Are you a list maker or more of a sticky note kind of girl? I love a good to-do list. They’re one of the things that help me succeed. I even have a “master” to-do list. It’s a document that I’ve had for years. I just keep adding to it and deleting from it.
So, when my computer crashed almost a year ago, and I lost my master list, it was awful! I had to start it over, which was humbling because I could no longer look at the archive of how successful I’d been.
Maybe lists help you succeed too. But, when it comes to success, we all have our own definitions of what that word means, right? You may define it as having a happy family or cresting the top of the corporate ladder. Or you may simply skip the definition and just say, success is survival!
We all want to have the motivation and skill to move forward, especially when life gets hard. So, on today’s episode of the 4:13 Podcast, author and life coach Valorie Burton is here to help us!
Valorie is a best-selling author and Certified Personal and Executive Coach who has served clients in over forty states and eight countries. She has written nine books, including Successful Women Think Differently, Happy Women Live Better, and her latest, Life Coaching for Successful Women. She has been a regular contributor on CNN, HLN, and the TODAY Show, where she gives practical career and life advice.
You’re going to learn so much as Valorie shares three must-haves for a successful life. She also gives you three questions you can ask yourself. You’re going to love this conversation! Valorie’s a warm and wise sister-in-Christ, and you’ll feel like you’re hanging out with your BFF.
The 3 Must-Haves for a Successful Life
- Purpose. Valorie says that purpose is central to success. God has you here for a reason. You might know what that reason is, or like many people, you may have no idea. You may sometimes wonder: What am I here for? or Why have I gone through the experiences I have? If you’re not sure what your purpose is, ask yourself this simple question—the answer will give you a hint of what your purpose may be: How are others’ lives better when they cross paths with me? (Keep reading because we’ll unpack this question later in the show notes.)
When it comes to your purpose, it helps to have a mission statement. Valorie talks about how Jesus had one. He said, “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). In this same verse, Jesus also shared the mission statement of the enemy: “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). Jesus wants to see you live out your purpose and, as you do, have an abundant life.
- Resilience. There will always be challenges, obstacles, and opportunities that you face. Valorie explains that because of this, resilience is necessary. You need it to overcome setbacks and deal with the hard things, even when the hard things are good things.
Valorie talks about how fear often pops up when opportunities come. And, since we know that the enemy’s mission statement is to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10), he often comes against us through fear, doubt, and insecurity. Maybe you’ve experienced this recently. Resilience helps you not run back to your comfort zone when you’re being stretched and feel fearful. Instead, it enables you to say, “Oh, that’s just the enemy trying to accomplish his mission. I’m not going to let him.”
- Joy. When it comes to success, joy can’t be overlooked because experiencing joy is an indication that we are living out our purpose. Valorie states that joy is not only a gift, but it also strengthens us. You probably already know this from Scripture (Nehemiah 8:10), but research supports it too. One of Valorie’s favorite pieces of research shows that happiness is a success strategy. She says that we tend to think, “Oh, if I’m successful, then I’m going to be happy.” But it’s the other way around. Happy people are more successful. They’re more likely to get raises and promotions, less likely to get sick, and more likely to have successful marriages.
You know you’re pursuing and practicing joy when you stop to be grateful for what’s in front of you, even if it’s not exactly what you asked for. Doing this shifts your whole perspective and can make all the difference in feeling a sense of fulfillment that’s true success. Joy says, “God, I trust You. God, thank You. Thank You that sometimes you don’t give me what I ask for because that’s not actually what I needed.” One way to do this is to stop saying, “I have to …” and start saying, “I get to …”
3 Powerful Questions for Success
- How are others’ lives better because they cross paths with me? All of us have a mission that’s tied to serving and loving. Scripture even says, “The greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11). Valorie says that understanding how you are to serve others is critical—and that’s what your purpose is. It’s a way that others’ lives are somehow better because of you, and it can be simple. Valorie shares that her mission is inspiring women to live more fulfilling lives. She does it through writing and speaking. Once she got clear about that mission, she knew what she was supposed to be doing in her life, not just professionally, but also personally.
For you, it might be that you’re the person who brings joy. Or perhaps you’re the bridge builder. It could be that you’re the person who connects people with the resources and the other people that they need. If you aren’t able to see your strengths, ask a family member or friend, “How’s your life better because of me?” You may not realize that you’re doing something that others can’t do quite as easily, but others can see it.
- What is my most meaningful goal, the one most worth persevering to achieve? Valorie says that the word meaningful refers to what’s timeless. It’s what matters now and will matter ten years from now and probably mattered last month too. You can ask yourself things like: What’s timeless in my most important relationship right now? What would be timeless in a goal with my children? In my work?
If you’re trying to decide what goals you should have or what decisions to make, think about ten years from now and what you’ll wish you had done. The goal that’s going to matter ten years from now is meaningful. It might be that you have this sense of going back to school. It may mean that you’re making an important decision for your children.
- What brings me joy? You might know what brings you joy, but sometimes in everyday life, you start to forget it. If that’s you, Valorie encourages you to step back, get quiet, listen for God’s voice, and listen to yourself too. Ask yourself: What energizes me? What makes me smile? She says that a lot of the time it’s the simple things you may not be taking the time for.
Valorie says you can also change your approach. You can find moments just to choose joy. For example, you can choose to have fun while you’re putting the dishes away. Joy is a decision. That’s why, Valorie shares, there are people who are dealing with significant challenges and still have joy, and people who don’t have anywhere near the same number of problems and decide to be miserable. Choosing joy can be as simple as smiling or deciding to take time to play. As Scripture says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).
Such good stuff, right? I loved it, I love Valorie, and I think you are tops too, my friend! So remember, whatever you’re facing, you can do it. You can move forward with purpose, resilience, and joy because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Books and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
- Me, Myself, & Lies: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself
- Me, Myself, & Lies for Young Women: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself
- Me, Myself, & Lies: A Thought Closet Makeover Bible Study
More from Valorie Burton
- Visit Valorie’s website
- Life Coaching for Successful Women: Powerful Questions, Practical AnswersLife Coaching for Successful Women: Powerful Questions, Practical Answers
- Successful Women Think Differently: 9 Habits to Make You Happier, Healthier, and More Resilient
- Follow Valorie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram