297 AJ Yager & Meaghan Connell: Data Driven Success
Meaghan Connell and AJ Connell are business partners, adventures partners and life partners. Co-founders of data company Praxis Metrics, the couple shares how they scaled their business and their lives by being data-driven in everything they do. AJ and Meaghan run their business remotely, automate most of their life, keep their bodies fit and healthy, stay productive, and grow their relationship, all while traveling the world and coming back to a bank account that had more money than when they left. We talk personal growth and geek out on data, automation, and balancing the masculine and feminine energies within ourselves.
Melinda Wittstock: Meaghan and AJ, welcome to Wings.
AJ Yager: Hey, thanks for having us. We’re excited to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m excited to talk to you two, because you know all about how to juggle, be productive, have boundaries around your work. Because you’re both data people.
AJ Yager: Oh yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: This is the thing that I’m most curious about. How do you both show up 100% in business but then 100% in love? How do you juggle it all?
AJ Yager: That is the question, right? I mean, that’s a fantastic question. That’s one we continually, I’d say that we haven’t mastered, but we’re practicing. And we’re constantly getting better at answering every single day.
Meaghan Connell: Yeah. I think it’s a journey. I think that it, at different points in our business relationship and in our personal relationship, it ebbs and flows. And certain things become easier and easier, and then some things will just pop up out of nowhere. And you’re like, “Whoa, we’ve never had to juggle that before. How do we add that to the mix?” Or how do we adapt to the changes, either in our business or in our personal life, to then change the dynamics.
So it’s, I mean, we’ve been working together for over five, I guess five years now. Yeah.
AJ Yager: It’s almost five years.
Meaghan Connell: And in that time, I’d say every quarter is a new dynamic to our relationship, and to the business.
AJ Yager: And adventure. It’s like a completely different change, because we travel also, so much that … I don’t know, a lot of couples travel as much as we do. But between business and travel, and just our normal personal life, it is about every quarter that changes. Completely.
Meaghan Connell: Yeah.
AJ Yager: Almost completely. Our calendars change. Our workout routines change. It’s this constant, flowing, changing organism that-
Meaghan Connell: Yeah.
AJ Yager: -is always ever evolving.
Meaghan Connell: So, all that to say, we don’t have it figured out. Because it’s constantly changing, so we’re constantly having to learn new things and how to make it work.
AJ Yager: But to answer your question, we do not want to strangle each other at the end of the day. We actually love spending time more and more time with each other. And we literally are together all the time.
After about 48 hours of being away from each other, when we do have a separate trip that happens, that’s not easy.
Meaghan Connell: Right. It’s weird.
AJ Yager: We super miss each other. It’s like this is weird not having the other half of my soul and brain next to me.
Meaghan Connell: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s so inspiring. I think one of the things that’s interesting about entrepreneurial couples together is it takes an entrepreneur to be able to understand another entrepreneur. So right from the get-go, it seems to me that there’s an advantage. You automatically have the empathy of what it’s like to be running a business. You know, that constant, cause you’re constantly thinking. You’re constantly having new ideas. There are constant problems that you’ve got to solve, or new challenges. So it’s like, I joke that it’s like a macro running in your brain all the time.
So if you’re with another entrepreneur, they’re going to get that. Like, you’re going to get that about each other. And so it helps that kind of, understanding. Has that always been true for you guys?
Meaghan Connell: Yeah, I would say so. I think it’s a foundation of mindset that we both had going into our relationship. I mean, our first date was even, like, a … a self-development thing.
Melinda Wittstock: So, entrepreneurship is therapy, I tell you.
Meaghan Connell: Oh, for sure.
AJ Yager: Yeah, it was.
Meaghan Connell: And it also causes therapy.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes. This is true. Okay, so you go on this date. So you go on this first date. And it’s like this personal development date. Were you guys both entrepreneurs already, with different businesses when you met?
Meaghan Connell: Yeah.
AJ Yager: Yeah. This was something … So, in my personal life, I had had it with doing the typical, take a woman on a date or go to a bar, or do the traditional dinner and drinks thing. I really wanted … I made a different decision to only allow women into my life that are really interested in the stuff that I’m interested in. Not just to appease me. Not just, “Oh yeah, I’ll go to this thing because whatever you ask me.” No, I want somebody that wanted to go to this kind of stuff, and have a similar mindset and value of self-development.
And Meaghan, she passed with flying colors. Because she showed up with a laptop, taking notes. Shaking hands, kissing babies. Just being a business-oriented woman. And I was like, “Wow. This is amazing.” So right upfront, on our first date, it was very clear.
Meaghan Connell: Yeah. So we were both entrepreneurs in our own different industries. AJ had his own digital marketing agency. And I mean, from the time he was a kid, he had AJ’s Odd Jobs Services. And so, he was an entrepreneur his whole life.
Melinda Wittstock: Right.
