Finding your purpose is one thing. Staying on course with your purpose and shaping your life around it is a whole other story. Author, leadership expert, and longtime friend of 4word, Valerie Sokolosky, shares her thoughts on purpose and how mentorship plays a vital role in successfully staying on course.
4word: You are a long-time supporter and friend of 4word, and have been a mentor in our Mentor Program many times. What drew you to us?
Valerie: I was introduced to Diane as a fellow Sister in Christ just as she was starting this incredible (and I must say "ordained") organization. She told me all about it with the same sweet passion and expectation as she has today. As we became fast friends, I told her I would do everything I could to support her and her vision.
4word: You wrote a book called "Monday Morning Leadership for Women" (more about that later) and in it, you have an entire chapter dedicated to "Purpose." Why do you think we struggle so often with knowing our purpose?
Valerie: We career women can get so caught up becoming a HUMAN DOING that we may forget that God's calling is to also be a HUMAN BEING! We must be quiet long enough to learn that God's still, small voice can guide us. From experience, I know it takes discipline to quit the doing part!
As women of faith, we are promised that God does have a purpose for each of us, and it is not always the big things, like finding a cure for cancer. Your purpose could be just being a true friend others come to for counsel, or being a boss who shows sincere appreciation for your team members, or a mom raising your family with God's values ingrained in them.
As I work with women leaders who are looking to gain more clarity on their Personal Brand, often we spend a good amount of time exploring what their purpose might be. When the purpose is difficult to identify, my counsel is to just take one step at a time, praying for God's clarity in every step. Little by little, you will not only find more clarity but will also appreciate where He takes you on your journey called Life.
4word: Once you determine your purpose, how can you stay true to it?
Valerie: The key is focus. As a mentor for 4word, I've had experience with young women who wanted to do it all....and expected to properly balance their life at the same time. Admittedly, I thought this, too, as I was climbing up the career path.
Well, if you find total balance, let me know 'cause I have missed it! Having said that, you must stay focused on the things in your life that you have determined are your goals. When pulled in different directions and making many decisions - ask yourself this simple question: "Is this ON brand or OFF brand for me - now?" This has helped keep mentees staying true to their purpose.
4word: Your book, "Monday Morning Leadership for Women," was written to help enhance and guide mentorships with 8 lessons for both mentor and mentee to digest and discuss. Can you tell us what inspired you to write the book, and how our readers can get their hands on it?
Valerie: When my publisher offered me the opportunity to write another book, I was vice chairman of Leadership America, a national women's leadership organization. My passion for women's professional development grew during the three years serving on the board; thus, the mentor book was born. Little did I know how God would use this book's format to place it into several corporations' mentoring programs including BB&T and Verizon.
It was such fun writing the story as a dialogue between a mentor (Suzanne) and her mentee (Taylor). The storyline is about Taylor, who is struggling in her first management role. Suzanne, a leader at the top of her game, offers to meet with Taylor for eight Monday morning mentoring sessions at Starbucks. The eight chapter topics are those that consistently challenge all of us - such as staying focused, handling conflict, etc. Each session, Taylor has a "to do" list and is accountable to Suzanne for debriefing at their next meeting.
Executive women often send me notes of appreciation, thanking me for providing readily available experienced advice and counsel within this book. Here’s one:
"Valerie, I've enjoyed using your book with young women emerging leaders in our company. It has made our mentorship initiative more relevant as we have rolled out our program across the organization." Kathy Koelle, President, Verizon Western States.
The book is currently available on Amazon or direct from our office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you doing something that’s “off brand?” Do you need someone to help you get back on your purpose course? Use Valerie’s book, Monday Morning Leadership for Women, and find a “Suzanne” to help you focus on following your life’s purpose!
Nationally recognized as a Fox News Contributor, Valerie is an expert in her field of leadership presence and personal branding. She is one of only 20 Master Brand Strategists worldwide and has received front-page press coverage in the Wall Street Journal as a pioneer in executive coaching. She has served on executive boards including the prestigious Leadership America, Executive Women of Dallas, and UBS Financial Services; additionally, she served as Publisher for Women’s Enterprise national news magazine and was a monthly contributor for ten years to Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine.
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