Online Book Club: What's Your Story?

Welcome to the first discussion week of our online book club. This week, we’re discussing chapters 1 – 3 of Work, Love, Pray. (For a full schedule, go here.) If you haven’t read those chapters yet, don’t worry. Jump in anyway. Ready? Let’s go.


Every woman has a story.

We’ve all gotten to this place in life – the journey to womanhood – with a few lessons under our belts (or should I say under our skirts!). Some of us had ideal childhoods and later learned that the “real world” is cruel and unforgiving. Others of us came to adulthood with some serious baggage – baggage that we’d like to forget about and we certainly don’t want to talk about.

But we all have one thing in common. We’re all saying to ourselves, “No matter how I got here, I need to know where to go next!”

In Work, Love, Pray, Diane Paddison starts off by telling her story. Diane is a farm girl from Oregon who grew up learning the values of hard work and determination. Her days leading peach-picking crews finally paid off when she got into Harvard Business School and landed her first dream job!

I learned from Diane that it’s important to know where you came from. In my case, my hard-working middle-class parents and four older sisters shaped my core values of faith, work and family. (And being the youngest of five siblings explains why I’m always the last to clean up!)

But it’s also important to know where you’re going. Diane encourages young women to think strategically about the future, pursue advanced degrees, and rise above our circumstances – even if we didn’t have perfect upbringings.

One of my favorite stories in the book is about a woman named Erin Botsford. Erin lost her father at a young age, grew up poor and was even charged with manslaughter in an accident that wasn’t her fault.  Even after she paid off her legal fees and worked her way out of debt, she lost every penny to a fraudulent investor! Talk about bad luck. Yet Erin is now a successful mom, wife and business owner.  She doesn’t complain and takes full responsibility for her attitude.

In Diane’s words, “Whether your past is a fairy tale or a horror story, only you can determine how it will play out – as a tragedy, or as a feel-good story with a happy ending.”

So, what’s your story?  What role did faith or spirituality play in your upbringing?  How did you get to this place in life, and where do you plan to go next?