Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"...with a little help from my friends"

Once a year the San Francisco chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO-SF) has an awards luncheon to honor two local women entrepreneurs. The keynote speakers at last year’s luncheon were two of the four co-authors of This is Not the Life I Ordered. This book will have special resonance with women in the San Francisco Bay Area but I think it will also speak to the hearts of women everywhere who have faced challenges either financial, marital and/or personal .

The two speakers were Jackie Speier and Jan Yanehiro. You may remember Jackie Speier as having been shot five times and left for dead on the tarmac in Guyana where she was investigating the People’s Temple. Do you remember that her husband died from an automobile accident when she was pregnant with their second child? Do you remember that five weeks later she had to sell her home because her husband had procrastinated too long in paying the premium on his life insurance policy? Each of the other three authors faced similar challenges…and today each is successful in her own way. How did they do it?

They will say that it was finding each other and forming their “kitchen table” group to meet monthly over the course of ten years, share their struggles and offer each other needed support. This book is the result of those conversations around the kitchen table. It includes some of the recommendations your may have heard before such as keeping a journal and practicing gratitude. There are exercises for the journal and questions for discussion around the table. There is a lot of inspiration, motivation and wisdom here. The book is filled with quotations from women well-known and not so well-known. For me, for whom the glass is almost always three-quarters empty, I found words by Pearl S. Buck especially pointed: “You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come into contact with a new idea.”

But I think the most important message if the book is: Don’t wait until you need the support of your kitchen roundtable to start one. If you don’t have a group of friends with whom you can share your struggles, start to build one. If you have such a group but maybe you don’t see each other that often, try to start getting together on a regular basis. If your life seems to be in good shape at the moment, look around and see if there is someone else in need of your support. We are all in this life together and this book can be a valuable companion!

1 comment:

  1. dorothea, this book sounds very interesting and i read the blog too. i will find time to read this book and maybe it will help me organize my life. thanks, anna