Behind the Screen : Maggie Gentry Miller
There isn't a better person to kick off this new blog series than my dear friend Maggie. Maggie was my first ever instagram friend when we were both starting to grow our social media presence in 2015 / early 2016. We quickly became biz besties and have already hung out IRL in two cities (Austin & NYC)... about to be three (NOLA here we come)!
This new blog series is focused on sharing more of ourselves instead of more of our business. It was created to show that we’re all just people, and that our business is not the only thing about us worth talking about.
Let's get started.
To start things off, please introduce yourself to us.
Hey there! I’m Maggie Gentry Miller from MaggieGentry LLC, founder of Own Your Why and marketing strategist for creatives who value genuine connections and intentional growth.
Where in the world are you located?
I feel very fortunate to be based in sunny Austin, TX.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I honestly feel that I’m a little bit of both, and my sleep schedule has definitely suffered because of this. I feel like I’ve got my morning routine down pat, and it’s such a crucial part of a successful day for me, so now I’m working on being more consistent with a nightly routine.
How is your day structured - do you have a routine or do you go with the flow?
I do keep a pretty strict schedule each day. I typically have my life (personal & professional engagements) planned out at least two weeks in advance. There are times where I fight this and feel really bad about being overly scheduled, but I am trying to embrace it more because I know that I am more at ease when I know what’s coming up in my days and weeks ahead. I do well with time blocking and working under deadlines, so this structure helps me get things done.
That being said, I try to keep other things flexible! If I’ve got a night open to hang with friends, then I like being spontaneous with what we do. If a client needs to reschedule a meeting because of something going on in their personal life, I am more than happy to accommodate because I understand that life happens!
What is your favorite part of the day?
Mornings are my favorite part of the day. I wake up early and have coffee in bed with my husband for about 45 minutes every weekday morning. We keep the lights off and create a no-phone zone so that we can ease into the day. Our cat also knows that this is a special time, so she’ll hop up and sit on my lap so that she can get in an extra special pet sesh to start her day.
After coffee time is up, my husband gets up to get ready for work, and I head to my office where I light a candle and a palo santo stick. Then I pull a daily tarot card and use that as a journal prompt for the day. That typically leads straight into me writing in my gratitude journal where I make note of the things that happened the day before that made me grateful. Once that’s done, I’ll open up my computer and start working.
There’s something about truly easing into each day that has made my mornings so much more pleasant, and my days so much more productive.
If you had a free day to do anything (no working allowed), what would you fill your time with?
I love thinking about my dream day! I would keep my morning routine like it is. Instead of heading straight into work after journaling, I would go downstairs and cook a nice breakfast for myself (including my favorite food of all time - toast with butter & jam!). From there, and assuming it’s a cooler spring or fall day, I’d go outside to read on our porch until it was time to go to yoga class from my favorite teacher. Once I was out and about, I’d stop to get a massage on my way home. After that, I’d come home and read some more until it was time to cook dinner. That evening I would spend some time with my husband where we would likely watch the latest episode of whatever Netflix show we’re watching, and then I’d end the day with a bath & face mask. :)
What’s a simple way that you treat yourself?
Having a mid-day stretch break is one of the easiest things I can do that always gets me right back on track. If I’m feeling restless or unfocused, 5 minutes with my legs up the wall or simply standing with my feet hips-width distance apart and bent at my waist in a forward fold helps me tremendously. I also have a few face mists that seem to always help get me through that afternoon slump.
What is something you’re waiting to splurge on?
There are rumblings that Amy Kuretsky is working on hosting a wellness retreat in Joshua Tree, CA this winter, and I am DYING to go. Saving every penny so that I can make that happen!
How do you take care of your body and mind?
My favorite way to tackle both is through yoga. I love being able to have this practice where each new class I can find myself doing things I couldn’t do the time before. It’s fun to test the limits of what I think my body can do. I’ve been lucky to find a really great yoga home that provides many classes with a spiritual element, too, so not only am I pushing past boundaries physically, I’m also opening up to new possibilities mentally. Outside of yoga, I really enjoy reading to energize me, and monotonous activities like coloring and doing dishes to help me zone out and find some calm.
