We planned out the Make It empire in this magical log cabin!

jenna cabin

After an absolutely crazy month, I can’t tell you how good it feels to sit in front of my computer with space and time to express and make sense of some of the experiences I have recently had. As I type this I’m flying to Phoenix to spend the holidays with my family, and hopefully get some much needed rest. I decided to book a one-way flight this time because I’m not sure when I’ll feel rested enough to come back home. Maybe you’ve felt this way before, but I just need some time away to recuperate and have my mama cook for me!

 

The last post I wrote got some very interesting and unexpected responses. It was all about my experience at the Calgary Make It show and how I felt completely burnout after writing my first book and launching Conscious Lab simultaneously. Most of the feedback I received was incredibly positive and supportive, but I did receive some criticism too. Since I’m very sensitive, my feelings were hurt immediately because the biggest fear I have of opening my heart is to be judged and misunderstood. But, as much as it stung it was also a good lesson for me. If I’m going to publish a book next year, I have to get used to the idea that not everyone will love it and I can’t take that personally.

 

I learned that at some point along the way, haters find a way to attack anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. If I look at all of my friends who are successful and doing cool things, none of them have escaped this. As much as it’s hard to keep going sometimes, I know these two things to be true: I love writing, and if my story helps you even a tiny way, it will all be worth it. That’s it. Nothing else matters and if people don’t like how I express myself through my words it means that they aren’t for them. I’m only concerned with being of service to those who can benefit from hearing about my journey. If you ever feel judged or negatively impacted by other’s opinion, just remember that mermaids can’t be bothered by the opinions of shrimp!

 

My life has been a whirlwind lately, but when I think back to start of this year, that has been the theme of my entire 2017. It seems like it’s been this way for a lot of other people too. There’s a lot happening globally and things are shifting and changing in some pretty profound ways. I for one am very excited for the dialogue around female empowerment and so proud of all the women who are speaking up and enforcing their sexual boundaries. It’s a fascinating and difficult to be a woman right now, but I know this will be a period of time where we’ll look back up and be so proud we took another step forward.

 

Recently I did some introspection and I realized one of the biggest reasons I’m so passionate about Make It is because it allows so many women to be able to make a living doing what they love. This was especially true when we first started the show almost 10 years ago. Back in 2008 the handmade community was almost entirely female. Now it has skewed a bit as more awesome men have joined the Makie family, and it always warms my heart when I see supportive husbands and partners quit their jobs so they can work for their lady! It proves how progressive our industry really is and I hope it will be an example for others.

 

In late September, my condo flooded because a dishwasher from a few floors above overflowed and 26 units were affected! If you’re ever tempted to leave your dishwasher running when you’re not home, let this be a lesson to you! After it happened I spent weeks going back and forth with insurance trying to navigate a level of adulting I had never dealt with before. Finally on the day I was leaving Vancouver to go to Edmonton for Make It, my entire place was packed up. It was the weirdest feeling having a crew of people come into my home and go through all of my stuff while I grabbed my suitcase and headed to the airport. Talk about trust and surrender!

 

Usually when we go to Edmonton, Team Make It (Brigitte, Rachel, and now Benny) stay with me at my parent’s house. It works out well and I go into “mom mode” and cook for the ladies and prepare homemade lunches. This time my parents were having issues with one of their bathrooms, so I made the decisions to rent an Airbnb for them to stay at while I stayed by myself. I have to say it was kinda weird and a bit lonely at first to not be staying in the same place as the team because we have a lot of fun together. But it did give me a sense of separation and space from the business, which I’m in the process of getting more used to. If you’ve gone through this yourself you know it’s not always easy.

 

Before the start of the show I decided to write a personal email to all the Makies about energy and setting an intention. I’ve never done anything like this before, but I got the impulse to do it, so I went with it. Although I know it didn’t resonate with everyone, I was pleasantly surprised how many Makies and customers commented on how good the show felt and what a good vibe it had. Although I had always paid attention to this, I had never heard so many others express their awareness of it. A lot of long term Makies had their best show yet which was also super encouraging.

 

When I got back from Edmonton, I immediately moved into a tiny furnished apartment in Yaletown while my floors were ripped up and replaced. Out of ALL of the condo buildings in Vancouver, I was placed by insurance in the same high-rise I temporarily lived in after leaving my fiancé four years ago! It was such a crazy coincidence, and as soon as I walked into the building I immediately remembered the smell. I would have never guessed I would be back there, but at least this time I didn’t have to deal with the heartbreak. Although I’m still single, I know that was one of the most important and best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Even though dating can be a pain in the ass, I know the right person will come into my life at the right moment – and if my future husband is reading this now you can hurry up already!

 

Make It Vancouver was the last show of the season, and I felt a little nervous going into it because I had spent so much time and effort promoting the Alberta shows. It’s really challenging to have 3 events back-to-back because it feels like one is always getting neglected. But, when I saw how glorious the weather forecast was I was able to calm down because I knew I wouldn’t have to deal with another bloody “Snowmaggedon”. Thank God.

