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Kathy Marshack News

Stressed about Job Security? How to Still Make Time for the More Important Things

Monday, October 10, 2011


Finding balance between work-life and home-life is an ongoing battle. What can cause a lack of balance? It may be different depending on the person, but it seems that with the economic downturn, many are concerned about job security. This added pressure causes many to work overtime to prove to their employer that they are worth keeping on. Long work hours means added stress, lack of balance, and no time for the things in life that can bring true joy and happiness.

You may be thinking that there is really nothing you can do about your work situation and that may be true, but what do you have control over? Are there things that can be adjusted? Chances are there are – take a look at the following recommendations:

Cut out non-essentials. While electronics has their place in the world, they can also be a big time waster. Evaluate how much time you are using social media sites, surfing the Internet, or using other electronic devices. They could be depriving you of much valuable time on things that are more important such as your family or your health.

Stick to a schedule. You schedule in your work, so why not schedule in family time or recreation. Putting it down in writing will ensure a greater chance that it will happen. If you choose not to schedule it in, then those opportunities may disappear.

Multi-task. Maybe you only have an hour and you want to squeeze in some exercise, but your 5 year old wants to play with you? They are both important to you. Instead of choosing one over the other, could you merge the two together? Perhaps go on a walk together or a bike ride. You get your exercise in and get to spend quality time with those that you love.

If you feel like you are unable to get a grasp on your responsibilities and your stress is becoming unmanageable, you may need to speak to a professional. Often times short-term therapy can resolve stress-related problems. If you are entrepreneur, you may experience the work-life balance to an even greater degree. Speaking to a therapist who is also versed in business counseling can be highly beneficial.

For more information visit, Managing Stress and/or Entrepreneurial Life.

How to Use Your Conscious and Unconscious to Help Your Family Business Thrive

Friday, September 09, 2011


Good mental health is a requirement for a family business to run successfully. Mental health refers to a healthy balance between your conscious and unconscious mind. It requires the same attention and commitment as does your daily physical work out. If you miss a day at the gym, you can be set back for weeks. If you are inattentive of your psychological and emotional health, you can be set back for life. We hear the expression, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Unfortunately many people take this attitude with their mental health. Only in times of crisis do they seek professional consultation. Similarly to waiting until after you have a heart attack to start eating and exercising properly, you may wait too long to attend to your psychological health until the dysfunction causes permanent damage.

One way to attend to your mental health is to hire a psychologist. During therapy, you can explore that uncharted unconscious of yours to discover your latent talents or unresolved conflicts. People who regularly attend to their psychological health are not only stronger emotionally, but they require less physical health care. Research has shown that psychotherapy reduces medical and surgical costs. Also research has demonstrated that among those individuals who are regular users of psychotherapy, they are the group who use medical and surgical procedures the least. Rather than the crisis management attitude of waiting until you are broken, it makes more sense to trust the humanistic slogan: YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE SICK TO GET BETTER.

Seeing a psychologist can also improve your sense of personal well being. You will find that utilizing the full range of your conscious and unconscious talents, unburdened by neurotic hang-ups, creates opportunities that you never knew were there before. A healthy mind also draws to you other healthy people. In a family business or any endeavor for that matter, having mentally healthy employees, coworkers and family members can only improve business functioning. It will keep your business competitive and successful.

In a nut shell, my advice to you is engage in psychotherapy to enhance your analytical and intuitive abilities. Cultivate your inner resources until they are healthy so that you can trust the inner guidance. Using your conscious and unconscious awareness as a team, you will have multiplied many times over the mental resources available to you. With this dynamic team in place, you will be ready to carry out your ideas and plans in ways that only could have been dreamed before.

For more information, visit Psychotherapy Options and Entrepreneurial Life - Families in Business.

ADHD and Business: Friend or Foe?

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Living with ADHD has been compared to living in a kaleidoscope, where thoughts, sounds, and images are constantly shifting in the brain. You may bore easily yet you struggle to keep your attention focused on anything for a long period of time. Distraction becomes a constant companion. Yet in the midst of all the brain chaos, pure brilliance and creativity usher forth and can make a person with ADHD a true success story.

SmartMoney Magazine recently published an article about entrepreneurs with ADHD entitled, "ADHD: Why Some Entrepreneurs Call ADHD a Superpower." Surprisingly, ADHD is common among successful entrepreneurs. Some even refer to it as their "superpower." The article highlights three successful entrepreneurs. They share their thoughts on ADHD and their business, their struggles as well as their strengths. They also share some of their tips for harnessing the negative aspects of ADHD.

SmartMoney contacted me for my expertise on ADHD and you will see a quote from me in the article. I have been working with many ADHD clients over the years and one of my suggestions for entrepreneurs with ADHD is to hire a personal assistant. Since someone with ADHD rarely recognizes the fine details, a personal assistant can fill in the missing blanks.

Whether you are old or young and have ADHD, I also recommend seeking psychotherapy. By working with a qualified therapist, you will be able to identify and build up your strengths as well as learn to control aggression or frustration that often comes with ADHD.

For more information visit Adult ADD/ADHD on my website.

Are You a Manipulator in Your Family?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Would it surprise you to know that con artists and manipulators are not that different? The only real difference is that a manipulator has created an illusion that they are different, that they would never stoop to the level of a con artist, or that they would never willfully take advantage of a person that way. In my work as a Family Business Consultant, I have seen firsthand that being an manipulator in a family and family business can be devastating both emotionally and financially. It is important to ask yourself if you exhibit manipulative qualities before it gets out of hand.

To investigate your manipulative qualities, ask yourself a few questions...and be HONEST!

1. Are you in sales? 2. Does your business require that you use persuasion, diplomacy, and charm? 3. Have you ever lied? 4. Have you ever taken advantage of another's ignorance or naiveté? 5. Have you kept something you didn't pay for? 6. Have you ever cried in order to get your way? 7. Have you ever intimidated your opponent into capitulating? 8. Have you ever hurt someone else? 9. When you have hurt someone else, did you say, "I didn't mean to do it." 10. Have you kept a secret to avoid conflict? 11. Have you ever "dropped names"? 12.Have you ever changed the subject when the topic was too close for comfort? 13. Just once, was money your only concern?

The tools of persuasion, diplomacy and charm can be used ethically or unethically. They are like a hammer and screwdriver. The hammer and screwdriver can be used to build a house or to break into someone's home. The choice is up to the individual using the tools. Likewise, persuasion, diplomacy and charm can be used to swindle or to negotiate a mutually rewarding settlement.

If you truly want to end the con game within your family firm, you need to take a look at your own manipulative nature. Being conscious of your own manipulations, even the ones that you didn't mean to do, allows you to be ethical. With consciousness comes choice. Choosing to be ethical in your communications and dealings with others requires that you take the time to understand others and to be understood fully.

Another way to investigate your own manipulative nature is to ask others how they feel. In a family this is a perfectly legitimate question. Because you may be hot on an idea and have charmingly persuaded everyone else to cooperative with you, does not mean they all agree with you. Check it out. If you have bullied the others into submission, or charmed them into acquiescing, but deep down inside they do not agree, what kind of agreement do you really have? How much support are you really going to get in the long run? Do you really have your family's trust or are they just afraid of you?

If your goal is to make a lot of money or to have a lot of power, and you don't care how you do it, then there is no point in your reading this. But if you truly want to prosper as a family as well as a family in business, then it requires time to clean up the covert confidence games that are played at home and at work with the ones you love.

For more information on this topic, read my article - Recognizing Manipulation Can Save The Family Business

Entrepreneurial Couples - Is it Time to Renegotiate the Partnership?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


One of the most challenging of lifestyles is working with your spouse in a thriving business. Most entrepreneurial couples love the opportunity to be independent, in charge of their own destinies, and to work alongside the one they love and trust most. What do successful entrepreneurial couples need to know to keep a marriage and a business on track? One strategy is to renegotiate the partnership.

Keeping the love alive as an entrepreneurial couple must be the top priority. If there is no time to give or receive love, from each other, then it becomes time to renegotiate the terms of the partnership. If life isn't meaningful or fun for either of you, it is time to re-evaluate the marriage or the business partnership or both.

In order to keep a business healthy, a business owner must not only be aware of market trends, but they must also be prepared to alter their business plan accordingly. The same principal applies in your personal life. What are some reasons for negotiation? A marriage agreement that worked when you were twenty, may be outdated for a couple in their forties. Or aspects of the marriage contract may be archaic while others are still solid. Don't throw the baby out with the bath as the saying goes, but if some things need changing, do it now, or suffer the consequences of a loveless marriage.

I have met too many entrepreneurial couples where the only thing holding them together is the business. They have forgotten that the business is a function of their love for each other. By recognizing that the love is diminishing in your relationship and by being willing to renegotiate the terms of your marriage and partnership, you may be able to rekindle the romance and re-direct the business to new heights.

So, when you get off course, stop and renegotiate the terms of the contract, so that you can nurture and sustain business and marriage growth. If you find that you are unable to renegotiate on your way, you may want to seek the assistance of a psychologist who specializes in this type of therapy. Often problems that have a couple stuck, can be unraveled with professional help. For an appointment, please contact my office for more information.

For more information, visit Marriage Counseling - Entrepreneurial Couples. Available for purchase Do You Have What it Takes to Work with Your Spouse? Workbook.

Wealthy Entrepreneurs: How to Prepare Your Children for the Future

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The challenges that face wealthy families are many. To prepare children for leadership in the family business – and in life – requires quality parenting from the start. Your child is not a miniature adult. He or she does not have the cognitive development, or the life experiences yet to handle the complexities that comprise the world of most wealthy adults. If you want your child to grow up to be successful in life, then your focus from day one should be on building his or her self-esteem.

In order to build self esteem in your children, you must consider parenting a full-time job for both parents. This is true with all children, not just the wealthy, but wealthy children require even more attention. You must teach them the skills of independence, right from wrong, how to be a good person, how to choose friends wisely, how to dream, develop their talents and work to accomplish those dreams. But in addition to all of this, wealthy children must be taught how to handle the considerable responsibilities that wealth brings into their lives.

They have more resources and more opportunities than the average child. They are expected by others to know more and accomplish more, however unfair this may seem. These differences are not only statistical; they make the child feel different. And feeling different is a hardship for most children. If a child is unprepared for these differences or responsibilities their self-esteem can be severely shaken and they can sink into depression or at the very least be an underachiever.

I believe preparing your children for handling the responsibilities of wealth in a healthy manner is one of your primary tasks in your wealth preservation plan. Carrying out this responsibility is really quite simple. Your children should be part of the wealth management plan from the start. Give your child a chance to participate in the wealth management of your family estate. Perhaps they can contribute their own earnings to buying their own clothes or they can set up a savings account for college.

So, parents, take this responsibility seriously. Take 10-20 minutes each day for meditation or prayer to center and focus yourself on your most dearly held values and priorities…your family.

For more information, visit Entrepreneurial Life - Families in Business

Learn How to Use Your Emotions When Making Business Decisions

Friday, April 22, 2011


Making good business decisions is not based on high IQ. Rather it is based on how perceptive you are with your emotions. Those of us who feel our feelings, interpret them correctly, and then act upon that information, have an advantage over those of us who rely solely on intellect to make decisions. If you’re a business owner you probably need to make tough decisions every day. But really anyone can benefit from this information.

To properly perceive and act on your emotions takes practice. You must learn to master these 3 steps: (1) feeling your feelings; (2) interpreting your feelings correctly; and (3) acting upon the feeling information.

· Feeling your feelings. Feelings are things like joy, irritation, hunger, fatigue, boredom, confusion, pain, anticipation, pride, embarrassment, tension, and so on. It is also important to remember that you always feel your feelings first. Because of how you are "wired" thoughts or interpretations come after feelings. So it is useful to notice those feelings consciously before your conscious mind decides to ignore them or misinterpret them.

· Interpreting your feelings correctly. The key element here is to realize that feelings are basically neutral. That is, they are neither good nor bad; they are just feedback. Take anger for an example. Anger may feel unpleasant to you and therefore, something to suppress. However, the feeling of anger is neither good nor bad; it is just feedback about something that is important for you to know. Try to view all of your feelings that way. They are feedback in feeling-form about your environment.

· Acting upon the feeling information. Here are a few basic tips to improve your decision making by including relevant feeling information. (1) Always checkout your feelings before making any decision. (2) Inquire after another's feelings before proceeding to decision making. (3) Check your feelings again after arriving at the decision. (4) Remember that "feeling good" about something doesn't always mean that the decision is correct. (5) Be willing to acknowledge that you are afraid or angry or confused. Hiding these feelings from yourself may deny you powerful and necessary information.

Many of you know those successful people who seem always to be in the right place at the right time. They aren't really any smarter than you are, but probably they trust an "inner knowing" based upon using all of the resources available to them, emotional, mental, physical and even spiritual.

For more on information, visit Entrepreneurial Life.

Are You in a Codependent Relationship?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Are you in a codependent relationship? Codependency is the act of sacrificing oneself for the sake of another’s addiction. It is an attitude, a style of living. People become codependent when they consistently allow their own needs and rights to become secondary to another’s needs and rights. This type of relationship can be harmful and its effects can be devastating.

You can identify if you are in a codependent relationship by looking for specific symptoms. Here are some symptoms to lookout for:

· Are you tired and depressed all the time?

· Does it seem you can’t do enough to please your partner, father, girlfriend?

· Are you the only one who cares if things get better?

· Are you getting more and more headaches, backaches, stomach aches?

· Are you sacrificing your good reputation to help someone who doesn’t give back?

· Feel unappreciated?

· Are you relying on food, shopping, alcohol or other drugs to give you a lift?

To break this devastating cycle, it is important for the codependent to recognize that you count just as much as the person you are protecting. Why are your rights as a person or your health less important than theirs? Secondly, by breaking the cycle of codependence, you are giving back, to the addict, responsibility for their behavior. The first step toward your recover and theirs, is accepting responsibility for your own behavior and your own live. After all, how can they get better if you do it for them?

Breaking codependency is extremely difficult to do without help and regular support from others. Psychotherapy, or marital therapy are necessary. You may want to call self-help groups, such as Al-Anon or Codependents Anonymous, both listed in your local directory. If you live in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, WA, please contact my office for an appointment.

For more information, visit Marriage Counseling - Breaking the Cycle of Codependency.

Entrepreneurial Couples – How to Make Love the Top Priority

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Entrepreneurial couples have their work cut out for them to sustain proper balance in their lives. Making time for friendship, romance, and family togetherness is difficult, but imperative. As contrary as it may sound, putting love as the top priority is the key to success for any entrepreneurial couple. With so many responsibilities, it is nearly impossible to be spontaneous or wait for the right moment for love and romance. Successful entrepreneurial couples realize that they have to plan for love.

How can an entrepreneurial couple plan for love? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Schedule regular date nights. I encourage couples to have one date night per week and put it in stone. Use this time to focus on one another, not the business.

2. Take frequent mini-vacations. Sometimes you need more time together than a few hours. By taking a few mini-vacations a year, you can relax and recharge, coming home invigorated and ready to get back to work.

3. Volunteer together. Doing things for others can bring a couple closer together. If you have children, volunteer together to help in the classroom or to go on the school field trips. If you do not have children, look for a local cause that you both are interested in and regularly volunteer.

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Make time everyday in the morning or at the end of each day for uninterrupted discussions about everything that is necessary to keep the flow smooth. If one of you has to travel out of town, schedule time to talk every day.

All of these approaches help you remember why on earth you are working so hard anyway . . . to share your successes with the ones you love. So, make love the priority!

For more information on Entrepreneurial Couples, visit Entrepreneurial Life - Couples at Work and Home. My book Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home is also available for purchase with advice specifically about the challenges of working with your spouse.

5 Steps to Develop a Fair Compensation Plan for Your Family Business

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Compensating relatives is a sticky business. Not all people are really created equal. It is sometimes very difficult to assess and compare the talents of family members who are also employees. Nor do all family members contribute equally to the business. As a result of the stress that this causes, many family business owners ignore the problem and let compensation become a breeding ground for dissension in the family.

If you want a successful family business, you must push your anxiety aside and develop a compensation plan. To develop a fair compensation plan for your business, follow these five steps:

1. Write up accurate job descriptions for each employee. Include responsibilities, level of authority, technical skills, level of experience and education required for each job.

2. Identify what your compensation philosophy is. Do you want to pay about average, or higher? Do you want to attract talent from other companies? Do you want to offset the typical male/female wage differential? Are you a training ground for young, inexperienced people?

3. Gather information on the salaries of similar positions in your industry. Size up companies that are similar to yours in number of employees, revenue, product, geographic location, etc. What salaries and other benefits do these similar organizations pay their employees?

4. Develop a succession plan. How will a successor to the leadership be identified among family member/employees? How will they be prepared for leadership? How will this choice affect the morale of the family/business? How will this successor be compensated?

5. Design an affordable plan. Obviously you want to do the best you can with the dollars you have. What can you afford to compensate each family member/employee relative to their contribution?

After you have a compensation plan that reflects the family’s values as well as sound business practices, you are in position to negotiate an employment contract with a family member. It is important that everything is spelled out up front so that when you have an annual review, there is a way to compare employee performance with outlined expectations in the job description. Salary increases can then be based upon the employee’s true accomplishments.

As the CEO of a family business, make the best decision you can for the business. As a parent or a spouse, encourage your family member/employee to achieve their greatest potential within or outside the business. In this way both business and family wins.

For more on Entrepreneurial Life, visit Families in Business.


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