with the intentionality that your experience will be one of ease and enjoyment. That’s accomplished by embracing all parts of the journey, celebrating the minor successes along the way, and treating the challenging moments and setbacks as lessons that are meant to teach you something you can use to your benefit and to the benefit of those you’ll impact through your work.

Eric:

Agreed, I’d also advise showing up today as the person you anticipate you’ll need to be once you’ve achieved success. Don’t wait to “get there” to then become that person. Consider today what experiences will constitute success in the future. Will you be more confident? More fulfilled? More skilled? Then adopt those behaviors, mind states, and skills now and conduct yourself today as the successful person you envision becoming.

Mentors are also particularly important, and they love to help people who are already putting in the effort to make their ideas a reality.

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?

Lakila:

One of our all-time favorite podcasts is “Side Hustle Pro” hosted by Nicaila Matthews Okome. Nicaila highlights the journeys of successful black women who have taken a side hustle or passion project and turned it into a profitable business. Nicalia’s journey in entrepreneurship is chronicled as well and, as loyal audience members, it has been wonderful for us to listen to the evolution of her success. Her show does an exquisite job of bringing an often under-acknowledged, yet incredibly talented host of Black women and their stories to the forefront where they belong.

Eric:

Yes, Nicaila is a visionary and the array of Black women deservingly promoted on Side Hustle Pro are game-changers. The reason this podcast resonates with us so deeply is that it brings to light the centuries-old capabilities of Black people to create lanes where none previously existed and dominate with style, integrity, and grace, despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

The Black community is rich with talent and intellect and has long thrived on self-sufficiency for which it is not often recognized with heroes that go unsung. Side Hustle Pro has created a viable and worthy stage on which to not only showcase the talent of these savvy and gritty entrepreneurs but also their backstories, which paints a vivid roadmap of exactly what’s possible for scores of other would-be entrepreneurs. We’re huge proponents of the saying “Each One, Teach One” and Side Hustle Pro embodies that concept in grand fashion.

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

Eric:

“Surround yourself with dope people who inspire you to be your dopest self.” — Lakila & Eric Bowden

This is our favorite life lesson quote and it’s one we coined as both a reminder and a powerful call to action. It reminds us to be intentional in selecting our tribe and how the positive energy of others can not only bring out the best in us but also to propel us much further along in life than we could ever otherwise go by ourselves.

Lakila and I are the beneficiaries of incredibly supportive families, distinguished mentors, and brilliant friendship circles that reciprocate everything from resources to encouragement to connections. This quote embodies one of the most valuable life lessons anyone can master and that is the lesson of achieving personal development and growth through the ease and enjoyment of the relationships we cultivate. Personal growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and the more we can surround ourselves with great people rooting for our success and actively supporting that success, the more enriched our lives become.

Lakila:

Yes, Eric and I contribute tremendous amounts of our own time and energy to elevate others, so we feel very blessed to have cultivated a magnificently dope tribe in our personal lives, that pours right back into us and continues to blossom right along with us.

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

Lakila:

We just released an online version of our coaching program, “Unleash Your Dopeness” that we’re super excited about. For anyone who has experienced one or more failed relationships; has had it with inconsistencies in dating experiences; or whose existing relationship needs a pick me up, this program was designed for them.

We created the program to help singles and couples alike tap into their power as individuals to experience healthy and fun relationships. The program is self-paced but includes weekly live coaching sessions with Eric and me. The sessions are live, as in, not recorded but also “live” as in a great time. Plus, there’s the Dope People Who Tribe, a beautiful, engaged community of black singles and couples also in the program who are all on similar paths to great relationships.

One thing we’re most proud of with “Unleash Your Dopeness, is infusing a ton of fun into the transformation process because there are numerous studies that show participants get better results when learning combines positive emotion and entertaining engagement. We ensure course members get all the above when they join “Unleash Your Dopeness” and the DPW Tribe.

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 on Emotional Intelligence?

Lakila:

As Relationship and Communications experts, Emotional Intelligence is a core foundational aspect of the performance coaching Dope People Who provides to our single and couple clients. There is a direct correlation between a client’s current level of Emotional Intelligence and their capacity to achieve their desired relationship status that we address and further develop in order to guide them in experiencing growth. So, mastering EI and solidly understanding its impact is how we’ve garnered results and established our brand of coaching.

In our personal lives, we consistently engage in the continuous development and improvement of our own levels of Emotional Intelligence. It makes us stronger as individuals, as a couple, and as business partners. As you can imagine, without EI, navigating an intimate and business relationship could get pretty volatile.

