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Kathy Marshack News

If Your First Baby is Autistic, Will Your Second Baby Be Autistic Too?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Parents with one autistic child worry that the next baby will have Autism (ASD) too, and while there is a higher risk, the statistics show it’s not a given.This question weighs on the minds of many concerned parents, and it’s a reasonable question to ask. The more education you seek the better decisions you’ll make. So I’ve pulled some statistics together to help you understand your risks.

I’ve previously written that if you or your husband is over 40 years of age, there’s a higher risk to have a child with autism.

A PsychCentral article written by Dr. Rick Nauert reports on a study by Kaiser Permanente that found that the risk of younger siblings developing an autism spectrum disorder is 14 times higher if an older sibling has ASD. It said:


“Compared with gestational age-matched younger siblings without ASD diagnosis, those born at term (37-42 gestational weeks) who had an older sibling diagnosed with ASD had more than 15 times the increased risk for ASD diagnosis. Younger siblings who were born at preterm (28-36 gestational weeks) and had an older sibling diagnosed with ASD had an almost 10 times increased risk for ASD.
Younger boys with ASD who had older brothers were 15 percent chance of having ASD, while younger girls with older sisters have a 7 percent chance.
Previous research from Kaiser Permanente has found that second-born children who are conceived sooner than two years or later than six years after the arrival of their older sibling have a significantly increased risk of ASD.”

NPR reported on a study conducted by UCDavis Mind Institute. They found that “the overall risk that a younger sibling of an autistic child will have the disorder is 19 percent. But if the younger sibling is male, the risk shoots up to more than one in four. By contrast, if the younger sibling is a girl, her risk of autism is 9 percent. And if a family has two or more children with autism, the risk among younger siblings goes up even more — to 1 in 3.”

Should you be concerned? This certainly shouldn’t panic you. We have to be careful how studies are interpreted. Genetics certainly play a role in the risk for autism, but it’s not the only factor. Environmental factors, such as extremely low birth weight, extremely premature birth, and exposure to toxins must also be considered.

To be safe, parents who have an older child with an autism diagnosis and their pediatricians should be on the look out for early signs of autism – lack of interest in people, not responding to their names, not responding to people or smiling at them.

There’s no guarantee that any child will be born without serious health problems. The issue is how you will handle the challenge if your child does suffer a birth defect or has a mental disorder. My advice is not to worry excessively, but if you see indications that your child is not responding as he or she should be, seek the advice of a professional who is trained in diagnosing such disorders. Working closely with your child’s pediatrician, these professionals will be able to assess the situation, educate you on what the diagnosis means and help you and your child to cope as a family.

Are you looking for guidance regarding your relationship with a family member with Asperger Syndrome? For further Autism Spectrum Disorder resources see Remote Education Asperger Relationships.

Two Traits Researchers Say You Need for a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship

Monday, August 22, 2016


Why some marriages last while others don’t is the subject of scientific research and they found that kindness is the key factor to successful relationships.Every relationship has ups and downs. The normal stresses of a life tend to deplete our emotional and physical strength and it’s not surprising that we end up taking it out on the person closest to us. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Business Insider published an article about two basic traits that make a relationship last. If you’re in a relationship or plan to be in a relationship, I encourage you to read the entire article, because it has a lot of practical advice that works. Here are some of the highlights:

In the 1970’s, social scientists started studying marriages to determine what made relationships healthy and long-lasting. One of them, psychologist John Gottman, set up “The Love Lab” with his colleague Robert Levenson at the University of Washington. They invited newlyweds into the lab and recorded their physical response (i.e., blood flow, heart rate, sweat production) to questions about their relationship. Six years later they checked back with them to see if they were still couples.

From the data they gathered, Gottman separated the couples into two major groups: the masters (still happily together) and the disasters (no longer together or were unhappy in their marriages). How were they different? They found that disasters looked calm on the outside, but inside they were in the fight-or-flight mode, meaning they were in an attack or aggressive mode. The masters, on the other hand, had created a climate where they were emotionally and physically comfortable.

How did the masters create happy marriages? Further research showed it was because they worked hard to respect each other. They paid close attention to each other by listening and responding with full attention each time the partner spoke, even if it seemed like a trivial matter like, “Look at that beautiful bird outside.”

