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Kathy Marshack News

Keeping Secrets Creates a Tangled Web

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Keeping secrets is rarely a good idea, yet they are commonplace in society. The major reasons for keeping secrets are (1) to avoid disagreement and confrontation, (2) to protect someone from hurt feelings or even physical distress, (3) fear of punishment or embarrassment for a wrong doing.

Consider a few common excuses for keeping a secret and why you should think otherwise:

"What they don't know won't hurt them."


Why are secrets so bad if they don't hurt anyone? This is usually a rationalization. If you have to keep a secret, then it obviously affects other people. The content of the secret may or may not affect the other person adversely, but the question is, will keeping the secret affect the other person adversely?

"But he or she will get mad at me if I tell them the truth!"


No one likes an argument but it is foolish to think that you can go through life without having disagreements is unrealistic. Therefore it is useful to develop conflict resolution skills, rather than avoid the anger. The excuse that the other person will get mad if you level with him or her is a poor one. First, you never know if he or she will get mad. Second, even if he or she does get mad, the discussion doesn't have to end. Be brave and venture into conflict resolution. Third, the person may have every right to be upset that you withheld information (or lied) that affects his or her life. Think about it. How do you feel when a secret is kept from you, especially if your decisions depend upon the hidden information?

"It would be mean to be honest."


The problem with this excuse is that you have no right to assume responsibility for the other person's life or life decisions. When you keep a secret that affects the life of another, you are robbing them of the opportunity to take responsibility for their own destiny. Essentially it can be disrespectful to keep secrets. You are treating the other person as if they are incompetent to handle the truth. What makes you better able to handle the truth than the other person? Sometimes the truth hurts. Sometimes it is embarrassing. Sometimes the truth is a powerful leveler without which you would never know you are in over your head.

There may be short-term gain in keeping secrets, but the long-term outcome is usually not worth the risk. Openness in all things is the answer, even if it is embarrassing, anger-provoking, or hurtful. Don't keep secrets, but if you already have, break them. Admit your failure, apologize to those you have lied to and make a promise you can live with. That is, promise to be responsible for your own actions, and allow others access to their own destiny through the truth.

How to Manage Work Related Stress

Monday, January 03, 2011


What is a major complaint for most working Americans? Stress! Work related stress can leave you exhausted, frustrated, and angry. It will affect your overall sense of well- being, your physical health, and your productivity.

If it feels like your life is spinning out of control then it’s time to call a psychologist or other mental health professional. However, most of the time there are a few simple things that you can do to manage your work stress:

Get sufficient rest.
Sleep is non-negotiable. In order for you mind and body to function properly, you must rest. If you are not getting enough sleep, whatever negative thoughts you have will only be aggravated. The average adult should get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Establish a healthy lifestyle.
General health and stress resistance can be enhanced by a regular exercise, a diet rich in a variety of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, and by avoiding excessive alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco.

Keep perspective and look for the positive.
Work to reverse negative ideas and learn to focus on the positive. For example, in today's economy, even having a job is a blessing. Even if you find that the positives are few and far between, make a conscious choice to focus on them.

Be balanced with yourself and your workload.
You are not perfect. You will make mistakes. You cannot do everything. Are you the one actually putting too much pressure on yourself to perform in a certain manner? Can you delegate some of the work to someone else? Set clear boundaries with yourself and your work. Establish what your job requirements are and if it is reasonable, then stick to it.

Have a sense of humor.
Keeping a sense of humor is a common recommendation. Laughing releases the tension of pent-up feelings and helps you keep perspective. Research has shown that humor is a very effective mechanism for coping with stress.

Express your feelings.
If you are having problems with someone at work and that’s the cause of your stress, talk to them about it. The goal of the conversation should not be to attack the person, but to come together and create a solution. Holding on to negative feelings will progressively get worse and many times the problem grows out of proportion.

These are just a few steps to take to help ease your work stress level. If problems persists, you may need professional help. Click here for more information on Managing Stress.

Pay Attention to Signals and You Can Problem Solve Before the Crisis Hits

Saturday, November 20, 2010


When it comes to problem solving, recognizing and interpreting the signals that others give us is crucial. For some of us, that does not come naturally, but if you take a little bit of time, you will be able to improve your skills. If you do, you will be able to minimize crises before they materialize.

One common error is to mistake 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. Just what they are signals of remains to be discovered. The key is that all human behavior is meaningful. But the meaning may come disguised as signals that look like problems themselves.

For example, one husband was beside himself because his wife could not keep the house clean. The couple ran the a business from their home. Although the husband was out all day with customers, the wife was at home taking care of the four small children, answering business calls, and running the company office. The couple had already problem solved somewhat and come up with occasional day care and even a once a month house cleaner, but still the house was a mess.