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

Eric:

Emotional Intelligence plays a part in every experience we have in life. EI is a combination of a person’s awareness of their own emotions and her or his ability to understand and manage the impact of those emotions. Additionally, EI represents a person’s level of awareness, or lack thereof, of the emotions of those around them, including their influence on the emotions of others.

Unfortunately, most of us make it well into adulthood before we ever even hear the phrase Emotional Intelligence, let alone start learning how EI is impacting our lives.

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

Lakila:

From our perspective, Emotional Intelligence is a subset of overall general intelligence. We tend to think of one as more hardcore “smarts” and the other as a “nice to have” soft skill set. However, in reality, intelligence is an ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills, and the degree to which someone masters the skill of emotional understanding governs the capacity and depth of their overall intelligence.

Some of the most influential leaders are of course considered intelligent in the traditional sense but their real strength is understanding how to manage emotion to influence people. For instance, former President Barack Obama, a brilliant and iconic leader, won two presidential races with a campaign largely staked on the emotions of hope and change. He was masterfully able to tap into people’s emotional sensibilities.

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

Eric:

Sure, EI is often the underlying factor in how we experience our lives and whether or not our perception of that experience is overall positive or generally negative. Having a strong command of personal Emotional Intelligence, meaning you fully grasp your emotional tendencies and take accountability for the outcomes influenced by your emotional state, means you’re much more likely to choose to cultivate experiences for yourself that are conducive to a steadier state of fulfillment, harmony, laughter, and joy. Put more directly, when you know how to make yourself happy, you tend to do the things that keep you happy.

As it pertains to other people, having a high level of Emotional Intelligence leads to better relationships with family and intimate partners and it heavily influences the success of a person’s career progression and their ability to attain wealth. We find that clients who invest in understanding their emotions and have high EI, are happier and also more often than not, have a reputation for enriching the environments and lives of people they encounter.

Lakila:

Right, to that point, Eric is a man of exceedingly high Emotional Intelligence, and I noticed early on that he’s mastered his own emotions in a way that consistently leads to making other people’s lives better. He’s able to dependably contribute meaningful support, give sound advice, and has a real knack for spreading infectiously positive energy in any space. I’ve seen so many people consistently open up to him in a vulnerable and endearing way, regardless of how well they actually know him. I remember we were visiting my family in Fayetteville once, and one of my family members known for being quite crass and unruly gravitated towards Eric and showered him with adoration. It was the wildest thing to watch. I call it the “Eric Impact” and it’s wonderful to witness.

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.

Lakila:

Emotional Intelligence is largely responsible for our union, especially the spontaneity of the day we met. A huge component of EI includes social skills. And boy are we social!

On the day we met, Eric was visiting Miami, where I lived at the time, and had rented a yacht for the day with two friends. Reading the room, Eric’s EI kicks in and he realizes the male to female dynamic on the boat needed some “tweaking” to keep the party going. So being ever the resourceful man, he reached out to a mutual friend of ours to have her invite some girlfriends to join the yacht and I get the call from our mutual friend. Now she wasn’t able to join, but nevertheless, I trusted a good time was on the other side of this invite to hang out with a stranger and his friends for a random yacht day.

Eric:

We naturally gravitated toward each other when Lakila arrived and ended up having one of the best conversations while out on the water. Upon returning to dock at the hotel, I was very direct in letting her know I wanted to keep hanging out. Within minutes we’re by the pool, the sun is down, drinks are flowing and Lakila starts a game of “Truth or Dare” because it’s that kind of night. She and I go last and are dared to skinny dip together in the hotel pool. Up until this point, we’d been having a flirty friendly interaction, but the vibe for more was definitely there. We of course go all-in on the dare, solidifying our lifelong connection.

Lakila:

Now, when we go back and dissect the events of that day, we realize what an impactful role our high EI’s played in allowing us both to be open, vulnerable, and receptive to each other’s positive energy and — most importantly — free to embrace the obvious attraction that had been brewing all day, uninhibited. Many other components of EI, such as self-awareness, motivation, and developing an understanding of each other, even in just a day’s encounter of one another, set off a chain of events that led to Eric’s spectacularly planned proposal a year later, that also resulted in another round of skinny dipping just before he pulled out the ring, and our eloping a month after engagement in St. Lucia.

This is why we’re such big fans and proponents of EI and why we incorporate it so heavily into our coaching practice because it helps singles and couples leverage their emotional intellect in cultivating the kinds of relationships that are balanced in fulfillment and fun!