Meaghan Connell: I was kind of the same way. I worked for myself, you know, building up my own business in sales coaching and consulting. And then when we met, it was very complementary. Because we both understood the hustle; we both understood each other’s schedules, and had the freedom and flexibility to go out and do things on a Tuesday night, but also wouldn’t bother each other during the weekdays.
And so it was a good balance of coming to the table, respecting each other and knowing the hustle. But we were in very, very different worlds. And then, I’d say, after a couple months, I really wanted to understand more of what he did – because I was coming from a sales background, which was all about high conversions and tracking and things like that. And he was, I’d never really heard of marketing in general. And he was like, “Well, let me show you what I do.”
And so after the first time of him walking through his business and showing me what he did, I was like, “Wow. This is exactly what I do, but with reach.”
AJ Yager: Scale. Yeah.
Meaghan Connell: So it was a good alignment. So not only did we align on the entrepreneur aspect of life, but then also on increasing conversions and helping consciously persuade people or educate people, in order to get them a product that they want more.
So it was a really good alignment from the get-go.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s fantastic. So you have this nice balance, where you both bring different expertise to the table. But it’s complementary expertise, which is lovely in a founding team. So you found the business. And do you have very, very different superpowers from each other? Is one of you more the visionary, and the other one more the operational person, for example?
Meaghan Connell: Oh, yeah. We’re polar opposites in most things. We’re, I think if we were the same, we’d kill each other.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Yeah. That’s kind of why I ask, because I think the pattern, you know, I’m a big pattern recognition person, right? When it comes to data, and we can geek out about data in a little minute, because, I love data, too. But you know, when I’m thinking about pattern recognition and all the couples that I have interviewed, they all are very different from each other. I mean, they bring totally different value to the table.
Meaghan Connell: Yeah.
AJ Yager: It’s so important. Yeah, we both have done a lot of self-work on that. And also, constantly have to look at, what are those roles and responsibilities that need to be taken care of in the business?
And so we are, I’m more on the visionary side and high-level side. Meaghan’s very creative as well, but just putting the pieces all together. And Meaghan’s been so good at accountability and brought … You know, when we first started working together, she brought another level of accountability and-
Meaghan Connell: Detail.
AJ Yager: -gets stuff done [inaudible 00:08:07] never had. That, you know, I had to do as a solo entrepreneur, but once that came in, it was like, strapping a rocket on our backs. It was just like, wow. This relationship is, just, continually taking us to a whole other level. This is really cool to see what’s possible.
Meaghan Connell: Yeah. And it was interesting for me, too, because I’m such a detailed person, that I consistently lacked some … I lacked the ability to really see a lot of the big picture, and to take a step up. And so, I would get caught up in the details, which would naturally make me a little bit more of a natural pessimist. Whereas AJ, floating at 50 thousand feet, is always like, “Oh, the sky is blue, and everything is beautiful. And look at where we’re heading.” And all of this optimism and beautiful trust, and really, really great courage. Right?
And so, he was more of the courageous entrepreneur, and I was more of the nitpicky, detailed, oh my gosh, here’s all of the different spreadsheets of how it could go wrong, or the forecast of this. And it was a very good balance, because then he brought me up out of the details to where I could take bigger steps and really take bigger strides. And then, I could bring him down into the details and be like, “Oh, well, actually, here’s the realistic view of how that is possible.” Right? And what we could do right now, in order to make that a reality, rather than waiting in the future, right?
AJ Yager: Yeah, I want to … set up your language better, bring me down into the details. You showed me-
Meaghan Connell: The value.
AJ Yager: -the value, stuff that, we’re missing this whole thing. It wasn’t bringing me down, it was really exposing me to a ways of thinking that I had over passed before, and that were actually important in making decisions to move forward. So we both made each other better and more powerful, and instead of one and one being two, one and one is 11.
Melinda Wittstock: Exactly, hence 10X Together [crosstalk 00:10:12] because I think you are both, by being so different and complimentary, it sets the conditions for scale, where both of you can step into your unique genius, understanding each other, but freeing each other as well to be really good at what you do. Everyone knows, well the details are handled, the big picture is handled and now you have a common language to go from 50 thousand feet, down to the ground and back up again.
I think it’s really interesting and really genius, that so many of the really sustaining couples that have great businesses have that, just like a founding team, two founders say, who are not romantically involved or not married, they couldn’t have the same characteristics.
Meaghan Connell: Yeah, definitely. I think it’s so important for that balance to happen because we are in a relationship and co-founders. I think if we were co-founders and it was a different story that we weren’t romantically involved, it would be a lot easier. But I think with us having this balance, it also helps us in our personal life because it helps us also separate things.
