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Kathy Marshack News

How to Be a Fearless Woman Business Owner

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Woman standing in business suitAre you a woman business owner? You’re not alone. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, in 2015, “More than 9.4 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 7.9 million people, and generating $1.5 trillion in sales as of 2015.” That’s pretty impressive! Yet I find that so many successful businesswomen still feel inadequate at times.

Of course we all have different life experiences, and come from varied backgrounds and circumstances but there are certain fears that women frequently face as they run their business. What are they? And how can you conquer these fears so you think and act like a truly fearless leader?

Let’s examine three common fears and how to get past them:

1. Fear of not being viewed as “nice”. Women tend to avoid saying or doing things that could be viewed as aggressive or selfish. So they put their needs and desires in the background, not talking about them or even acknowledging them. Have you ever caught yourself doing this?

The problem is, when you don’t feel heard or recognized, resentment usually follows. Resentment grows quickly, and it doesn’t go unnoticed by those around you. When they feel the tension, but you’re not communicating what the problem is, it causes more tension and everyone just ends up feeling like they’re walking on eggshells around you – definitely not a pleasant, productive work environment.

The best gift you can give people you work with is to be clear with them about your goals and desires. Even if they don't agree with you they know where you stand. Nothing is hidden.

2. Fear of confrontation. This is closely tied in with the fear of being perceived as “not nice”. Women often will try to bury conflicts instead of actively resolving them. Perhaps you’ve done this before. You walk around as if everything is fine, when you are really upset. Maybe someone isn’t fulfilling their job duties, or you have an employee who is ten minutes late every day. It is an issue that needs addressing, but you just can’t bring yourself to do it.

Avoiding conflict can lead to serious problems. Issues can fester, and progress isn’t made. What began as a minor issue or annoyance will grow into a huge problem if it isn’t addressed quickly.

To move forward, you must firmly, but respectfully, confront the issue at hand. Acknowledge that there may be differing opinions, but insist that things get talked out. Keep talking until you reach a resolution. It may be that your difference of opinion is just what the system needs to be more profitable and productive.

3. Fear of failure. The idea of failure gives everyone some level of anxiety. As a woman, you feel failure differently. You fear failure in your business venture, but also worry about failing at your marriage or as a mother. Women place a high value on work-life balance, and a perceived loss of that balance can cause a woman to feel like a failure.

This particular fear can be paralyzing. It can prevent you from taking chances or growing your business. It keeps you from reaching out or taking on more responsibility. It holds you back from growing personally and professionally.

The next time the “what-if’s?” start taking over, take a minute for yourself. Be still, quiet, and let yourself feel the fear and anxiety. Then, once the emotions have settled, move forward and take action. Without risk and investment, there is no return. Without putting in a good deal of time and money, you wouldn’t have your company. Without your hard work at your company, your children would not have the future you want for them. Without putting your heart on the line, you wouldn’t have close relationships with your loved ones. Remind yourself of the good results of your past decisions. Have confidence that you can move forward to experience more positive results.

There are many other challenges that you as a woman business owner face, and other fears as well. If you know you could use someone to hold you accountable and help you push beyond your self-imposed boundaries I would love to work with you. If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.

Why Expatriates Can Benefit from Remote Counseling

Monday, April 17, 2017


Woman smiling and looking at computer screenAre you an expat? Are you living and/or working in a country other than your native one? Your reasons for moving abroad may have included secular work, volunteer work, retirement, or a quest to immerse yourself in a new culture for an extended period of time. It is an amazing privilege and experience to live in a new place and learn new things.

To be a successful expat, you know that you cannot simply recreate your old home and environment. So you’re probably working hard to learn the language. Maybe you’re experimenting with new ingredients and cooking techniques. You’re finding your new favorite market, coffee shop, breakfast nook, and bookstore. And you’re getting to know your new community and seek to become a contributing part of it.

These exciting changes and adjustments, though, are part of why some expats struggle emotionally. Take, for instance, suddenly living in an environment where few people speak your language. The people at work may speak it, but those in the community, on public transportation, at the market, and behind the counter at a restaurant may not. To be constrained by language barriers is isolating. Even when you have some grasp of your new language, fluency takes time and the process can be frustrating.

As an expat, you also have to adjust to your new environment. Your new area may not be as safe as your previous neighborhood, limiting mobility and walks alone. Or maybe your spouse is working, leaving you to fend for yourself during the day. And if you do want to grab lunch with a friend while your spouse is at work? They are all back in your native country, and phone calls can be expensive!

This can all lead to feelings of isolation, frustration, or depression. You realize that you could really use the help of a therapist to navigate your transition to a new life in a new country. But how do you find a therapist when you live abroad?

