Prolific self-help author Valorie Burton presents a structured program to help you build a positive self-image, good work habits, interpersonal connections and a successful career.
Why do women who have less talent than you outperform you? The secret lies in their mind-set and habits, says executive and personal coach Valorie Burton. She urges you to stop getting in your own way and take consistent, inspired action toward your goals. Burton encourages women to tap into their most authentic selves and free themselves from self-limiting beliefs. Combining research on leadership and psychology with inspiration from Christian scripture, Burton, a prolific self-help author, writes in an uplifting, accessible style, as she shares her tools for self-transformation.
To change your life, Burton advises you not to shrink your dreams and to avoid fixating on problems. She urges you to be your authentic self and to move forward despite fear. Build a community of like-minded people, and ask them for feedback. And remember, even negative feedback offers growth opportunities as you take purpose-aligned action toward achieving your goals.
How you conceptualize failure has a dramatic effect on your happiness levels. Optimists view failures as temporary setbacks; pessimists treat negative situations as permanent and engage in self-blame when they make mistakes.
Successful women have growth mind-sets, Burton writes: They believe they have the potential to learn and build their skills and abilities through experience. Develop this mind-set to overcome your self-limiting beliefs.
The sooner you start paying attention to what you say to yourself about your life, your circumstances, and yes, your failures, the sooner you will break through to the next level.Valorie Burton
People who are happier are more productive and earn more. So, reclaim your happiness by redefining what success means to you. Live in alignment with your values and pursue excellence – as opposed to prioritizing external validation.
Stop focusing on what you perceive as your weaknesses. Society conditions women to believe something is wrong with them, just as the media constantly signals women should feel insecure about their body types or mothering abilities. Focus instead, Burton emphasizes, on identifying and building up your strengths.
You’ll know an inspired goal by whether you feel led by it rather than dragged by it.Valorie Burton
Successful women have discipline and resist anything that might derail them from their desired paths. Treat self-control as a muscle, which you need to build slowly, with practice, over time. Monitor your negative self-talk, and tell yourself positive stories about your capacity to achieve your goals.
Adversity and Challenges
Proactively prepare for life’s challenges and build resilience. Don’t indulge the urge to engage in work disagreements that could sabotage your opportunities; keep your work relationships peaceful. Actively demonstrate your strengths to stand out from your peers.
Create an emergency fund that could support you, if necessary, for up to eight months. Save at least 20% of your take-home pay and make a retirement plan.
Identify and emulate your role models of a happy, successful relationship, practice self-love and, if you’re in a relationship, decide how to navigate difficult conversations ahead of time. For example, you and your partner can establish that yelling is always unacceptable.
Eat vegetables and fruits, exercise regularly and don’t skimp on sleep.
Chronic unhappiness can reduce your lifespan by six years. Choose to experience positive emotions. When you’re in a negative state of mind, you make poor decisions. Offset negative emotions with three times as many positive emotions.
Happiness leads to success – not the other way around.Valorie Burton
When you experience positive emotions, put them in a “bank account” to call upon when you need help to manage stress. Incorporate play or laughter into your every day life.
Build a community of friends, family, neighbors and people in your field. American culture overvalues individualism, and many adults spend the majority of their personal and work hours alone at home.
Make it your success strategy to not go it alone. Choose your relationships intentionally and nurture them consistently.Valorie Burton
Socialize about six hours every day. Reach out to others and build meaningful connections. Reflect on ways you might strengthen your existing relationships. Consider which people in your life act as mentors or role models in the areas of relationships, finances, work, health and spirituality. Reflect on those you serve – or for whom you act as a role model – to clarify the positive effects you’d like to have on other people’s lives.
Successful women are strong decision-makers who minimize regret by making wise choices. Eliminate regret by focusing on the gratitude you have for the choices you made that yielded positive results.
Be a “satisficer”: Set a minimum standard of excellence for less important tasks, and limit decisions to avoid being overwhelmed. Direct your perfectionist tendencies only toward your highest-priority tasks. When you make an informed choice, decisively stick to it. Don’t second-guess yourself.
Owning your decisions is about embracing your life as it currently stands and embracing your power to make new decisions.Valorie Burton
Empower yourself by owning your decisions. Regard yourself as a person who chooses how she responds to her life situations.
A Writing Practice
Burton recommends writing down your goals and trying to write every day. Free yourself from self-criticism and give yourself permission to write badly. Imagine you’re turning on a water faucet you haven’t used for a while. The water might, at first, appear rusty, but it will flow clear after a while – just as you’ll eventually find your writing voice.
Remember, behaviors become habits when we practice them over time and make them a part of our lifestyle.Valorie Burton
Write to achieve breakthroughs by tackling the “what if” questions that cause you the most fear and discomfort. For example, “What if I don’t have enough experience?”; or “What if I end up old and alone?” Create a gratitude list by engaging in the “Three Blessings” exercise: Every night, write down three things for which you feel grateful. Describe your future “best possible self” and list changes you can make to actualize this vision.
Valorie Burton is an enthusiastic, relentlessly positive, clear-headed and prolific self-help author. Her prose is extremely readable and, for most of the book, lacking in nuance – in a good way. Burton wants to get her message across and delivers her productive – if not exactly original – advice in memorable, brief sound bites that you are likely to easily retain and act upon. There’s no denying Burton’s heartfelt intention to help you, and to help you help others. Her joyous sincerity is a signature and contagious feature of the Burton brand.
Valorie Burton also wrote Life Coaching for Successful Women; It’s About Time; Let Go of the Guilt; Happy Women Live Better; and What’s Really Holding You Back?