84 Transcript: Creating a Powerful Vision for Your Life (with Valorie Burton)

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J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 84.

V: Journaling actually has health benefits. It can help us work through traumas. If we can write about ourselves in the future like what our best possible future self looks like, it's a very powerful exercise.

Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.

J: Hello there and welcome back to Vibrant Happy Women. I'm Jen Riday, your host, and I'm here to help you find happiness, even when life is hard; happiness is a choice, and that's really what it all boils down to and that's why we're here. So glad you listen. I had a nostalgic weekend thinking about all of you, and can I just say, I love you guys, truly; I just feel such a kinship with all of you. If this were ‘Anne of Green Gables’, I would say we're kindred spirits. So let's leave it at that, and just know that I think the world of you guys. So I want to bring more of your voices, you the listeners voices, onto the show. And so, on the show notes page, you'll see a place where you can record your voice that's down in the comments section, and I would love for you to leave comments about every episode. I might read some on the air, I might not. If you'll leave your email, I can contact you and get your permission to read yours on the air or to even share your voice on the air, which I think would be a lot of fun. Really, we're all just a group of women doing the best we can, wanting to be more positive, wanting to be kind of that ray of sunshine in our communities. And that's what this Vibrant Happy Women movement is all about; spreading light. My best friend, Kit from New Hampshire, she says what I do and what the Vibrant Happy Women movement is about is like light farming; we are farmers of light. We get some light, we refuel and re-tank and replenish ourselves, and then we plant the seeds of light all around us; planting those seeds of positivity and happiness with the people we love and with the people we interact with, spreading that goodness; just little bubbles of happiness springing up all around us. Now, that might be a little bit kumbaya or cheesy, but so be it; be light farmers. And I love that you're part of the Vibrant Happy Women movement.

Part of what helps the Vibrant Happy Women podcast to grow and for this movement to spread is having reviews on iTunes. Cassie left an amazing review this week and I'm going to read that to you. She said, “Your podcast is hands-down my favorite. Something about your voice soothing, humble, thoughtful, and your approach, honest, intelligent ,and insightful, along with your topics teaching and reaching women where they are kind of down in the trenches with us. So just keep being your lovely self. You're definitely enriching in my life through your work.” Cassie, I want to say thank you and that means the world to me. Sometimes it can be a little hard to put myself out there, but I definitely feel called to do what I'm doing and I'm grateful that you appreciate it and that it helps your life; that is the goal. If you get any value at all from the show and haven't left a review yet, we would love for you to do that. Just go to jenriday.com/itunes or if you use Android, go to jenriday.com/stitcher, s t i t c h e r; I'll have links to those in the show notes page at jenriday.com/84. Your reviews mean the world to me. It lets me know you're listening, that you receive value from the show, and it helps the Vibrant Happy Women podcast to grow; so thank you.

On our last episode, I spoke with Mastin Kipp, our first vibrant happy man on the podcast, and it was phenomenal; just filled with little pockets of light and knowledge and wisdom. And if you haven't listened to that, be sure to do so. Today, I'll be talking with Valerie Burton, a best-selling author and speaker who is going to tell us how to create a powerful vision for our lives. She has an amazing story of life after her divorce and how she had to start creating a vision of what she did want, a very fulfilling marriage and children. And her story is kind of miraculous, how she met her spouse and it was meant to be, one of those stories, but it will inspire you. So let's go ahead and dive into this episode and you're going to love what Valerie has to say.

I'm talking with Valerie Burton today and she's a best-selling author, speaker, and life coach, dedicated to helping people get unstuck and be unstoppable in every area of life. She's the founder of the Coaching and Positive Psychology Institute and has served as a certified personal and executive coach to hundreds of clients in over 40 states and 10 countries. Valerie lives outside of Atlanta with her husband and her 3 kids. Welcome to the show, Valerie.

V: Thank you, Jen.

J: So what quote would you like to start off with today to get us moving and into the flow?

V: Well, you know, before I started doing what I do now, I had a mentor who said something very intriguing to me that propelled me to do what I love. And he simply said, “Well, if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.”

