Finding your calling in your professional life is never an easy road. It will almost always entail hitting a few pot holes and finding yourself broken down on the shoulder of the road. It’s how you react to these circumstances that help define who you are and determine the road map for the rest of your career. We spoke with Valorie Burton, life coach, speaker, and author, about how to become resilient and achieve personal happiness, both in your professional and personal life.
4word: What inspired you to pursue a career as a life coach?
Valorie: I don’t think of it as me pursuing a career as a life coach as much as pursuing my calling. I had an epiphany, that I know was the Holy Spirit, back in 1999 that I was supposed to inspire women to live more fulfilling lives and that I would do it through writing and speaking. I started by writing my first book and doing a lot of media. It was during my first interactions with the media that I was continually called a life coach. I kept arguing with them that I wasn’t, and they insisted that they had to call me something!
This led me to really look into what a “coach” was, and what I came to discover was that it was the “one-on-one” version of what I was already writing and speaking about! To find this community of people that were all about what I was doing was incredibly exciting for me. I made this discovery in 2002, and in the twelve and a half years since then, I have become a better writer and speaker, because being a life coach has exposed me to so many different people and their experiences. I’ve been able to help people through situations that I myself would never have encountered. Because of these opportunities, I feel like the insight I have gained has helped me better carry out my mission.
4word: What are some of the main reasons clients enroll in your Momentum program?
Valorie: I would say one of the main reasons our program members come to Momentum is that they get stuck on the path of trying to get to their vision. Sometimes they aren’t even clear about what that vision is; all they know is that where they currently are is not where they ultimately want to be. They want to find the strategy to get their vision, be able to navigate challenges, and have someone who is in their corner who perhaps has a larger perspective. They need a sounding board. Sometimes they need new information or perspectives.
As a coach, I don’t think of myself as a trainer or a guru, but there are some things that I’ve experienced that will oftentimes draw clients to the program, because they see something that is manifested from me that they would like to see happen for them.
People have somewhere that they’re trying to go, and coaching accelerates that. You want to get there faster, and you want to develop personally and professionally. Athletes have coaches, writers have coaches, and I think people who are serious about their personal growth are very intrigued about coaching and often seek out a coach.
4word: How can people learn to be resilient when faced with major life changes or setbacks, both in their careers and in their personal lives?
Valorie: Resilience is a skill. It’s one of the things that I talk about a lot in my books, starting with Where Will You Go From Here?. Being resilient is largely about how you think when faced with a challenge and what you say to yourself when faced with that challenge.
Successful Women Think Differently is my best-selling book, largely, I think, because people intuitively know this: two people can have the same experience and goal with similar talents and abilities, and one excels and the other languishes. So what’s the difference? It’s actually not something that can be perceived with the eye. The difference tends to be what is going on inside their head and what they’re saying to themselves.
So being resilient is being more aware. When you start to dive into the negative thoughts and latch onto the doubt, learn to ask, “What am I saying to myself? Is that hurting me or helping me right now?” If what you’re saying is hurting you or is counter to what you really want, decide what thought would be more productive. It sounds so simple, but it takes a lot of practice.
It also lines up with the Word of God: As a man thinks, so is he. We must take every word captive and make it obedient to Christ. It is the practical carrying out of the Word of God, which is exciting to me, because I have a background in positive psychology (based in psychological and scientific research), and I can tell you the scripture that the research lines up with exactly. Amazing!
4word: How do you address the topic of personal happiness in your latest book Get Unstuck. Be Unstoppable.?
Valorie: The book comes out today, I’m so excited! (Check out how you can win a copy at the end of the interview!) In the book, I discuss how it is very difficult to be happy when you’re allowing fear to control your life. Whatever area you find yourself stuck in, whether that be relationships, work, finances, health, or even your spiritual life, the core of your predicament will always be fear. This fear is mainly a byproduct of people not telling themselves the truth about their circumstances, because they’re afraid they don’t know how to handle the truth, and they don’t know what they’ll do about it or what that circumstance says about them.
God gives us the information we need to make good decisions, and oftentimes we will just ignore it and pretend all is well. Then, we end up in a crazy ditch and ask ourselves, “How did I end up here?”
Unstuck is a pattern. We all stumble along the way; that’s not being stuck. Being stuck is when you stumble and just stay down. Being unstoppable is all about being resilient. This doesn’t mean that you never stumble or fall or that you know all the answers. This means that whenever you face an obstacle, eventually you get back up and keep going. It might take a long time, but ultimately, our happiness is directly tied to being able to be resilient in the face of challenges.
4word: As a speaker, you’ve had the chance to present at some remarkable locations. Where were some of your favorite speaking experiences?
Valorie: I’ve enjoyed all of them! Thrive was one of the best ones. I met Diane Paddison through the first Thrive event that I did. It was a simulcast event held at Victory World Church that was broadcast to 40,000 women around North America. I love speaking to Christian women, which is why I especially love what 4word does. I don’t feel like there is a lot of speaking centered towards professional Christian women, and there are a large number of us out there! It seems as though the church is just overlooking these women, so what 4word is doing to rectify this situation is so needed.