So yeah, EI for the win!

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

Lakila:

We’re actually both from corporate executive backgrounds where EI, as a concept, has continually become more popular over the last 10 to 15 years. In the entrepreneurial world, EI is a strong indicator of longevity and potential for success. Emotions are not something you turn on and off because you’re conducting business. They are a part of every skill set that matters in business from negotiations to communications.

In a corporate environment, relationships can make or break your chances of excelling toward your aspirational career goals, and having a high Emotional Intelligence level better enables you to cultivate those relationships in genuine ways that strengthen your chances for advancement.

For entrepreneurs, good EI helps you better understand the mental state of your target audience and tap into how your perfect customer is feeling, positioning you to better meet their needs with your product or service. An amazing example of this is Danielle Leslie and her multimillion-dollar generating program Course “From Scratch.” Danielle has not only perfected tapping into the emotional desires of her students, but she has also, crafted a system that teaches her students to do the same so they can have a value-added impact on their customers’ lives while working from anywhere. Her rise has been meteoric and there’s a strong dose of EI in her rocket-fueled journey.

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

Eric:

EI levels in relationships can be the difference between exceptional experiences and unintentional mediocrity.

In intimate relationships, emotionally intelligent couples are much more prone to experience equally high performing, healthy, and fun relationships because they’re better equipped to exhibit the characteristics that make relationships last such as garnering trust, creating safe spaces of vulnerability, and engaging in open and honest communication. They are also more likely to be intimately satisfied by being dialed into fulfilling each other’s emotional needs, setting the stage for lasting physical chemistry. This is an area we find many guys often underestimate and where many women feel short-changed but can be addressed fairly easily through incorporating intentional emotional awareness.

Lakila:

Similarly, in non-intimate relationships, Emotional Intelligence allows for a deeper connection with family, friends, and colleagues. It endears people to you and makes them feel heard and understood even in times of disagreement. Advancing your EI skills can help you proactively diffuse potentially contentious relationships, making them more collaborative and mutually beneficial.

Most importantly, EI supports the one relationship we should prioritize above all else and that’s the relationship we have with ourselves as individuals. Understanding how you feel about yourself and knowing how your emotions are wired, gives you invaluable insights that you can use to curate a life you love. That starts with a healthy self-image rooted in emotional and personal development. A great inner relationship has ripple effects that flow through to every relationship you engage in outside of yourself. When women ask me “How can I find a good man?” I respond, “Start with being great to yourself, Sis.”

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

Lakila:

Optimal mental health is foundationally rooted in how we feel consistently and EI is the “battery in the back” of emotional awareness that empowers you to most effectively take action to sustain that optimal state. Emotional awareness allows you to be proactive in engaging in the self-care routines and activities that support healthy, positive mental wellness and to be best prepared emotionally for the lumps and bumps that inevitably arise along your journeys in life. Life can be unpredictable but those situations that challenge us emotionally, do not have to be detrimentally disruptive. You can experience them and be balanced by a healthy level of mental wellness. There’s a saying, “it doesn’t get better, you get better” and being intentional about investing in the development of your EI through therapy and coaching represents you getting better equipped to maintain optimal mental health.

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.