J: Hmm.

V: And I think I was 23 and I almost didn't believe him, but I wanted to.


V: I said, “What do you mean?” he goes, “Well, when you love what you do, you're so passionate about it, you probably would do it, even if you didn't get paid for it.” And that's the ideal state and so I began wondering, “What am I here for? What… what kind of work could I do that I would love so much that I would feel that way?”

J: And have you found it?

V: Oh, I found it years and years ago. So, yeah, I discovered my purpose in terms of actual mission statement. I had an epiphany about it one day in a book store in 1999; that I was meant to inspire women to live more fulfilling lives, that I would do it through writing and speaking. And within a few weeks of that, I began writing my first book.

J: Mmm! How many books have you written?

V: I’ve written 11 books.

J: Oh my goodness, that's amazing! Okay, so I'm curious, do you just have writing as a part of your day to crank out so many books? Is it just a normal part of your routine?

V: I've been saying it should be for 18 years now.


J: Oh, funny.

V: But I'm a recovering procrastinator so I cannot say that I write every single day.

J: Oh, that makes me feel better. I'm trying to write a book and I haven't figured out my routine with that yet. (Laughs)

V: So when I’m in process writing a book, I do have a routine. And even when I'm doing that, sometimes I struggle in my routine.

J: Mm-hmm.

V: And so I've come to a place where I try to embrace that because sometimes it bothers me, but I write best when I wake up very early in the morning.

J: Mm-hmm.

V: And I write between about 5:00 and 8:00 in the morning, 9:00 at the latest. I feel like when the day is still, I can really get focused and I don't have the distractions or the pull of feeling like I should be doing something else.

J: Yes.

V: Because there's so many things coming at me. So when I'm in writing mode it starts to flow, but sometimes it takes left there. (Laughs)

J: Yeah. Well, let's dive into your story, you know, how you got where you are today, maybe a low point that propelled you and got you to learn something that probably I would imagine inspired many of your books.

V: Well, you know, I feel like sometimes there's a bit of a roller coaster. So I…

J: Mm-hmm.

V: Yeah, I could say certainly there's been several low points.

J: Mm-hmm.

V: I would say that, in the middle of my career, 2 points that it helped shape me; and the first was in 2001 when my mother had a brain aneurysm while we were talking on the phone. And we didn't know right in that moment it was an aneurysm, but she knew it was something; she got off the phone very quickly. And although it was my mother's aneurysm, it was a major shift for me. I was 28 at the time. My only sibling was in third grade. I moved home to help take care of her. She lost her ability to walk, talk, vision was impaired, she couldn't swallow, she couldn't even go to the bathroom alone. I had to learn how to catheterize my mother, I had to feed her through a tube in her stomach; she was only 49 years old.

J: Mmm.

V: And that was a lesson in how quickly life can change and also that sometimes… you know, right before that, I had some other things going on business-wise because I'd really just launched into this business. I had a PR firm before, and earlier that year, I had sold my business and so I could start doing what full-time.

J: Mm-hmm.

V: And it was a struggle at first. And so I was dealing with some of that and thought it was such a big deal and then that happened and it put everything into perspective. So I learned a lot about perspective and resilience during that time with my mom who's mostly recovered now, but, you know, her vision, her speech her, you know, she eats… they told us there's a 90% chance she would never eat again, you know, the bladder functioning; all of that stuff. But she struggles to walk a bit. She walks with a walker that she… that she walks, she drives, she does all of those things. But the biggest low point for me came about 8 years after that when I found myself going through divorce. That period took the most courage I think I've ever had to muster in my entire life. And I doubted whether I could continue as a coach and as a writer and as a speaker; if I had the right…

J: Hmm.

V: … to inspire and give other people advice when my life didn't look perfect. A

J: Mm-hmm.

V: And I really learned through that that, number one, our lives don't need to look perfect in order for us to live out our purpose. And oftentimes, a lot of purpose comes out of pain, and I think I became a much more compassionate person because of the pain that I had to deal with and having to completely start my life over at 36, having wanted to be a mom and not having kids at that time, and still having a vision that I would be happily married and I would have kids. And so, through that, my biggest learning, my faith grew a great deal. I'm a very spiritual person and yet, I think I always the pray that God would do what I asked him to do. (Laughs)

J: Uh-huh, uh-uh.

V: I think what I learned was, that wasn't so much important as just understanding that God's with me regardless of what I'm going through, and I can get through it. And so that was huge for me. And in really believing that the vision would still happen, in 2012, I connected with my husband, the man I know I was meant to be with, and it just so happened that he saw on one of my books. So my career, doing what I love, led me to my soul mate, who I went to middle in high school with in Colorado.

J: Aww!

V: And we happen to both be in Atlanta 20 years later.

J: Ooh.

V: He's a pilot, saw my book in the airport, tagged me on Facebook because we were Facebook friends and we figured out we were in the same city and we had lunch; and it was just lunch with an old, you know, high school classmate. And, you know, it's amazing how things will happen. And she had 2 daughters; daughters who have names I written in my journal.

J: No way! Oh my goodness.

V: One… the oldest daughter, both names, Sophia-Grace was a name I said and he named her Sophia-Grace.

J: (Gasps) Wow!

V: And the younger, I had… Olivia was another name I had written, and the younger is Addison-Olivia.

J: Oh.

V: And just many… many little confirmations like that about our relationship, and we also have a son, Alex, who's 3 years old and just such a joy. So, you know, things have unfolded, not as I would have expected them to, but in just the right way.

J: Mm-hmm.

V: And I don't think without going through the things I've been through, I'm not sure I would have been ready for my husband. So I don't begrudge my divorce or anything else because it's led me to exactly where I'm supposed to be.

J: Wow, that's really impressive. So you've mentioned the word courage when you're going through the divorce.

V: Yeah.

J: So you're kind of stepping into the unknown, into the darkness, because, you know, it's a whole scary place, and then you make that step and you talked about writing in your journal. Tell us more about creating the vision you wanted for that next step, even though it was unknown.

V: Yeah, I believe wholeheartedly in journaling, writing. You know, I state journalism and grad school and so I was… writing was just part of, I think, who I am since I was a kid. But I went back to school in 2007 to study Applied Positive Psychology, and one of the things I learned that I… and I’d always journal, but didn't know there was me research around benefits to journaling. And when I was going through the divorce, I used everything I'd learned from our positive psychology training, including journaling; which journaling actually has health benefits. It can help us work through traumas. If we can write about ourselves in the future like what possible future self looks like, it's a very powerful exercise. So I had written what I envisioned in the present tense, you know, being in a loving, adoring, supportive marriage. You know, having children and being able to nurture them and guide them and doing work that I love and being paid well for it and living around family. Like, all of these were things that I wrote in my journal and I kept them in front of me. And during those times when I really felt like I was losing hope, because that's very easy to do; you know, getting to your late 30s and being divorced and first needing to just heal from divorce and then wanting to have children takes a lot of hope. And so I just stood on that. I was just very resolute. The idea I would give up just didn't feel like an option. I didn't want to live with no hope and so my journal was filled with hope. And I think that helped me a great deal in getting to a place where I was ready for what I really wanted.

J: So let's take this a step deeper. You wrote the name Sophia-Grace in your journal.

V: Mm-hmm.

J: What do you believe is the power out there (some people call it different things, but…) that inspired you to write that or that made that happen? How does that work?

V: That's a great question. You know, my husband, Jeff, and I think alike in a lot of ways; a lot of ways, we don't, but that connects in a way that just makes sense.

J: Mm-hmm.

V: So Sofia-Grace, I mean, the first thing you said to me was, “Sofia means wisdom.” Now, I didn't know what it meant, I just thought it was a beautiful name.

J: Mm-hmm.

V: Grace, to me, is such a beautiful word, you know? Grace is… is a gift. It's not necessarily even something that we deserve, but we get it.