I think one of the big things we’ve learned along the way of having such different skillsets is that we naturally outsource things to each other. I naturally outsource all communication with outside relationships to AJ, ’cause he’s the people guy. And I do that in business but then I also do that in our personal life. And then he outsources all the details to me. I’m the one who’s supposed to check us into the flights and I’m the one who’s supposed to do all of the detailed things because that’s what he assumes that I’ll do.
So it’s interesting to have that balance in both work and the personal life, because I think we get more exposure to each other and how we work well together. And then it naturally trickles into our personal life.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, so how does it balance out in domestic work, like doing the laundry and the cooking and all that stuff?
Meaghan Connell: Yeah, I think …
AJ Yager: That’s been really good.
Meaghan Connell: Easy, yeah.
AJ Yager: Honestly, I had no problem doing laundry, I did my own laundry as a guy, I was pretty clean.
Meaghan Connell: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Awesome, kudos.
Meaghan Connell: But not as clean as I was [crosstalk 00:12:31].
AJ Yager: You’d think, he’s clean and organized, but she takes it to a whole new level, which we don’t need to go into.
Meaghan Connell: I’m the detailed person, come on.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m a detailed person [crosstalk 00:12:31].
AJ Yager: Our junk drawer is immaculate and perfect [crosstalk 00:12:31] so like, what’s that show?
Melinda Wittstock: Like Dexter, like everything has its place.
AJ Yager: Like Dexter. She’s got chalk outlines [crosstalk 00:12:55].
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness, that’s amazing. And so I take it, just listening to you, I take it that you don’t have kids.
Meaghan Connell: No [crosstalk 00:13:09].
Melinda Wittstock: Because, I was just going to say that that adds a whole new dynamic. That’s where you say, you know what, it’s really okay if the furniture is dirty.
Meaghan Connell: Yep, exactly. And AJ’s probably looking forward to the day when I let go of a lot of that little nuances, but for now it works.
AJ Yager: Yeah, we’ll be ready when that adventure comes.
Meaghan Connell: Exactly.
Melinda Wittstock: Well it’s interesting, because I think so many women in business, all the female entrepreneurs that I interview and I mentor and I coach or just have known in my own entrepreneurial journey over the years, I think we all struggle with perfectionism. And it can hold us back in business. We’re founders really trying to make everything perfect before we show it to the world, whereas men tend to just kind of put their hand up or just build the plane as they’re flying it with a little bit more ease.
And again, this is a generalization. But how does that dynamic play out between both of you? Are you both iteratively and start up sort of people where you just go out there and it doesn’t have to be perfect or it’s not fully built before you take it to market? Or is there a difference between you when it comes to that perfectionism?
Meaghan Connell: Oh yeah, AJ jumps off the cliff and builds the parachute on the way down. He’ll sell a product that we don’t even have and then slap a price point on it and be like, “We’ll just hire somebody that can do that”. And then me in the background, I’m pulling out my chair. We call me the teacher’s pet, I am an aim to please, perfectionist to the heart of everything. So it’s definitely polar opposites on that side too.
AJ Yager: But I think we are more iterative together, I think we meet in the middle because we’re not so far on my side where it’s a risk, but it’s also, we stage things out, we test things out. We say, “What does success look like in this period?”, and we’ve gotten better at, kind of like when I have these crazy wild ideas that could be awesome, she also says, “Well, let’s get some structure into these ideas and let’s test it out first, instead of just going down this road”.
Meaghan Connell: Yeah, like MVP, the minimum viable product. And it’s like, what can we do to appease everybody and make sure that we’re still making progress without me being like, “It’s not perfect”.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Well yeah, so the “test, measure, build” thing where the data is so important in that iterative process. But gosh, the perfectionism thing does hold a lot of women back because we can be too late to market. I know I was always entranced by a quote from Reid Hoffman, he founded PayPal and then LinkedIn, which was, “If you’re not embarrassed about your product, you’ve launched too late”.
AJ Yager: Yep. That’s a great quote.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s a great quote, and I think a lot of women in particular struggle with that. So it’s interesting the dynamics between the, let’s just call it the archetypal masculine and feminine.
AJ Yager: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: My own personal theory is that we’re at our best when we have a mix of both or a balance of both within us. So archetypal meaning, the masculine energy, go out, punt to the wildebeest, catch that thing, bring it back, provide, get it done, focus. These things. On the women’s side, this empathy, the relationship, intuition. When all of those things are combined in a founder or a founding team or an executive team, it’s magic.
Are you guys conscious of what you bring to the table from that masculine, feminine balance perspective?
Meaghan Connell: Oh yes. We’re very conscious [crosstalk 00:17:05].
Melinda Wittstock: I can tell that you’ve talked about this. So share, please. It’s fascinating to me.
AJ Yager: We’re just smiling at each other [crosstalk 00:17:14].
Meaghan Connell: Because this is something that we talk about constantly, because I am naturally, I’m sure you can see just from our communication thus far, I am naturally the hunter. I am naturally extremely masculine in my energy and in my dealings with people, especially in business. I have a very left-logical brain. I’m very much a dominating hunter personality. Which suits my roles, and it suits the industry that we’re in.
