Moving Forward With Valorie Burton

In a culture that often equates “wealth” with materialism, it’s no wonder debt is out of control and savings are low. This week, I feel led to encourage you in the area of your finances. Answer these questions for yourself: Do you know how much you’ll need for retirement? Are you on track to get there? If you lost your job or business dried up, how long could you pay your monthly expenses without borrowing? How about debt? If you have it, by when will you eliminate it? Have you even imagined the prospect of having no debt?

You can build personal wealth and a greater sense of financial well-being, but it begins with imagination. Take a moment right now and close your eyes. Imagine what it would feel like to be financially free – no debt, house paid for, plenty saved, good income, and no financial worries. A good feeling, indeed, isn’t it? For most Americans, the idea of financial freedom feels elusive – like a far-off dream too distant to attempt. But I challenge you to dream a bigger dream, and take steps to bring that dream to life.

Whether the dream of financial freedom is three years away or 30 years away, wouldn’t it be worth it to start doing the things today that will leave you and those you love wealthier tomorrow? Here are five ways to do just that:

1. Envision yourself financially free.

It begins with imagining the possibility. With God, all things are possible. Begin seeing yourself in a better position financially. Rather than beating yourself up for mistakes or missteps, learn from them. Write down your money goal, and post them where you will see them often. You need a financial vision.

2. Stop letting your emotions rule your money.

Do you spend to feel better? Out of guilt? To keep up with the Jones’? Emotional spending will curse your finances, as you dig a deeper and deeper hole of debt.

3. Invest in more than a job.

Invest in education and knowledge that maximizes your earning potential. But also invest in opportunities to create passive income by considering a business or solid real estate that can help you build recurring income over time.

4. Choose experiences over things.

Research shows that spending money on experiences with people brings more happiness than money spent on things. Think about the next time you think you just have to have the latest gadget or new car. Building emotional wealth reaps meaningful rewards. Don’t get trapped on the hedonic treadmill of wanting more and more “stuff.” Over time, you’ll find it takes more and more to satisfy your appetite – and that includes more money.

5. Save consistently and unrelentingly.

If you were taught to save as a kid, you are ahead of the game! For many people, saving is a skill they must hone. While the amount you save is important, even more important is the consistency with which you save. Set up automatic deductions from your paycheck or checking account so you don’t have to think about it. Learn to live on a smaller percentage of your income – just pretend you make less – and save the difference. Over time, you will see your wealth grow.

My challenge to you this week:

Make financial freedom your ultimate goal.

Journaling assignment:

Re-read the five strategies for building personal wealth. Which one resonates most as a step you need to take? What specifically will you do and when? What will financial freedom give you that you don’t have right now? Why is that so important to you? Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

Valorie Burton is an author of eight books, including   her   latest,  Your 5 Minute Personal Coach. She is founder  of  the Coaching  and  Positive Psychology (CaPP) Institute. Subscribe to her free e-newsletter      at


Have you noticed? A new season is just around the corner. Every year, I get giddy when signs of spring whisper promises of winter’s demise. Sure, it might get cold again. But it won’t last! Just hang on a little while longer, and spring will arrive. When that happens, it reminds us that our lives have seasons, too. If you’re not careful, you can stay stuck in an old season when a new one arrives. When your life is cluttered with unnecessary distractions, tolerations or just plain junk, it can feel impossible to find your way forward. But you must make room for what you want. You need to clear your clutter, in more ways than one. Use these five coaching questions to make room for a new season:

1.What project/issue/to-do list item keeps getting rolled over to the next season?

You know what I’m talking about. It’s the thing you keep saying you’re going to do, but don’t. You procrastinate. Declare you will get started, then forget. Or maybe you hope it will just go away. Whatever the case, make a decision to either do it or drop it. Which will it be?

2.What could I de-clutter in the next 15 minutes?

When it comes to clearing clutter and making space for something new in your life, it can be tempting to make it too big of a deal, which means you put it off for later. Instead, get the energy moving by getting rid of some of the clutter in your environment. Transforming your physical space is often a catalyst for transforming your inner space.

3.What ties need to be cut?

Is there a relationship, whether with a person or organization, that it is time to end? Making room in your life often means letting go of stale or inauthentic connections.

4.What apology is overdue?

Don’t go into a new season with old baggage. If you are holding on to something – a grudge, bitterness, anger – choose today to let it go. It is a heavy burden to carry, and even if you think it’s the other person, in truth, you bear the burden alone. Depending on the situation, either forgive – or ask for forgiveness.

5.What do I want to do this season to prepare for summer?

Wise people think about the upcoming season while still in the previous season, so they can lay the groundwork for a smooth transition. Summer’s just a few months away. Is there anything you need to do now to prepare?

My challenge to you this week:

Spring is here! Clear some space for what you want to see show up in this next season.

Journaling assignment:

Answer all five questions from this week’s column.

The irony is, I got stuck trying to write this column about getting unstuck. Then I looked at my five-point outline and realized I was engaging in habit #4: Perfectionism.  The tape playing in my head yelled as I stared at the blank screen: “You can’t start typing words until you figured out exactly how to say what you want to say!” Then I remembered the mantra that gets me writing: “You have permission to write badly. You can edit later.”