It can be a challenge. There may not be that many qualified therapists in your area. And finding them isn’t always easy. When you do find a good therapist, they may not speak your language. If you are living in a small community, there is also a chance you know the therapist. It can be uncomfortable to open up to someone who has connections to your outside life.

What is an expat to do? To fill this void in mental health care, I am starting a new service designed specifically for expatriates. Remote Counselling Services for Expats utilizes a HIPPA compliant, online video program to connect us, no matter where you are in the world. Via video conferences, I can help you navigate the unique situations that you face.

I have over thirty years of counseling experience, and I am so excited to offer my services to those living abroad! If you are an expatriate and are experiencing trouble adjusting to your new life, please take advantage of this unique, new service so you can get the most of your international experience and your life!

Setting Up the Next Generation for Success

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Child holding parent's handWhen you ask a parent what they want for their children, most will tell you that they want them to be happy and successful. Success is a broad term, though. Success can equate with academic achievements, community influence, and wealth. It can also refer to character. Most parents want their children to develop industriousness, generosity, and kindness.

However you measure success, what does it take to get there? Does your child’s success depend on wealth, the best schools, a nuclear family arrangement…?

The New York Times published the article, “What Does It Take to Climb Up the Ladder?”, and I found it intriguing. It examined the less-easily measured qualities that lead to success, like resiliency, curiosity, and self-control in relation to socio-economic and family status. What was interesting to me is that family money, in and of itself, is not a determining factor in development of these character qualities. What has more bearing on character development is the structure of the family unit.

How so? The young people who struggle the most come from broken homes, often from single-parent households. This quote from the article really sums it up: “Family disruption perpetuates disadvantage by creating barriers to the development of cognitive and noncognitive skills, which in turn sharply reduces access to college. The lack of higher education decreases life chances, including the likelihood of achieving adequate material resources and a stable family structure for the next generation.”

While this is interesting, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Children from a wealthy, stable, well-educated family can lack the resiliency and grit to make it through life successfully. On the other hand, many wonderful humans come from single-parent or disadvantaged households.

Whatever your family situation is, here are some tips to help raise successful children:

Embrace an authoritative parenting style. Authoritative parents are rational, receptive, and flexible. They encourage independence in their children, but give them only as much responsibility as they can handle. Instead of demanding blind obedience, they set clear rules and are willing to explain those rules to their children. Children of authoritative parents are independent, assertive, self-confident, and socially responsible and tend to do well academically. Because they are allowed room to try new things on their own, these children are well aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and are ready to work on both.

Model the behaviors you want to see in your children. Your children see everything you do, and soak it up like a sponge! Make sure your actions are saying what you want them to say. Be honest and authentic.

Don’t focus too much on achievement. Of course, you are proud of your child when they get good grades or excel in some other way. But are those individual achievements really what’s most important? Isn’t it the journey? True success comes from teamwork. The most successful people surround themselves with talented people who make up for what they lack. If you focus too much on the individual achievements of your children, they will not learn how to work with others, ask for help, and may give up out of discouragement.

Offer praise (but not too much). Children need praise to build their self-esteem, but not so much that they depend on praise from others to feel good about themselves. Their confidence must come from within. When you do praise your children, praise the effort they put in to something.

Say no. This simple, but powerful technique is key to raising a successful child. It teaches children to work hard for what they want, and to be patient when they have to wait for it. Help them set goals and create a plan to achieve them. This will teach your children how to deal with the initial disappointment, and refocus on the goal ahead.

Parenting is never easy and sometimes you find yourself unprepared to deal with a challenge. Rather than spinning your wheels and getting more and more frustrated with your child, talk to a family counselor. The right advice and the right time can save you and your family a lot of heartache. If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.

Are You Managing Your Anxiety or Is Your Anxiety Managing You?

Monday, March 27, 2017


Woman feeling anxiousAnxiety, despite being an unwelcome feeling, is a part of life. It is a feeling of nervousness, fear, or apprehension. Typical situations that cause anxiety are new experiences where you can’t for-see the outcome, high-pressure situations, or stressful events. Anxious feelings are often manifested physically through an upset stomach, headaches, or a racing heart.

For many people, anxiety goes as quickly as it comes. Once the anxiety-inducing event is over, their feelings normalize. They are able to handle the discomfort and uncertainty of anxiety without outside intervention.

This isn’t the situation for everyone though. There are many people who on a daily basis deal with nagging feelings of anxiety. Sometimes they can push these feelings down and go about their day without being too affected. Other times the feelings are so severe that they begin to affect a person’s work, relationships, and health. Anxiety becomes controlling, debilitating, and inescapable. In this case, help is needed to manage the mental and physical discomfort and learn how to cope.