 

Living out of the little Yaletown shoebox (that’s probably worth $500K!) actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise in many ways. Leading up to the Vancouver show I spent a lot of time thinking about life and what the Makie community is all about. I decided I was going to send another email right before the show again that gave Makies some guidance about setting intentions, creating a mantra, and really getting to know their neighbours on a deeper level. I’ve done these practices myself in the past, but I’ve never tried it with a big group before. It was a bit of a social experiment that I felt inspired to try.

 

I’m not sure if the pre-show email made the difference, but Make It Vancouver was ELECTRIC! Right from the moment we opened the doors on Thursday morning there was a buzz in the air that felt intoxicating at times. The lineup lasted almost 90 mins and we were understaffed because we had never experienced anything like it before. And the momentum only built. By the weekend the PNE Forum was jam-packed with excited Vancouverites who couldn’t get enough of our Makies. We even ran out of readmission cards because so many people wanted to come back. The Sunday was a record breaking day with over 5000 people through the doors in only 6 hours. It felt like a party, and there were points where I had to ground myself to be able to take it all in.

 

There was a Make It first that happened at the Vancouver show too. 4 of our Makies decided to get ‘maker’ tattoos on the Saturday night. They were so excited to show me their fresh ink, and I told them next time I wanted to be part of the fun! One of the girls told me they were “drinking the Kool-aid” but I think it was more likely they were drinking the tequila! Regardless, it was pretty damn cool to see the level of bonding that happened. I’m so grateful and honoured to have been able to create a platform that allows makers to find their tribe and have a blast.

 

To celebrate our success and have some fun, I took Team Make It to the Shameful Tiki Room on a Waikiki Wednesday. We drank a VERY impressive amount of tropical drinks, and turned into crazy giggle machines! My team is the best because not only are they awesome to work with, but I also consider all of them good friends too. They care so much about the Makies and want nothing more than for them to have as much success as possible at the shows and beyond. We’re very sad to see Rachel leave back to Australia, but who knows maybe we’ll expand the show down-under in the future!

 

One of my biggest mentors is Marie Forleo. I was privileged enough to have been personally coached by her in 2012. She taught me a lot about business and how to be an effective female leader. Something I remembered Marie talking about is having regular company retreats, so I decided to book a gorgeous log cabin on the Sunshine Coast to do the same a week after Make it Vancouver. Although I was still exhausted and now fighting a cold, it was incredibly valuable to have two of my team members and I to get clear on our vision and what we want to accomplish in 2018. We have some very exciting plans in the works that I believe will take the company to a whole new level. We’re building an empire, baby!

 

It felt surreal to lead my own company retreat, and there were moments where I had imposter syndrome and felt awkward talking about the scope of my vision to other people. I was a solopreneur for a long time before joining forces with my brother to create Make It, and now with even more staff and a beautiful Gastown office, I have many moments where I feel undeserving of my success. It’s a weird and wonderful feeling to see other people passionate about your little idea, and I promise if you stick to pursuing your dream long enough you’ll likely experience this too.

 

This morning before I boarded my flight to Phoenix I was finally able to go back to my condo. It felt like a dream walking back into my place with it’s brand new floors and freshly painted walls. Insurance paid for all my stuff to be packed up and then put back exactly where it was found and I didn’t have to lift a finger! At first the flood seemed like a nightmare – especially since it all happened during Make It, but it turned out to be a blessing. It feels like this year all areas of my life are up-levelling whether I like it or not! I’ve learned from the flood and some other seemly unfortunate events, that life truly is happening for me and not to me. I understood this before, but this year is the first year I get it on a deeper level.

 

Life is crazy, weird, magical, and all sorts of other feelings all at the same time. As I’m typing these words my flight is experiencing turbulence, which is a perfect metaphor for my 2017. Man, I couldn’t have predicted a lot of the insane shit I went through at the beginning of this year. Although I feel burnt out, exhausted, and sick in this very moment, I know once I relax and self-care myself back to health I will be stronger than even because of it. I also know there’s no going back to playing small now. I took the leap, and as scary and awful as it was at times, I know I have safely landed on the other side – a little bruised and bloody, but still smiling!

 

Next week will mark my 10 year Vancouversary! I still remember the day I decided to pack up my life into a U-Haul and leave Edmonton. I definitely didn’t have a clear plan back then, and Make It was only an idea in my head. It’s pretty crazy what can happen in a decade when you keep going for your dreams. Sure, I could have probably done things differently along the way and be even farther ahead now or possibly more behind, but it’s my path and I’m proud of every step I have taken. I can’t wait to see where the next 10 years will take me. The Universe surprises me over and over again, so one thing I know is it won’t be boring!

 

I write my posts because they give me an excuse to take all the stuff in my head and get it out in a way I hope makes a difference for you. If it does and you have any feedback or ideas to share, I would love to hear them. I’m always overwhelmed by the support and love I receive after I write one of these loooooong, personal, and honest accounts of how I see the world. It’s humbling and heartwarming.

 

Wishing you a holiday season filled with so much warmth and joy! Thank you for supporting Make It and allowing our Makies to do the work they are meant to do. It’s a wonderful and beautiful community to be apart of.

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