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Kathy Marshack News

Are You Mentally and Emotionally Prepared to Retire from Your Job?

Monday, April 25, 2016


Determine if you’re mentally and emotionally prepared to retire from your job, by answering these questions about retirement, because it’s not just about finances.“If I retired, I’d have more time with the grandkids. I’d get to enjoy my hobby more. I could finally relax. I wouldn’t have to get up so early and always be on all the time.”

Do thoughts like these cross your mind? If you’re of the baby boomer generation, it’s imperative to give retirement preparation serious consideration right now. And not all your decisions should be based on whether you’re financially prepared to enjoy your retirement. Whether your retirement is successful or not depends more on your emotional and mental preparation.

Before you hand in your retirement notice, ask yourself these questions:

Does your present job give you fulfillment or purpose? Then it may not be time to walk away from it. How will you spend your time? What life direction will you take? Do you have something planned that will give you more purpose in life? You don’t want to end up feeling bored, restless and useless.

Do you want to retire because you hate your job? Perhaps retiring isn’t the answer. What you really might need is to find a new career that fulfills you. Why not try volunteering for a worthy cause, which in time could lead you to a new vocation.

How will retirement affect your social life? If your entire social life revolves around work, you may end up feeling alone when you retire. It would be good to make sure you have a good social network in place before you step into retirement. On the other hand, if you’re already regretting the time you don’t spend with your family and friends, then this may be a good indicator that it’s time to think about retiring. Don’t forget to give some thought to how your choice will affect your marriage if your spouse doesn’t retire at the same time that you do.

Do you have realistic expectations of retirement? Sleeping until noon, puttering around, and staying in your pjs all day, will get old and stale quickly. You’re going to have a lot of time on your hands. How will you fill it? If you’re not already involved in activities you love outside of work, then it’s time to begin finding some that you enjoy.

Have you prepared the next generation to take over? When you’ve been at the helm of the family firm, it may be difficult to let go. As a result, your children may not be ready for the responsibility that you’ll be giving them. If they’re not ready, start formulating a plan to train them today.

Have you built up a stewardship? As an entrepreneur, do you take your responsibility seriously to give back to the community who supported your growth? You can read the story of Bob Thompson who is a sterling example of stewardship.

Change inevitably brings stress. Some people are not as well equipped to handle it as they thought. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t hesitate to reach out for help from a professional coach or family therapist. She can help you sort out your feelings and get you back on track. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Men vs. Women When Making Decisions - Can You Leverage Your Differences?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Differences in how men and women communicate and make decisions can drive you crazy unless you learn to integrate or reconcile these communication styles.Have you ever wondered why the symbol for "Justice" is a woman and she's blind to boot? Or another curiosity is that the statue in New York harbor, representing the United States of America is Lady Liberty. What is it that these female spirits represent? Why are women the symbol of our judicial system and the country as a whole?

 

One of the most interesting areas of the dynamics between men and women is how they make decisions. One way I sum it up is that men make the first best decision, but women seek out the best-best decision. In the fashion of Lady Justice (where the blindfold represents impartiality), women look at all sides of an issue before deciding anything. They value everyone's opinion in the process of moving toward a decision. They may have a strong opinion themselves, but like the blind Lady, they’re willing to stay impartial until they’ve gathered enough information from others.

 

Men on the other hand seek to move the situation along as swiftly as possible. Regardless of everyone's view, men tend to value the efficiency of getting to the answer quickly. If a man has an opinion, dialogue with others is not always to merely gather information, but to persuade others toward his point of view.

How does this dynamic work when a husband/wife team needs to make decisions together? If they understand each other well, then the decision-making dynamic is powerful. If they don't, then each party can feel very misunderstood.

 

For example, if the wife is gathering information from her husband then she may initiate a discussion with her husband. He often doesn't hear that she wants to discuss the subject. Rather he hears that she wants him to make a decision. Therefore he tells her his decision and considers the discussion completed. She leaves unfulfilled because she wants to toss ideas around before a decision is made. Later when the husband's decision is not carried out, the husband may feel frustrated because he thought a decision had been made.

 

Sound familiar? It's because women tend to have discussions and men tend to go strait to decisions. When a wife recognizes that her husband has a need to get things done as efficiently as possible, she can refocus her energy onto solutions, even if she would like just a little more discussion.

The different decision-making styles can be an asset, if there is an integration of the male perspective and the female perspective. However, often a husband and wife get stuck because they do not recognize the dynamic that is going on. They often find it beneficial to consult with a professional who can facilitate this discussion. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA, feel free to contact my office and schedule an appointment.

 

Read more on my website: Conflict & Communication.

 

The Entrepreneurial Lifestyle – Are You Making the Most of It or Just Making Do?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


The entrepreneurial lifestyle has definite pros and cons, yet you don’t have to “make do” with your current situation – learn how to make the most of life.From my experience counseling and researching entrepreneurial couples, I’ve learned a great deal about how couples negotiate the stressful daily transitions from home to work and back again. By and large they’re doing a pretty good job.

What are the cons of the entrepreneurial lifestyle? These couples are stressed, to be sure; they are facing fatigue; they have marital problems; they feel guilty about the little quality time spent with their children; they make personal compromises in order to get ahead in their careers; and they make career compromises in order to keep the family stable.

What are the pros of the entrepreneurial lifestyle? But entrepreneurial couples also feel as though they are making a real contribution to the community. They are creating a future for their children; they can bring intellectually stimulating conversation to the dinner table; they can afford dream vacations; they can be a force politically.

Regardless of their personal pros and cons most entrepreneurial couples say they would not live any other way.


The problem is that entrepreneurial couples are not the type of people who like doing a "pretty good job." They’re not content with just "making do." They’re the kind of people who like to excel, or they would not both be pursuing meaningful, demanding careers. And they’re the kind of people who like "having it all."

It appears, however, that many entrepreneurial couples are just making do. Because many of these couples have no models to guide them in planning and implementing the entrepreneurial couple life, they tend to follow the outdated models of their parents or grandparents.

For example, without thinking, some entrepreneurial couples continue to divide home responsibilities along traditional gender lines. Women do the laundry, the cooking, and the cleaning. Men do the yard work, home repairs, and auto maintenance. For entrepreneurial couples, this is especially a problem when they also divide work responsibilities along traditional gender lines, not taking into consideration the training and talents of each partner. For example, some attorney wives are also the office manager for their husband-and-wife law firm.

While most entrepreneurial couples just make do, the purpose of my book, Entrepreneurial Couples: Making It Work at Work and at Home, is to teach you how to make the most of your entrepreneurial lifestyle. This is not just another pop psychology book with a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, it digs into your beliefs and values where deep, meaningful change really happens.

Have you ever read a book and wished you could ask the author a question?
The good news is you can ask me. Just book a private Q & A session with me via the phone or through an online video program. This is an opportunity for us to discuss follow-up questions after you’ve read my book for Entrepreneurial Couples or perused my website. If you know you want to make the most of your life as an entrepreneurial couple instead of just making do I look forward to talking with you!

Get further details here.

Improve Your EQ, not Your IQ, for More Successful Relationships

Monday, March 28, 2016


Improve Your EQ, not Your IQ, for More Successful Relationships"She has a sixth sense and always knows what to do and say." "He can always close a deal." "They always make the right decisions." Do you envy people who have those gifts? How do they do it? Research demonstrates that not all success in life is determined by IQ, but may rest more on how perceptive one is with regard to emotional intelligence (EQ or EI).

Emotional intelligence has to do with 1) how you recognize, understand and manage your own emotions and 2) how you recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others, especially under high-pressure situations.

How do we develop this side of ourselves and how do we integrate this information with your thinking process? It appears to be a matter of mastering the following three steps:

#1 Put a name to your feelings. Feelings are things like joy, irritation, hunger, fatigue, boredom, confusion, pain, anticipation, pride, embarrassment, tension, and so on. The list is endless and I often advise my clients to get a thesaurus or dictionary and copy down as many "feeling" words as they can find. It is important to refine your repertoire of feelings and feeling words so that you can expand your consciousness about your EQ.

It’s 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.

#2 Interpret those feelings that you have just noticed. The key element here is to realize that feelings are basically neutral. That is, they are neither good nor bad; they are just feedback. For 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 as feedback about the way you sense your environment. One person may be triggered to feel angry about something, while another may be triggered to laugh.

#3 Act on the information you have interpreted from your feelings. If you feel hungry or fatigue, it’s easy to make a decision to eat or sleep. But decision-making is more complex when the feelings are part of a financial plan for your business or a problematic relationship. This is where EQ really helps. Individuals who have trusted their EQ throughout childhood and have refined and developed those skills into adult life are in a much better position to make successful decisions.

You’ll improve any situation, be it familial or business, if you improve your EQ. When you’re able to feel your feelings, interpret them correctly, and then act upon that information, you have an advantage over those who rely solely on intellect to make decisions. If this is a subject you’d like to explore in more detail, take advantage of my Remote Education services. This topic comes under the umbrella of Entrepreneurial Couples.

Read more on my website: Emotional Intelligence.

Parents – Are You Teaching Your Children All They Need to Know About Sex?

Monday, March 21, 2016


Young people need to have good parental training and examples in order to have a healthy view of sex, so they can navigate through life successfully.As a psychologist and family business coach, I’ve seen it too often. Even with abundant litigation for sexual harassment in the workplace, infidelity and harassment are still ongoing problems because the underlying cause isn’t being addressed.

Like eating and drinking, the sex drive is a normal and necessary part of human life. Unfortunately, much of what people learn about appropriate sexual behavior is gathered from unreliable sources such as television, movies or pornography, or worse, through exploitation by unethical adults.

As with most human skills, sex can be used in a positive healthy way or it can be used to abuse and manipulate. Sex can lead to pleasure and a love bond within a relationship. Or sex can lead to pain, suffering, and corruption.

Other than a perfunctory sex-education class in public school, where the emphasis is on health and procreation, a young adult needs to learn about sexual techniques, or the relationship between sex and love, or the subtleties of sex in the workplace. But where are they going to learn about sexual ethics if the parents aren’t teaching them?

I have met few parents who openly discuss sexuality with their kids. Most parents tell me they’re more than willing to answer any questions their kids ask about sex, as if any kid in their right mind will tell their parents they’re thinking about sex!

I wrote an article recently for PsychCentral that shows how this lack of education and parental example plays out by examining the case of the Smith Family Firm. (Fictional names to protect the identities.) You’ll see how sexual improprieties affect the family, employees, vendors, business associates, and customers. (Click here to read the entire article.)

So, why do people risk sexual infidelity?

Besides a lack of education, sexual misbehavior is essentially a signal of a deeper problem. It’s a message about a much needed change in a person’s life and relationships. If you’re struggling with this yourself or you don’t know how to talk with your children, please don’t hesitate to seek professional, confidential help from a psychologist. As embarrassing as it is to bring these things out, it’s more embarrassing to pass the problem along to the next generation. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Read more on my website: Love, Sex and Intimacy.

Is A Manipulative Personality Ruining Your Family Life?

Wednesday, March 02, 2016


Find out if a manipulative personality is ruining your family life by discovering overt and subtle ways that you may be conned or ways you are conning others.No one likes to feel manipulated or conned into doing something that they don’t want to do, whether it’s because of ethical reasons or personal preference. It leaves you feeling violated – understandably so. The word con is actually an abbreviation for confidence. Therefore the con game is really the confidence game. The success of the game is to create confidence within the victim for the manipulator.

By having confidence in the con artist, we’re handing over our trust, or temporarily suspending our disbelief. No matter how outrageous the con's behavior, once that person has your trust and confidence, the con artist can have their way with you.

Some of you may already know some of the signals of a scam and pride yourself on escaping. Some of the less well-known signals are more intuitive, however.

What are some subtle signals that you’re being manipulated?

  • Feeling ashamed without there being a good reason.
  • Feeling overly impressed or awed by a peer.
  • Feeling special or flattered by attention from someone you hardly know.
  • Finding out there’s no pay off for you.
  • Discovering you’re being used because you’re doing more work than the other person in the relationship.
  • Always hearing “good” excuses for why the other person never seems to come through for you.

Less recognizable are the signals that YOU are doing the manipulation. If it’s been your life pattern for a long time, you might not even be aware of it. Here are a few indicators:

1. How often do you say: "I didn't mean to…" Can this really be manipulation? Well, ask yourself how you feel when the tables are turned. Don’t you feel mad, confused, hurt, or trapped? The person who uses the "I didn't mean it" con game is not taking full responsibility for their actions. It's as if no harm was done if the person didn't mean it. So the next time those words start forming on your lips, stop and make a straightforward apology for your actions and offer to clean up the problem, whether you committed the deed accidentally or intentionally.

2. Do you bully others into submission or charm them into acquiescing, when deep down inside they don’t agree with you? Really, what kind of agreement do you have? How much support are you going to get in the long run? Have you increased your family's trust or are they just afraid of you?

3. Do you make frequent and generous promises which you don’t fulfill? Perhaps you keep lunch dates waiting for hours, dismissing it with the excuse that you’re such a busy person. You expect people to always make allowances for your “little foibles”.

If you truly want to prosper as a family, then be committed to cleaning up these covert confidence games that you’re playing with the ones you love. It can help to enlist the assistance of a dispassionate professional. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment, so we can work on making your family truly happy and secure.

Entrepreneurs - How to Develop a Spiritual Plan for a Happy and Healthy Lifestyle

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Entrepreneurs - How to Develop a Spiritual Plan for a Happy and Healthy LifestyleWorking long hours, working out of your home, or working and living with your spouse/business partner twenty-four hours a day leaves little time to recuperate inner strength. As the stress increases and the opportunity for recuperation diminishes, many entrepreneurial couples fall victim to stress related illnesses, mental or emotional problems, chemical dependency, and spiritual despair.

The process of losing your health (physical, psychological, interpersonal or otherwise) begins long before symptoms develop. The stress process begins the moment you allow any part of your life to be out of alignment. If one system (such as your body, your marriage, or your work) is unattended or allowed to stay out of healthy alignment for too long, it affects the other systems, which in turn produce stress and deterioration.

If you are going to manage the excessive stresses of entrepreneurial life you actually need more stamina than the average person. To combat the pressures caused by the competing demands of love and work and to build the necessary stamina for this complex lifestyle, you must build a power plan to maintain and enhance your health not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well.

How can you develop a spiritual plan for your entrepreneurial lifestyle?


Spirit or spirituality is not synonymous with religion or religious. Rather the spirit is the part of us that defines us and yet connects us to others. It has long been known that a strong healthy spirit will guide us successfully through adversity, whereas a conquered spirit will succumb to illness and death. Therefore, keeping spirit or life force healthy is essential to the process of achieving healthy balance in any life. For entrepreneurial couples especially, the key to effective stress management is the proper alignment and interaction of a healthy mind, a healthy body, and a healthy spirit.

Even if your life has led you in one of these stressful directions, don't despair. Make meaning of the experience and put the disaster into the context of your life. Then reorient that life to meet your values.

If one of those values is a belief in God, yet you are not attending to that spiritual relationship, the balance in your life is compromised and will inevitably lead you to some form of personal or interpersonal dysfunction. On the other hand, if you develop a stronger sense of self as belonging to something larger than just this earthly existence, and you make a commitment to that higher self (i.e. through prayer or inner contemplation), even when you have suffering, you will have a meaningful and prosperous life to share with the ones you love and work with.

If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. If you live elsewhere, you can schedule a remote education session, and then we can discuss how to make your business/home life thrive.

Read more: Spiritual Component Essential to Healthy Entrepreneurial Life.

 

Are New Year’s Resolutions Too Superficial?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Every year you resolve to lose weight, quit drinking, or spend more time with family, yet the resolve fades, so why are New Year’s Resolutions so hard to keep? Every year you may resolve, “I want to lose weight” or “I want to quit drinking so much”, or “I want to spend more time with my family.” Yet as January fades away so does your resolve. Why is it that we can’t accomplish what we want? Because all too often we apply a band-aid when surgery is needed. We end up trying to fix the symptom or signal without addressing the real problem.

When problem solving the first question to ask yourself is, "Is this thing I’m observing the signal or the problem?" Recognizing and interpreting the signals is quite a complex process, but you can improve your skills.

However, there are two common mistakes people make when trying to solve a problem or create real change in their lives…

1. Ignoring signals until they grow into serious problems. For example, I often hear that people too busy to attend to themselves or their personal relationships. Too busy doing what? Working? You need to ask yourself why are you working so hard? Is that your goal? Most people want a close-knit family who enjoys being together. But if you’re too busy managing the nuts and bolts of a business or career and have no time to enjoy and communicate with your family, aren't you overriding one of the reasons why you working in the first place?

2. Mistaking signals for the problem. When a person is angry or aggressive, we tend to listen, but when a person is quiet or passive, we tend to ignore them. Actually, those behaviors are signals of something. Discovering the meaning of the signals takes digger deeper.

The bottom line is that all human behavior is meaningful. But the meaning may come disguised as signals that look like problems themselves. For example, alcoholism is a signal of a pervasive illness. Alcohol abuse, on the other hand, may be a sign of overwork, too much stress, a lack of parental guidance, or even confusion in the work place. If you try to solve the problem of alcoholism by reducing the person's stress at work, the alcoholic may just have more time to drink. Likewise, if you recommend alcohol treatment for the person who is abusing alcohol, they may stop drinking but find other self-destructive methods to cope with problems at work.

Many New Year’s resolutions are superficial but the underlying problems most likely require deeper probing. So if there’s something about your life that isn’t working don’t just settle with a quickly forgotten resolution. Instead dig in, assess, diagnose and search out the meaning. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment to figure out what the signals are telling you. I’ll help you tap into all the strengths at your disposal to create workable solutions.

Online Education is Ideal for Helping Your Family Business Thrive

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


online education is ideal for helping your family business thrive"How can I help my Dad? Dad and his brother run the family business that they inherited from their father, except my Dad does all of the work. Dad is stressed all of the time but doesn't want to disrupt the family. I'd like to come to work for my Dad but I don't want to be part of carrying my lazy uncle. What should I do?"

This was the first problem ever presented to me when I hosted a private Internet Chat for members of a family firm years ago. We "chatted" for about an hour, via our computers and covered a lot of territory. Even though the young man on the East Coast, he was able to get expert advice on the precise subject he needed help with because he was comfortable searching the Internet. And by the tone of his messages, he was pleased by the end of our hour to have a plan of action to present to his father.

This son didn’t feel comfortable calling his father's accountant or attorney to talk over the problem. Nor did he feel brave enough to confront his uncle or even his father on such a touchy subject. He could have hired his own local consultant or psychologist, but it might have been difficult finding an expert on families in business. But from the comfort and privacy of his home, he surfed the web until he found just what he needed. In this case it was a psychologist whose specialty is helping families in business solve those sticky problems that cross over from loving relationships into the business marketplace.

Technological advances continue to make online education advantageous for all business owners, but especially family business members. Online education is tailor made for travelers and those who work odd hours. You can get on line anywhere, anytime. The convenience means that you’ll probably take advantage of the service more often and get to the bottom of the problem faster. Online education is attractive to those who are too embarrassed to bring a problem up fact-to-face.

Over the years, I’ve encouraged my clients to educate themselves about life's problems by reading books and articles. Now in addition to some excellent books, I recommend highly regarded websites. Ignorance about life slows you down. Educating yourself helps reduce your fears and defensiveness. With knowledge comes confidence and with confidence comes creativity and with creativity, options and solutions start to materialize. And the convenience of online education shortens your problem solving time tremendously.

Of course there are downsides to this form of consultation too.
How do you know who you can trust? Is your e-mail or chat confidential? In addition to a wealth of helpful advice, there is a wealth of garbage and damaging material on the Internet. The surfer does have to beware. You can't assume because someone has a website that they are honorable, legal, credentialed, caring or experienced. However, if you use the same common sense you use in business to size up any person or situation, I think you can sort the wheat from the chaff.

If you have a family business and you’re wondering how to address a situation that’s impacting your business and your family please take a look at my Family Business column for some answers. If you could use some advice simply sign-up for a Remote Education session with me and get your work/home life questions answered.


Entrepreneurial Couples – What Should You Change in 2016 If Your Lifestyle Just Isn’t Working?

Wednesday, December 02, 2015


Entrepreneurial Couples – What Should You Change in 2016 If Your Lifestyle Just Isn’t Working?Most entrepreneurial couples just wing it when it comes to business or marriage. They trust their drive, intelligence, and savvy to get them through life's roadblocks. But as life becomes more complicated by marriage, children, and an expanding business, the weaknesses in this style begin to emerge. Without a plan for the evolution of your marriage, family, or business, you may be very unprepared for the consequences. It is no surprise that most family-owned businesses never make it to the second generation.

Composing a life may be a better euphemism than life planning because it implies that life is art. The artist understands that the picture is more than the sum of its parts. The artist knows that when all of the elements are woven together, the tapestry takes on a life of its own. When you think about the business you have chosen to run with your spouse or partner, is it a representation of both of you or of some family history? How did you choose the name for your business? Does the name reflect a value or interest of yours? The answers to these questions reveal that it is not by chance that you are precisely at this point in your life.

It would be a lot easier to compose a life if you had a clean slate to start with. Unfortunately, you have probably been wandering around in life for a few decades already. You made decisions years ago that are still affecting you today. Some of these decisions can be changed; others are more permanent. Still others are perfectly good choices and are the foundation of the life you will begin composing today.

The first consideration in composing a life is to be brave. You may have to do radical surgery on yourself. You will probably find that your basic values as a human being are sound, but that their expression in the real world will have to change. When you were a young adult in your early twenties, developing a relationship with your new spouse was based on the needs and goals of youth. Your marriage today, as an older, wiser couple, may require revamping to keep up with individual, family, and business development. Even the business in which you chose to involve yourself may have been suited to you at thirty, but at forty-five has lost its appeal.

When people face a crisis or even just an ordinary problem, they are tempted to try a simple change. They change jobs, change spouses, build a new house, and so on. These simple changes are supposed to make them feel better—and sometimes they do, for a while. But in the long run the new job fizzles, the new spouse presents problems remarkably similar to those the previous spouse presented, and the new house is still not quite big enough.

Rather than waste your time with pointless changes, compose a life, and plan for meaningful change. Change your map of reality to include the possibilities that you (your spouse and your family) are capable of, even if this involves painful and difficult work. In other words, composing a life that works this time probably means changing your concept of the interdependence of love and work.

Are you ready to compose a new life plan as an entrepreneurial couple? You can order a copy of my book, Entrepreneurial Couples: Making It Work at Work and at Home, to get my more advice on how to do it successfully, including my 7 Ground Rules for Successful Life Planning. Do you have a question for me? Sign-up for a Remote Education session with me to get some answers.



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