What does balance look like to you?
Balance feels like such an elusive thing. Trying to keep everything 50/50 feels like an impossible task on any given day, so I simply try to do my best and give myself plenty of grace when things don’t go according to an ideal plan. As a small business owner, there are days (or weeks!) when I’m pushing hard up against deadlines, and I’m working longer hours than I normally would. But, I always make sure to take time off afterward to allow myself some time to breathe.
In a more practical sense, I don’t schedule any client meetings on Mondays. This allows me to focus on all the things I need to do for my business before dedicating the rest of the week to my clients. I also do everything in my power not to schedule client meetings before 11am. Both of these boundaries help me ensure that on a daily and weekly basis, I am getting the most important things done for my business so that the rest of the time I am fully available and able to 100% focus on my clients.
What book has influenced or impacted you the most?
Hands down it’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig. I read this when I was 19, and it was the first philosophical book I had ever read outside of the classroom. I learned so much about myself and how to appropriately address conflict. It taught me a lot about how to approach problem solving. This is coming from a mega Type A child who had serious issues with anxiety and perfectionism, so up until that point, if a problem arose, I got really frustrated, felt defeated, and often would give up. This taught me to slow down, assess the issue, examine all of the parts, and then form a plan of action and take tiny steps to remedy it. This book also helped me understand that I want to live in a middle state of life that accepts a romantic worldview, while also taking note of the all the details and inner-workings from a classical bent. So I saw I’m always cautiously optimistic, a pragmatic dreamer.
A lil’ bit o’ biz
How do you stay motivated through the ups and downs of owning your own business?
Oh boy, it’s tough. I am always trying to get myself back to homeostasis. As I think many of us do, I tend to dwell on the negative things and move swiftly past the positive. I’ve been trying to reverse this by celebrating my successes a little longer and a little more intentionally, while working hard to pull myself out of the negative self-talk and shame spiral that comes with the inevitable lows. Having friends & biz besties to provide perspective and help you out of that rut truly helps so much!
What has surprised you the most about owning your own business?
Honestly, it’s how much writing I have to do! I was never great at writing, and it was always something that extremely intimidated me. Then I start my own business and realize that social media posts, newsletters, blogs, guest posts, all involve writing and are all crucial ways to grow my business. I was so resistant to starting a blog at first, even though I know how beneficial they are for growth. I finally gave in and started doing it. I started out with one a month, and that was what I needed to get my feet wet and find my voice.
What in your business gives you the most joy?
I feel very lucky that the clients I work with are all incredible people; it’s really icing on the cake that they also have such rad businesses, too! Connecting with people has always been my favorite thing, and the fact that part of my business to talk with other business owners to determine their big dreamy goals and then help them establish a plan to get there never gets old. But the ultimate joyful thing for me, and when my heart feels like it might explode, is when I’m able to make an introduction or connection to two people who then are able to work together, become friends, collaborate, etc. Being able to connect people in a way that collectively helps everyone is one of my favorite things.
Rapid fire wrap-up
Chocolate candy or fruity candy?
Sour Patch Kids all the way!
Dogs or cats?
Do you have any weird phobias?
I hate loose, wet hair. Locker rooms are hard for me.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure song to sing along to?
It’s a tie between “Ain’t it Fun” by Paramore and “Run Away with Me” by Carly Rae Jepsen
What’s your favorite snack?
Salt & pepper cashews
Name a movie you’ve watched more than 7 times.
Ever After was my JAM growing up.
Where’s the most relaxing place you’ve ever been?
What do you wish you know more about?
Astrology - I’m slowly learning.
What’s the most memorable gift you’ve ever received?
I had been laying it on pretty thick to my husband that he never bought me flowers, so for Christmas 2015 he got me home delivery from a local florist every other week for all of 2016!
What is your myers-briggs personality type?
Here’s a huge thanks to Maggie for joining me in giving you a glimpse Behind the Screen. You can find her over on instagram, facebook, pinterest, teaching you how to Own Your Why, and of course on her website. Make sure to give her some love in the comments and share a bit about yourself while you’re at it!