Video Link (YouTube): https://youtu.be/s1BGS4XXWyM

  1. Eliminate “Struggle Love” From Your Life: We get it, “Savage Culture” is a thing and while its tenets may make for colorful song lyrics, in real life, being emotionally inconsiderate or worse, emotionally damaging, can have a real and lasting impact and unintended consequences for all parties involved. As Relationship Experts, we often encounter clients who are bogged down under the weight of struggling relationships that have never or are no longer serving them well, limiting their ability to advance emotionally. Our clients who thrive the most in Emotional Intelligence are the singles and couples who can take accountability in eliminating struggle love from their lives by prioritizing their personal growth, implementing healthy boundaries, and learning to subscribe to practices that are conducive to healthy and fun relationships. For Eric and I, exiting relationships that may have been good but not great is what freed us up to be emotionally prepared to meet each other.
  2. Spend a Week Acknowledging and Celebrating the Emotions You Experience: A great way to start honing in on and better understanding how emotions impact you is to acknowledge and celebrate them, regardless of where the emotion falls on the happy/unhappy scale. For this acknowledgment and celebration week, the type of emotion you’re displaying doesn’t matter so much as the fact that you have given yourself a reason to start paying attention to what emotions surface and in what situation so that you can determine how well your emotional response is serving you and impacting your outcomes. For many male clients, this is an effective strategy because they come to realize they didn’t think they had emotions but the number of “mini-celebrations” proved otherwise. Experiencing emotions lets us know we are alive and everyone’s emotions occur for a reason so by paying attention, you’ll glean invaluable insight that you can immediately use to raise your EI.
  3. Practice Balancing Empathy and Boundaries: While an ability to be empathetic is a key link in the chain of Emotional Intelligence, being overly empathetic can lead to the use and abuse of emotions. It’s perfectly ok to understand where someone is coming from or their situation without overextending yourself to accommodate their situation if it ultimately leads to your emotional detriment. We have coached clients who have partners that are very good at tugging on the heartstrings and relying on sympathetic reactions to excuse toxic behavior, which has the effect of stifling the sympathetic partner’s Emotional Intelligence. By establishing healthy boundaries you improve Emotional Intelligence and that in turn, can improve all the relationships in your life including those with intimate partners, family, friendships, co-workers, and acquaintances.
  4. Contribute Positively to the Emotional Atmosphere by Directly Expressing Gratitude: Letting the people in your life know that you are grateful for them and why is an excellent way to be intentional in developing greater Emotional Intelligence. When expressing this gratitude, challenge yourself to go beyond the surface level and provide details that paint a vivid picture of how someone is contributing to your life in a meaningful way. Even if it is something that may seem small or insignificant, making the people around you feel appreciated extends reciprocating energy that puts the gratitude giver and receiver in a more satiated emotional state. That’s a powerful way of contributing positively to the emotional atmosphere and it elevates everyone’s mood increasing good vibes, connection opportunities, idea sharing, and a host of other beneficial possibilities.
  5. Give Your Self-Esteem a Boost: Your level of Emotional Intelligence directly correlates to how you view and feel about yourself. So unblocking limiting beliefs and integrating routines that regularly fortify your self-worth are like the “cheat codes” to also maintaining high EI. When you feel good about yourself, the greater likelihood is that that will be reflected in how you regard others. Treating others well emotionally and exercising empathy is an indication of a high sense of self-worth. Conversely, for those struggling with feelings of inadequacy, it can often play out as treating others poorly much like the saying “Hurt people, hurt people.” However, when we pour into ourselves with positive affirmations, surround ourselves with uplifting people, and practice regular self-care, nobody has to hurt, our self-esteem stays topping the charts, and we’re much more emotionally astute. In our coaching practice, we guide all of our clients in developing effective self-esteem boosting practices that support the person they want to consistently show up as in the world and specifically in their relationships.

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?

Eric:

Of course, it can. For a host of reasons, the current educational system fails to guide our youth in understanding their emotions and the emotions of others, leaving them ill-prepared to navigate the emotional minefields they’ll inevitably encounter throughout their lives.

We recommend:

  • Shifting to curriculum that incorporate personal development with a specific emphasis on EI
  • Balancing reward systems toward positive contributions that enrich the larger community versus being so heavily weighted toward individual academic prowess
  • Deepening students’ experiences with more meaningful exposure to lifestyles and circumstances unlike their own

These are just a few recommendations that are aimed at enhancing positive self-images and deepening a student’s capacity for empathy but there are many changes needed.

It’s a lot easier to raise emotionally intelligent children than repair emotionally broken adults.

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.

Eric:

The movement Lakila and I are inspiring through our company, Dope People Who is to empower over 1 Million other wildly healthy and fun Black Love relationships.

Through our transformational coaching platform, we’re curating a more elevated outlook and greater capability for Black singles and couples to attain and/or sustain healthy and fun relationships where they feel valued and loved for their authentic selves.

Black Love matters and when we have exposure and access to the tools and mindset that amplifies our internal “dopeness”, we are empowered to foster fulfilling, high functioning, and fun relationships that improve our overall community in health, wealth, and wellness for generations to come!

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 🙂

Lakila:

We’d adore breaking bread with Ava DuVernay! Simply put, she’s dope! Ava’s a pioneer and change agent in the film industry for underrepresented people in front of and behind the camera. We’re pioneering a similar movement in the personal development space that parallels the one she’s spearheaded in film. A movement that evokes impactful and lasting change requires its leaders to tell a compelling story, and I think she’ll get a real kick out of exchanging stories with us.

Eric:

Ava, if you’re reading this, lunch is on us, Sis!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Readers can vibe and connect with us on our website DopePeopleWho.com.

Follow us on Instagram @DopePeopleWho and Facebook DopePeopleWho

Or shoot us an email at [email protected].

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

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