Excerpted from Rich Minds, Rich Rewards by Valorie Burton. Copyright © 2001 by Valorie Burton. Excerpted by permission of Villard, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Q: Why did you write this book?
A: After I had the epiphany about my life purpose that I described in the introduction, I thought and prayed about what type of first book to write. I felt led to write an easy-to-read, inspiring guide to living a more fulfilling life that was geared toward people from all walks of life.
Q: What is your writing process?
A: When I write, I imagine that I am writing to a friend. It makes the process more relaxed, and, hopefully, the reader feels that I am writing directly to him or her. I wrote the entire book in longhand. I find that the words flow more easily for me when I write with pen and paper rather than at a computer. Also, I want to be used as a vessel to deliver messages of divine inspiration. So each time I sat down to write the mini-chapters for Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, I prayed for wisdom and that I would write words touching readers in such a way that they would feel empowered to make positive changes in their lives.
Q: Who inspires you the most and why?
A: God inspires me most because the abundance of His grace and blessings never ceases to amaze me. I am also inspired by everyday people who make their mark on the world by making a positive difference in the lives of others and by those who have the courage to live their dreams.
Q: What is next for you? Are you writing another book?
A: I am writing my second book now. It’s called Shifting out of Overdrive. It is about slowing down, finding joy, and doing the things that matter most. I believe it will strike a chord with a lot of people.
Q: You are a Life Enrichment Specialist. What is that exactly?
A: Through my workshops, speaking engagements, website, articles, and books, I teach people simple yet powerful ways to enrich their lives. “Life Enrichment Specialist” seems the best way to describe what I do.
1: Discussion Topic 1: Personal Fulfillment and Money
See the mini-chapters “Do What You Love and the Rewards Will Come,” “Don’t Downsize Your Dream,” and “Change Your Ways to Change Your Life.”
Does society teach us that work should be hard and that what we love should be just a hobby? Or do we learn that in our families? Can you really make money doing what you love? Why do people often settle for doing work that they don’t love? Are you doing what you love for a living right now? What keeps you from pursuing what you love?
2: Discussion Topic 2: Life Purpose
See the mini-chapters “Have a Mission” and “Create Your Mission Statement.”
How do you know when you have discovered your mission or life purpose? Did you stumble upon your mission or have you always known what it was? Are you still trying to discover your mission?
3: Discussion Topic 3: Communicating with Others
See the mini-chapters “Personal PR” and “Write Handwritten letters and Make an Impact.”
Is letter-writing a lost art? Is it better to receive a handwritten note or an e-mail? Does it matter? Has technology taken the personal touch out of communication? If so, how?
4: Discussion Topic 4: Forgiveness
See the mini-chapter “Forgive and Let Go of Grudges.”
Is it more stressful to hold a grudge or to let it go? Should we forgive in every situation? Should we not only forgive, but forget too? How do you know when someone is holding a grudge against another person even though they say they have forgiven the person?
5: Discussion Topic 5: Money
See the mini-chapter “Take Control of Your Financial Life.”
Why are so many Americans in debt? Should money management be a required course for high school and college students? Where did you learn your money-management skills? What could you do to increase your income in the near future?
6: Discussion Topic 6: Decreasing Your Stress Level
See the mini-chapters “Cure Yourself of the Overdrive Syndrome,” “Meditate,” “Allow Peace to Guide Your Decisions,” and “Stress: Less, Not More.”
Does society pressure us to be busy all of the time? Why do Americans seem to always be in a hurry? Have the technological conveniences that are meant to save time (such as pagers, mobile phones, and e-mail) made people more overloaded? Does a healthy spiritual life help a person create a less stressful lifestyle?
7: Discussion Topic 7: Being Good to Yourself
See mini-chapters “Pamper-ize Yourself,” “Reward Yourself!,” “Spend Time with Yourself,” “Love Yourself First,” and “Visit a New Place at Least Once a Year.”
What keeps people from pampering themselves on a regular basis? How do you like to pamper yourself? Do you find solutions to problems more easily when you are able to spend time alone? What new place would you like to visit and why?
8: Discussion Topic 8: Creating an Inspired Environment
See mini-chapter “Make Your Home Your Sanctuary”
What makes a home warm and inviting? How does clearing clutter from your home affect your mood? How does the presence of clutter affect your mood? How can couples and families compromise to make their home a sanctuary for everyone who lives there?
9: Discussion Topic 9: Learning from Mistakes
See mini-chapters “Use Failure as a Learning Tool,” “Don’t Make Excuses,” and “Don’t Play the Blame Game.”
Have you ever failed at something that led you to a better opportunity? Is failure God’s way of moving you in a new direction? What is the best way to handle people who always blame others for their problems? Are there instances in which it is okay to make excuses?
10: Discussion Topic 10: Making a Difference
See mini-chapters “Do Nice Things, (But Keep Them to Yourself!)” and “Volunteer.”
Have people become more or less compassionate in recent years? How has volunteering or making a difference in another person’s life impacted your life?