The problem was they were focusing on the messy house instead of what it represented. In this case, it represented that the wife was torn about her goals. She wanted to be part of the business, but she also wanted to parent her children. Making more time for her to clean the house, a chore she really didn't like anyway, wasn't the solution. What worked, however, was to set up a system where she could participate in both worlds without them overlapping so much.

Whenever confronted with a dilemma (Is it a signal or a problem?), ask yourself, "How does this behavior make sense to the person engaging in the behavior?" Don't ask, "How does it make sense to me?"

If the behavior belongs to someone else, chances are it makes sense in their model of reality, which may look very different than yours. In the case of the couple with the messy house, what made sense according to the wife's model of reality is that the wife wanted to have a neat house but she wanted something else more. In order to get a clean house, it was necessary to help her accomplish what was more important first.

While some solutions are easy and superficial, many problems require deeper probing. While a band-aid may suffice for a while, it will save a lot of wasted energy and questioning if surgery is done immediately. So, when you see a signal, probe, dig, and most important, don't ignore it. If you can’t figure out what the signals mean it might be time to ask a therapist for help.

If you’re an entrepreneur visit Entrepreneurial Life for more information.

What is a Mompreneur?

Thursday, April 08, 2010


The term "mompreneur" has been popping up everywhere. What does it mean? Entrepreneur.com defines "mompreneur" as, "a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur." According to the Center for Women's Business Research, in 2008 "10.1 million firms are owned by women, employing more than 13 million people, and generating $1.9 trillion in sales." No wonder mompreneur has become a popular term – they are everywhere.

Being a mother and a business owner is no easy task. But when done right, both areas can be a success. Here are a few things to help keep a mompreneur in balance:

1. Stick to a schedule. Scheduling will help you stay focused on the most important tasks without getting distracted with nonessentials

2. Get the family on board. A supportive spouse is key to running a successful business. Also, involve the kids when appropriate. They can help you with things around the house or even get involved with some of the business aspects.

3. Take time for self-care. If you don't take care of yourself first, you can't take care of your family or your business. Take a few moments everyday to relax whether that means exercising, reading, or chatting with a friend on the phone.

I have written many articles about women business owners over the years as part of my Families In Business column. I invite you to learn more about how to be a successful business woman leader.

Are Family Businesses Really Different?

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Many people who work in family-owned businesses, or family firms, have never stopped to think of the concerns that are unique to family businesses. While about half of the gross national product comes from family owned businesses, and roughly half of America's workers are employed in family firms, the family business is seldom seen as having issues of any significant difference than other sole proprietorships, partnerships or corporations.

Inc. Magazine decided it was time to dig deeper into family business issues. Author, Christine Lagorio recently posted the article entitled, How to Run a Family Business, which discusses how to run your family business the right way. She interviewed experts on this topic asking them to share their advice and lessons learned. Since I’m a Family Business Coach and the author of, Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home, I was able to share some practical tips for family businesses. I discussed the value of determining what your family style is and working that into your business, as well as the importance of writing a formal business-partnership agreement. Click here to read the article in its entirety.

If you would like to learn more about family business or being an entrepreneurial couple, please visit the Entrepreneurial Life section of my website.

Being an Entrepreneur Can Help You Work Less Not More

Monday, February 22, 2010


Entrepreneurs are usually labeled workaholics. They are known for working long hours, nights and weekends, and are addicted to checking their email on their I-Phone or Blackberry. So you may like the idea of owning your own business but shy away from it because of the image it conjures up. The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. Being an entrepreneur can actually help you to work less and lead a healthier happier life. A perfect example of this is Brett Schklar.

I recently read an article about Brett - Work Less (It's Good for Business) and thought he is a great example of what an entrepreneur should strive to be. As a vice president of a company, Brett was going full speed ahead with his work, but neglecting his family and his health. A heart attack at young age of 31 caused him to slow down and reevaluate his life. He started his own business which allowed him to have better control over his time and his health. Now he has a flourishing business and is working less and enjoying life more.

Owning your own business can be extremely challenging and some allow it to take control over their lives. The key is to set definite boundaries about what you will and will not do and stick to them. Make sure you set aside personal time for yourself and for your family. One way to do this is to schedule it in your calendar ahead of time. Being a happy and healthy person is not only going to affect your personal life, but also your business. Remember that you are the boss and have control over your life!

For more information on the entrepreneurial life, please visit my tip section or call my office if you need a more personal and in-depth consultation on this subject. 

Entrepreneurial Couples - Can Competition At Work Cost You Your Marriage?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


When a couple works together both at home and at work, they can become confused about the roles they should play in both of these worlds. Often the aggressive pull of success and the push of competition eradicate the more subtle pull of love.

Bringing competition home is probably the worst thing you can do for a marriage. Keep competition and achievement needs at work. When you work with your spouse in your own enterprise, keep in mind that you will be crossing the competition barrier daily. It is hard to stay kind and loving with the one you are competing with. We tend to take competition personally.