J: Mm-hmm.

V: And so those 2 names together, I just always thought were so beautiful. So, you know, I think, in part, he named her that and I love the name; it’s just a reflection of how, I think, connected our souls really are.

J: Ooh.

V: And I'm not sure that I really believed in a soul mate before, but I know that, the day I met him for lunch, almost as soon as I walked up and saw him, there was something in my spirit that was leaping. (Laughs)

J: Yeah.

V: I had to like calm myself down. I was like, “Valerie, this is just lunch, this is no date, calm yourself down. He might have a girlfriend, for all you know,” I mean… you know? We were just meeting up for lunch, you know, it was just…

J: Yeah.

V: You know, and so I really believe that, you know, part of it is just that we were already connected in a way.

J: I love that! Okay, so we can have a whole nother episode on soul mates, but…


J: I love it. Well, thank you. I talk a lot about journaling and that expanded it a lot to think about the health benefits and, you know?

V: Yeah.

J: Thinking of your possible future self in the present tense, it's powerful!

V: Yes, it's very powerful. That’s research from a professor, Dr. Laura King, around your best possible future self and writing through life traumas, which… I mean, I think the writing helps you process things. I mean, even just writing what's going on, like if you find yourself being very stressed or frustrated or… or overwhelmed, writing out what's going on actually helps you to kind of parse things apart and process it better which helps you to… to make better decisions. And I incorporate journaling in all of my books. I always have lots of questions in the book so that readers are able to begin that process of journaling because, for some people, writing feels intimidating. When I do my weekly blog, there's always a journaling assignment at the end so that you can kind of reflect on whatever I'm writing about in a way that becomes very personal and helps you come up with, you know, “What should I do next?” or, “What does this mean?” So I believe so strongly in the power of asking questions. And answering those in the form of the journal can be really powerful.

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(Interview resumes) [19:25]

J: You mentioned your books. What is your newest book? Tell us about that.

V: My latest book is called ‘Successful Women Speak Differently’.

J: Ooh!

V: And it's about building confidence, courage, and influence, specifically what we say to the world. I mean, through how we speak, how we present ourselves, how we show up. One of the things I think that's a big misconception about success is that successful people are the ones that have the most talent and put forth the most effort. And, oftentimes, that's not necessarily true. Effort is extremely important. Talent is somewhat important, but it definitely does not trump effort. But the part of the equation many people leave out is the ability to communicate in a really powerful way. And, oftentimes, we find people who are so great at communicating that it overcomes any deficit when it comes to talent. And, I mean, we see that in entertainment, we see it in politics, you see it in the business world; those people that kind of breakthrough, that have this presence, oftentimes are the ones that find the most success. And it can frustrate people sometimes, but if you understand that, you can tap into it for your own benefit for your own success level. So that's what this book is about.

J: Ooh, I love that. And I always kind of thought some people were born with that presence or a charisma, but you're saying it can be developed?

V: It's both; some people are. I mean, you see little kids that (Laughs)… my son’s that way. He just shows up and he’s… you know, he’s with everyone and kids will follow him. But, you know, for some, it really comes naturally, but definitely it can be learned; learning to be present, paying attention to your voice. One of the things I suggest in the book is that you recorded yourself; listen to how you sound. Taking the time to be intentional about your breathing, for example, can help people feel more confident in you and the things that you're saying. Oftentimes, as women, and really for women who are Generation X or younger have something called high resonance terminal, which is just that whole up-speak thing where we talk and then we end what we're saying with the question.


J: Oh, that’s hilarious! I just read about that. (Laughs)

V: It happens all the time. When we do that, people are listening, but they're wondering, “Is she stating that or is she asking me a question?” which can affect how they see you and how confident they think you are and how confident they are in you. So there are a lot of small things that we can do. And a lot of the research that I did around the book, researching the research, I thought was just fascinating around what we can do to better communicate.

J: Well, if you were to kind of boil things down, what would be 3 things each of our listeners could do to be better communicators?

