Welcome to the Coworking Space That Invites You to Come As You Are
by Kiki Athanas
February 11, 2018
A little while back I was invited to a my first ever meeting at Shecosystem, and was immediately taken-aback at the beauty and vibe of the space. There's a unique energy and feel to this hub of entrepreneurs...but completely opposite to what you're most likely envisioning.
This isn't a fiercely "Get Shit Done" space for business newbies, nor does it promote the "Wake up, Coffee, Hustle" mindset that other coworking buildings seem to depict. Instead, Shecosystem was built to offer a new approach to what it means to be a "successful" entrepreneur. And at the core, that means embracing the feminine.
Emily Rose Antflick, the founder of this aesthetically gorgeous and even more so profoundly "present" networking and co-working hub, is bringing it to life as a way to honour the wisdom that we all share and build communities of entrepreneurs who balance hustle with heart. She is a self-declared "multipotentialite" with a central focus around teaching and learning. After years as a high school teacher, Emily began to realize the importance of connecting what you're learning with the outside world; it's really about experiential learning to contextualize the insights being shared. So while single-handedly founding a co-working space may seem like a big shift from high school teacher, in a way, it's the most perfect and fluid transition.
Mindful Wellness: "Acknowledging where you're at as a human."
Shecosystem isn't like other co-working membership spaces, though, and one of its defining attributes are the opening and closing circles run for all present bodies in the space. Emily led this initiative to start with, but now opens it up to other members as an opportunity to foster the inclusive and sharing community it holds. They happen mid-morning and early evening everyday (around 10am and 4:30pm), and involve members sitting on the floor in a circle starting with a guided meditation, followed by self-exploration either with tarot or oracle cards. Emily shares that it provides a time to acknowledge what's going on in your work and life, meet other members without the pressure to network, and perhaps set some intentions and goals for the day; solopreneurs often appreciate the opportunity to hold each other accountable in this safe and sacred space.
Embracing the Feminine
Another vital element Shecosystem brings to the table are the on-going workshops and events which foster self-development while spreading insights and empowering its members to share their expertise. It was interesting to hear Emily's approach to workshops; she openly shared that she is still on a journey herself in discovering what "a valuable workshop" really means to her. One thing came across as crystal clear: the importance of experiential learnings in an environment that is respectful of our human bodies.
Shecosystem's workshops are often less about delivering content and more about creating containers for participants to have an open dialogue. This is part of the shift towards embracing the feminine in the world, which calls on the wisdom that we all have rather than depending on an expert for "right" answers. More tangibly, that includes:
Instead of jumping right into the contents of the 'workshop information' without context, sessions begin with the group collectively taking a few breaths to truly arrive in the space.
- Acknowledging that we all have physical bodies, and our minds can easily be derailed if we feel uncomfortable for whatever reasons. This could be as simple as clarifying that everyone is welcome to get up and move around, go to the bathroom, etc. at whatever time they feel called.
- Presenting topics of discussion and multiple perspectives rather than hard facts via a more typical 'delivery model' (think: less boring PowerPoint Presentations and more insightful conversations).
- Finally, embracing the application component of the workshops is just as important to Emily, as it gives members the opportunity to take those learnings and reflect how it might add value to their own businesses.
It should now come as no surprise that Shecosystem is all about making self-care part of the business strategy of the entrepreneurs they support.
But what does "Self-Care" even mean?
"It's being able to check in with yourself, and then give yourself permission to do whatever it is you need to honour where you're at. Maybe it's a need to say 'No', a need to take care of bills, or a need to do nothing at all rather than pushing through resistance. It's not always about 'going to yoga' or 'eating healthy,' sometimes these things often billed as self-care can add more pressure rather than truly taking care of our needs" Emily shares.
One of my dear friends, Barbara, offers Cards for Self-Care known as Be With. One of those cards depicts what Emily describes perfectly: "What is the gentlest thing that I can do right now?"
It's extremely refreshing to hear a "go-getter" female entrepreneur talk candidly about the need to take pause, to take a break from "killing it" and prioritize kindness towards oneself. Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up, or dare I say: you just need to slow down (without any end 'efficiency' goal even in sight). I believe this is a message that isn't embraced enough, and I was interested to see exactly how Emily was able to design a space that truly celebrated this concept.
Shecosystem makes self-care for the entrepreneur possible through thoughtful design:
- About one quarter of the space is allocated for "chill" - a zen zone where you can stretch, move freely, or even take a break to do cartwheels!
- An altar to acknowledge our spiritual sense.
- A rest space for quietness and healing.
Even the little details like the conscious decision to have a French press versus a standard "instant" coffee machine. Emily clearly put time and energy into curating the space to be one where the entrepreneur is invited to slow down, enabling a natural invitation to check in with yourself. Rather than feeding into the 'always on' and 'always in demand' culture that entrepreneurs have normalized to, Shecosystem is a place to unlearn those arguably detrimental "stories" we have come to know as true in our culture, and instead step into your wholeness. That might mean busting out projects and assignments, or it might mean cozying up with a loose leaf tea and taking the day to read a good book.
We're all welcome here, wherever we're at.
Thank you Emily for validating the whole spectrum of entrepreneurial experiences, and all of the gentle and nourishing reminders that Shecosystem offers.
Fancy a freebie? You can sign up for your very own Free Week Pass at Shecosystem by signing up here.