And then AJ is naturally more of the empathetic people person who genuinely cares and connects with people. He feels into relationships, he sees the big picture. And he’s naturally more of the team leader, the one that people, like at the beginning of the team calls he’s like, “So how was everybody’s weekend? How’s your girlfriend doing? How did your kids’ soccer team go?”, and I’m like, it is 9:02, we are late, and this is wasting time.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my god, that’s hilarious actually, and sort of opposite-ville.
Meaghan Connell: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
AJ Yager: Yeah. And then it’s interesting to see where it ebbs and flows, because I’ve always naturally been able to switch back and forth between my masculine and my feminine. And in the beginning, dating a more independent, masculine woman, there were some challenges. There definitely were challenges. For example, I wasn’t allowed to be the one driving the scooter. I would jump on the back of the scooter and she wouldn’t let me drive the damn scooter, is what I’m saying.
And it’s a small little scooter, I’m a 6’2 guy, I don’t really fit on it that well but I’m like, you know, whatever, I’ll jump on the back. She literally didn’t want to give up that control for a while. Things have passed, she’s worked on her femininity and she’s worked on receiving that different type of energy and it’s been helpful, not just between the two of us but just other people around us. And that one thing, when I was able to start driving and that practice outside of business actually converted into that ebb and flow in business.
So those learnings can be back and forth between business and personal life. [crosstalk 00:19:44].
Meaghan Connell: Yeah, I think it’s been a journey through our relationship, because in the beginning, it was very difficult for me. I had a real need for control, and any time I let that even an inch out, it was a sense of fear. I didn’t have stability. And giving that power to AJ was a really big, really it wasn’t a step in our relationship, it was a journey. It was years and years for me to be able to let go of little things and to give him that power. And that was both in our personal life and in our business life. We had to really communicate around those things.
It was never a point of contention; we never fought about it or anything. It was just these little things where it’s like, “That makes me feel this way”. When I give you control in this aspect, and you let me down, it makes me feel like I shouldn’t give you control because then I can’t count on you. And so both in business and in personal life, where it’s like, on that project, I allowed you to do these things. And for me, that was a big release, that was a big let go because I’m such a perfectionist A, and control freak, B, that when I hand that over to you, that’s a really big test for me. That’s a really big gift because I’m saying, I know I can do this, I trust myself. I am in control when I do it and I’m allowing you to do this because I know that it’s important for your sense of control and your masculine to have that.
And when you complete it, then it gives me a little bit more sense of stability in between our relationship, that I can hand those things over in the future. And that’s something that we’re consistently and constantly working on unloading from me and balancing with AJ, and doing the back and forth dance.
Melinda Wittstock: I think so many women, and I can speak personally, when you’re in that kind of masculine energy, which is the “get it done”, and you’re doing that all through the day in business, and then you show up with your man still in that energy, it’s not necessarily the most romantic energy.
AJ Yager: Right.
Melinda Wittstock: Maybe, I don’t know. I don’t judge. Certainly for me though, I just found that there are so many women who are in that and very alone, just complaining that there’s no man out there that’s going to want to be with a strong woman, for instance. That this is a big refrain for a lot of female founders who either end up divorced, or they married a guy that wasn’t going to grow with them, or just couldn’t find that way to turn off business and then turn on more of a softer, feminine, in a more romantic or even sexual way.
And so how does that kind of play out? I ask, ’cause this is a dance in my own life. My partner is an entrepreneur, and I just have to be conscious of this, who am I being? I am out-dudeing this big dude?
Meaghan Connell: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: I don’t know, I don’t know that’s not so great for him. So how to navigate all of this. Very long-winded question, but you know where I’m going.
Meaghan Connell: No, definitely. I think it’s a very important thing because up to this point it hasn’t been the easiest to be a woman in business. And so naturally, the women that rose to the top were the ones that were more aggressive, that were more assertive, that were more masculine in their energies because they had to be in order to play ball. And I think nowadays, the nature of just the world is allowing more of the feminine energy to rise to the top, and I think that’s a beautiful thing.
However, I do not believe that as a masculine woman, you have to give up your character or your personality in order to be successful in a relationship.
Melinda Wittstock: No, you should be able to be your authentic self, that’s true.
Meaghan Connell: Correct. And I’m naturally this way, but that does not mean that I should always be this way all of the time. There is a very big benefit in turning that down. And it’s not denying who I am, it is simply allowing myself to experience the full spectrum of who I am. And that dance between masculine and feminine energy is extremely valuable, both in our personal lives and also in our business life. Because I have seen, and this is something especially in the past two years, I have been consciously working on allowing that female energy in. And really the key word that I use to symbolize feminine energy is “allowing”; it’s being a vessel. It’s allowing things to come in that I didn’t go and hunt and make happen.
