Behind-the-Scenes with Marianne Elliott

If you haven’t already seen it, you simply must watch the third episode of WilloToons Connect. The episode features Marianne Elliott, a powerhouse woman with many titles: yogi, human rights activist, writer, world traveler, small business owner, creative collaborator and extraordinarily soulful human being (ok, that last one was mine for her :). Most of all, Marianne is someone whom I am incredibly honored to call a friend; she’s a true gem in our world!

behind the scenes with marianne elliott

The day we recorded this episode was really fun, and marked my first one where I had 2 cameras! That might not mean anything to you, but I’ll tell you, it made the end result that much more awesome. Anyway, I just posted a bunch of fun behind-the-scenes photos, so you can meet my 2nd camera-man, Brendon Patubo, and see what a videoshoot looks like behind the curtain.

And for some sweet icing on the cake, below you’ll find Marianne has graciously shared a little more of her soulful wisdom and charm with us by answering our featured guest questionnaire! Thank you for all that you do, Marianne! xo

WilloToons Connect Creative Questionnaire

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Mum says when I was about four years old I told her I wanted to be either a circus performer, to make people laugh or a Sunday School teacher, because I would only have to work one day a week.

What is one artistic avenue you’ve never explored, but would like to?
Singing. Although I do chant while leading yoga classes now, so that’s a beginning.

Coffee or tea?
I love them both, but went off caffeine a few years ago so I’ve become a tea connoisseur.

What meaningful advice do you have for aspiring creative entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid of structure – in your work space, in your working day and week and in your business. Structure, in creative business like in yoga, give us the foundation for spaciousness and flexibility. If structure is not your strong suit, find someone who can help you with it. Maybe you can trade them some of your spontaneity for some of their structure.

What would you do with 1 miiiiillliiooooon dollars?
Can I call a friend? Because the first thing I would do with a million dollars is what I always do when I have a question about money, I’d call my Dad and ask for his advice! I’d want to use the money to simplify my own life, to help my family and then to support women and girls in Afghanistan and other countries affected by war.

How do you practice self care on a daily basis?
I make some time every day for the practices that nourish me: walking, writing, reading, meditating, yoga and drinking tea with friends. Some days that might look like a slow cup of tea and ten minutes of journalling in the morning. But more often it means an hour-long walk, some yoga and a short meditation (with tea!)

What is one piece of technology you can’t live without?
I could live without it all. As long as I had pens and paper and the ability to make fire! But I would miss my iPhone horribly. It’s my music while I walk, the shortest route to a friendly chat, my camera and my address book all rolled into one. In the New Zealand winter, I would also be a very sad gal without my electric blanket. A warm bed is a beautiful place.

What has been your biggest obstacle in living your dream?
I am still making peace with my own drive to always do more, be better. It’s a wonderful motivator, but when I let it get the better of me it robs me of my ability to truly live the dream, which is to enjoy what is right in front of me.

In the past year, what accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
Finishing my book and getting a publishing deal with Penguin NZ is the personal accomplishment I’m proudest of.

What’s your one tip for successfully running a small business?
It’s the same one I made above – don’t be afraid of some structure. When you put some structure into your work space, your day and your week, then you have the space and the support to be spontaneous and supple.

What does ‘Creative Sustainability in Life and Business’ mean to you?
Knowing what ’enough’ looks like to me, making space for the practices that nourish and inspire me and seeing the goodness in what’s right in front of me.

How do you know Willo?
We met when Willo did my 30 Days of Yoga course.

Given the choice between relaxation and adventure, which vacation would you choose?
Both. There always has to be a bit of both. But today? Relaxation.

What goals do you have for your business in the next 6 months?
My goal is to streamline all the exciting things I have going on at the moment (new book, new restaurant, new courses, new clients) and create a business and life that feels more effortless.

What has been your favorite moment so far today?
When I was out on my walk this morning it poured down with rain so I ducked under the edge of the roof of a garage I was walking past to wait out the downpour. A woman walked past me on the way to the bus-stop and saw what I was doing and smiled. It was the simplest smile that said ’Here we both are out in the rain at 7.30 in the morning, soaking wet before the day even starts and isn’t that something to smile about?’. I loved it.

What’s your next big adventure?
My book comes out in March, so I guess being a published author!

Yay! I can’t wait for Marianne’s book comes out. Her response of ‘create a business and life that feels more effortless’ really spoke to me. This can be so much easier when you are passionate about what you do, but it will always have its own set of challenges, too. How do you approach creating a more effortless business or life? I’d love to hear your answers to any of these questions in the comments.

For even more Marianne goodness, head over to the WilloToons Facebook Page and check out the behind-the-scenes photos from our videoshoot at Teahouse Studio. Don’t forget to “Like” your favorite ones!

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