So, in practical terms this means that if your partner says something to you and you’re tempted to ignore her or to say, “Don’t interrupt me, I’m reading.” Stop yourself, put your book down, and pay close attention to your partner. Here are some other bits of advice from the article:

  • Listen and make eye contact when your partner speaks.
  • Be generous and look for ways to practice acts of kindness.
  • Speak kindly, never attack.
  • Avoid indifference, contempt and a critical attitude.
  • Don’t assume the worst or jump to conclusions.
  • Look for the positive and overlook the negative.
  • Appreciate the intent, knowing he or she is trying to do the right thing.
  • Share the joy and be excited about your partner’s successes. (According to another psychologist researcher, Shelly Gable, this is the most important determining factor for a successful marriage.)
  • Avoid being a kill-joy.

It all boils down to two basic traits for a successful relationship – kindness and generosity.


Think of them as muscles that need to be made stronger through use. It may be uncomfortable at first, but with practice it will become easier and more rewarding as your partner feels loved, understood, and validated. You’ll find that what you give will come back to you in time.

Do you feel as if your marriage is on shaky ground and you need help in mending it? If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please feel free to contact my office and schedule an appointment. I want to help you to create a happy and successful relationship.

Read more on my website: Marriage Advice.

What You Can Do To Resolve a High Conflict Divorce

Thursday, August 18, 2016


If your soon-to-be ex is a narcissist, you’re heading for a high conflict divorce, so learn how best to handle your division of property and custody battlesOne of the most sought after topics on my website is learning more about dealing with high conflict divorces. Does that surprise you? It did me when I noticed this trend. We all know that many marriages end in divorce today. It’s tough when there’s additional strain put on the marriage bond, such as the entrepreneurial lifestyle or raising children with Autism. And it’s only to be expected that not all of these divorces will be amicable. Some divorces will be end up being difficult but business-like, while others become high conflict divorces.

I do believe it’s possible to prevent or at least better tolerate a high conflict divorce. Anyone going through a life changing experience like a divorce, high conflict or otherwise, should seek the support of a therapist, your church, and other groups supportive of your experience. You’re going to need a level head. And while friends and family love you, your therapist will be more objective. This objectivity will help you stay out of the power struggles that the controlling person can create in a high conflict divorce.

If at all possible, work with a mediator to craft a win-win solution to your divorce. Be willing to compromise and to walk away with a “half fair deal.” In the long run, walking away from your money and possessions is worth it to avoid the acrimony. Remember, too, that it’s only your perception that you’re getting an unfair deal. With the dollars you save on legal fees, you can free up your life to explore a new and healthier way of living.

On the other hand, if you’re up against a party who refuses to negotiate honorably, then you have to use another strategy. And the most important thing to consider is that your desire to be reasonable and fair may be exactly what does you in. When you seek a win-win solution but the other party seeks a win-lose solution, the other party is in the driver’s seat, at least in our current Divorce Court environment.

So here’s a simple answer if you don’t wish to stoop to the underhanded level. Do your best to secure a fair, mediated agreement. If you can’t quickly swing a mediated agreement with the controlling party, don’t hesitate and hope that he or she will somehow change their mind. You need to act swiftly before you’re inundated. Give them what they want and count your blessings that they allow you to get away.

Never, ever, go to Court with a controlling person who wants nothing more than to trash and burn you especially if they have means (i.e. money or power). And never, ever, go to Court with a controlling person if you have children to protect. The Court system is designed to determine a winner and a loser, not resolve conflict amicably and certainly not to protect the innocent.

Regardless of what you lose in the way of material goods or even psychological status in your community, trust that taking the high road means that you and your children will be able to sleep soundly at night. The gift to yourself and your family is to walk away from these Divorce Wars with your integrity and compassion in tact. And that counts for a lot!

I know what you’re going through. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA and would like me to assist you, please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Learn more on my website: High Conflict Divorce.

Does Planning for the Possibility of Divorce Set You Up for Failure or Success?

Monday, August 15, 2016


You’ve finally found true love and the idea of planning for divorce is furthest from your mind, but if you want to be happy ever after it shouldn’t be. No one likes to think that a happy marriage can end, but evidence shows that it happens every day. And burying your head in the sand and ignoring that fact isn’t the wisest way to live.

Often entrepreneurial couples start out happy in their businesses and marriages. Then when one is forced to stop working in the business in order to care for family obligations, resentment can flare up and destroy the peace and happiness they once knew. I’ve seen it happen too many times.

You may be surprised to learn that the entrepreneurial couples that are happiest are the ones that plan for an amicable divorce or dissolution of the partnership. Why is that? Not only do these couples have a legal document to follow (such as a prenuptial or partnership agreement), but they also become very aware of what could go wrong, giving them time to make contingency plans so the worst won’t happen.

Here are five very important questions to ask yourself…

  • What if the business grows so big, we need to get bigger facilities?
  • What if something happens so that one or the other partner needs to quit work and focus more on home management?
  • What are the desires of each partner with regard to career and business?
  • What are the desires of each partner with regard to the children and family development?
  • What are the desires of each partner for our marriage?

Paradoxically, by planning for the possibility of divorce right from the start of a marriage and business venture, the entrepreneurial couple has to focus on those things that actually will help strengthen their marriage and business partnership. By digging deeply into who you are, and what you want, you have the opportunity to negotiate with each other to make your desires come true. Instead of resentments building, the trouble spots are planned for. You have a better chance of facing the problems head on, learning from them, or even avoiding them. Planning for the worst in this case isn't a prescription for divorce, but insurance against it.

Remember the question isn't "What do I do with my business or marriage/family if I die?" The question is "What do I do with my business or marriage/family when I die?" And the question isn't "What do I do with my business and marriage/family when we divorce?" The question is "What do I do with my business and marriage/family if we divorce?" Death is inevitable and those who don't face this one are avoiding their responsibilities to others and courting a miserable demise for themselves. Divorce on the other hand is not inevitable, but avoiding thinking and talking about the possibility is just as foolish as ignoring the inevitability of death.

If you want to get started planning for the worst but hoping for the best with regard to creating a healthy, long-term, successful marriage/business partnership with your spouse, try asking yourselves this question: If one or the other of us wants a divorce in the future, why would that be and what can we do now to prevent this? Often it helps to consult with a objective family therapist who can facilitate this conversation. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Learn more on my website: Marriage Counseling.


Exciting New Discoveries – How the Immune System Controls Social Behavior

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Exciting New Discoveries – How the Immune System Controls Social BehaviorThe immune system does an amazing job in protecting us from threats to our health such as viruses, germs, bacteria or parasites. The white blood cells (leukocytes) and lymph system play key roles in fighting against these invaders. Interestingly, scientists have known for some time that immune dysfunction is associated with several neurological and mental disorders.

Now, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have found that “the immune system directly affects – and even controls – social behavior, such as the desire to interact with others.” This is a textbook shattering discovery! It has significant implications for neurological diseases like autism spectrum disorders.

Jonathan Kipnis, chair of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience explains, “The brain and the adaptive immune system were thought to be isolated from each other, and any immune activity in the brain was perceived as sign of a pathology. And now, not only are we showing that they are closely interacting, but some of our behavior traits might have evolved because of our immune response to pathogens… Part of our personality may actually be dictated by the immune system.”

What lead up to this new understanding? His team discovered:

1: Within the meninges (the membrane that covers the brain) are lymphatic vessels that directly link the brain to the lymphatic system. Up until this discovery, no one knew they existed. This new discovery alone changes what has been taught about the brain!

2: The immune molecule, interferon gamma plays a “profound role in maintaining proper social function.” Normally, this molecule is produced by the immune system responding to the threats mentioned above. During their study, the scientists blocked this molecule in mice and “it made regions of the brain hyperactive, causing the mice to become less social.” When they restored the molecule, “the brain connectivity and behavior was normal.” This molecule certainly seems to be vital for social behavior.

“Using this approach we predicted a role for interferon gamma, an important cytokine secreted by T lymphocytes, in promoting social brain functions. Our findings contribute to a deeper understanding of social dysfunction in neurological disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, and may open new avenues for therapeutic approaches,” said Vladimir Litvak leader of a research group at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

I am hopeful that this discovery – that the immune system affects our social interactions – will further unlock the mysteries of ASD and how to treat it. Until then, let’s do all we can to support the neurotypical (NT) partners and family members in a relationship with someone with Asperger’s.

Keeping up-to-date on Asperger’s Syndrome is vital. Please, sign up for my Enriching Your Life Newsletter to learn about my next scheduled live webinar. Some recorded webinars are also available for download to the member of my Meetup group. If you’re a NT and you’re not yet a member of Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD, then please take the time to join today.


TMS Treatment Helps Woman with Asperger's Experience the World in a New Way

Monday, August 08, 2016


Expand your frame of reference and see the world in a new wayRecently, Alix Speigel hosted a fascinating story on NPR's podcast, Invisibilia. It revealed the story of Kim who, “until she was 54 years old, was totally unaware that there were things in the world she couldn't see.”

Throughout her life, nothing happened in the way she expected and she hadn’t a clue as to why that was. It seemed to her that people said and did things that were completely unrelated. It didn’t make sense to her. You see she has Asperger’s Syndrome, which makes a person unable to pick up on social cues or the nuanced emotional meanings that most people can easily see.

Then Kim was given an opportunity to see what others see. Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston were investigating how a procedure called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) affected the brains of people with Asperger’s. An electromagnetic coil is placed next to the scalp and rhythmically sends 30-minutes magnetic pulses through the skull in order to stimulate brain cells.


After undergoing this treatment, Kim felt deeper emotions for the first time in her life. As she read different statements, she was able to see the larger context of situations alluded to and was able to see the true meanings attached to them. She explained it was like going from “black and white to color”.

While the effects didn’t last long, it made her aware of a different way of experiencing the world. Where she once thought she was better than others, she now saw that she was simply different, and not necessarily in a good way. She felt hopelessly depressed, so she begged for another session of TMS.

During the next session, instead of reading, she watched short videos as the magnet did its work. Once again her perception was drastically different before and after the treatment. Where once she saw nothing out of the ordinary, she now saw the nuances of the body language, the subtly of conversation and she actually understood sarcasm. It amazed her! Once again her results were short lived, but this time it left her with a greater understanding of herself and the world around her – without the depression and self-doubt that happened the first time.

Researchers don’t understand why a few like Kim respond so well to TMS and others don’t. At this time, the FDA approves TMS as a treatment for treatment-resistant depression, but not for autism. They’ve found that it slightly increases the risk of seizures in those who have epilepsy. Since the research into TMS is still in its infancy, I’m anxious to see what they eventually discover.

Kim’s story reminds us of an important truth. Whether we have Asperger’s or not, we all function within a confined frame of reference based on our biology and experiences in life. The good news is that this frame of reference can be shifted and expanded. Although I don't offer TMS, I can help in expanding your frame of reference so you can achieve better relationships and greater self-understanding, and if you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA, please contact my office and schedule an appointment.


Be sure to
click on this link and read the NPR show notes or listen to the podcast.

What the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016” Means for You!

Monday, August 01, 2016


 What the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016” Means for You!For decades, there has been stigma and discrimination against those with mental health problems because many people can’t accept that a mental health disorder is a real illness. So when I saw that the House overwhelmingly passed “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016” (H.R. 2646) on July 6. 2016, I was thrilled. It was introduced by bipartisan Representatives, Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and it will help “reform federal mental health policies and programs to increase patients’ access to effective care, particularly for those with serious mental illness (SMI).”

What I especially like about this groundbreaking legislation is that it opens the door for tele-mental health. Using today’s technology allows us to reach so many more people who could not or would not seek treatment.

Over the last few years, I’ve been offering educational tele-conferences and video-conferences on the topic of autism for members of my Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Meetup. While I haven’t been able to offer online or tele-therapy yet, many people have benefitted by getting the opportunity to connect with others through this format. I can only imagine the good that will come when we can offer mental health treatment via secure, online technologies.

According to various online sources, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act commits new resources to psychiatric care and overhauls federal policy to:

  • Allow federal reimbursement for early and periodic screening, diagnostic, and treatment services provided to both children and young adults in institutions for mental diseases
  • Clarify HIPAA policy on sharing the protected health information of a mentally ill patient with caregivers and family members
  • Establish HIPAA training programs and materials for health care providers and family members
  • Form a tele-mental health grant program to promote behavioral health integration in pediatric primary care, develop networks of child and adolescent psychologists and psychiatrists to work with pediatric providers
  • Remove some of the legal hurdles to securing care for a loved one
  • Expand access to assisted outpatient treatment and hospital stays for those with serious mental health challenges
  • Commit block grants to local services for people with serious mental health challenges
  • Broaden Medicaid coverage for mental health services

I urge everyone with a mental health challenge to seek help. Don’t let the stigma keep you from getting the treatment you need. You and your family deserve to finally experience relief and get the support of people who understand. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Restore Balance by Strengthening Your Spiritual Life

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Those who embrace their spirit connection find greater health and prosperity, because the three legs of a balanced life are mind, body and spirit. After struggling for years to make ends meet, many parents say, “I don’t want my children to suffer or work as hard as I had to.” This brings up the question: Is suffering really a bad thing?

Viktor Frankl, a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, wrote, "Man is not diminished by suffering but by suffering without meaning." Many people do suffer as a result of having allowed their lives to become unbalanced, of crossing boundaries in unhealthy ways, and of denying the inevitability of change.

In order to restore balance, you must create a healthy lifestyle for yourself and the ones you love and work with. If you have been attending to the mind and the body, you are well on your way to a healthy integration of intimacy, family life, and meaningful work. However, until you assess and address the strength of your spirit, you will not achieve true balance or prosperity. How do you do that?

Remember that spirit is not bound by religion. But as Frankl suggests it defines the meaning of life. Many successful people have a strong sense of spirit and they do believe in God. The spirit connection is not just a belief in God but the ability to relate to God, often through communities such as churches provide. The healthiest Americans are often members of those religious groups that have a strong identity with their church. It’s not the religion per se that contributes to overall health, but the intensity of the commitment to spirit, whether by being a member of a religious community or by maintaining a spiritual practice or connection in some other way.

Although most Americans believe in God, many of us are prone to having fragmented and impersonal lives, which leads to hedonism, increasing drug addiction and other health problems. Spirituality in the sense of the expression of our spirit is not a regular part of our lives because so many of us have abandoned religion. According to Kabbani, a physician and author on Islamic spiritual healing practices, religion gives us something to believe in, an identity, a way to know ourselves in relation to others. Churches, therefore, provide a community within which to know ourselves, to belong, and to repair our fragmented lives.

Since for years I’ve worked coaching entrepreneurial couples, I know many of them list church attendance as one of the last things on their list of things to do. After all, you are busy people, working fifty to sixty hours a week. When would you find the time? You barely have a few moments to eat a quick meal and watch television before falling into bed at the end of your day. However, just as you have reevaluated other aspects of your life and business plans, you need to reevaluate your spirit connection.

If you really want to create a balance among intimacy, family life, and meaningful work, you need to repair the third leg of the mind-body-spirit connection. (Furthermore, if you want to live long enough to enjoy the fruits of your labors, you might want to reconsider the use of television as an expedient stress reliever. According to a review of the research by Dale Matthews, M.D., and Herb Koenig, Ph.D., there is a positive correlation between television watching and mortality: In other words, the more you watch TV the shorter your life.)

Chapter 10 of my book, Entrepreneurial Couples – Making It Work at Work and at Home, helps you do a deeply, personal self-examination on living a balanced life. If you have questions about what you read, I’m available for an online Q & A session.

Should You Mold Your Children or Help Them Discover Who They Really Are?

Monday, July 25, 2016


Should You Mold Your Children or Help Them Discover Who They Really Are?Parenting is a full-time job. Every parent wants the best for their children. Therefore, we devote a great deal of time and resources to training, teaching, and guiding them. But is there more to parenting than us teaching them?

Another way to look at parenting is that your job is to get to know your child. Why? Human development is never-ending. Just as you’re assisting your child in the unfolding of his or her identity, he or she is assisting you in the same way.

For example, by taking note of my older daughter’s incredible artistic abilities, even from a very young age, I learned a lot about her, and myself. I learned that my daughter has qualities that I don’t possess. I learned that she’s delightful to get to know. And I learned that I can learn from her, too. This intersecting of the developing progressions of two individuals is referred to as a dialogue. (Thus, the name dialectical psychology – the system of psychology that provides the theoretical foundation for my book, Entrepreneurial Couples: Making It Work at Work and at Home.)

Even though children are dependent on their parents and quite impressionable, especially when they’re young, a child comes into this world with a lot of traits already "hardwired." Any parent who has more than one child will tell you that each baby was different. Even when brothers and sisters have the same parents, grow up together in the same house with their siblings, under roughly the same conditions, they turn out differently. The reason is that each individual is a product of both heredity and environmental influences.

But the development of a child is still more complex than heredity plus environment. Each child uses his or her innate resources (heredity) to perceive and then interpret the experiences (environment) he or she is exposed to. One person may interpret that tingly feeling in the spine as fear, while another person perceives the same feeling as thrilling. As your child interprets or makes sense of the environment over time, he or she acquires a number of beliefs about the world. These beliefs develop into a larger structure within which your child builds a life.

As parents you’re in a wonderful position to be part of this unfolding of your child. However, it’s important that you understand that your job is not to mold and shape your child as if he or she were a little lump of clay. Your child is a dynamic being who is discovering himself or herself while growing up. Your job is to assist in that discovery, to guide and protect, and to provide opportunities for even more discovery; but your job is definitely not to dictate your child's life.

If you as the parent are a strong leader, and if you realize that your job is to get to know your child while at the same time getting to know yourself, your child will develop normally and with positive self-esteem. With positive self-esteem, your child will be prepared to handle most anything that comes his or her way. Knowing and liking who he or she is makes it easier for the child to ask questions, take risks, and correct mistakes. If you show your child that he or she is a valuable person by demonstrating your interest, your child will feel comfortable about going out into the world to discover how to best use his or her talents.

There is no need to wait until there is distance, or even animosity, between you and your children to get assistance. If you need help getting to know your children, and appreciating who they are and what they contribute, please contact my office and schedule and appointment if you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area.

If you live outside the office area, please schedule an appointment through a secure video Q & A session. This feature can be found under Entrepreneurial Couples Remote Education.

Entrepreneurs – 9 Warning Signs that You Need to Change Your Life Before It’s Too Late

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Discover nine warning signs that life is about to change or NEEDS to change – they’ll help you tune into your own unique signals so you’re not blindsided.  Although change is constant, busy entrepreneurs often don’t recognize that change is happening and even go out of their way to try to stop the inevitable. When we do this, we create more hardship for ourselves, and those around us, than if we simply acknowledged the need for change in the first place.

Through my research on entrepreneurial couples for my book Entrepreneurial Couples: Making It Work at Work and at Home, I identified nine common warning signs that change is needed or may be coming. (They’re in bold font in this article.) Outright failure is a certain signal that change is needed, but waiting until that point may be so destructive as to be irreparable.

What makes more sense than waiting for outright failure is to learn to pay attention to those subtle wake-up calls that speak to you each day. Let’s consider some of these warning signs:

Boredom
One such wake-up call is boredom. A common way to deal with boredom is to come up with distractions to keep yourself entertained. However, the answers to boredom cannot be found outside yourself, through a new hobby or some other diversion. What you need to do is search within yourself to discover just what the boredom means. Only then can you make a real, meaningful change to bring a spark back to your life.

Confusion
Related to boredom is confusion. Confusion is another subtle sign that can be easily dismissed by focusing on something that’s less confusing. When we’re confused, we feel uncomfortable, even incompetent, especially if we’re perfectionistic entrepreneurs. But confusion is a valuable sign that a stable pattern has been interrupted. Stepping back, examining your motives and role in a given situation, and understanding your partner’s motives and role are important to clearing confusion and moving forward.

Unproductive Habitual Behavior
A potent warning sign that change is needed is when we engage in habitual behavior, even though it doesn’t work anymore. It’s a strange fact of life that once we get something working, it doesn’t work forever. In fact, just at the point that you get something working really well, it usually starts to decline. Such is the nature of change.

Therefore, it’s very important to assess your habits. You’ve developed habits because they’re convenient mechanisms for getting things done without having to give them much thought. However, when the habit really doesn’t serve the purpose anymore, stop doing it! It’s better to do nothing than to continue pursuing a habit that may have even become counterproductive.

Turning Points
Life's major turning points are another time for important changes. The natural turning points in life, which we’ve come to expect and accept anyway, are also a time to reevaluate our goals and values. Graduating from high school or college, getting married, giving birth to your first child, receiving a job promotion, turning fifty, and losing a parent, are all such turning points. Because of acquiring wealth and the leisure time that goes along with it, entrepreneurs are often able to take advantage of turning points to enhance their lives personally and professionally.

Since these turning points are bound to happen anyway, it seems foolish to deny them. Why not plan ahead? Change is inevitable with each step along the developing progressions of life. Even though you can’t know for certain what each turning point will bring you, you can at least recognize that change is happening and be alert to the phenomenon.

Boredom, confusion, unproductive habitual behavior, and life's naturally occurring turning points are only some of the subtle wake-up calls that you can strive to tune in to as you and your partner progress both personally and professionally. Others include fatigue, weight gain or loss, lack of sexual desire, and forgetfulness, among many others. As you pay attention to yourself more and as you come to appreciate change, you’ll tune in to your own unique signals. This is the kind of self-knowledge that successful people are known for.

Sometimes we need help to identify the signs that change is necessary. Other times we need help accepting the changes that are inevitable and happening right in front of us. If you need help appreciating the changes in your life, and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

If you live elsewhere, we can schedule an appointment via a secure video Q & A session. Learn more by visiting Entrepreneurial Couples Remote Education.



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