V: Mmm. Well, the first I already said, which is really paying attention to, what I call, your vocal essence. So that, the simplest thing you can do is to make sure that you're breathing well when you speak. When we become nervous, oftentimes, our breath becomes short, our heart rate can go up, it can actually affect the voice box where it starts to quiver. And so when we slow down and we breathe, we actually speak more slowly, which helps people to understand us better; our voice tone actually goes down. So a lot of times when we will kind of talk in this high voice, we talk really fast, doesn't really evoke a lot of that confidence.

J: Mm-hmm.

V: So being able to lower your voice and speak more slowly is… is very powerful; so it helps you to not feel like you have to (what am I trying to say?) speak so quickly, like get the thoughts out quickly. When you slow down, people feel like what you're saying must be important because you're saying it slowly so that they have the time to understand. So paying attention to your vocal essence, number one, I think is very important; but also, your presence. So many people, especially today, struggle (myself included) with being fully present. Most people don't have the experience of truly feeling heard. And so when you allow people to speak, when you give them your full attention, when you focus and concentrate, that alone can be super powerful. And the person might not even fully understand why they enjoy talking to you or why they're taking you more seriously or listening more fully, and often it's because they realize that you are really there with them and you're really hearing them. So that's particularly powerful. And then what… what is one of my other favorites? Oh, one of my other favorites is being able to ask powerful questions. So I'm a coach and what coaches do best is ask questions. It's not about having the right answers, but having the questions that help others to be able to come up with their own answers because I really believe everybody has their own answers. It's about getting quiet and being authentic and really listening for those answers. So the person who's able to ask powerful questions, whether it's the question that helps you negotiate better or the question that helps you connect with some better, being able to ask powerful questions is a really important tool for good communication.

J: So give us an example of a powerful question so we can wrap our brains fully around what that looks like?

V: Okay, so powerful questions can be really simple. So one of the things I do often is, when I hear someone complaining, which sometimes complaints need to be heard and so forth, but at some point, you have to move from the problem to the solution. So a really great question when someone's complaining constantly is to say, “Well, what do you want?”

J: Ooh, yeah.

V: So, in other words, “We’re talking about what you don't want, let's talk about what you do want,” it's a really great shift.

J: Mm-hmm.

V: And it's not about… you know, you're not being rude, you're really here, “So what do you want? Because obviously this isn't it.”


J: Yeah! Oh, that's excellent, okay. See now, you need to create a list of 20 powerful questions and I'm just going to hang it on my mirror and work on…


J: … asking these to my kids particularly because so much complaining; I'm going to go use that right after this call’s done.


V: I love it. Yeah, it's great with kids; really good with kids.

J: Oh, that’s so good. Well, this is fantastic. And your book, where can they get it?

V: You can get it everywhere. Of course, you can just come to valorieburton.com and then we… you can either buy it in our store or we've got links to all of the retailers that have it.

J: And that's called ‘Successful Women Speak Differently’; I love it,

V: Yeah.

J: And I think all of us want to be successful, even if we're not in business, moms and stay at home moms or maybe you're on the PTA, you just want to be that confident woman who can communicate with power and clarity.

V: Absolutely. And I forgot to say also, we have a whole website that's just around the book. So, if they want to, they can watch a free webinar (unclear) [25:55]… if they go on speakdifferently.com, they'll get all the info there.

J: Ooh, a webinar on some of the tips from the book?

V: Yeah.

J: Ooh, that's great. We will have links to all of this on our show notes page at jenriday.com/84. Alright, Valerie, is there anything else that's exciting you or helping you to live a vibrant and happy life today?

V: Well, I would say paying it forward. So because I've been doing this for so long, we had a lot of people that I tend to attract who also want to do this kind of work. So about 7 years ago, I started the CaPP Institute, which you mentioned at the beginning, which is Coaching and Positive Psychology, to train people who want to be conscious. So that's a really exciting part of what I do; really working with people from all over the world, it's been amazing to me. Just this year, we've had people from Italy and Japan and from the Middle East and the Caribbean and Canada that have been a part of our coach training programs. And, you know, there's only… I mean, I can reach as many people as possible, but I really believe there are many of us, yourself included, obviously you're spreading this message around happiness. There are many of us that are passionate about this kind of work. And one of the things I think it's important to realize is that we all reach different people and we reach them differently because we all have different personalities, different experiences to share, and those connect with different types of people. So I really love being able to train coaches and this kind of… these advanced skills around coaching, but I love the fact that that reverberates all over the world.

