This is the improbable story of Danisha Danielle Hoston, and I’m so pleased to have her in our MOMMIES DO THE MOST AMAZING THINGS series!
I’m not what you’d call a betting woman, but even I understand odds. Take a girl raised by a single dad. That girl’s biological mom struggles with addiction and is in and out of her life. That girl gets pregnant at a young age and the father of her child dies, leaving her on her own, surviving with government assistance. Even I know the odds are stacked against that girl.
Possibility packs so much into those two words…and yet…that girl ends up a property mogul, a real estate broker running a multi-million dollar business, and maybe the biggest odds-busting curve? Finds herself hosting #OWNShow on oprah.com. This is a woman who, along the way, ignored the odds, checked impossible at the door and walked into possibility. This is the improbable story of Danisha Danielle Hoston.
Tina: On paper, your story should have ended differently, but you beat the odds. You’ve accomplished things many live their whole lives reaching for, and you’re not even out of your 30s yet! Looking back on your life, are there any key influences or decisions that made you an odds-beater?
Danisha: Major decisions: Deciding to bet on myself by being a commission-based commercial real estate broker after I got laid off when my daughter was 10 months old. Everybody thought it was wayyyyy too risky. The second decision was when I went against everybody’s advice and bought a house and my first multi-unit property when I was only 25 years old. People told me the market was too high and I wasn’t experienced enough to be a landlord. I still have my house today, but I sold the multi-unit 5-6 years after I bought it for double the price I purchased it for. Becoming an investor made me a better broker and allowed me to coach my team better. I’ve had many great influences in my life but I give a lot of credit to my dad, Bill Hoston, for teaching me how to be independent, resourceful, and for being my inspiration to own my own business. I credit my “surrogate” mom, Carey Cooper, for teaching me attention to detail, inspiring me to go to UCLA, and for showing me how to be a lady as well as a fierce businesswoman. One of my greatest influences was my mentor, in life and real estate, Jonathan Weiss. I credit much of my success and hear his guidance and influence every single day.
Tina: I recently watched your #NoteToSelf on YouTube about grappling with perfectionism. I relate so completely to that. I often think my greatest fear is mediocrity. How do you leverage falling short of perfect to propel you forward?
Danisha: Chasing perfection can be a blessing and a curse. I’ve always had a very high bar for myself and it has led me to accomplish a lot of things that did not immediately seem probable for me. Trying to be perfect has also led me to feel unfulfilled and insecure, and that’s definitely not fun! However, I’ve had a chance to learn a lot from interviewing many amazing guests on #OWNSHOW. I recently did a series about confidence with some brilliant women, and discovered that trying to be perfect is something many of us struggle with. The best advice I heard was to feel the fear, embrace the imperfection, and do whatever it is anyway. Not getting things right used to be something I would hide from others, but now it’s something I share! We’re in this together, so we might as well be imperfect together.
Photo Credit: #OWNshow
Tina: You worked hard to defeat the mindset and reality of poverty. In your work as a commercial real estate broker and investor, you have learned and taught a lot about material wealth. In your life, how do you define wealth that cannot be measured in dollars and cents?
Danisha: I’ve definitely learned that money doesn’t buy happiness. I have some incredibly wealthy clients who don’t have happy lives. On the other hand, I also have clients who have shown me that wealth can pave the way to great generosity, charity donations, amazing life experiences, and creating a different life for your family. I love what I do and I spend a lot of time working. Even though I feel fulfilled from my job, my real happiness comes from connecting with people, spending time with my family and friends, and becoming a better person everyday.
Tina: There is a hot debate in our nation right now with work/life balance at the center. With the demands of running your own commercial real estate firm, and your hosting duties with #OWNSHOW, how do you protect your time with your family?
Danisha: The last 6 months have been very demanding of my time. Between my show, my real estate company & investments, and sleep, I haven’t had nearly as much time as I would like with my family. I protect my time by keeping a fantastic Google calendar. I never want to miss any important events, and this is the best way I can keep it together. I also plan vacations and a lot of short getaways. I’ve always felt that vacations give you a chance to escape from the everyday and do something new and fun together.
Tina: For a long time, it was just you and your daughter. Now you’ve added your fiancé and his three children – two sons and a daughter – to the family equation. Blended families can be challenging. Any advice for negotiating that terrain?
Danisha: LOL! I used to hear people say that being a mother is a thankless job. Now, I think they MUST have been talking about stepmoms! Blending families is very tricky, and everybody involved has to make adjustments and work together. I guess my best advice would be to learn how to leave your ego at the door and – no matter what – put the interest of the kids first.
Photo Courtesy of Danisha Danielle Hoston
Tina: I heard you say you and your daughter kind of debrief at the end of the day with: discuss your favorite thing, the most challenging thing, and three things you are grateful for. So I ask you, what are the three things you are most grateful for in your life right now?
Danisha: I am grateful for so many things that it’s hard to narrow them down on any given day. Today I’m grateful for meditation, new opportunities, and Midol! LOL
Tina: I can’t let you get outta here without ONE Oprah-themed question! Oprah has her “favorite things” and famously gave a studio audience cars saying “You get a car! And you get a car!” What are Danisha’s 5 favorite “right now” things you would give everyone if you could?
Danisha: Ha! My favorite things that I would give away right now are: a fantastic vacation, an electric car, a guided meditation audio set, a great eyebrow kit, and – if I could bottle it up as a gift – the ability for everybody to laugh at themselves. What else do we need?