We had the good fortune of connecting with Marianne Millar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marianne, can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
I just finished ‘Endure,’ (for the second time) by Alex Hutchinson. The book is based on research that challenges the well-held belief that “some people are just better at enduring than others.” The book discusses how we view the world’s greatest athletes… and assume that, as much as the rigorous work they put into their field, they are “built” to endure–and, consequently, succeed. The book breaks down that belief and proposes a paradigm shift–that our minds have as much to do with our current limitations–as our physical body does. What resonates with me is that we have so many limitations upon ourselves, and so much of our potential is driven by what we’ve been told we should do or what we thought we could do. And so much of what we can’t do comes from how we were raised (and by whom) and what we were told–that all becomes part of our belief system. Because of my fitness background and current philanthropic work (I serve on the Board of Directors for Girls on the Run, a nonprofit organization that helps young girls see their potential), I see this paradigm in action. So many inequalities come out in this belief–I see women struggling with body image disorders and girls who don’t think they can ever succeed at school, friendships, and in life. The research from this book fascinates me. It reminds me of all that we are capable of. In starting my photography business in my mid-30s, my age, schooling (I didn’t study photography), lack of budget/space, location, or so many other things could have been obstacles to success. Changing my mindset and pushing all those excuses (no matter how valid they were) aside helped me endure–and ultimately go after what I want. A quote in my office reads: “That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the task itself has changed, but that our power to do has increased.” (Heber J. Grant) We all have a power within us–far greater than what we think or what has been put upon us or what others have told us. Pushing past our limitations helps us recognize we’re capable of so much more. Sometimes, all it takes is just starting — and then keep going once you’ve started.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Creativity has always come easy for me, but finding my niche in the art form hasn’t. I was always the kid with the “big ideas,” but I wasn’t as good at carrying them out (think poorly painted pottery and gobs of glue). As I’ve focused on photography and design, I’ve found I’m able to take my ideas and express them in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing. I love being able to capture a moment, a feeling, a relationship–and conveying that in a picture. Although I studied design in college, it was fashion design and didn’t do much for me when I moved to Small Town, Ohio. It was a stretch for me to take courses and attend seminars to learn some of the basics of photography. I was almost 35 years old when I switched careers and decided to pursue photography, so that was a humbling experience. There are so many talented creatives out there– and so many talented photographers in Gilbert alone. But I truly believe the only limitations we have are the ones we put on ourselves–or the ones we’ve “adopted” from others. I have learned to brush off my feelings of inadequacy and be confident with my skill set. My dear dad was an amazing therapist (up until he passed away last year), and he was so great to help me see past my perfectionistic tendencies. He’d tell me: “Perfection leads to procrastination which lead to paralysis.” If I waited until my photography is ‘perfect’ or if I can find the ‘perfect’ subject, I would have never started. Yes, I still have so much to learn, but I’ve been published in books and magazines — and made people happy, so that’s been good enough for me. I may not be the most well-trained photographer or have the most innate ability–but I assure you I am the most enthusiastic! I take my passion for the art and want to share it with everyone.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I grew up in L.A. (a Dodger’s fan), so Spring Training is a must. I love ordering a Dodger Dog and SODA and sitting in the outfield, enjoying a game and Arizona’s beautiful weather. Having lived in the midwest for a few years, I missed mexican food. There are so many mexican restaurants IN ARIZONA on my ‘to-do’ list–I can’t name them all. On my first trip to Arizona, we went to Tucson to Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe. We’d seen it on Bobby Flay’s ‘Throwdown’ and wanted to see if the huevos rancheros lived up to the hype. I felt like I’d been transported to Heaven–just for a moment–eating that meal. That’s still one of my favorite dishes and something worthy of a trip to Tucson. Of course, Sedona should be on everyone’s bucket list! Some of the more popular hikes, like Devil’s Bridge, get a lot of attention, but there’s not a place in Sedona I haven’t felt in awe of my surroundings. Anyone not from the area needs to make the trip to Sedona. Slide Rock is a ‘must-do’ when visiting. We love Williams, for the small-town feel and quaint downtown (and my kids are crazy for BeArizona). During the summer, we always head to Flagstaff for some cooler weather and to enjoy the scenery.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Girls on the Run Maricopa & Pinal Counties and Jabz Boxing Gilbert
Marianne Millar Photography