Today XOXOAD welcomes Alexi Panos and Preston Smiles. Preston and Alexi are speakers, authors and transformational leaders and creators of The Bridge Method, an internationally acclaimed program helping hundreds of thousands of people create meaningful, joy-filled lives whatever their circumstances. And by the way? They’re engaged! We’ve had people who were married to their co-writers before, but this is the first time we’ve met a writer-couple who each have their own separate books published in the same week! We asked them to talk about their philosophies of life, their partnership, and how they balance their relationship with the pressures of being writers and entrepreneurs. Welcome, Alexi and Preston!
Q: This month you both published new books, Alexi’s 50 Ways to Yay! and Preston’s Love Louder. At the same time you’re planning your wedding which is just around the corner. How do the two of you make time for one another and your relationship with all of this going on?
Preston: Both of us have a deep understanding that life is not about the “when, then” scenario: when the wedding is finally here, then we’ll make time for fun. When the book is launched, then we’ll have time to be present. So for us, it’s about focusing on the “F word”….FUN! We make sure that we schedule in play and have FUN throughout our days, no matter what else is on the agenda: tickling, tackling, kissing, playing. For us, that’s the juice that keeps us going—that’s what it’s all about.
Alexi: We definitely have a LOT moving right now—but we ALWAYS have our morning time! We set two alarms: the first one, our “snuggle alarm,” goes off to let us know it’s time to find each other and snuggle. Then, about 20 minutes later, we have a second alarm that tells us it’s time to get our butts out of bed! So no matter how busy our days may be, we have already made time to be physically connected and present with each other without any distractions.
Q: How do you keep your relationship fresh when you live together, work together, teach and create together?
Preston: We focus on what’s here NOW. Life is full of magic when you’re focused on what’s currently present. We don’t try to be anywhere other than HERE—if sadness there, we don’t try to hurry up and get through it—we BE with it. If happiness is there—we don’t rush past it—we dance in it.
Alexi: Well when you put it that way it sounds like such a feat! Ha! Honestly, we play quite a bit. We are both extremely silly humans and even when we’re working, we’re taking things pretty lightly. We’ll brainstorm while giving each other piggy back rides. We’ll have dance-off’s to Michael Jackson while mind mapping on our chalkboards. And we are constantly bringing sarcasm and jokes to what we do. We get that the human potential business is serious stuff—so we aim to bring as much fun to it as possible. Plus—we created and built our business to include an immense amount of travel which is always mixing it up–creating spontaneity and adventure!
Q: We’ve been following your videos from Bali and Australia just to name a few. It seems like your work takes you to some of the most romantic places on earth. This is the stuff of romance novels. How does your partnership, both in life and in work feed your creativity and inspire you?
Preston: Alexi is my guru. Just her being her helps me see all the places where I’m shining and where I need to work on. Anybody who’s ever been in a committed relationship knows that sometimes out of your greatest pain, comes your greatest gain; that in the uncomfortable conversations and in having to face oneself, we truly grow into the powerhouse beings that we are.
Alexi: It’s everything. Relationships in life are EVERYTHING. We’re constantly in relationship: with ourselves, with our surroundings, with our work, and obviously with each other. The beauty of what we have is that our bond touches so many other parts of what we’re in relationship to. And because we bring each other so much joy, so much inspiration and we continue to challenge each other and hold each other to the highest versions of ourselves, our creativity flourishes. Love is a life force energy—-and anyone that’s been in love knows how it just invigorates you and leaves you completely inspired. We see the world differently. All of the sudden, everything seems possible—and we both live with that feeling on a day to day basis which is just the biggest blessing in the world.
Q: Writing can be a solitary pursuit. What’s it like to fall in love with a writer?
Preston: Alexi and I both can be nerdy, home-bodies—so it actually works out really well. Our desires, sensibilities and ways of viewing the world is very much aligned. I understand, as a partner, when to give her/our relationship room to breathe so that creativity can flow. With all that said, she’s my best friend and it’s really pretty easy—plus I’ve got an amazing sounding board to bounce ideas off of!
Alexi: The beauty is we both know what it takes! The creative struggle can be SO real at times, and sometimes the process calls for alone time, sometimes it calls for playing outside, and sometimes it calls for a complete meltdown! The gift is, we were both writing at the same time, so we were totally understanding and open to what we needed during the process of completing these books! It really is amazing though to know that I love someone who is using his voice to give back and to support others in the world with his message—that alone inspires me so much.
To watch more of what Preston and Alexi have to say about relationships, check out this two part video series: