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Kathy Marshack News

7 Reasons Why Every Entrepreneur Should Keep a Journal

Monday, January 30, 2017


why entrepreneurs should keep a journalWhat do many highly successful entrepreneurs have in common? Many of them keep a journal. Now you may be thinking, I’m extremely busy juggling a million other things, how can I possibly find time to journal?

Once you see the benefits of journaling you just might be motivated to make the time. It’s a tool that will empower your life in unexpected ways and fuel your professional and personal success.

Here are seven reasons why even the busiest entrepreneur should consider making time to journal:

1. It is well known that visualization is a key to a successful business, or any success for that matter. How does journaling help you visualize? When you write something on paper you clarify and prioritize what you want. This process makes your ideas and visions more concrete, which helps you to achieve them.


2. By putting “pen to paper” so to speak, you engage your creative process. Creativity is a must for entrepreneurs if they want to stay one step ahead of the competition. Journaling can help you create new ideas, especially if you write down any thought that crosses your mind, without editing yourself along the way.

3. Journaling engages your whole brain. When writing, your brain is using the left side for the analytical aspects of writing, which frees up the right side of your brain for creative thinking. Journaling is a process that engages your whole brain, and many times new ideas are the result.

4. Journaling can help you with your self-confidence. When you write about a positive experience your brain re-lives the experience. We often tend to ruminate more on negative experiences. So write about a huge win in your business! Whenever you reread your entry you will be releasing endorphins and dopamine back into your brain giving your self-esteem a boost, maybe when you will need it most.

5. Journaling helps you to track your progress. Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of their business. You’re constantly learning, adjusting and fine-tuning as you go along. You may not realize how far you’ve come! Being able to write down what you have learned and are learning can be a big motivator as you go through rough spots in your business.

6. Journaling can strengthen your self-discipline. It can be a struggle to sit down every day and write in your journal, and doing so requires self-discipline. But just like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. Forming good habits in one area of your life have a tendency to spread to other areas. You will find that your daily practice of writing will domino into the creation of other healthy habits.

7. Writing is a well-known stress reliever. Journaling can help you not only to express your feelings, but also to interpret and learn to work through them. Anyone who has tried to start a business knows that it can be stressful, but journaling could be your secret weapon to managing stress and improving your health.

So keeping a journal has many benefits, some obvious and some not so obvious. Just remember that patience is the key to being successful when keeping a journal, but if you make the effort you are sure to be rewarded. If you would like to learn other strategies that will help you achieve success in your personal and professional life contact my Portland OR/ Vancouver WA office for an appointment.

How Different Are Men and Women on the Spectrum?

Friday, January 27, 2017


How Different Are Men and Women on the Spectrum? It comes as no surprise that men and women are different. At the best of times, relationships can be challenging just because of the differences in upbringing and background. That’s why there are endless numbers of books written on the subject of relationships and how to figure out the opposite sex. But when you throw Asperger’s or ASD into the mix, it gets really confusing! And even more challenging, are the relationships where the NT (neuro-typical) mate doesn’t even realize that their spouse is on the Spectrum!

Does gender really make that much difference in a NT/AS relationship? Does a wife with Asperger’s cause a NT husband more heartache than an AS husband causes for his NT wife? And will a NT husband be stronger and more able to deal with the emotional neglect than a NT wife?

Truthfully, when it comes right down to it, an Aspie, whether male or female, will make you feel lonely, confused and quite possibly even depressed. It’s how we learn to handle our Aspies that makes a difference in the quality of our lives. This is where we see individual differences.

That’s why I’ve created the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD group to be a safe place for men and women to meet and freely discuss their lives with the Aspies. (If you’re a NT with an AS family member, please feel free to join our Meetup group. There’s no charge.) If you’re a member, please join our free international teleconference on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 9:00 AM to discuss the topic: How different are men and women on the Spectrum? We’ll be speaking about how gender plays a part in NT/AS relationships AND how your Aspie’s parenting style affects your male and female children.

If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA and you need some 1-on-1 with me to discuss your situation privately, please feel free to contact my office and we’ll schedule an appointment to discuss ways to improve your situation.

Are 50+ Single Women Disadvantaged Psychologically?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Are 50+, Single Women Disadvantaged Psychologically?While some women have juggled career and family successfully, other women have pursued careers and, because they are so busy, they haven’t pursued opportunities for romantic partnerships. Does this put them at a psychological disadvantage? Common wisdom says, “yes”. But that’s not true according to a recent study by Matthew Wright and Susan Brown of Bowling Green University,

According to an article in Psychology Today, they found that the perception that “married people are given the most benefits and are valued and respected the most” is true. In the hierarchy of the way we value romantic relationships, cohabiters come in second place, followed by dating, single people. Single people without romantic partners, however, are stigmatized.

The authors began their research thinking that, “the psychological well-being would follow the same hierarchy, with married people enjoying the most and single people the least.” But that’s not what they found. Romantic partnership status made no difference whatsoever for the women and not much for the men.

Men and women can forge many supportive social connections aside from romantic ones. Close friends, church acquaintances, support groups and relatives can supply the social ties that we all need. And that’s what seems to matter the most when it comes to feeling less depression, stress, and loneliness.

Isn’t it good to have this added reassurance that singleness doesn’t doom us to psychological harm? But what if you are ready to explore romance but you’re too afraid to get started? Or you have started dating but have been unsuccessful thus far? If you’re ready to explore this area of your life and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment so we can create a plan for you.

Read more on my website: Advice for Singles.

6 Strategies to Make a Change in Your Career Path Payoff

Monday, January 23, 2017


Start written on road leading toward sunrise or sunsetSo, you’re ready for a career change. What led you to that decision? Are you feeling unsatisfied or trapped in your current position? Did you recently finish up some schooling? Have you been laid-off and are struggling with unemployment?
 
Whatever your reason, changing careers can be scary. I’ve counseled and coached many people through this transition and I’ve discovered there are some things you can do to simplify the process and overcome some of the challenges you face.
 
Here are six strategies I recommend to make a successful change in your career:
 
Don’t rush things, especially if you are dealing with unemployment. Being unemployed understandably causes anxiety and can leave you feeling panicked and desperate. Give yourself a few weeks to come to grips with this unexpected change. Use the time to consider where you want to go next in your life. Once the sting wears off, you can move on to the serious work of re-evaluating your priorities and finding a job that best uses your talents.
 
Examine your inner self. Whatever your reason for switching career paths, take some time to really look inside yourself and gain a deeper awareness of who you really are. Sometimes we are under so much pressure to excel, to meet other people’s expectations, or to pay the bills that we lose touch with who we are inside. Reflect on your past experiences, where you’ve been and what you’ve learned. What do you still want to learn?
 
Self-exploration is an important part of the process. We are all multi-layered, multi-talented people. These talents can be applied to many different positions, not just one. To learn more about yourself and what positions will best utilize your skills, research other professions and experiment with them. See if there are opportunities to shadow a person working in a field you are you interested in.
 
Ask others for help. Tell them what you are looking for. Ask them what strengths and talents they value in you. It is a good idea to ask them for names of people who may be in a positon to help you. When you reach out in this way, you are sending the message that you are valuable. An added bonus is that people, especially those who love you, like to help! Helping makes them feel important and needed, especially when they are needed by a competent individual with the courage and humility to ask.
 
Focus your search. As you research other fields, start to narrow your options. Success will hinge on finding a career that is compatible with your personal qualities and goals. When considering a job option, make sure it meets your criteria.
 
Make a decision and stick with it! Don’t wait too long, getting trapped in an endless cycle of “What ifs.” Once you’ve found your new job or career, evaluate your decision. Do you feel good about the move? What would you do differently next time? What factors contributed to your success?
 
Remember that not everyone wants or needs a major change. Some people want a smaller shift in their career path. If the prospect of changing careers completely is so daunting that your stomach is churning, you can’t sleep, or you have a constant headache, your body is trying to tell you to forgo the risk. Instead, try to find value in what you already do. Focus on how you help people or what you enjoy about your current job. Find balance in your life by maintaining out-of-office relationships and interests.
 
If you decide to go ahead with changing your job, you will experience some level of insecurity and apprehension. Try to think of the uncertainty as an opportunity for growth and learning. Instead of trying to control or eliminate it, view this uncertain time as a necessary part of your transition. Let yourself experience the feelings and work through them naturally.
 
You may decide that you would benefit from professional assistance with your career planning. I can help you get to know yourself and your priorities so you can make the best decision for where you are now. If you live near Portland OR/Vancouver, WA, please contact my office to schedule an appointment.

5 Ways to Ensure That a Mid-Life Change Doesn’t Turn Into a Crisis

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Businessman jumping from one rock to anotherWe’ve all heard about the stereotypical “mid-life crisis,” a time when people act out their frustrations with life in seemingly crazy ways. Maybe you know someone who dropped a lot of money on a pricey convertible, had an affair, or walked away from a perfectly good job. Or maybe an entrepreneur who took an uncalculated risk or decided to start three new businesses at once. Perhaps this risky behavior secretly sounds somewhat alluring to you?

What is it about the period of mid-life that causes some people to react so “crazy”?

It ultimately boils down to a feeling of panic when you’re lacking a sense of purpose. It usually takes a while to reach this point. Most people start to suffer from lack of energy and creativity. They think about dreams left behind and start to long for something different. They get anxious and unsettled. Feelings of being unfulfilled and unhappy with their home and business life start to creep in.

The crisis or transformation that is occurring during this stage of life involves reevaluating one’s life and mission. Those pursuits or accomplishments that seemed so important in earlier years are no longer challenging or appealing. At this time, people are looking for new ways to make or find meaning in their lives because they want to make the most of the second half of their life.

A mid-life crisis happens when the different aspects of a person’s life interacts to produce conflict, confusion, change, reorganization, and, ultimately, growth. Their own life, family developments, and entrepreneurial pursuits converge and results in change. To deal with these exterior changes, the entrepreneur in their mid-life must change and grow too.

How can you ensure that this life change doesn’t become a dramatic crisis? Here are 5 ways to make this transition gracefully:

1. It is critical to reclaim your sense of purpose. People with a strong sense of purpose live longer, happier, more fulfilling lives than their peers who feel aimless. Find what brings you joy and gives you a reason to live. Take time to learn new things and start new interests to keep your brain active and interested.

2. Stay connected with your partner, family and friends. If business pursuits have kept you away, or life in general has kept you apart, make the effort to reconnect. These are the people who truly love and support you.

3. Cultivate a grateful attitude. Gratitude has a greater effect on your emotions than you realize. Having a grateful attitude is linked to less stress and anxiety, better physical health, and greater satisfaction in life and relationships. Take note of what you are grateful for and express gratitude when you can.

4. Give back to your community. This can be by donating to charity, getting involved in your church, or volunteering with a non-profit. It helps you regain your sense of purpose when you are part of something bigger than yourself.

5. Take time to exercise and stay healthy. Part of staying healthy is having fun. Don’t take yourself, life, even your business, too seriously. View life with some levity, and it will help you avoid that panicked, crisis feeling.

The mid-life is an exciting time, personally and professionally. It is definitely a transition, but remember that transitions can be good. You just have to be aware of the transition, what to expect, and how to cope. If you need some help with this new stage of your life and business, and you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.

What Happens When There are Two Entrepreneurs in the Family?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Couple sitting in bed looking at their laptopsYou run your own business. Years of blood, sweat, and tears have resulted in a successful business enterprise. Yes, it's challenging but you love it. But how about when your partner is an entrepreneur as well – with their own business? It’s a blessing and a curse.
 
It’s a blessing because you have a lot in common. It’s a curse because you have a lot in common!
 
Dual-entrepreneur families are unlike other types of entrepreneurial families. “Solo-entrepreneurs” own and manage a business. They could have a supportive partner who helps out with the business part-time, or offers support in other ways. “Co-preneurs” are partners who both own and manage a joint business venture. “Dual-entrepreneurs” own and manage separate businesses.
 
Why is this distinction important? Being an entrepreneur, and living with an entrepreneur, are both difficult, but for entirely different reasons. When both partners in a relationship run their own separate businesses, they each experience the full effect of both their own entrepreneurship and living with another person’s entrepreneurial spirit.
 
In the case of the solo-entrepreneur and the co-preneurial couple, the family has only one business to maintain. With co-preneurial couples, partners get to work together. The dual-entrepreneurial couple has twice the workload. They work long, hard hours, and they do it alone. 
 
They also face double the anxiety and uncertainty that naturally comes with entrepreneurship. It is not easy to face these uncertainties in your own business, but it can become frightening and discouraging when your partner is facing the same uncertainties with their career.
 
Starting two businesses at the same time is like having twins.
 
To mitigate some of the stress of the dual-entrepreneur lifestyle, I recommend that couples take care to space out the start of their ventures. Timing is always important. Anyone who has had twins can tell you that raising two babies at one time is not simply twice the work; it is so much more than that, physically and emotionally. Most dual-entrepreneurial couples that I have worked with achieve the greatest success in both their businesses and marriages when they do not try to develop two entrepreneurial ventures at the same time.
 
Another challenge to dual-entrepreneurial couples is communicating and working together as a couple, instead of as a business. Entrepreneurs respond to challenges and attack opportunities in ways that don’t always translate well when dealing with personal and family issues. When you come home, treat your spouse as a partner, not an employee or competitor. You are on the same team. Be your partner’s cheerleader, friend, and confidant.
 
It is necessary that partners step away from their businesses sometimes and make time for each other. I suggest that couples take at least 15 minutes a day, maybe in the morning over a cup of coffee, to engage in meaningful conversation without distractions. Distractions include your cell phone and tablet. Talk to your partner, not about business, but about deeper things that help you connect as a couple.
 
Dual-entrepreneurial couples spend so much time apart, working hard at their separate businesses, that it becomes even more necessary to schedule time to reconnect as a couple. Notice the word “schedule.” Successful entrepreneurial couples realize that spontaneous dates and waiting for the “right moment” probably won’t happen. Rather, they plan for love to happen and be sustained.
 
Dual-entrepreneurship can be an ideal way of life for two competitive, driven people. Through genuine love and support, couples can survive and thrive in this high-stress environment. I have worked with many couples as they navigate the path of dual-entrepreneurship. If you need some guidance as you start down this path, or if you are encountering trouble along the way, and you live near Portland OR/Vancouver, WA, please contact my office to schedule an appointment.

Psychotherapists and Professionals – A New Meetup that Helps You Serve Families with ASD

Monday, January 09, 2017


Asperger Syndrome: Continuing Education for Psychotherapists is a new Meetup for professionals who serve NT’s in families with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Have you ever Googled, “How to help families with Autism”? If you do, you’ll find that much of the information is about helping the autistic individual NOT the family members who are not on the spectrum. It’s wonderful that we help the ones with ASD. However the caregivers and other family members shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s taking a huge toll on them, too.

Dealing with a child or adult who has Autism Spectrum Disorder is exhausting work. The caregiver’s emotional, mental, and physical health suffers.


When it’s a child who has autism, every aspect of family life is affected - sleep, meals, toileting, play, travel, education, and work. This creates a multitude of interrelated problems, such as overwhelming schedules and parental conflict because of grief and confusion.

When it’s a spouse who has Asperger’s, a high-functioning form of autism, it’s devastating in so many other ways. Not only is the NT parenting the children, he or she is also “parenting” the Asperger spouse. Without the emotional connection and support of the spouse, this NT marriage mate feels so terribly alone.

Let’s give NT’s the support they need. It’s so important for psychotherapists and other professionals to hone their skills, so they can truly understand and support NT (neuro-typical) family members. Therefore, I’m eager to announce my new Meetup for professionals who want to do greater work in this field.

Please help me get the word out! The new Meetup is called Asperger Syndrome: Continuing Education for Psychotherapists. It’s for professionals who serve NT’s in families with Adults with ASD. Psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, MFTs, psychiatric nurses and other professionals who are consulting to caregivers, family and friends of those on the Autism Spectrum will get the guidance needed to reach this important part of the Autism System. Also if you’re coaching autistics, this group will provide a much better understanding of the thinking of those with ASD.

Please click here to join this worldwide group. To find out more, your first meeting is free. If you decide to take advantage of monthly consultation, there is a fee. This is your chance to work directly with me no matter where you live and gather continuing education credits from an internationally well-known expert in the field. I’ll be offering video and teleconferences that discuss timely topics. I’ll alert you when we schedule our first meeting. I’ll be looking for you on the inside!

What Is It Like Living with Someone Who Has Asperger’s Syndrome?

Wednesday, January 04, 2017


When asked, “What is it like living with someone who has Asperger’s Syndrome?” your answer will likely not be believed because it’s so far from normal.
In many ways, living with a spouse or partner who has Asperger’s Syndrome is like always being the only parent even when dealing with an adult on the Autism Spectrum.



  • You cover for their social blunders.
  • You walk on eggshells because you never know when an uncontrolled temper tantrum will erupt.
  • You constantly hear, “That’s not right” because they don’t ever see things from another’s perspective.
  • You don’t receive the natural and genuine warmth and closeness that others experience – no pillow talk or romance.
  • You’re only acknowledged when you’re needed to fulfill their agenda.
  • You live with unresolved and unfinished business all the time.

It’s so depressing and infuriating. It crushes your spirit.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “It can’t be as bad as that!” You have no idea! It really is that bad and worse. Because the NT (Neurotypical) person is all alone. No one sees what you deal with daily. To the outside world, the Aspie seems like a good guy (or gal). And you end up looking like the bad-tempered, overbearing person.

It’s a huge problem for NTs to find ways to explain our lives with high-functioning ASD family members. Many of us feel misunderstood at the best and shunned at the worst. The reactions we get from others cause us to pull away and live quietly with our despair. Of course this is understandable but the last thing you should do.

I wrote my two books to help get out the word about what we live with. "Going Over the Edge" and "Out of Mind - Out of Sight" have brought interesting feedback regarding this problem of understanding. From NTs around the world I have been told that my books are like “oxygen in a life without air.” From some with ASD I am told that they have a window into the world of their NT loved ones. But from many with ASD the feedback is hostile. I can count on one hand the feedback I receive from NTs who do not live with ASD.

It might be true that the only understanding we may get is from others who live this life. That's a start. But it's still pretty isolating isn't it? What we need to do is stop hiding in plain sight. We need to talk about what we live with and never be stopped by a lack of understanding. We need to trust our instincts and press ahead with what we know is the truth even if others are hostile.

If you’re a member of the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD group, please join our free international teleconference on Thursday, January 19, 2017 at 2:30 PM on the topic of: Why are we so misunderstood? We’ll be discussing practical things you can do about it. (If you’re a NT with an AS family member, please feel free to join our Meetup group. There’s no charge.)

If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA and you need some 1-on-1 with me to discuss your situation privately, please feel free to contact my office and we’ll schedule an appointment to discuss your options for creating a more secure and fulfilling life.


Why Your Family Business Needs a Mission Statement for the New Year

Tuesday, January 03, 2017


Family gathers around computerAt the start of a new year, we hear a lot about goals and resolutions. However, as a family business there’s something much more important to your success – a clearly defined mission. If you own a family enterprise perhaps your resolution this year should be to create or revisit your mission statement?

It always surprises me how many family businesses don’t have a stated mission. It seems to happen because a family business often starts because of a need to support the family or as a creative outlet for the entrepreneur. Once this goal was accomplished, no further thought is given on how to grow the business while maintaining harmony in the family. That’s a mistake!

Having a purposeful mission for your business can be a strong motivator, not just for the current owner, but for succeeding generations as well. While family businesses are born from many different beginnings, it stands to reason that what inspired and motivated the founder is not likely to be what keeps the business going in future generations. Members of the family that are poised to take over the business have different skills and ideas for how to proceed. A stated mission for the family business will make it easier to merge their incoming ideas with present ideals.

Basically, a well-thought-out mission statement can serve as a foundation that allows you to continue building your business in unity. Members of the family and the business have something to anticipate. They can look forward to what lies ahead. When there are decisions to be made, you can refer to the values stated in the mission to help.

So how can you develop a mission for your family business?

Take some time to examine your goals, values, and dreams for your business and your family life. Write them down. Don’t worry if some of your business goals conflict with family goals at first. Just write down what you want and what you value. If your spouse is involved in the business, they should also be involved in this exercise.

Compare your lists and see where they are similar or different. Note where your lists contradict each other and where they agree. Rank the items on your list based on what is most important to you, and again compare it with your partner’s list. As you work and rework your list, you will notice some basic truths emerging. These truths are the values that you live by and will serve as the guide for making future family business decisions.

With a family enterprise, there is no way the business can be successful without including the values, goals, and dreams of the family. Your mission should be a unified expression of what your family and business is about, what you really want to do and be, and the principles you choose to govern your life.

As your mission begins to take shape on paper, examine whether you are meeting it today. If not, change whatever you are doing now! The New Year is the perfect time to make some changes and get on the right track.

If you are looking to set goals for yourself and your business, I suggest making an appointment with a professional psychologist who is also a business consultant. They can help you to set and define goals specific to you, your personality, and your business style. I have worked with family businesses for over twenty-five years. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. Or take a look at my remote education services if you live elsewhere.


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