It’s allowing opportunities to come in. There’s this saying where opportunity or luck is where preparation meets opportunity. And I think that a lot of times, as masculine women, we are so gung-ho where we’re like, this is the only way that I’m going to have success, I’m going to create it by squeezing this water so hard, it’s going to go where I want it to go. And that’s not always the best path. There are opportunities that come that then I am so blinders on, that I miss entirely, that AJ sees and AJ is open to because he’s receiving and he’s allowing things into his field that I am so not seeing.
And so both in our relationship, when I allow him to be positive, or him to bring things to our relationship or even employees to bring opportunities, just allowing things to happen, and all of a sudden somebody will come out of the blue and it’s like, I didn’t even think about us doing something like that. And it becomes extremely positive to our business when I step into femininity, and femininity just being open and humble and in a state of, maybe I don’t know everything. And maybe there are opportunities out there that I haven’t even thought of that we could tackle.
It’s been something that’s been very positive in our relationship and in business when I step into that. It’s not a compromise, it’s not me going and getting my nails done and my hair done every two weeks. It’s stepping back out of that sense of needing to control and allowing things to step in.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, well that’s the lovely way that manifestation happens. And Meaghan, what you’re describing, it’s kind of like telling the story of my life. Because for a long time it was so much the hustle, being a “human doing”, rather than allowing just quiet space or white space to be able to receive inspiration. And so I guess on my own personal growth and spiritual journey, I have gotten in touch more with that feminine side that I think I always neglected: Not that it wasn’t part of me, but it was just the context I guess.
You’re the only one in the room, in the context you have to be a certain way. You only have male role models, that kind of thing. But now, how beautiful is it to be able to set an intention for something or ask for inspiration and get some sort of divine download and be able to act on it? And as a result of that, work smarter. I find I do less and achieve more. I get so much more leverage now, approaching it in that more archetypically female way.
I’m curious about that. I’m curious too what AJ thinks about seeing you be able to be more open to that, receiving a manifestation energy.
AJ Yager: I really love witnessing her switch into that, and I know the moment she does. I can feel it. Actually, we can be in different levels of the house here, and I can feel that. It’s a beautiful energy. And right when she started coming in to that and learning how to turn it on, it was actually really opening for me because it was like, there’s’ this whole new dynamic to move in and out of now. And when Meaghan said the word “dance” earlier, that’s what it feels like. It’s this dance.
And I just wanted to allow it to naturally evolve and flow, and I’ve never really, I don’t think I’ve ever pushed you towards it or anything before?
Meaghan Connell: I mean, there’s a couple times.
AJ Yager: Not push, but suggest, or be like, hey … so maybe the way you’re going about this thing or the way you’re communicating about this, maybe we could take a little bit of a different perspective of it.
Meaghan Connell: Yeah. And that’s the key, it’s the communication around it. It’s, hey, when you do this, naturally that makes me feel this way, or here’s how I receive that. And it puts it all into perspective.
AJ Yager: Yeah, it’s all, and it comes back to communication. For us, it’s the big C. Communication is so important and learning how to meet each other, take a deep breath and I just start saying, “I feel” statements, and really letting it out and letting that stuff go really helps.
But I really do think it’s a beautiful thing when a woman is in their true feminine, and especially in business and in personal life, it’s a really beautiful thing.
Meaghan Connell: Yeah, and it’s crazy ’cause it manifests itself in very different ways. It’s like, I allow him to drive me in the scooter. Or when he’s driving the Range Rover it’s like, I allow him to treat me like a lady. I allow him to get the doors for me, I allow him to serve me, I allow him to cook for me. And then in business, I allow my team to take on this task instead of me doing it, like the control freak.
Melinda Wittstock: Scale, it’s about scale. And that’s the interesting thing, is being able to let go. There’s all this research that’s fascinating about how so many women, very few, only three percent female founders get to a million dollars or more in revenue. And I think it’s partly about [crosstalk 00:31:02] isn’t that kind of terrifying in a way? It’s totally about the control thing but it’s harder to let go.
AJ Yager: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: And so being able to do that, my good friend Allison Maslan, who’s a ten time serial entrepreneur, she does trapeze. So she has this trapeze in her back garden, as one does, it’s awesome. But you have to be able to let go of one thing to be able to grab the next.
And so it’s all about ebb and flow and this sort of thing. When are you in go mode, when are you in receive mode? I don’t know, just getting all of that, it is like a dance.
Meaghan Connell: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: So the interesting thing about this balance of masculine and feminine and knowing which role to be in when is kind of a complicated dance. Does it get more intuitive, or are you guys actively thinking about it?
AJ Yager: That’s a good question.
Meaghan Connell: Up to this point, it’s been extremely intuitive. But then there are times when we localize it. So for example, last week I had the flu, so naturally I am now in this state where I feel more feminine. I feel like I’m not necessarily weak as feminine, but I felt more like, I need help and I need to allow my team to do all the stuff because I need to focus on myself. And I need to allow everybody else to just step in and do their roles.
And so naturally, in situations like that, AJ’s masculine turns more on. And so there is this intuitive, he sees when I am in that feminine state of feeling like I’m open to receiving all that, and then he’ll step up. And then same thing, there are other times when he just needs to be in his state of receiving, where he needs to be out of details and he needs to go into that conscious place where he gets his downloads and just journals for a day. And then I’ll step in and be like, alright, well I’m taking over these things so that you can go and do that.
And it’s been very intuitive, but then there are times where it is a verbal communication, the last two months I have been on. And I need to go and do some self-love or I need to do this and I need you to step into that masculine and into the running and into the details and into all of those things. And we’ll have those verbal communications where it’s like, you didn’t pick up on this but here’s where I am right now.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, no that’s great. And so this is an interesting thing too about leverage, and actually understanding leverage. If we can work smart, and do the things that we’re 100% uniquely in our zone of genius doing, and delegate the rest, that’s one thing that frees up more time. Another one is being open to those divine downloads and inspiration where you avoid the busy work, hire that out. And again, being in the zone of genius.
How do you guys, when you’re running a business where your work is never done, ’cause it never is for any entrepreneur, how do you prioritize time for yourselves and unleash a little bit of quantum time there so you can do everything that you want to do or have everything that you want to have or have that time together that’s quality?
AJ Yager: If it’s not in the calendar, it doesn’t exist.
Melinda Wittstock: Right.
AJ Yager: We make the time. Our calendars, we have our own calendars, we also have our shared calendar. Personal shared and business shared. So we have to carve that stuff out. Now there are some times of hustle when there’s less of that. There are certain times where you’ve got momentum; you’ve just got to crank that stuff out. And then there are other times where, we love to travel together. And so we’ll do working remote from places around the world for 30, 60, 90 days sometimes to give ourselves that [crosstalk 00:35:57] change and recharge and different place to work from and recover from. And we like to go on adventures, we’re adventure partners primarily.
So we plan adventures that really get us excited and create memories and create stories. So for example, while we’re traveling, and depending on the time difference, which is great, sometimes you can get a lot of work done really quickly while people are sleeping. Get more done in three to four hours than you do all day when you’re staying at home, and then go see those castles, go do dog sledding, go to these adventures that completely, close the laptop, there’s no work talk. It’s all recovery and fun.
You’ve got to build it into your life [crosstalk 00:36:37] consistently and routine, and other times, once we’re both feeling it we got to make a change here.
Meaghan Connell: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah I think for us it’s constantly a balance. Again, we’re constantly ebbing and flowing depending on where we are. When we’re home and in routines, I think that’s something that AJ and I have very different viewpoints on it. And we talk about this a lot; we’ll make a list of our values, the things that we value most and the things that we prioritize most. And on any given day, your list is changing.
But those values, especially with your business partner and your life partner, should align in the same hierarchy of priority. So let’s say that your values are, let’s say your relationship, your family, your business, your finances, your friends, your health. There are maybe seven, ten areas of focus in your life. What is your number one priority, that if something came up in that, that the other ones would shift down? And I think we’re always in flux and always changing, but as long as they’re somewhat aligned, it makes things easier.
I think that when they’re out of alignment is when those cogs happen or those chinks in the armor happen. And so for example, right now my business is my number one priority. So if I’ve got a time block where I’m supposed to go and work out during this time block and a meeting comes up, I end up taking the meeting over my health. So right now, that shows me that business is number one and health would be number two. So then where does our relationship fall in that? If we’ve got something in our calendar where it’s supposed to be date night and a meeting comes up, am I rescheduling date night or am I rescheduling the business?
And so those choices are constantly defining what our priorities are. And I think right now, we’ve actually had this debate lately because my priority has the business the business over my health, and AJ’s is health over business. He will put off a meeting for two weeks because he has his personal time in the morning for fitness or for his journaling and meditation time. And I am sacrificing that for the business right now. And it’s so funny because we’ve been in this debate lately of, which one is more important? And it’s kind of been, not a fight but it’s been a misalignment in our values.
And I think that comes up a lot for couples in business, what priority is where right now? And it’s constantly changing.
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah, that’s fantastic. And so, yeah I was going to pick up there. Yeah, the nature of entrepreneurship is a constant change, because everything about entrepreneurship forces us on a personal growth journey. And then that personal growth journey leads to different decisions and business. Do we live for the business or does the business live for us?
Meaghan Connell: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Starting to really get clear on what it is you actually want, what your real zone of genius is. What your true calling in life is. And so when you both think about all that you’re here to do, in your Earth suits, in the business and life and where you are right now, both highly successful, really successful business. What are some of the next things? Where do you feel a calling or a pull? How do you feel that your lives together, in business and romance and whatnot will evolve over the next decade, couple of decades? Where are you ultimately going?