Getting unstuck is the most common issue around which I’ve coached others. Whether they are stuck trying to figure out how to have a difficult conversation, making a life-changing decision, or just can’t figure out why they are paralyzed, getting unstuck can be challenging. To move towards their dream, there are four common habits I’ve observed.  Next time you’re stuck (and maybe you feel stuck right now!), do a quick reality check. Are you guilty of one of these bad habits? If so, take action. Here are the four habits and how to break them:

Habit #1: Obsession with your obstacles.

People who get stuck tend to stare at the problem right in front of them and forget to look up at the big picture of where they really want to go.  The solution? Stop focusing on the problem, and start focusing on the solution.  Don’t just notice what’s wrong. Begin magnifying what’s right. And ask yourself, how can I use what’s right to overcome what’s wrong? Use your strengths.


Habit #2:  Sabotaging Self-Talk.

The conversation of stuckness goes something like this:  “I’m stuck.” “I can’t.” “I’ll never.”  You create what you speak. “Life and death are in the power of the tongue,” Proverbs 29:18 promises this.What have you been saying about you?  Replace losing language with winning words:  “I can do something different.” “I will take a step forward despite my fear.” “I am capable of change.”


Habit #3:  Over-planning.

Folks who are stuck can look quite productive – with all their plans and strategies. Beware.  Plans are great. Action is greater.  Books don’t write themselves. Businesses don’t launch themselves. You’ve got to take the first step and keep stepping!


Habit #4:  Perfectionism.

If you buy into the lie that nothing is worth doing if it’s not perfect, getting stuck is guaranteed. Perfectionism is a lot of pressure. It’s a set up for failure. If the only passing grade is 100%, no wonder you dread the outcome.  The simple solution? Give yourself permission to be imperfect. In other words, be human. Then you’ll try new things, put yourself out there, and not beat yourself up for looking silly. Find joy in the experience.


My challenge to you:

Get unstuck. Drop your bad habits.


Journaling assignment:

In what area(s) of your life are you feeling stuck right now? Which of the four habits is keeping you stuck? What will you do differently right now to break that habit and get unstuck? Leave your comments on my blog, and get unstuck!

    Until next time,

Valorie's Signature

Dear Friend,

Happy Love Week! That’s what I like to call the week of Valentine’s Day. While we tend to make Valentine’s Day all about chocolate and candlelight dinners, love is so much more than tingly feelings and romance. In fact, I don’t think love is much about feelings at all. It’s about action. If I looked at video footage of you over the last week, I could tell you who and what you love by your actions. Where do you spend your time? Your money? Who have you forgiven – and against whom are you still holding a grudge? Who have you shown mercy or patience? Who have you been kind to?

We can feel all sorts of feelings, but feelings are fickle. It’s action that demonstrates our love. This principle is especially noteworthy when you are on the receiving end of that love. Case in point: Back in 2001, my mother had a massive brain aneurysm that led to emergency brain surgery, a two-month stint in the hospital and years of physical recovery. It was a time of transition, sadness and stress. But it was a pivotal moment in how I saw the people in our lives. There were my former co-workers, who visited my mother in the hospital religiously, even sending members from their church to pray for her. There were acquaintances from whom I expected nothing, who surprised me with homemade dinners, or visits to the house to simply sit and be present. There were family members who boarded the first plane to Dallas or drove hundreds of miles within hours of her surgery – just to be there. And there were my mother’s co-workers, many of whom donated their days or weeks of vacation time to make sure she would not miss a paycheck once she ran out of leave. So many donated leave that she had more than she could use. These were outpourings of love.

Some of these people who reached out didn’t even know my mother well. They would never have uttered the words, “I love you.” But their actions spoke love to us. There were others from whom I expected love and support, who didn’t visit, didn’t call and didn’t otherwise show in any tangible way. I don’t begrudge them, but it was a pivotal moment in how I viewed our relationship. What am I saying? Love is not simply felt. Love can be seen.

How do you love the people closest to you? I think of love much like faith. Without action, it is dead, being nothing more than a feeling or a word. Love is a decision, and it is not for the faint at heart. It is the most beautiful gift we can offer. And when we do, we should do it with passion and perseverance. We should do it to give of ourselves because that is what we choose to do – not because we want something in return. This week, as we celebrate love, reflect on its definition in 1 Corinthians 13 and ask yourself, “What kind of love do I give?” Do you give to get? Or do you give to give? That’s pure love. That’s God’s love.

1 Corinthian 13:4-8

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.


My challenge to you:

Take an action that expresses your love for someone you care about.

Journaling assignment:

Think of your three closest relationships. Over the past week, what actions did you take that demonstrated your love? What actions could you take this week? What aspect of this week’s column resonated most with you and why? Post your comments on my blog. I would love to hear from you!


Valorie Burton is an author of eight books, including  her   latest,  Your 5 Minute Personal Coach. She is founder of  the Coaching  and  Positive Psychology (CaPP) Institute. Subscribe to her free e-newsletter     at



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