“I love you, now get to work.”

Life lessons from a successful loving couple.

Relationship for most people is that thing that happens between the hectic life of work and kids, when the couple manages to squeeze in a few moments of precious time. But for one couple, merging business, relationship, and family life enables them to thrive in all aspects of life while giving plenty of time to celebrate success.

 Back when they met, Diana and Todd were like any other successful couple. She worked as on-the-go professional for a fortune 500 company and Todd was the CEO of one of the hottest tech start-ups in his industry. Right away they realized in their relationship they had a special ability to work together for common goals. They were so effective as a professional team that Diana left her job and went to work with Todd at his start-up company. Diana’s move into a new space, greatly increased the company’s overall productivity, while giving their relationship a great place to flourish. After a while of working together Todd sold off his share of the company and they started their own business in government affairs and corporate consulting.  This new venture helped the pair to really fly and flourish in all aspects of life.

“It was like we just understood how to make things work and from the start we respected each other’s strengths while constantly working and helping each other on our weaknesses. Because we both came from vastly different backgrounds the teamwork was also backed up with mentoring and feedback, so we could grow together as business partners as well as an intimate couple” Said Todd. “I see Diana’s sense of organization, managing the logistics in all of the operations of business, and managing the chaotic family schedules as a weapon toward our success. We are stronger together.”

It is this unwavering sense of cooperation and leveraging strengths that the two feel really is the foundation for why they succeed. “Todd and I know what the other person is good at and we love that about each other. I trust his instincts and he trusts mine. Because we see life as one big picture of work, love, kids, and hard work, we don’t have petty arguments. Our debates, even if heated, are focused on solving many challenges in life and work.” Says Diana. “We are never trying to “win” or be “right” in our relationship. We are working toward the same outcomes and even if we get there in different ways, the end result is success.”

But don’t think this successful couple is all about work, they balance the job needs and relationship in a way that is unique. As Diana puts it, “We believe that life is what we make it and if you want something, you have to get off your butt and go get it. We never make excuses for why we are not spending more time together or why we can’t get work done, we just find a way to solve the challenge and we don’t leave our happiness or success to chance. Every day we work on solutions and our relationship.”  Todd goes on to say that it is their “Love and Respect First” mentality, which also adds to the success. “She is the love of my life, my daily Valentine so I respect her in every moment. If we are having a work debate around one of our clients and we disagree on an issue, I see her as the woman I love and respect, first. This focuses me on what is most important: love. The respect for one another is what helps us to arrive to a solution faster and consider every angle, because we appreciate one another’s views and realize that having different views, opinions,  and backgrounds is a plus in solving problems. It provides us with a way to create an actionable plan where there is no need to “win”, but rather solve the problem.”

“We don’t always work, we also have date nights and movie nights with kids, and many other outings as well as just relaxing around the house” says Diana. While Todd also comments, “you have to find balance or you will get overwhelmed, but part of life is just that: finding the balance.”

So with love front and center Diana and Todd find times between the many work projects, clients, and busy schedule to spend amazing moments dedicate to love which would inspire even the most critically acclaimed romance novelist. They frequently give each other cards to show appreciation and remind the other person that their hard work and effort is not being unnoticed, they spend many nights after the kids go to bed and work is finally finished, just being together, talking about new ideas, plans, dreams, and being in love. “Todd opens my door everywhere we go and will hide cards around the house for me to find. It’s like we are living in a story of love all the time.” Todd also sees Diana as the constant romantic fuel to his fire. “When we started dating, I remember when Diana spent an enormous amount of time to craft and execute a scavenger-hunt treasure-map experience that had me running all over town to find the clues. It was the stuff of movies and I knew then, that she was the love of my life. We always find ways to demonstrate a romantic playful love for each other, and we make it important, just like anything in life we want to be successful at.”

So what advice do these two Valentines have for the rest of us about love, work, and success? See below for their top four foundational elements to thriving in love and work.

1)   Common Goals – Diana and Todd stress this from the beginning that if you are not aligned on everything in life, from how you close a deal to how you want your partner to show you love, you will miss the mark and create friction. This does not mean you agree on everything, it simply means that your core goals are aligned.

2)   Leverage Strengths – Too often in relationship or work we focus on what people need to change to become someone that the other person wants them to be. These two loving workers suggest that you focus more on the person’s strengths but also become a mentor in areas of weakness. If you are not organized and they are, then let them be the one who helps you to get more organized. This could be a slippery slope, so Diana and Todd always make sure that the feedback is welcome and that the “future improvements” are delivered in a professional manner that is focused on personal growth and not “who is smarter and why you should always follow my lead” manner. For Diana and Todd, there are times that one becomes the mentor and the teacher for the other and vice versa. It’s a powerful give and take. In the powerful world of successful couples, there is only the outcome of happiness and success, not pointing out your partner’s weakness.

3)   Trust – It’s talked about all the time and usually in the area of fidelity, but trust must be deeper than that. If you are running a house, work, and life together, you must trust that what each person is doing is for the good of the team, the relationship, and the family. There is no time to question a person’s intentions or micromanage every aspect. Todd and Diana are quick to point out that this one factor can kill your business and relationship at the same time, so you must establish deep trust from the beginning.

4)   Love First – Some people falsely try to separate love from business when they are working with their partner, and that, says Todd and Diana is a huge mistake. In fact love is what they put first. It’s hard to have some petty argument when you are in love. Remember to demonstrate this love in every aspect of the daily life. If you are not adverse to PDA, hold hands, talk kindly, and even when debating, remember that person is the one you will want to hold at the end of the day even when you may have wildly different options about dog food.

The bottom line is that having a powerful bond between love and work is not only possible it works. This Valentines day you and your significant other can use this learning to make your work and life….work.

Todd Mitchem and Diana Venckunaite have built the successful company, TMC Partners, which works with client companies to drive breakthrough success. Their new book, You, Disrupted, releases in April of 2017.

Todd Mitchem