Certified personal and executive coach Valorie Burton knows a thing or two about getting beyond fears and perceived challenges to attain the happiness and success every woman deserves. The founder of The CaPP Institute, a firm that provides practical training and personal development services, has written seven books on the subject and successfully coached hundreds of clients. Burton, who relies on strong faith, has used her passion for empowerment to inspire and help drive the dreams of professionals and executives across the nation.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Burton, who’s eighth and most recent book is Successful Women Think Differently (Harvest House Publishers; $12.99), about how women can get beyond mental barriers and push for advancement in their careers, and ultimately in their lives.
BlackEnterprise.com: What are some bad habits women who are unhappy or unsuccessful have that successful women don’t?
Valorie Burton: I think the biggest is simply [thinking] success is about steps you take. When u really look at it, it’s not simply about steps. It’s about what you say to yourself when faced with challenges or failures. When successful women fail, they don’t see it as personal or all their fault. They don’t internalize it, but really analyze it. They have to be objective enough to understand what’s in their control to change. Some people are naturally more optimistic, but you can learn to change how you think by being more aware about what you’re saying or thinking.
In this market, where there’s always the doom-and-gloom news about jobs as they relate to young professionals, how can they get past that for ultimate success?
Turn the TV off. Stats are stats, but you don’t have to be part of that. I think we sometimes give too much credence to what we hear in news and assume it has to apply to us and on a long-term basis. I’ve been in business going on 16 years, and it hasn’t always been easy, but you find what’s really working in the marketplace and pay close attention. People who are most successful, build relationships and add value.
At the beginning of my book I focus on solutions, not problems. Choose courage over fear. That’s a decision. Most successful people tend to have a lot of courage. You have to see in your mind and have a lot of faith.
People often say that women aren’t as aggressive when it comes to career advancement, while men set a definitive strategy and are not afraid to go after it full force. What do you think about women’s typical approach to climbing the ladder in their career.
I think that as a group, men tend to be more assertive, and they’re more likely to ask for raise. They don’t think a thing about it, even if they haven’t earned it. Women will say, ‘Am I asking too much?’ Some of it is socialization.
You have to make a plan. It’s important to ask questions of people who’ve been there and done that. Even if you don’t know those peole, pay attention to what they’ve done, their successes and favors.
If you give your 21-year-old self advice as it relates to your life or career, what would it be?
Be clear about why you’re here and the contribution you’re supposed to make in the world, and go after it with all your heart. As cliché as it sounds, learn what you like and who you are. Be yourself and don’t be apologetic with your life. Plan career, but also make plans for your personal life. Sometimes we get overly focused on career, and it’s really important have clear vision of what you want in your personal life. You should plan that as much as you plan your professional life.