J: Hmm, the CaPP Institute, okay.

V: Mm-hmm.

J: Great. C a P P Institute, for those… I know somebody listening is going to totally go there and learn more about your training because lots of people have that intuitive urge to help other women and help people.

V: Yeah.

J: Yeah.

V: Yeah.

J: Well, let's talk about a few of your favorite things, starting with your morning routine; and I'll kind of preface this question with, “Okay, so Valerie, you're a mom of 3, how do you do everything you do and still take care of yourself? And how would that kind of tie in with your morning routine?”

V: Well, sometimes it really is challenging because my work is different all the time.

J: Mm-hmm.

V: You know, like yesterday, I woke up, I was in Nashville…


V: … speaking with my publisher. So the routine is different at different times. And my husband's a pilot so we definitely have to do a lot of schedule management. My husband is wonderful, he loves to cook and I have gladly handed the reins to him in the kitchen. (Laughs)

J: Yay! (Laughs)

V: That is all his. When I get up, I really try to meditate for, not that long, you know, maybe 5 minutes, but just quiet time, breathing, feeling my breath go in and out; I just really calms me. I pray and I think about what I am looking forward to during the day, because I think it's so easy for us to talk about, “Okay, today I have to… I have to go to work. I have to take the kids to school. I have to do this. I have to do that,” and I like to change the phrase to, “I get to. What do I get to do today? Ah, I get to go get my son up and get him dressed.” And I remember when I wanted to have children I always thought I'd have a little boy and, wow, I’ve got this amazing little 3-year-old, so I get to do that. You know, I get to go to work. There was a time when I dreamed about getting to have a business of my own, doing what I love, and I actually get to do that now. So I love… and it's a quick thing to go through, but I find that it immediately, it's… anticipation is a happiness trigger. And when I wrote ‘Happy Women Live Better’, I came up with these 13 happiness triggers based on research, and being able to have something to look forward to every single day, whether you do it before you go to bed at night or when you first get up in the morning, can be really powerful. I always eat breakfast. Usually, it is a breakfast burrito, I sauté some spinach in the pan and crack a couple of eggs in there and use mozzarella cheese. More than half the time, my husband actually cooks it for me. But…

J: Aww, so sweet.

V: But this morning, I did it myself. He was taking the girls to school and took our son to school. So that's my routine. And I live in a town that has a hundred miles of golf cart paths, you can go anywhere in the city on your golf cart. And so I dropped my son off at preschool or golf cart and then I go to the office, and that takes all of 10 minutes. So… (Laughs)

J: You drop them off in the golf cart; how fun! (Laughs)

V: Yes, yes.

J: And you drive your golf cart to the office?

V: Yeah, and he gets upset if he has to get in the car.


J: That's so amazing!

V: Yeah. (unclear) [30:27]… golf carts though, he prefers the golf cart. (Laughs)

J: Oh, that is great, great. Well, let's talk about your favorite book. I mean, you've written so many, but what's your favorite book?

V: Oh my gosh, that's such a hard question; I love books. So I will tell you one book that comes to mind for whatever reason this moment that shifted me; and I read it in the late 90s.

J: Mm-hmm.

V: And for years, I have cut out these ‘Four Agreements’, Don Miguel Ruiz; very short book, but very powerful book. The agreement that most impacted me at that time was, “Don't take anything personally.” And I didn't understand that when I first read it. A friend had given me the book and she was trying to explain in a situation that I was in and why I shouldn’t take it personally. And I didn't at first understand it, but I wanted to so badly because I… my core fear rejection; and so that's one I have worked through at different levels throughout my life. And the whole idea of not taking anything personally was very, very powerful for me. So I would say ‘The Four Agreements’ is one of my very favorites.

