So, what exactly is Conscious Lab?!

Jenna CL3

I know you haven’t heard from me in a while, and I just realized that this post took me an ENTIRE month to write. I wrote the first chunk on September 2, and the second chunk on October 2 – which was a total coincidence too! Usually I write my posts in one sitting, or at least over only a couple days. Even though this post took me way longer than I thought, I can’t tell you how gooooood it feels to sit in front of my MacBook, open my heart, and share my human experience with you.

If you have been following my story on social media, you might have seen a couple photos I posted about my new project called Conscious Lab. This absolutely gorgeous space in Gastown will be home to Make It HQ, and also facilitate workshops, seminars, dance parties, film screenings and lots of other awesome events. The sky’s the limit because Conscious Lab is a canvas for my imagination. I’m not 100% sure what it will become, and I’m allowing it to shape itself based on what the community needs. The goal is to create a platform that will allow my peers to grow and become the best versions of themselves that they can be. To see some of the events we have coming up this month, make sure you check out the website and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. This is a new baby biz, so if you could like and follow I would really appreciate it! 

This whole venture has been a total whirlwind, and I’ve been inspired to share it because I feel there will be some value for anyone who is in the midst of launching a new creative idea. I know on social media we are constantly bombarded by photos and stories of people who’ve “made it”, but I don’t think there’s enough vulnerability and honesty about how hard, brutal and challenging the leap really can be. I’m in full leap mode right now and so far it’s been a looooong, hard, magical grind. 

The story of how Conscious Lab came to be is full of serendipity, trust and surrender. The journey started in February while I was in India. I was sitting on the beach with a new travel friend and after drinking a few beers and chatting about entrepreneurship, I started to draw up a plan in my notebook. The idea was to open up a space where creative entrepreneurs could come and learn about consciousness, mindset and spirituality. We brainstormed about this for hours because my friend was also passionate about the idea and had worked in a similar business in California.

When I was back in Vancouver in the spring, I was having wine with one of my best friends (apparently all my best ideas come when I’m drinking!) and we both talked about our ideas about opening up spaces. My idea had evolved slightly from India, and her’s was around a holistic mental health treatment clinic. As a psychologist, my friend saw a need for care that treated the mind, body, and spirit. Both of our visions had a lot of alignment and neither of us were actively seeking a way to make them happen.

Sometime in June, my friend Ashley Wry, who’s the badass boss behind Mala Collective reached out and asked if I would like to come down and see her office space in Gastown. I had heard it was beautiful from other friends, so I was more than happy to come down and check it out. I was with a few other girlfriends who were also keen to see it.

As soon as I walked into the Mala Collective office space I immediately fell in love. The space is in a building from 1901 with high ceilings, exposed brick, arched windows, antique heat registers and pretty much every other historic charm possible! Ashley decided to end her lease and was planning to move out within the next few months. Although her space was about 4 times bigger (and way more expensive) than we currently had in the Dominion Building just a few blocks down street, I couldn’t get the thought of being in a space that stunning out of my head – my little hamster began running around it’s wheel like crazy!

My friends who I was with that day said they weren’t surprised when I said a couple days later that I was thinking of taking over Ashley’s lease. They said there was a moment when I staring out of the window in deep thought so they knew something was going on in my head! That same day I also ran into Ashley on the street and I told her I would be interested in meeting with her landlord to discuss taking over her lease.

When I was first introduced to the landlord he told me he had read an article about me in the Vancouver Sun earlier that morning. I was confused at first because Make It had been completed for a few weeks and that’s usually the only time I get any media. When I saw the article I realized it was one I had done over a month ago regarding my involvement with Junior Achievement. I hadn’t been told when it would be published, so it was very ironic it just happened to be in the paper the morning I was meeting the landlord!

After our meeting, I was told there was someone else that was interested in the space. I remember consciously releasing any ties or expectations and trusting that what would be would be. As soon as I was told the other party wasn’t going to take it, I immediately took a deep breath and gave notice for my tiny little Make It office. I didn’t have a formal plan or idea of what I was going to do with a stunning 1500 sq ft office, but I knew it felt right so I dived in head first!

Since I gave notice for my existing office for July 1 and didn’t take possession of the new space until Aug 1, there was a whole month where my office furniture took over my condo. I live relatively close to Gastown so we actually moved everything by pushing it down the street! It was pretty funny to see Team Make It pushing office chairs with boxes piled on them down the sidewalks. I remember reassuring them I would hire a mover to help us for the next move because I had severely underestimated how much stuff we actually had. To ease the pain, I made sure there was snacks and rose on my roof when we were done!

The month of July working out of my little dining nook worked out really well. I had Diana working on logos, and design for Conscious Lab, while Brigitte and Rachel were working on holiday Make It tasks. It felt like the early days when I first started my entrepreneurial journey and my staff would work from my kitchen table. I made the ladies green smoothies in the morning, and avocado toast for lunch! It was fun and exciting to develop and plan for launching Conscious Lab sitting around my kitchen table.

When we finally moved into the space I could hardly believe it was really happening. It felt surreal because I would have never imagined I would have such a magnificent office to dream, create and play in. There were several moments where I wanted to dance and cry with joy that a place like this would manifest for me with such ease and grace. The even crazier part is my friend who I had wine with in May also manifested her perfect space and is opening up her holistic mental health clinic called Boreal Wellness in November! This just proves the power of surrounding yourself with likeminded, high vibing people.