AJ Yager: That’s a great question, that’s a beautiful question. I think Meaghan and I both have the statement that we want to help transform the planet. And we want to do that and help lift up the consciousness of everyone from a lot of different perspectives. One of the common threads in our life is that we are very data-driven. We like to use combined data and scientific approach with the emotional side and with the instinct and the universe and everything.
So I think that’s part of it.
Meaghan Connell: And by data, we just mean information. AJ and I have a passion for education, so we have Kaizen time, we have continual self improvement daily. And we’re constantly learning and constantly educating ourselves, and our passion is educating those around us as well, both in our business and in our personal lives. And so in our business, we run a data agency. And one of our core principles is educational, with our clients, we just teach them. We teach them the things that we’ve learned along this path, and by doing that, we believe that we’re enlightening the planet and we’re really making a positive impact because we’re bringing knowledge and wisdom into people’s lives that they would not have been exposed to without us.
So that’s part of our big mission and passion over the next ten years, is to expand that reach and to have a deeper hold in that, to be able to really be experts in that industry.
AJ Yager: While traveling the world.
Meaghan Connell: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
AJ Yager: And growing businesses and giving back too. Not just growing businesses for profit’s sake, but also what we can give back, what we can contribute back. How can we really leave a legacy? And we don’t have kids yet, obviously you knew that part, but when we do, we really want to take that on and do that as best as we can, together.
So constantly learn, constantly share, connect with people and grow our businesses and lives, that’s really what it comes down to for us. And love and joy, practicing, being at that higher frequency more often, and less stress.
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. Isn’t business though a wonderful canvas for solving so many of the pressing global challenges that we all face? Personally, I think that entrepreneurs really are the secret to that, particularly when you’re also growing in consciousness and using all these amazing tools that we learn as entrepreneurs and applying those things to solving these things. And also just being great parents.
There’s this really funny day, I’ve got two teenagers. My 12 year old is, he counts as a teenager. He was playing Fortnite with his friends and I overhead him talking to his friends and saying, “I don’t think you have the right mindset” [crosstalk 00:43:51]. This is interesting, so something is seeping in.
Meaghan Connell: Yeah that’s great; I love that [crosstalk 00:43:57]. And it’s interesting because we talk about this ten-year vision or goal. I think AJ and I have a really unique way of looking at our lives, in the fact that we don’t want to put off anything to a future date. We want to live our best lives now. And that’s not to say that we’re not planning for the future nor are we saving for the future. We believe in working hard and deferring positive things, but we also believe that there are too many people in this life that think that, I’m going to work really hard and then I’ll be happy later, or I’m going to work really hard and then I’m going to travel later. I’m going to work really hard and then I’m going to do this later.
And they put off living their life to its fullest, and AJ and I don’t want to do that. We want every day to live to its fullest and to really be at our full potential, and just enjoy life. So that’s why we’re constantly putting things on the schedule that might not be what everybody else would do but it’s something that we want to do and it’s something that we want to do now rather than just, we’ll eventually get to it. And I think with entrepreneurs that’s a hard thing to balance. There’s the harvest and the reaping seasons, and we want to work hard but we also want to play hard. And so we’re constantly trying to do both, and making sure that we’re enjoying our lives now, that we’re not just being miserable, and then by the time we can enjoy it, it’s not enjoyable. And so that’s one of our big things, is everyday, bring the happiness into the now.
I’m not going to be happy when I can have the helicopters and the yachts and things like that. How can I be happy now and enjoy every day?
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
So this is the point in the podcast where I really want to get your best advice for men and women, or partners who are in business together and in love together, how to make it work. What would be three things that you think, and you could both have three things if you like, that you think are number one, either predictors of success, or advice to a sure success in all aspects of your life?
AJ Yager: Wow, that’s an awesome question.
Meaghan Connell: I think it’s really simple. You know what I’m going to say. Communication and transparency is number one. In both us being partners in business and partners in life, you can’t mind read. You cannot know what the other person is going through unless they verbalize it. And it’s hard because especially as a woman, I don’t want to be a nag. I don’t want to be negative all the time but I also want to communicate and make sure that my thoughts are being known and that something is not being lost in just lack of communication.
And so we have a rule of thumb that we can always have permission to give the other person feedback and to be transparent with how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way, so that adjustments can be made. We’d rather make tiny course corrections rather than end up 12 thousand miles apart.
AJ Yager: Yeah, communication.
Meaghan Connell: And transparency.
