Valorie Burton’s Successful Women Speak Differently

“Alisha, on the other hand, talked about her vision to pretty much anyone who would listen – and she did it in an easy, energetic way. She was sharing her passion, not selling something.”

A lot of today’s self-help and professional development literature is informed by cognitive psychology and Valorie Burton’s Successful Women Speak Differently is no different. In this book, Burton also takes into account her personal observations. Some of the advice she gives had me cringing though I really liked her explanations. Telling individuals about your vision is a tough one.


“Being intentional about your word choice and conquering your fears to speak up when needed and remain silent when it is wise can mean the difference between success and failure.”

Sharing your vision, especially when its only a half-formed idea, can be terrifying. Trying to add “easy” and “energetic” to that is a recipe for a mental breakdown when things go pear-shaped. At these moments, the intentionality of the quest is crucial. But, Burton stresses the importance of speaking. It reminds me why I tend to tell my students that after graduating with my bachelor’s degree I realized a key lesson I was never given by my instructors was the importance of networking. You cannot network unless you speak!


They think differently in the face of fear, failure, setbacks, and challenges. They say different things to themselves in the face of such obstacles.

Whenever I get the chance, I remind my students that beginning these necessary conversations is like writing an essay. You need a hook. And, the best hook for beginners is always a simple question. Once you get the hang of it, you can go for more advanced introductions, so to speak. Something that I find interesting is that successful people, from my point of view, never forget what it feels like to fall, and fall hard. Why is it that most people forget what it feels like to land on their knees when they trip and fall while running in the playground? How do we forget when that sibling accidentally tripped us and we fucked-up our shin? Not to speak in metaphors all the time, but isn’t it the same thing? The pain question is just a physical versus psychological debate.


If you honestly think you are better than you are, you’ll step up for opportunities even when you might not quite be qualified or ready. And while you won’t get some of the opportunities, some you will!

In one of the quotes I selected for this review, Burton states that it’s important to be intentional with your word choice. I totally agree with this! There are a handful of words that I consciously try to leave out of my vocabulary now. Words such as: failure, shelter, and all the curse words I know in Spanish. Like I told my students once at Education First in New York, contrary to what some people believe, your words have a power to influence your reality in very powerful ways. Your words create your reality. And by the power of association, your reality can distort the reality of others too. So be careful what you say and do! An example of this concept would be, don’t make things an option that are really a necessity: a phone, internet, self-love, etc. (from the material to the metaphysical).


“The human voice is the organ of the soul,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

I think it’s Brené Brown that says something like “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” She talks about showing up in terms of vulnerability. But, she is right on the mark. This is what Burton forgot to mention in this book quite a lot. Successful people don’t just show up, speak up in different ways … they put themselves on the damn line in vulnerable ways. Like Rumple says in Once Upon A Time all the time, “Everything comes with a price.”


Successful women show up for small opportunities as they do for big opportunities.

A lot of professional development gurus mention that it’s worthwhile to always assess every opportunity presented. When someone is on a winning streak, it is easy to dismiss something small. Even worse, dismissing something small without leaving the window of opportunity open. People be tripping on this a lot! Maybe it’s because my parents owned a company based on sales and word-of-mouth for many years that I think of it differently. You may dismiss the small opportunity that doesn’t pay much at first because you’re caught up on other things, but that could have led up to other opportunities that pay more later. Anyway, I could have written a much longer review with all the great quotes Valorie Burton had in Successful Women Speak Differently; I definitely recommend you take a peak into it.


Work Cited

Burton, Valorie. Successful Women Speak Differently, Harvest House Publishers, 2016.

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