Make a goal! As a people watcher I notice that people who have a goal and write it down are able to reach it more so than someone going through life like they are a leaf floating on the wind. For myself, I have always wanted to help people. Working with the banks I wanted to help people in the largest way possible with their finances but working a financial institution is about the customer having as much as they can with that institution rather than the customer themselves. I had someone in my life tell me they always saw me as an author. This occurred shortly after I had to leave my last job. I have always had stories in my head, loved reading and writing. I decided to not only be a financial literacy educator but to be a fiction novelist. Having a goal brought me out of my funk of altered cognitive abilities.
Starting something new is scary. Learning to believe in yourself can be a critical precursor to starting a new initiative. Why is it so important to learn to believe in yourself? How can someone work on gaining these skills? In this interview series, we are talking to business leaders, authors, writers, coaches, medical professionals, teachers, to share empowering insights about “How To Learn To Believe In Yourself.” As a part of this series we had the pleasure of interviewing Damisha Ricks of Money Senses LLC.
Damisha has long had a history of caring for people before she cares for herself.
In hospitality, she was recognized for customer service when the the resort was working on its five Diamond rating.
She has 20+ years of public speaking from her ministry.
She has 8+ years of speaking to the public while working for financial institutions and insurance.
She loved speaking to those in underrepresented areas about opportunities as a Community Work Incentive Coordinator.
Through her experience from volunteering as a child, work and life she has recognized a large gap and started her financial literacy education program for underrepresented youth and their parents.
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?
Damisha has an active imagination that has stories ready to be shared with the world. My love of community and desire to be a professional was inspired by the professional black women she grew up around. She loves people, food, and reading. She enjoys trying new things. She became an entrepreneur after my health took a turn. Her love of people has turned her to investigating human psychology whether people watching, asking questions, or blitzing Investigation Discovery. Her high curiosity and love of people has given her the nudge to become an entrepreneur for the underrepresented. She loves a good underdog triumphing against all odds.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
My parents showed me how to be there for the community when I was a child. I assisted them with their fundraising and other activities to build. It encouraged my curiosity and amplified my natural desire to be there for others. When I began working in high school, I had the opportunity to experience different work environments before I found my niche. I worked in a major breakfast restaurant chain and after asking questions of the staff who worked there many years making very little money, I know that was not my path. I then worked in a shoe store that is no long around because it helped pay for my shoes while playing sports, I knew I also wouldn’t work there with lack of ability to grow. Then I worked in a dentist office that was close knit. I did office tasks and though I enjoy the medical field the mouth was not it for me. My last job in high school was at a major financial institution. I loved it for a while. It had potential to grow but I picked a need when I observed my coworkers and the clientele. With my work I was often out in the public giving impromptu speeches to gain clientele. This led me to my niche of a financial literacy educator for the underrepresented.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
My biggest mistake was believing people at face value. I am an honest person and I give of myself until it hurts. I thought people were the same as me. I do not have a specific occasion that showed me this as there were many that took a while to see. Because I become highly involved emotionally with others their disregard agitated my then occasional migraines putting me in the hospital at times.
My lesson was taking nothing at face value. Believe in what someone shows you. I always heard actions speak louder than words. But I believe people can change if they want to and make the effort. Now I just observe until I can decide of their genuineness.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I am building my business and some proprietary intellectual property that will be able to reach the masses. I will reach kids on their level. Adults often overlook the capacity a child has to learn. I want to aid in building that solid foundation for their fiscal future. And for the teenagers and young adults I have different approach that is similar but has practical application since they will close to the legal age of running their own finances.
I believe this financial literacy can aid in making informed decisions rather than learn the hard way.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to believe in yourself? Can you share a story or give some examples?
I am not a person who likes to ask for help. I am usually the one doing the helping. The few times I have asked for help and been denied for whatever reason by those who claim to have my back, I learned to do for myself. I cannot provide examples on that as I will not drag people through the mud. I identify as the intelligent woman I am. My health took a turn several years ago. It messed with my cognitive ability. Through this journey of learning to cope I have seen people dismiss my disability because it is not physical, or they don’t understand. I was in the middle of finishing my degree to get a job promotion when my health turned. It put a long pause on my progression. I recently was able to finish it in December 2022. I had to show myself that I can accomplish what I set my mind to regardless of support.
I would not have accomplished my personal goals with belief in myself. I realized that people spout support for someone creating their future when they are in their early 20s but disregard you when you get in your late 30s. Knowing that life can throw you curve balls at any time makes me want to be there for myself even more. I control my life with expectations and my mindset. You either are there for me or watch me as I pass by.
What exactly does it mean to believe in yourself? Can I believe that I can be a great artist even though I’m not very talented? Can I believe I can be a gold medal Olympic even if I’m not athletic? Can you please explain what you mean?
Believing in yourself means you can remain consistent in your personal outlook to accomplish realistic goals and desires. We are surrounded by things that tells us we can’t do something. The intersectionality of my life experience dealing with sexism and racism showed me the importance of be mindset affecting outcome. Regardless of someone else believes you are something does not mean you can’t be it. If you do not hold a certain talent, you just have to be sufficient for yourself. You may not be world class or get recognized but you can still do what you believe you can do.
