“What went well?” 

This is the phrase of the year for 2022, for us at Women Who Cowork. This last month has been spent reflecting, celebrating and resting on our laurels, and you know what? We earned it!

You earned it too. 100%.

See, as humans, we have a negativity bias. We are wired to think of all the things that can and do go wrong at any given moment. We have an average of 60,000 thoughts per day, most of which are the same negative thoughts we repeat every day. Our brains respond more readily to negative stimuli and then fixate on them. Even as entrepreneurs we are taught to look at our failures and learn from them.

Yet focusing on what went well gives us a chance to pattern interrupt and see the places of ease and success that we wouldn’t see if we jumped right to how things could be improved. We can learn just as much about succeeding by looking at what went well as we can by looking at what could have gone better.

Don’t get us wrong, there’s always room for looking at and improving on our, well… everything. But choosing to celebrate what went well allows us to feel better. People do better when we feel better. 

As a recovering perfectionist, Iris learned this paradigm-shifting reframe in April, when she became a certified intenSati leader. A core principle of the fitness community which practices intenSati is asking the question coined by founder, Patricia Moreno: “What’s good?” This translates to being asked “What went well?” during leader training. For Iris, being asked to reframe in this way was a complete shift from the perfectionism and self-criticism that she was taught during her 17 years of formal dance training. As she was awkwardly learning to punch, kick, jab, and bounce; count backward on the beat, call out the movement names and the mantra phrases, and coach a zoom class to play full out – all at age 50, while out of breath and with a big smile on her face, Iris’s insides were screaming “I suck at all of this!”. To have the first words she heard upon completion be her trainer asking “Tell me what went well in that class.” well you can imagine how much adaptation to this new way of thinking required, in that moment.

Iris brought this game changing ethos into our coaching work and this simple question has helped many of our clients learn to see themselves and their abilities in a favorable light. And with poor mental health at epidemic proportions, humans are needing as many tools to support our well-being as we can create.

Today, as we close out 2022, we are thankful to acknowledge so much that went well for Women Who Cowork and for Iris and Laura, individually! 

Back in 2021, both Laura and Iris reached burnout by June. Like many moms and parents during the pandemic, we were burning the candle at all ends in every area of life and Women Who Cowork was an additional drain on our energy, with little return at that point. We knew we didn’t want to leave coworking, or shut her down. After much individual and collective soul-searching we made a promise to ourselves and each other that for us to keep Women Who Cowork going, we would need to create a container in which the best of what we both bring to the table could be accessed by the clients who need it and one that would allow us to be compensated for delivering our collective knowledge and support to the coworking industry. This felt like a lofty intention, and in the past 18 months there were many moments that required us to pause, breathe and reflect on our intention and whether we were being true to that, or allowing ourselves to get sidetracked.

But it went well! In 2022 we set boundaries with our time, our volunteer offerings, and our output. We worked less, rested more and updated our pricing structure, increasing our prices (that felt scary). Because of these changes we are walking out of this year with a sense of contentment, encouragement and genuine excitement for what comes next. 

We are celebrating all of our wins, big and small:

  • Honoring our 6 years of partnership and the way it allows for both Laura and Iris to show up as we are and feel supported by the other, regardless of what life hands us in the way of work, kids, physical health, mental health or personal and spiritual development.
  • We pivoted our offerings and focused on delivering our unique Resilient Community Builder group training program. Our signature program for coworking operators combines 50 years of professional community building, 29 years of coworking operations expertise, 25 years of clinical mental health and trauma support, 22 years of entrepreneurial experimentation as female small business owners, 24,522 hours coaching startups and small business owners, and 54,208 hours of culture and team development experience into a weekly program delivered over 12 months. Boom.
  • Quantified our years of experience and learned to own our value as original co-creators of the coworking movement.
  • Designed all of our content to be trauma-informed to support coworking operators in running workspaces that foster mental health positive cultures.
  • Held 42 group training sessions, 11 mental health support group sessions, 10 monthly mixers, and 1 planning retreat. 
  • Held an event celebrating women’s herstory of the coworking movement, in honor of International Women’s Day.
  • Sponsored a challenge/conversation/presentation on making coworking spaces safer and more supportive for people who are experiencing menopause (which impacts 50% of the human population for a minimum of 10 years and has over 100 distinct physical symptoms!) with the Coworking IDEA Project.
  • Grew our Mighty Network to 137 members
  • Joined the global XCHANGE Approach facilitation community and reworked all of our coaching products and events to incorporate the tools that XCHANGE offers to create connection and belong at scale, immediately in any online event.
  • Iris became a certified intenSati Fitness leader and brought the ethos as well as practice into our coaching work with our clients. Mindfulness + Fitness = Happier Humans
  • Laura took almost 6 weeks of vacation!

When we looked back at the past 365 days and asked ourselves “What went well?” we said “Wow, we can really see where we improved, succeeded and grew.” We could quantify the growth and, even though we missed completing some of the goals we had set for this year, we can see how much farther towards those goals we got ourselves.

What went well for you this year? Here’s a worksheet we used in the Resilient Community Builder to help our clients through this process. 

Celebrate yourself! Celebrate your staff! Celebrate your members! You made it through another year. Give yourself the gift of acknowledging all the growth you made this year before you head into the next.

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