By Scott Pace: barsI grew up in an upper-middle class home, with both parents and a loving environment.   I went to a Christian school, was involved in my church, and grew up believing in a powerful God.  But I also grew up with my life separated into compartments – home life, my work life and my church life – and somewhere along the way, something went wrong.

I have lived most of my life trying to please people, and have spent my resources trying to impress people that care less about me than I realized at the time.   Things should have gotten better as I did well in business, but the problem only got worse.  As my lifestyle increased, so did my debt and all the things that go with it. My business began to decline in mid-2000, but my obligations didn't.   My business partner and I chose to borrow money that wasn't ours.  We stepped over the legal line, and when the market crashed, so did our business.  We found ourselves facing federal prosecution, and I ended up going to federal prison.

It has been a difficult road; I've hurt a lot of people and have hurt myself.  But I've also learned a lot.  I still believed in an all-powerful God, and during my first days in prison, I came to the conclusion that God had the power to bring something good from this.  I’d let this experience teach me something, and then use that knowledge to help someone else.  This changed my entire view on life, and was the beginning of my second chance.  This perspective gave me a purpose.

I began to share my story inside prison, and came to realize that we all struggle with a lot of the same things: insecurity, self-doubt, and the desire to be loved and accepted.  These struggles transcend our background.  Once I peeled back the layers of my facade and exposed my struggles, relationships were formed.  I was becoming secure in my identity.

Since being released from prison, I've continued sharing my story, and have seen others open up to the pain of their own struggles.  One of the things I love the most is that I don’t have all the answers and that’s okay; as we share our stories together, the answers are unveiled.  It doesn't matter whether we are from the business world, the creative community, or any other segment of society.  We are all works in process.

Before I went in to prison, my dad said to me, “God is always faithful but faithful is not always easy.”  This is so true.  My challenges haven’t gone away, but how I face them has totally changed. I've gone from the anxiety of trying to gain approval to the joy of a life free from insecurity, and that’s priceless.  By moving beyond being consumed by the views of others, I've found my true identity.

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