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…
A few weeks ago I had a lovely visit with Laura, one of our former KeyHolders who has been living abroad for a few months now. She was in town for a quick weekend, so we set up shop on my couch and caught up for a few hours.
Laura and her husband had recently spent some time in the Netherlands and we were discussing the differences between life here in the US and life there. The culture in the Netherlands is all about conformity - based upon the Law of Jante, a code of conduct that portrays doing things out of the ordinary, or being overtly personally ambitious as unworthy and inappropriate.
“I feel like it’s almost the anti-SheHive,” Laura shared. “You have to look it up!”
So I did.
There are ten rules in the Law of Jante, all expressive of variations on a single theme: You are not to think you're anyone special or that you're better than us.
Last week I was reading an article on the pros and cons of having a full-time business versus having a side hustle. Among the pros of having a side hustle - diversification, peace of mind, and a competitive advantage in your job. Among the pros of having a full-time business? You have faith in your business. Because, by quitting your “you are telling yourself that you know your business idea can and will work.”
“Fuck that noise!” I thought to myself and slammed the computer shut.
I once had a mentor tell me he was concerned about my ability to take it to the next level. “Every time you take a few steps forward, I see you take a step back,” he said to me.
I was crushed. Devastated, really. I had failed to be successful all the time, which I thought meant I was a failure all the time.
I know better now.