Was there a time when you did not believe in yourself? How did this impact your choices?
When my health took a turn and what I saw myself as deflated. I mentioned before that I was in corporate America and working on my degree to advance in my career. My health took a turn, and it affected my cognitive abilities. I wondered who I was if I was not an intelligent woman I knew. I became withdrawn from trying new things or going after my goals. I did not feel I would fulfill my personal desires and while others around me were able to. The impact on my choices were to withdraw into myself and observe people more closely.
At what point did you realize that in order to get to the next level, it would be necessary to build up your belief in yourself? Can you share the story with us?
I thought if you are helping to meet a need for people you will be good. It was okay that something was not in my wheelhouse of skills. Hard work will get you where you want to go. That was not the case.
My last job before I had to stop working showed that they promoted those that took the initiative in their education and improving where you were not steady at. Others on my team that got hired at the same time were getting promoted with increased sales and willingness to move around in the organization to build connections and skills. I was just starting to do the same with working on my degree and about to interview in different areas. Things were starting to improve when I had to leave. But the lesson remained.
What are your top 5 strategies that will help someone learn to believe in themselves? Please share a story or example for each.
1 . Make a goal! As a people watcher I notice that people who have a goal and write it down are able to reach it more so than someone going through life like they are a leaf floating on the wind. For myself, I have always wanted to help people. Working with the banks I wanted to help people in the largest way possible with their finances but working a financial institution is about the customer having as much as they can with that institution rather than the customer themselves. I had someone in my life tell me they always saw me as an author. This occurred shortly after I had to leave my last job. I have always had stories in my head, loved reading and writing. I decided to not only be a financial literacy educator but to be a fiction novelist. Having a goal brought me out of my funk of altered cognitive abilities.
2 . Breakdown in smaller steps. Often, people see dreams and goals as daunting and quit before they start. If you take a goal and set smaller ones in order for you to achieve the big picture it alleviates the pain of being able to accomplish it. I loved the stories I came up with in my head but wondered how to go about writing a book. I took a workshop. Then I set my small goals to achieve it. I was able to complete it much quicker than expected.
3 . Celebrate your small accomplishments. Having set small goals when you reach it give those positive hormones. I love those positive hormones and it spurred me on to achieve my next small goal until I reached the full dream.
4 . Truly evaluate why you have a specific view of yourself (if you are unable to get professional help) This is a difficult one. So many do not want to admit that they are the reason they have not achieved what they want. Many people blame outside factors. While there could be things beyond your control most times you control the narrative. Either you get things done or you don’t. It’s all about how you react to situations that tell you about yourself. Can you be honest with yourself? Can you handle the truth without being bitter? I learned early to take responsibility. Just because you deny something does not make it any less true.
5 . Be curious enough to look into your areas of weakness. Know that weakness is not a bad thing but an opportunity to grow. Society, family, and friends can and will either build you up or break you down. It is often these groups that stifle curiosity. I love human psychology and why people make the decisions they make. People often label me as nosy. It hurt often because I just care. Now I my age I am glad I didn’t lose my curiosity. I am happy to be strong enough to look into my weak areas. I love opportunities to grow. We should never stop learning. Admitting you have a weakness to yourself is the best way to find solutions to it. We know that predators go after weaknesses and people are just the same. I am not saying you have to show other people but if you hear something that you know is a weakness turn the tables and ask for a solution to overcome it. That often shuts naysayers up. They want to dole out negativity and have not solutions to be different.
Conversely, how can one stop the negative stream of self-criticism that often accompanies us as we try to grow?
For me, figuring out why I even came up with a particular self-criticism helps tremendously. I find that idiosyncrasies often stem from things that happen through the formative years and it becomes part of a person’s identity whether they know or acknowledge it.
Are there any misconceptions about self-confidence and believing in oneself that you would like to dispel?
Self-confidence does not have to be shoved in anyone else’s face like the cocky man or woman who thinks everything revolves around them. Self-confidence and believing in oneself can be quiet. It is a strength that is not about others, but strictly for you.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with imposter syndrome?
I would tell them to evaluate why the feel they have not earned their position through their abilities. Honestly as a minority in this education system you are made to feel like less despite the many contributions you know nothing about unless you do the research yourself. Without representation it makes it difficult to see that you too can make a difference. I had representation in the associates of my parents who were professionals, along with family and friends who are also professionals.
Imposter syndrome comes from somewhere and if you are unable to identify instances where you were made to feel like affirmative action or some other excuse by the mediocre is why you are where you are then I recommend getting a therapist who looks like you if you can. One they recognize your pain as they have likely experienced it themselves and are less likely to dismiss your experience as those who have absolutely no experience in it.
Knowing an origin of this mindset is the starting point to overcoming the chains it places on you to move forward.
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.
As with my mission for my company. I will educate and empower brilliant young minds with principles of financial literacy. I am building the apps I want for children and young adults now.
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 🙂
Tony Robbins because he has been doing six and seven figure speaking engagements which I will do as well. And Oprah because she has a voice that reaches across many different groups especially with her books.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
@msmoneysenses on IG and @authordamisharicks on IG. I am building my website soon.
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.