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Kathy Marshack News

Entrepreneurial Life - Beware of Burnout

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Are you an entrepreneur? Have you ever experience "burnout?" The entrepreneurial lifestyle is a demanding one. Of course, there are many rewards, but if not kept in check, this lifestyle can lead you down a very unhealthy path, emotionally and physically.

Since entrepreneurs are driven to succeed, it is easy to push through without stopping to evaluate if you’re on the path to self-destruction. Regardless of how you feel at this moment, if you are an entrepreneur, I encourage you to stop and honestly evaluate yourself. Take note of the signs that you may be burned out.

Signs of Burnout:

  • You are usually creative, but instead you feel like you have hit a wall
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of enthusiasm or drive for your work
  • A cranky, negative attitude that won't disappear
  • Hypertension
  • Trouble sleeping or insomnia
  • Chronic headaches or stomach problems
  • Family and friends voicing concerns for your well-being

If you see yourself in this list, then it is time to take a time out. It may be as simple as taking a few hours out of your work week for a hobby or time with your family. How about scheduling in a long weekend or a vacation? Whatever you need to do, do it immediately. Success is wonderful, but not a the expense of your mental or physical health. If taking a break does not relieve your symptoms, then you may need to get the assistance of a mental health care professional. There could be deeper issues that need to be addressed. Doing so will be worth your while.

For more information, visit Entrepreneurial Life and Managing Stress.

What Makes a Good Leader? The "Resilience Factor"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


What makes a leader? Is leadership a genetic trait or a learned ability? Leadership development is one of the major concerns of American executives. Business owners are frequently faced with the problem of developing leadership skills among executives and managers.

The kind of skills that will enhance any leader's position and that could create a leader from someone with raw talent, come under what I call the "resilience factor." Within this factor are the qualities of flexibility, the win-win philosophy, quality over quantity, toughness, and foresight.

How the resilience factor is demonstrated:

Flexibility: No matter what surprises lay in store for this leader, he or she is flexible enough to do what works in the moment. He or she can learn from even the lowest employee in the hierarchy.

The Win-Win Philosophy: Competition is a waste of time for this leader. This leader's philosophy is that everyone wins.

Quality over Quantity: Doing things fast is replaced by doing things thoroughly, efficiently and with quality. The leader who has mastered good interpersonal skills has a devoted work force, family and clientele. Therefore, taking the time to do it right and to learn from others pays off.

Toughness: Leaders who win are tough. They don't give up. Their employees and family members can count on them to come through. They aren't afraid to speak, nor to speak an unpopular position.

Foresight: When leaders speak, they have thoroughly researched their opinion. Winging it was OK in those start up years, but if you want people to follow you, be thorough.

The bottom line is that resilient leaders recognize the abilities and talents in others as well as themselves. These leaders realize that their greatest contribution to the business is their ability to lead, to cultivate excellence in others, to create a quality business with longevity. Without developing the interpersonal skills that create trust and confidence in the leader, this is just not possible.

For more on being a resilient leader, read my article - Cultivating Resilient Leadership Can Help a Family Business Succeed or visit Entrepreneurial Life.

Why Successful Entrepreneurs Are Often Alienated From Their Family

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Strong, driven, successful, untrusting, perfectionist, reliable, intolerant, a loner . . . These are some of the traits that belong to the authoritarian entrepreneur type and often times they are incredibly successful in business. While many of these traits are positive and lead to success, there is one major flaw of the authoritarian entrepreneur.

An authoritarian entrepreneur believes that he or she is doing a good job for family and employees, regardless of their protests. He can only see his point of view and assumes that others agree with it or otherwise are too immature to understand. Because he believes he is doing what is best for everyone, he pushes ahead with his plans, often ignoring the challenges, complaints and cries of those he is pushing aside. Once his family or employees fight back, he feels betrayed and hurt.

The authoritarian entrepreneur has no awareness that he has any problems, which makes it exceedingly difficult to get help. He is an example of a good quality gone awry. That is, he travels on the notion that "the end justifies the means." This end-justifies-the-means drive comes from an insecurity deep inside the authoritarian entrepreneur. The source of this insecurity depends upon the individual. It may come from a childhood experience of being abused or threatened by a critical, distant, or aloof parent, whom the entrepreneur could never please. It may come from the lessons of a traumatic experience, such as war combat, wherein the entrepreneur learned to stay alive by doing whatever it took. It may come from an actual organic disability, such as dyslexia, making schooling difficult, and the entrepreneur all the more determined to prove he is smart or smarter-than. Whatever, the reason, the authoritarian entrepreneur has a fear of failure, tucked away deep inside that drives him to succeed at whatever the cost.

If you are an authoritarian entrepreneur, use stubbornness or personal strength to attack the problem and solve it. You have intelligence and drive. You have already proven that you can succeed. Now admit your flaws and rebalance your life. Grieve your losses. Learn to love. Break the pattern of insecurity in your family that began with an abusive parent, or a thoughtless teacher, or a war that shaped a vulnerable teenager. By keeping those fears buried, you are perpetuating the insecurity into the next generation. As much as that negative energy (i.e., fear, anger and depression) has served you to create wealth, it has also alienated your family. Is this really the legacy you wish to pass onto your children? Seek help. It will be worth your while.

For more information, read my article - Living With an Authoritarian Entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs - How to Set and Achieve Goals

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Goals are what separate the doers from the dreamers. When you set out to be a successful entrepreneur, goals are a must. A word of caution . . . even though you come up with the most brilliant goal, it won't do you any good useless you actually do it! Action is required.

You may be struggling to set and attain realistic goals for your business. Here are a few tips to enable you to do so:

- Be specific. Setting a goal is one thing, but you must also set specific parameters. A goal must be realistic and achievable. If it’s a long-term goal you may want to have smaller goals along the way to enable you to put into practice what you set out to achieve or at least measure your progress toward reaching the larger goal.

- Strategize. Think about the when, what, and how. Many have found that committing a goal down in writing to be helpful in this regard. Use your Google calendar, a cell phone alarm, a day planner . . . whatever works best for you. If you don't have a game plan then you are shooting in the dark.

- Have the proper attitude. A positive attitude is proven to be more effective than a negative one. Be a risk taker. Don't be afraid to try new things. If something isn't working, don't get discouraged. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs failed many times but the key to their success is they try again. Even though you set a goal, you may not always attain it. Instead of viewing it as a failure, look at it as an opportunity for growth. Look at how far you came and what you learned along the way. You may realize that what you set out to achieve really wasn't that attainable, so it's time to reevaluate and set a new course.

If you are looking to set some legitimate goals for you and your entrepreneurial future, I suggest making an appointment with a professional psychologist who is also a business consultant/coach. They can help you to set and define goals specific to you, your personality, and your business style. I have been a licensed psychologist and business coach for over 35 years and I consistently see the value behind setting goals. Contact my office for more information.

Visit Entrepreneurial Life for additional information.

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.

Protect Your Health – Don't Be Afraid to Say "No"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Life is filled with stress. While a measure of stress can be healthy, uncontrolled stress can be dangerous. Do you feel overwhelmed? Do you feel like your life is too hectic with no breathing room? If that is the major source of your stress, then you may be doing too much. When you find yourself in this situation, it is likely you have a hard time saying no. There is a preconceived idea that saying no is a bad thing. In reality, it is actually a good thing.


People tend to be afraid to say no because they think that they will appear to be selfish. They want to do everything and be all to everyone. By doing everything and running yourself ragged, you aren't really doing yourself or anyone else a favor. By spreading yourself too thin, you won't enjoy yourself or give anyone the quality time that is deserved. If you focus on spending quality time versus quantity, you will be much happier and your friends and family will appreciate that.

Being overwhelmed is also bad for your health. Stress can weaken your immune system which leaves you more susceptible to sickness. This is an important one to remember when it comes to saying yes to extra work projects. You may be concerned about job safety or pleasing your boss, but if you overwork yourself, you may likely find yourself sick and unable to accomplish anything. Look at saying no as an opportunity for someone to step up to say yes. It may be the opportunity that they need.


There is a fine line between saying no just because you don't want to or saying no because you need to. Ask yourself these questions when you are contemplating whether to say yes or no:

· What are my priorities in life?

· Will this invitation or opportunity further my priorities or take away from what is truly important?

· What would I say if guilt didn't exist?

· Can I still participate, but maybe in a simpler way?



You can also ask for advice from a trusted companion. Sometimes they can see things that you don't. It's also best to not make a decision when you are feeling exhausted or overwhelmed. Rest and then decide when you have a clear head.

Saying no is not always easy, but you will be happier and healthier in the long term in you say no every now and then. If you struggle with managing your stress, saying no, feeling guilt, or being perfectionist, you may want to seek help from a mental health care professional. For more information, visit Managing Stress or if you’re looking for a psychologist in Vancouver, Washington or Portland, Oregon contact my office to set up an appointment.

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.

Attention Busy Women: Are You Addicted to Stress?

Monday, May 16, 2011


The idea of being addicted to stress may sound ridiculous, but it's true. Many Americans, specifically women, are in fact addicted to stress. The American Psychological Association says that more than half of women say they are stressed out. That is an increase of 25% in just 4 years! Stress is a very normal emotion, but it is not normal or healthy to be addicted to stress.

Why are so many women addicted to stress? For one thing, stress may equate a sense of success. They may feel like they have to work just as hard and as long as everyone else to stay ahead of the game. "Everyone else who is successful is stressed." Without realizing it, they have become victim to negative peer pressure.

Once the stress starts this vicious cycle, it is hard to stop. Stress can stimulate the production of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. That surge of hormones becomes addictive and in order to get that feeling, you need stress.

What are the consequences of stress? Stress can affect your emotional state. Depression, anxiety disorders are usually accompanied with acute stress. There are also many physical consequences such as tension headaches, gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, weight gain or weight loss, and also an increased risk of heart problems, stroke, and susceptibility to infections.

If you think that you have become addicted to stress, seek help. Like any other type of addiction, you can overcome it. For specific tips, visit Managing Stress on my website. Do not hesitate to take the proper steps to start leading a healthier and happier life.

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.


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