Whichever group you fall into, it is necessary to manage your anxiety more effectively. Pushing your feelings to the back of your mind is not “managing” your anxiety; it is just procrastinating dealing with it.

What can you do if it feels like anxiety is gaining the upper hand in your life? Take a look at these suggestions:

Accept your feelings. Don’t dismiss how you are feeling. Accept your thoughts and feelings, and spend time examining them. By taking ownership of your feelings, you take back your power and control, making the problem feel much smaller. Practice mindfulness. This form of meditation helps you regain control of your thoughts. Consider your thoughts and feelings without judgement.

Challenge anxious thoughts. A lot of anxious thinking is not only negative; it is irrational. Ask yourself: Is there real evidence for your frightening thoughts and predictions? What are the pros and cons of worrying about it? You may think the worst will happen, when in reality there is no basis to think that. Challenge what you believe to be true about what you fear. Retrain your mind to process things in a way that does not feed your anxiety.

Replace anxious thoughts with realistic thoughts. Once you’ve identified the irrational distortions behind your anxious thoughts, replace them with realistic and positive thoughts. Give attention to things that are good and beneficial. Make a choice to be optimistic. Actively look on the bright side. It takes time and practice, but it can be done!

Practice gratitude every day. Looking for reasons to be grateful has a powerful effect on your mental health and emotional wellbeing. What you choose to remember and focus on become the pathway the brain will automatically take. If you constantly dwell on negative things that cause anxiety, your thoughts and feelings become dark and worrisome automatically. You’ve worn that pathway in your brain. But the good news it that those pathways can be shifted. Choosing to practice gratitude shifts your brain to see constructive, positive themes in your life instead of destructive ones.

Do you feel like your anxiety is too severe for these suggestions to help? Do you experience excessive anxiety and worry about daily activities? Does it interfere with your normal routine, job performance, or relationships? Are your everyday worries accompanied by physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, trembling, and stomachaches?

If so, you may one of the millions of American adults suffering from an anxiety disorder. These chronic conditions fill people’s lives with exaggerated worry and tension. Simply the thought of getting through the day can provoke anxiety. Anxiety disorders are relentless and can grow progressively worse if not treated.

The good news is that you can treat your anxiety disorder. Research is yielding new, improved therapies to help those with anxiety disorders to lead productive, fulfilling lives. If you think you may suffer from an anxiety disorder, and you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office for information and treatment.

6 Things Resilient Business Owners Never Do – Even on Very Bad Days

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Man at desk with computer "Everyone experiences tough times; it is a measure of your determination and dedication how you deal with them and how you can come through them." -Lakshmi Mittal
 
As a business owner you have good days and you have bad days, perhaps even very bad days. Being in control of your own business isn’t for the feint of heart. Probably more than anything else, to succeed in business you’re going to need to be resilient. Resilience is a broad term that refers to mental toughness. It indicates that a person is flexible, tough, thinks ahead, and works thoroughly and efficiently.
 
But sometimes there are some negative thinking patterns that can begin to erode your resiliency. How can you eliminate negative thinking that might be holding you back?
 
Let’s consider 6 things that resilient business owners don’t do:
 
  1. Feel sorry for themselves. Problems small to large are inevitable, but feeling sorry for yourself is a choice. Self-pity wastes valuable time and mental energy. It also keeps your focus on the problem instead of creative solutions. A good way to stop feeling sorry for yourself is to cultivate a grateful attitude, perhaps by writing down things in your life that are positive.
  2. Succumb to fear of change. Change is a part of life. Nothing stays the same. For some people, adjusting to change comes easily. For others, change causes an inordinate amount of stress. Whatever natural reaction you have to the idea of change, a resilient business leader will not shy away from change or let fear hold them back. Your success, both in life and business, depends on your ability, and willingness, to adapt.
  3. Dwell on the past. Learning from past mistakes with a goal to not repeating them is a good thing. Dwelling on them is harmful. You can get stuck in a cycle of second-guessing your choices or wishing that the present was just like the past. Neither of these things are productive. To grow and progress you have to make peace with the past and work through any negative emotions that could be holding you back.
  4. Worry about things they can’t control. Complaining and worrying about things you have little or no control over will not help you. It will only serve to distract you and take energy away from working on the things you can control. Other people’s choices, business decisions, and opinions are outside of your control, so don’t waste precious time worrying about them. Accept the situation, and move forward.
  5. Resent the success of other people. Have you ever felt a little twinge of jealousy when you see someone with something you don’t have? Maybe another business owner received an award or recognition for their work. A resilient leader doesn’t get distracted by jealousy. Resentment takes away your focus from your own work and impedes your efforts to reach your goals. Instead, recognize that the success of another person in no way takes away from your success. Be happy for them, and keep working toward your own definition of success.
  6. Give up. There are some people who can’t handle failure in any form. Their self-esteem is completely wrapped up in their “success”, aka “lack of failure.” But real success comes, not from doing everything perfectly the first time, but from trying, failing, getting back up, and trying again. If you feel like you have failed, try again. Focus on improving your skills, and mastering your craft.

Of course, ridding yourself of negative thought is easier said than done. If you’re struggling with one of these areas, consider getting help from a mental health expert. Rather than being a sign of weakness, this shows that you are ready to step up and be the best possible version of yourself and succeed not only in your business, but your life. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA, please contact my office to schedule an appointment.

Stressed Employees? Six Ways to Reduce Stress in a Family Business

Monday, February 20, 2017


Stressed woman sitting at deskAs an entrepreneur, you are used to handling high stress levels. It comes with the job. But what about your employees? They deal with stress, too. High levels of stress can cause or compound a variety of physical and emotional health issues. As a result, stressed-out employees tend to take more time off and be less productive when they are in the office. Their stress can also rub off on you, customers and coworkers.
 
You may think it’s not your job, but savvy business owners recognize that helping employees reduce stress is a top priority. If you work with your family, it is more important than ever to create a positive work environment. The good news is there are many positive changes you can make to create a work environment that reduces the stress you and your employees feel.
 
How can you help reduce the stress felt by your employees? Consider these six ideas:
 
  1. Set a good example. Just as children imitate the example of their parents, so too do employees imitate the example of their boss. Demonstrate what work-life balance looks like. Take time for your family and your wellbeing. Avoid negative attitudes. If you establish a culture of balance and reasonableness at the office, your employees will follow suit and stress levels will go down.
  2. Help them find balance. Even if your employees see you taking time for yourself and trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance, they could struggle to achieve the same thing in their own life. So empower them with information about the benefits of staying healthy through exercise and good eating habits, and the importance of taking breaks. You may even want to create company policies that encourage health and wellbeing.
  3. Communicate openly. Be clear and open with everyone involved in the family business. Create an environment where people feel comfortable asking questions and making suggestions. Let each person know what is expected of them and how they can gauge their success. Stress is reduced when people feel heard and informed.
  4. Don’t be afraid of confrontation. In family firms, conflicts often get buried instead of being resolved. However, avoiding conflict can lead to serious problems. Issues can fester, and progress isn’t made. In order to get to the bottom of conflicts and move forward, you must respectfully and firmly confront the issue. Acknowledge that you may or may not be right, but insist that the family talk things out. Keep talking until you find a mutually agreeable solution.
  5. Create a pleasant work environment. Your employees will do their best work when their environment is free of clutter and full of life. Get to work organizing, filing, and putting things away. Encourage laughter, teamwork, and bonding. Bring in some art and plants. Plants purify the air, reduce blood pressure, and promote positive energy.
  6. Express appreciation. It is a good practice to daily look for opportunities to tell each person how much you appreciate them. Employees need to hear commendation. And if they hear you offering commendation, they will be more likely to express appreciation for the help their colleagues give them as well.
 
A positive work environment is vital when it comes to reducing job stress, forging strong family bonds, and increasing productivity. Sometimes it is easier said than done, especially when it comes to working with family. I am here to help you manage the unique challenges of working with your loved ones. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA, please contact my office to schedule an appointment.

Entrepreneurs – How to Conquer Your Own Worst Enemy

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Shoe squishing the word impossibleWhat do you consider to be your worst enemy as an entrepreneur? The ever-changing market? Fickle customers? Your competition?
 
What about your own negative attitude?
 
You may have heard that attitude is everything, and indeed it is. The mind and body connection is very real and very powerful. Our emotions affect our bodies and dwelling on negative ones can cause many physical health problems.
 
But did you realize that optimism could also greatly impact the health and wellbeing of your business? Optimists tend to be solution-oriented. When they encounter a setback, instead of throwing their hands up, they continue to search for a way around the problem because they are convinced there is a solution. They are also willing to try new things because they recognize that what looks like failure is really a learning experience.
 
While optimism can positively impact your life and business in a very large way, negativity can quickly tear down what you have worked for. Negativity adds to the normal stress felt by entrepreneurs everywhere. It also has a debilitating effect, sometimes preventing people from moving forward and getting past a situation or starting something new.
 
Do you tend to have a pessimistic attitude about life or your business? Or perhaps all the negativity in the media of late is having an impact on your state of mind?
 
Let’s consider three steps that can help you turn your negative thoughts around:
 
Accept your thoughts and feelings. It is important not to dismiss your negative thoughts and worries. Worrying about worrying is not going to help you! Accept your thoughts and feelings and take time to examine them. When you accept the existence of the negative thought and take ownership of it, you take back power and control. The problem no longer feels so large.
 
I often suggest to my clients that they make the effort to practice mindfulness, a simple form of meditation that helps you get control of your thoughts and behaviors. It is the act of focusing all of your attention on the present. Focus on what you are doing or feeling without thinking about why you’re doing it or feeling that way, what you should do next, or what you think you should be doing. Mindfulness requires that you consider your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
 
Challenge your negative thoughts. Once you accept your negative thoughts, you are in the position to challenge them. Ask yourself: Is there real evidence for your frightening thoughts and predictions? Are they founded in unhelpful beliefs? What are the pros and cons of worrying or avoiding the thing I fear?
 
Replace negative thoughts with realistic thoughts. Once you’ve identified the irrational or negative distortions in your anxious thoughts, replace them with new thoughts that are more realistic and positive. It can be helpful to view your negative thoughts and worries as incentives to search for solutions. Especially in business, solutions do not come from worry or fear. They come from putting our attention on what is good and beneficial.
 
Often, negative thoughts are part of a lifelong pattern of thinking. It takes time and practice to break these habits. To help you adjust your thinking to a more positive perspective, I suggest starting each day with a positive thought. That may sound small, but it will help you set the tone for how you will choose to think for the day. It is also beneficial to practice gratitude every day. People who look for reasons to be grateful experience better mental health, emotional wellbeing and resiliency in the face of difficulties.
 
If you still feel overwhelmed by negative thoughts and you live near Portland OR/Vancouver, WA, please contact my office to schedule an appointment. I can help you put your negative thoughts into perspective and cultivate a positive attitude that will help you succeed in life and business.

6 Strategies to Make a Change in Your Career Path Payoff

Monday, January 23, 2017


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

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Entrepreneurs – Do You Need to Change Your Habits This Year?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Arrows pointing opposite directionsWe all have habits we don’t even notice anymore. Maybe you get up each morning and immediately make a cup coffee. When you get to the office, you might take a moment to organize your desk and plan your day. You could take the same path through the grocery store every time you shop.

Our days are made up of a series of habitual behaviors. We develop habits because they are convenient mechanisms for getting things done without having to think too much about them. This leaves us more time and mental energy to devote to other things. Entrepreneurs, who are pulled in so many different directions throughout the day, find mindless habit to be extremely helpful as it allows some things to just flow.

But what happens when your formerly good habits no longer serve your best interest?

When you come to realize that a habit, or even a series of them, is no longer serving its purpose, stop doing it. Once we get something working, an efficient routine, it can be hard to give it up. But the fact is that what works now, won’t work forever.

Our lives are ever changing, as is our environment and our business. Therefore, it is important to assess your habits from time to time. Ask yourself: Are my habits helping me? Or are they just comfortable? Have they gotten to the point of being counterproductive?

I worked with a couple who, for many years, had a great routine going. Don ran the family business and Maria cared for the home and the children. The problem came later, when the children were grown. Maria wanted to go back to work, but she had trouble seeing her husband taking care of some of her former household duties. Don was afraid to relinquish control of their family finances. They struggled because everything had worked so smoothly for so long, they were reluctant to change even though change was needed.

What they needed to do was examine their habits in the light of their values as a family. If traditional family roles were most important to them, then it would make sense for Maria to not work outside the home. However, if their traditional style was simply convenient when the children were young, they should have no problem changing their style and habits to suit a dual-career life.

Successful entrepreneurs are all about managing exterior change, but many forget that they have to change themselves sometimes. While it is not always a comfortable process, change is a part of life and it is vital to our progress and happiness. We all need to experience new things, overcome new challenges that take us outside of our comfort zones, to grow.

As this year draws to a close, it is the perfect time to step back and assess your habits, personally and professionally. Can you identify any of your habits that might be doing more harm than good? I’m sure you can recognize some of your habits as being helpful and moving you forward in the right direction. Are there any new habits you want to develop?

New Year’s Resolutions often get a bad rap for not lasting past January. It doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, try examining your priorities and resolve to establish habits and routines that maximize your values and beliefs. These are changes and habits that will last…until they need to change again!

Have your habits and routines stopped bringing you joy? If there is something about your life that’s not working, don’t settle for it! If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. I will help you get to the root of the problem and find a solution.



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