AJ Yager: Transparency, and then another would be, we see a lot of couples that they’re going two different directions, so they don’t have clarity of where they’re headed. So not just in business but also in personal life, create goals, create that vision for where you’re headed, not 10 years, that’s a long way off. In 90-day segments or one year, whatever is easier for you. But get clarity on where you’re going and plan those adventures. What are some things that are going to create great memories for you both, really get you both excited, not just what one wants to do or the other wants to do. Really find that alignment.
And it goes back to the values that Meaghan talked about, really getting clear on your values as well. So two and three, I think two was the getting alignment and clarity in where you’re headed, and three is that aligning your values. Sitting down and writing down a list of 10 things separately that are both important to you, and then drawing the line to connect them to see where they’re at in the hierarchy. ‘Cause if finance for one is up top and the other one is down at 10, there is a misalignment. If family is up high for one and family is on the low down side on the other one, there isn’t that alignment.
So finding out where you are right now, auditing that part and then getting clear on, how do we get this more balanced is another one [crosstalk 00:49:14]. And then fourth would be calendars. Get a shared calendar at least, or one where you can just click it on or off. We use Google calendars; we sync calendars. It’s probably a daily thing but at least once a week be like, what’s coming up for the week personally and professionally? And time blocking the time together that is where you’re shut off and you’re turned off and it’s not business, and you can enjoy each other.
Meaghan Connell: Yeah. I think that’s important. One of my mentors, we’ve got this saying, one of my mentors told me this and we just kind of use it in our relationship a lot. I don’t care what you tell me is important to you, show me your calendar and your checkbook and I’ll tell you what’s important to you. Where you spend your time and your money, it’s a reflection of what’s important to you. And so we really make sure that when we’re putting things on our calendar, that it’s moving us towards the person that we want to be.
And when we look back at our calendars, at the end of the year last year, we went through and we did an audit of our lives, an audit of our calendars and an audit of our time for 2018 to look at where we spent our time and what came from that. What was the yield from our investment of our time, because time is the only finite resource that we have. Everything else can be replenished except our time. So if you spend a third of your time on something last year, what did it get you? And is the result worth what you spent on it?
And so we went through that in our lives and made some pretty radical adjustments. We always think, the best intentions yield a great outcome, but it’s not always the case. And so looking back is the best way to really align on where you’re heading, because you can only see progress through looking backwards and you can only see these threads afterwards, looking back and being like, “Wow, I didn’t realize I spent so much time on that. That wasn’t really the best use of my time, I could have spent that time learning a new skill or a new trade or a new hobby or just doing nothing and doing self love”. And so just doing an audit.
It starts with what AJ was saying, tracking everything, putting things on your calendar, and then doing an audit. Looking back and seeing what went well and what didn’t work well, and then adjusting.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, that’s wonderful advice. Well thank you both so much, and I want to make sure that people have an opportunity to find you both and work with you. And so how can they do that? Do you have any special offers for our listeners today?
Meaghan Connell: Yeah, so we run a data agency. We’re basically an outsourced business intelligence team. So we help set up dashboards, we help businesses basically make better decisions based on the information they have in their business, whether it’s being tracked by a technology or manually by their people.
So our agency is called Praxis, P-R-A-X-I-S, and then Metrics. So praxismetrics.com is our website. You can reach out to us there. We’ve got a contact form there, or you can just email firstname.lastname@example.org or Meaghan M-E-A-G-H-A-N at praxismetrics.com, or you can find us on Instagram or Facebook or LinkedIn, it’s just our names. AJ Yager, Y-A-G-E-R, and Meaghan Connell, C-O-N-N-E-L-L, soon to be Yager.
Melinda Wittstock: Fantastic.
AJ Yager: Soon to be Yager [crosstalk 00:52:53].
Melinda Wittstock: Fantastic, that’s fantastic.
AJ Yager: And then there’s our travel adventures, that’s Two Traveling Trackers on Instagram. It’s our joint account that has a lot more of the [crosstalk 00:53:04] fun travel stuff.
Meaghan Connell: But yeah, anybody who reaches out to us from this podcast, we’ll definitely hook them up on any of our services, do a free data strategy call to help you understand how data can be valuable in your business and really map out your different technologies and what’s possible with the data that’s already existing in your [crosstalk 00:53:23].
AJ Yager: No matter how big your business is, large our small, tracking is so important. So if you’re not ready for any dashboards or ready for any of that stuff, we have what’s called a metrics mapping session where we work with you and consult with you and help you understand how to use data better in your business, no matter what. Because everything is tracking everywhere.
So we’d love to hear from you. Just email us, contact us at any of those places and we’re really good about responding.
Melinda Wittstock: Fantastic. And that’s very generous and I will make sure that all the details are in the show notes as well. So anyone listening to this while driving or whatever, don’t drive off the road, it’ll all be in the show notes.
So thank you both so much for sharing genuinely and authentically with such transparency. Really lovely, enjoyed our conversation so much. Thank you.
AJ Yager: We did as well, thank you so much for having us.
Meaghan Connell: Thank you.