We all search for greater meaning in our lives. Often that meaning comes from finding our true passion and purpose — but that’s easier said than done.

So I turned to a person who has successfully helped thousands of people find their passion and purpose: Valorie Burton, the bestselling author, speaker, life coach, and entrepreneur who helps people make major life changes, live happier lives, and achieve their professional dreams.

And that’s why Valorie Burton is another in my series of interviews related to the Strayer University Readdress Success program, an initiative intended to redefine success as “happiness derived from good relationships and achieving personal goals.” (Strayer has launched a petition through Change.org to change the Merriam-Webster definition. Sign the petition, and Strayer will donate 50 cents to Dress for Success, a nonprofit that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women.)

Passion is an overarching driver of personal growth and success. How much does the idea of passion come up in your work?

I link passion and purpose together. I think that your purpose is largely out of your passion. Passion is good, but you need to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing and I think purpose answers the question of how someone’s life can be better. When you put together your gifts — the things you’re naturally good at — and you know what you’re really passionate about… that’s where you find your purpose.

Perseverance really comes out of passion and purpose. If you don’t have passion or purpose you won’t persevere when it gets difficult. No one succeeds without facing obstacles, challenges, and setbacks.

Passion becomes the fuel that keeps you pushing forward when it doesn’t even look like things will come together.

Your background includes running a successful PR and marketing firm, and being appointed by Texas governor Rick Perry to the Governor’s Commission for Women for a two-year term. How did you become a life coach?

When I had my own PR firm, every time I would look at the vision for where we were going, I realized I was good at that, but I wasn’t passionate about it, not the way an entrepreneur should be passionate.

I think because one of my gifts is communication, PR and marketing were interesting to me, but I just couldn’t picture what that would look like 10 years down the road because I didn’t have that level of passion for it. I began seeking out what is my purpose and I had an epiphany one day at a Barnes and Noble store during a journalism convention in 1999.

It was just a sudden spiritual moment when I felt like my mission was to inspire others to live more fulfilling lives and I would do that through writing and speaking. I can’t explain it, I just remember the moment, I remember where I was standing, and I remember going back to my hotel room and writing down what I remembered. And it just made perfect sense for who I am. I’ve always liked motivation, personal growth, and helping people.

Even though I had never articulated it before, that was genuinely my mission.

Within about three weeks I started writing my first book. I finished that book in under three months and I had it in my hand by Thanksgiving and immediately started doing some media.

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by Jeff Haden – INC published on: Nov 2, 2015