Even though I’ve been in business for 14 years, I still feel like I don’t know what the heck I’m doing most of the time. There are many situations where I think I’m doing something wrong and that maybe I shouldn’t have started in the first place. One of the biggest things I’ve learned from writing my book, is it’s perfectly normal to feel this way, and everyone who’s done something big has felt like this before too. Just by being in this positions you’re in the company of the greatest artists, performers, influencers and visionaries that have come before you. It’s a pretty remarkable and powerful feeling if you can think of it like this. Not everyone has been in the position of great uncertainty that is prerequisite for successful creative entrepreneurship.

I’ve never done this in a blog post before, but I actually wrote everything you read before this exactly a month ago! What’s really crazy, is I honestly thought I had started this post only a couple weeks back. My life has been so fast paced and intense in the last month, I honestly don’t know what the heck happened. There’s been so much that has shifted in pretty much every area of my life. When I think back to two months ago when I first got the keys to Conscious Lab, it feels like a total blur.

Part of the reason I think it’s been challenging for me to sit down to write a blog post is because I kind burnt myself writing my book this summer. I was dead set in publishing Make It Happen in time for the holiday Make It shows which start in November. I knew it was a stretch, but I’m a Taurus and I get locked on ideas sometimes. Plus being a marketer, I know how valuable the holiday season is and I was planning to have a booth at all three shows. I spent so many warm summer days locked in my condo sweating over my computer. If that doesn’t sound pretty it’s because it wasn’t! It was fucking awful!

A couple weeks ago I had to make a very big decision around my book. It had recently gone to another round of edits with a brand new editor. As much as I wanted to trust the process and the people hired to help me to finish the book, I was not fully onboard with the direction the latest editor had taken it. I stayed up until 3am on a Saturday night and read the revised edition of Make It Happen from start to finish. By the end I wanted to be sick. It wasn’t my book anymore and not the story I wanted to put out into the world. I was completely devastated.


After consulting close friends and family, they also agreed that my voice had been edited out of the book. I did what I know I needed to do, and called the literary agency I was working with and told them that I wanted to postpone publishing Make It Happen until the spring. This was a very difficult decision to make because I knew I was giving up the lucrative holiday season and also going back on what I said I was going to do.

When the dust settled and I had a big releasing cry, I was able to see what a blessing making the decision to postpone Make It Happen really was. I’ve been absolutely swamped with launching Conscious Labs and Make It, that I felt like I wasn’t doing anything as well as I wanted. By putting Make It Happen on the back burner for a few months, I’ve been able to shift my energy back to my other two businesses. It was like a heavy weight was lifted off of me, and I began receiving more and more creative ideas. My soul now feels lighter and I have a sudden surge of vibrant energy.

Still with not juggling all 3 projects, I’m still extremely busy. It’s fun, exhilarating, and exciting – AND I know I can’t go this speed forever. One thing I’ve learned from (almost) finishing my book, is that you can make it happen, but you can’t force it to happen. Maybe this works for short periods of time, but there will come a point where the Universe intervenes and make you sloooooooow down. At first it’s subtle, but if you don’t listen the force gets stronger and stronger. I’ve been bashed around from burnout more than once.  

We threw the Conscious Lab launch party last week. No one believes me, but I was extremely nervous about it. It was emotional because I feel like I’m really exposing my soul with Conscious Lab. It’s a deeply personal business in many ways, because the goal is to unite the creative community through conscious connection. I’m holding space for miraculous things to happen and as amazing as that is, I feel vulnerable being the vessel who is choosing to manifest it. There’s so much unknown because it’s relatively unchartered waters. That might sound weird, but maybe if you’ve been in a similar situation you can relate.  

The party turned out to be awesome and so many of my amazing friends and supporters came out to celebrate. One of the highlight of the evening was our Grow wall. I had the idea a few weeks ago to create a living wall with plants gifted to Conscious Lab from members of the community. We were able to collect a bunch of plants and I can’t wait to finish the wall so I can post photos on Instagram and tag everyone who contributed.

I just noticed this post is getting awfully long! Hopefully it’s been enjoyable to read and you are excited to come check out Conscious Lab! We have launched a bunch of incredible events on our website, so please make sure you check it out. I’m most excited to be relaunching Make It Talks on October 18 along with a Craft Fair Boot Camp on October 21. These events are for Makies and wannabe Makies. It’s a great way also for you to check out the space and connect with the handmade community.

I’m also going to making more videos. I recently did a Facebook Live about Conscious Lab and some people reached out told me I should think about doing more of them. The truth is I’m pretty shy on camera. I can do TV spots for Make It because I’m being asked questions and it’s about my business, but when I am doing something canid, I always have anxiety. But, I also know the more you do anything, the better you get. This is why I promise to make more videos about my crazy entrepreneurial adventures! If you think this is a good idea, you’re encouragement would mean a lot. I feel silly and awkward on camera, so in my mind I assume other people think the same.

I feel like I could write a lot more, and if you’ve come this far I have to say how touched I am that you are interested in my story an what I have to say. It honestly means a lot. I would love for you to come to visit Conscious Lab and share in this journey.

Thanks you for reading and supporting!

 

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