J: Great, I love that. And I'll have a link to that book and everything else on the show notes page at jenriday.com/84. Okay, Valerie, our big question, what does it mean for you to be a vibrant happy woman?

V: Being vibrant and happy is really a part of how I define success. And my definition of success is a harmony of purpose, resilience, and joy. And so, for me, it really means, number one, living out my purpose, knowing that I'm here to inspire others and… and doing that through writing and speaking; that's professional, but it's also personal, so I seek that in my personal relationships. Being resilient, being able to just bounce back over and over because life is always going to have challenges. And I don't think we can be as successful or happy without being able to bounce back. And sometimes it takes longer than others, and that's okay; you know, some things are harder than others. But being able to be resilient and then having joy, I just don't believe that we're successful if we don't have any joy in our lives. And, you know, sometimes that is… feels harder than others. So it's not always this, you know, “I'm giddy,” kind of happiness, but being contented, knowing that you are accomplishing your unique assignments in life and making the impact you were put on this earth to make. So, for me, being vibrant and happy is being able to accomplish those things and to live truthfully. And I feel like I'm really doing that, and I can't say it always felt that way, so it's a good feeling.

J: This has been such a fantastic interview and I know our listeners are inspired. So, everyone listening, if you want to learn more about Valerie or connect with her, you can go to her website, valerieburton.co. You can also grab her book, ‘Successful Women Speak Differently’, and of course, get a journal and start journaling; Valerie shared so many good ideas on that. Well, before we say goodbye, I would like you to leave our listeners with a parting challenge.

V: My parting challenge is this. When I was in between, when I going through divorce and I hadn’t met the man I was meant to be with, yet I felt like if I could have the things I wanted, I could finally be happy. And one day, it just hit me, “Valerie, just be happy right now, right where you are. Stop waiting for things to unfold the way you want them to. Stop holding your happiness hostage to your circumstances and make a decision right now to be happy,” and that was life-changing for me. I made the decision that whatever is going to be, I was going to be happy. And so my parting word is, it's a choice. And I'm not saying it's always easy, but you can go through life miserable or you can go through it happy. And it’s a whole lot better when we find what we can be grateful for and we can find reasons to smile and to just be happy.

J: Hmm, we'll leave it right there. Thank you so much for being on the show, Valerie.

V: Thanks, Jen.

J: Take care.

Seriously great, right? I love what she said; “Stop holding your happiness hostage to your circumstances.” And like I said at the beginning of the show, “Happiness is a choice,” and Valerie came to the point when she decided, “You know what? I'm going to be happy.” So that's my challenge for you as well. I'm going to restate Valerie's challenge, “Stop holding your happiness hostage to your circumstances. Choose now to be happy.” And I want to encourage you again, if you received any value at all from this episode, please go to jenriday.com/itunes and leave a review. And there's something cool happening with that. For the next 4 weeks, anyone who leaves a review or who has left a review in the past, will be entered in a contest to win a free journal. We're giving away 5 beautiful journals and you can see what they look like on the show notes page at jenriday.com/84, where we'll also have that link where you can leave your review. All you have to do is leave a review on iTunes or on Stitcher if you use an Android device, and then you'll be entered in the contest. How do we know you did it? Just email us a screenshot of your review or copy and paste your review right into the email and send it to support@jenriday.com. You can also copy your review right onto social media and use the hashtag #vibranthappywomen and we'll look for those there. There will be 5 lucky winners of a beautiful journal which goes perfectly with this episode because journaling is completely therapeutic and helps you to build a vision of the person you want to be. So, again, enter to win one of these beautiful journals by leaving a review on iTunes or Stitcher, and I’ll have instructions for that on our show notes page at jenriday.com/84. I'm going to read some of those reviews on every show for the next 4 weeks and then we'll announce our winners in mid-November. Alright my friends, thank you so much for listening, and go out and choose happiness today. Take care.

Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.