63. Net Worth = Self-Worth? Learn Why This Is True For Some More Than Others as Dr Deborah Ward Explains


This week, I spoke with Dr Deborah Ward about the consequences of basing our self-worth on financial success. I was interested in this topic because I wanted to understand why some people place so much importance on financial success compared with others. I learned from Dr Ward that it’s because some people derive their sense of self-worth from how financially successful they are. We also discussed what to do if you’re someone like that.

Besides the topic of deriving self-worth from financial success, Dr Ward also shares her insights and experiences about why she decided to pursue a career in academia and what you’ll need to be aware of if you’re considering going into academia. We talked about the key to success for a career in research, like the need for collaboration, of finding good mentors, how to view failure differently, and the tenacity, independence and balance needed to thrive. 

Dr. Deborah Ward recently graduated with her Ph.D. in Social-Personality Psychology from University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. She earned her B.A. in Liberal Arts from Muhlenberg College, where she double majored in Psychology and Russian Studies, and her M.S. in Psychology from Villanova University. Currently, Dr. Ward is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Saginaw Valley State University.

Broadly, Dr. Ward studies topics related to identity threat. People are susceptible to identity-threat when they receive negative feedback related to important aspects of the self (e.g., competence, appearance). Much of her work revolves around the consequences of basing self-worth on financial success. 

More recently, she has applied this work to academic contexts with the goal of understanding how to identify circumstances – in the classroom or university-wide – that could threaten students’ self-esteem or self-efficacy, and potentially discourage them from meeting or pursuing academic goals. Dr. Ward has also conducted research on numerous other topics, including romantic relationships, economic inequality, cultural norms, and coping with stressors.

I’m grateful to Dr Ward for sharing her perspective, wisdom and insights from her work and her own journey and I know you’ll enjoy this one!

You can connect with Dr Ward through email at deward@svsu.edu


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The Two Point Zero Podcast Host


Standing On The Shoulders of Mighty Women. 

This podcast is about helping you follow your passions, create goals, take action and learn the tools and techniques to live the life your heart desires.

You’ll hear interviews with women who are following their passions, the steps they’re taking and the lessons they learned along the way. 

I also share my insights and experiences along the journey of following my passions and what I'm learning.

A Little History...

I started the podcast in November 2020. I was inspired to do it after hearing the recurrent fear and stress around finances from adult learners in classes about resilience that I was teaching at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The podcast was then called ‘The Financially Free Woman’. At that time, I was very much into overcoming financial anxiety, something I myself experienced after a 6-figure business debt, losing my job as the family’s breadwinner and faced with job insecurity. 

Over time, I realised a common theme running through all of my podcast guests. They were following their passions, taking the steps to get there, and possessed a mindset that no matter what, they would figure it out. 

Despite the mistakes and missteps along the way, they just got back up and kept going. It was such an inspiration to watch and I finally understood in my heart that the whole point of life is to do what your heart is telling you to do and use your logical brain to take the actions needed. 

Since then, I've been standing on the shoulders of these mighty women and learning to better listen to my intuition, follow my passions and use my rational mind to create a life my heart desires. I share what my guests and I are learning about how we're doing this on the podcast.

I hope you’ll join us on this amazing journey!


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