Sara Blakley, founder of Spanx told Guy Raz at the recent How I Built this Summit in San Francisco, a story that transformed how she thought about business. She told Raz that three men inquired about her new invention (Spanx), at a cocktail party and proceeded to give her the following advice: “ ‘Business is war. Hope you are ready to go to war, Sara.’” Sara said that she went home after hearing that and thought, “I don’t want to go to war. There has to be a better way…I made a decision that night that I was going to go about this business in a very different way and use very different principles other than going to war.”
This is exactly how I felt when I saw the cover of TC Business November issue entitled “Co-Working Wars…Which Will Survive?”
When I began my journey to create a community workspace founded upon the universal need for connection, I was excited about the possibilities that I envisioned for ModernWell—the relationships, businesses, and creativity that would develop and the transformative effects these would have on individuals and our community. All of this and more is what I have experienced at ModernWell as we recently passed our two year mark. War, however, is not part of this experience.
War involves hostility, rage, and hate. It puts people in defense mode and elicits feelings of scarcity, coveting, jealousy, aggression, and anger. Unfortunately, these feelings are indeed heightened in the world right now. Which is why I vote to keep the word war out of our discussions regarding the Twin Cities co-working landscape. The foundation upon which co-working is built is the opposite of war. It is about creating healthy, productive, and collaborative spaces and communities. Being a part of the co-working trend in Minneapolis feels like being a part of an evolution–a changing physical and mental approach to work and life, and the quest to better understand what we need to thrive in both.
For me, developing and running ModernWell has always been grounded in my values of authenticity, honesty, and integrity. ModernWell is not about quick scaling, raising millions of dollars in venture capital, or being a billion dollar company. Not that there’s anything wrong with doing so. But out of the gates, ModernWell has been and continues to be about serving our members and connecting our Twin Cities community. “We are wired for connection,” Brene’ Brown reminds us time and again. And finding real, productive, and meaningful connections is exactly what is happening in our inspired, bright, warm, comfortable space.
I am with Sara, I do not want to go to war. There has to be another way to do business. My focus will continue to be to elevate and support the ModernWell members and the Twin Cities’ community by providing a top-notch, women-centered space for anyone working remotely or needing a space outside of their home or office to work, connect, and create; and to provide thoughtful and enriching programming for all. ModernWell is a place to find peace. It is a place to work well, be well, and do well.
Thank you for two incredible years of growth, learning, and friendships! I am exceedingly grateful for the dedicated and wonderful ModernWell team, for our ModernWell members who continually blow me away with their talent, work ethic, and creativity, and to the Twin Cities community at large that has welcomed us into the fold, participates in our programming, and engages with us in person and online. We are thriving because of all of you! Cheers to a New Year, to ModernWell Year Three, and to less war and more PEACE!