If decades of working in change management - both with large organizations as a consultant and individuals as a coach - has taught me anything, it’s this… most of us don’t do well with uncertainty. It’s why people that are worried about losing their job will act in ways that lead to them actually losing their job or why people horde toilet paper when a previously unknown virus alters life as we know it.
We need to control something - anything.
So it’s been surprising to me that the uprising of Coronavirus hasn’t been a bigger deal in my life. I mean - it’s a big deal, but it’s not.
Last Saturday I found myself with one of those rare days where I had the house to myself and no plans to be anywhere. I grabbed a comfy blanket and my laptop and curled up on the couch, intent on spending a few glorious hours writing in silent peace. Somewhere along the line I decided that a fire would enhance the mood, so I got up, grabbed the firewood, loaded the fireplace and headed to kitchen for a lighter.
As I turned to make my way to the kitchen, however, my toes got caught up in my wide-leg pajama pants. I tripped and lunged forward, stumbling as I tried to regain my balance. Seconds later I found myself slamming headfirst into a plaster wall… hard. I slumped to the floor and laid there, stunned. I started scanning my body to check for broken “stuff,” but all I could feel was a lump that was quickly taking residence over the entire right side of my head.
Last summer the SheHive Operations Team began talking about the system we use to book classes, sell tickets, track memberships and manage our finances. Or, rather, I should say systems. Through the past three years we have pieced together no less than five different tools that help us do it all - and they have been effective, though cumbersome. When it comes to systems, we all believed that less would be more.
So, after a few months of research, we landed on a single, new system that would seamlessly integrate all the tools we used. Or at least that’s what the team selling the system promised us. We spent three months preparing - learning the system, testing it out and implementing it before we launched it in late December / early January.
Throughout the implementation we each started to express some frustration every time we discovered that a feature wasn’t available to us as promised, but kept plugging along. We had invested so much time and money into getting it up and running that we were all determined to make it work.
At least once a month a man reaches out to us to share his wisdom on something SheHive-related. The first happened before we ever opened our doors when an acquaintance emailed my business partner to let her know we were missing out on the knowledge of half of the population by being a women-only venue (as if we don’t hear what men have to say everywhere else we go and bring it to the SheHive with us). The latest incident happened last week when a complete stranger - let’s call him Frank - contacted me via Facebook messenger to let me know how my stance on eschewing “should” is so very wrong. To drive his point home, he let me know his therapist would disagree with me too.
I’ll make sure, when we next meet, to let my therapist know I’m reversing ten-plus years of my own growth and learning because Frank’s therapist said so. (Yes, lovelies, that was sarcasm.)
We’ll save my theories of why “Frank” and a handful of other individuals of the male persuasion find the SheHive - a place for women, not against men - so threatening that they feel the need to shovel their unsolicited advice upon us for another time. As I will also save my heated rant about any person who hasn’t earned the right to give me counsel in any way, shape or form thinking it is their privilege to do so. What I really want to talk about is that little - but oh-so-loaded - word… should.
Last Saturday marked the three year anniversary of the SheHive. It’s hard to believe it’s already been three years. It’s also hard to believe that it’s only been three years. I feel like this community of women have always been a part of my life. And, I guess, in a way they have - I’ve carried the dream of them in my heart for far longer than the three years they’ve existed in my reality.
Opening any business - but particularly a business like the SheHive where there’s no immediate frame of reference to benchmark off of - brings so much uncertainty. It’s easy to lose sight of the lessons you are learning from the business when you are so mired in the day-to-day of the business.
But milestones like anniversaries and birthdays have a way of bringing about a sweet gift of reflection. Which is why I felt like it was very important to sit down tonight and take some time to reflect on what three years as an accidental entrepreneur has taught me.
So, without further adieu, three important lessons from three years of the SheHive…