I participated in an event in Dallas back in September called First Friday. During these once-a-month events, Christian speakers are brought in, and the event is held in a movie theatre in Southlake, Texas. The event is free, and it fills up! The Christian woman who organizes the event is, along with her husband, in the process of completing a transformational center in Dallas that will house women coming out of abusive situations, prison, and adverse circumstances. Over the course of two and a half years, the center will help them completely transform their lives. They offer childcare, as well as townhomes for 96 families and a chapel.
Events like that are so powerful, because I can share every aspect of my message, and that is so exciting for me. When I have the opportunity to speak at events like I did this year with Verizon Wireless for their women’s leadership conference, McDonald’s for their women executives, or Coca-Cola to speak on women and happiness, I am able to share this important message openly in a corporate environment. God has opened doors for me to do just as much speaking in the corporate arena as I do in the church. To me, that has been exciting, and people always ask me how I do that, and I tell them that I am just true to who I am. I share from who I am.
I believe companies invite me to speak, because my messages in my books are very practical and relevant. I really just want to help people, open their eyes, and ask some thought-provoking questions that shake them up and say, “What am I doing in my life? Why am I stagnant when I sense in my spirit that God is telling me to do something, and I’m just scared?” I love that connection and that I have the opportunity to know what my purpose is and then be able to pursue it. It wasn’t an easy journey to get there, but it definitely has been worth it.
4word: Do you have any advice for someone who, like you did, feels led to help people transform their lives?
Valorie: Pay attention to all those nudges in your spirit. Don’t ignore God. Don’t ignore your passion. Yes, you will be afraid. Expect to feel afraid. Stop expecting that when you step out of your comfort zone you’re going to feel comfortable. That’s just dumb, and we’ve all done it! When I’m uncomfortable, that might mean I’m in the right place.
Coaching is communication. It’s being able to develop people, help them get unstuck, and help them navigate challenges. If you feel led to be a coach, want to have your own coaching practice, or want to incorporate coaching into your leadership or management style, our coach training intensive is so powerful. I say that because when I listen to what our students come back and say, it’s not them saying that they’re going to be a great coach. It’s them saying that their life has been changed. I’ve had breakthroughs being coached during the coach training.
The CaPP (Coaching and Positive Psychology) Institute is a 6-month process that involves an in-person three-day kickoff event, followed by completely online courses that end with you being a certified coach. Our upcoming kickoff event is November 1-3 in Atlanta, and then the certification begins in January.
Classes are all live-cast webinars, and your classmates are those that you meet during the kickoff event. You are able to interact directly through your computer, as it is a live class. Classes are typically held on Tuesdays and Thursdays and are offered at noon and 7PM to fit everyone’s schedules. You are partnered with two other coaches for accountability. The cost for the program is $1,395 and is a 22-hour program. If you use the promo code “GUBU”, you will receive $50 off the program fee.
This year, Keller Williams started referring their coaches to our training, so we now have a separate track that is just their coaches, which has been a huge honor for us!
4word: Any closing thoughts for our readers?
Valorie: During the first few days of October, we are giving away a few freebies to anyone that orders Get Unstuck. Be Unstoppable. We are offering a free downloadable webinar, admission to a half-day workshop in 2015, and inspirational quote cards available for download. When you buy the book, forward your receipt to email@example.com and then all of those free gifts will be sent to you!
In the webinar that you will be able to download, one of the questions that I ask is so simple but so impactful. It is this: “God, what is the amazing life You imagined for me?” Most people try to come up with a vision on their own instead of sitting back and asking God what His vision is for them. If you will just ask yourself this question and line up your actions with His will, you can’t fail.
Have you felt the nudges in your spirit that Valorie spoke about? Don’t be afraid to leave the comfort of your current situation to discover what God has meant for you to pursue all along. It will probably not be an easy route, but it will be worth it in the end.
How have you been pushed out of your comfort zone, in your professional or personal life?
Want to win a copy of Valorie’s new book Get Unstuck. Be Unstoppable.? Click this link to enter! Three winners will be randomly chosen on October 9th!
Valorie Burton is a bestselling author and Certified Personal and Executive Coach who has served clients in over 40 states and ten countries, Valorie Burton has written ten books on personal development, including Successful Women Think Differently, What’s Really Holding You Back?, Happy Women Live Better and her latest, Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable. She is the founder of The CaPP Institute, which provides tools and training that build resilience, well-being and productivity for life and work. She has been a regular contributor on the Today Show, CNN, and HLN. She has also appeared in and on Dr. Oz, NPR, Oprah Radio, “O” The Oprah Magazine, Essence, and hundreds of others. She has spoken for hundreds of organizations, including GE, McDonalds Corporation, State Farm, and the United States military. Join 30,000 subscribers to her weekly e-newsletter at www.valorieburton.com and visit her company site at www.cappinstitute.com.
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