The following are some ways to diffuse the tension of competition between spouses:

· Set up separate work areas within the business.

· Reward each other often for your individual successes.

· Take breaks from each other often.

· Make a clean break from work at the end of the day.

This latter recommendation is vital. Do not discuss work at all at home if your business requires that both spouses be leaders and you are both highly independent and headstrong (sound like anyone you know?).

The most important thing to remember when you work together is why you chose your spouse in the first place. This is someone you love and trust and want to spend the rest of your life with. These qualities aren’t bad either for the kind of person you want to help you build your dream business.

For a more detailed discussion on this topic, read my article, Can Competition At Work Cost You Your Marriage? If you are an entrepreneurial couple, please sign up for my free monthly Entrepreneurial Couples Newsletter for sound business and relationship tips to show you how to make it work at work and at home.

Adjust your attitude about the upcoming New Year

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The New Year is in just a few days! The arrival of the New Year can bring additional stress to overachievers. Instead of thinking about the negative, think of January as time to recoup and restore your energy and peace of mind. January is also a time to build a foundation for the goals you want to accomplish this year.

Because January brings us the opportunity to make New Year's Resolutions, I think it is about time to start a new tradition, that of appreciating ourselves for who we are. As one bumper sticker proclaims, "God doesn't make junk." Let your New Year's Resolution this year be - "I will accept myself totally and unconditionally and be the best I can be this year."

If you can appreciate who you are, that each and every day you are making a valuable contribution to your community by just doing your everyday thing (not overachieving), then you will have a much more prosperous New Year.

You will notice your talents more and strengthen them. You will notice your flaws more too, but you can build a plan to correct them. If you have been successful accomplishing other people's goals, think how much you can really accomplish if you lead your own life.

This year focus on self acceptance and you will benefit. For suggestions on how to change your paradigm for the year, read my article - Entrepreneurs should tackle the New Year with new priorities.

Entrepreneurs – Be Prepared for Winter Conditions

Monday, November 09, 2009


The days of winter are upon us. With the busy schedules of entrepreneurial couples, a dangerous weather situation can occur before we even realize it, and we find ourselves not only unprepared in our personal surroundings, but also our work environment. Here are some reminders from FEMA that will provide protection at home and at work:

Basic home and/or office checklist:


· Prepare an alternative heat source.

· Check your roof for leaks, and nearby trees for branches that could fall on the house.

· Protect your pipes by insulating them, and keep those faucets dripping during extreme temperatures.

· Know where the water valves are and how to shut them off.

· Have fire extinguishers available along with the knowledge of how to use them.

· Think ahead to how you can help disabled friends and elderly ones. Include clients who have special needs.

Basic car preparations:

· Check antifreeze levels, battery, brakes, heater and defroster, lights, oil, thermostat, and wipers.

· Make sure that your tires are in good working order.

· Keep at least a half-tank of gas in the car.

· Have a winter emergency kit in the car, which includes: a shovel, scraper and broom, flashlight, battery powered radio, water, snack food, matches, extra warm clothing, first aid kit with a pocket knife, blankets, medications, booster cables, flares, fluorescent distress flag, tow rope, and road salt and sand.

These guidelines not only protect you and your family, but they can assist others. In addition, being prepared means you save time and money. In the end, you can continue your business with less interruption and the ability to be available when perhaps the unprepared competitors are not.


Do you want to be an entrepreneur

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I hear people speak of their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and owning their own successful business. It sounds like an exciting and challenging new adventure. Making this type of decision is very serious.  Before deciding to take the big plunge, there are a few important things to consider to see if the entrepreneurial life will suit you.

1. If you want to be an entrepreneur you must think like an entrepreneur. In other words you must have a vision that is bigger even than your business idea. Your business is a part of your life, just like your marriage and your children. An entrepreneurial venture is a reflection of you, your values, your beliefs, your strengths and your faults. You must live and breathe the business, day and night, week in and week out.

 2. Recognize the commitment. With a hectic schedule, sometimes there is little time for personal relationships or their own health. But if kept in perspective the entrepreneur can find tremendous satisfaction in working at something he or she has created. Watching this creation grow, seeing it benefit his or her family, achieving a long dreamed of goal . . . all of this can be quite thrilling.

3. A supportive spouse is a MUST! The most successful entrepreneurs frequently have glowing praise for their spouses, the people without whom they could never have succeeded. So not only do you have to think like an entrepreneur, but your spouse needs to think like one too, or at least be open to supporting your vision.

4. Entrepreneurship is not for the feint of heart. It is a tremendous responsibility to recognize that every action you take is related to the business and to the people who depend upon that business, such as you, your family, your employees and customers. Decisions must be weighed very carefully and every move must be analyzed  to reduce the risk as much as possible.

If you believe you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur, ask yourself if you can do the tedious work of integrating your every move and decision into the template of a business venture. True entrepreneurs don't even realize that they think this way. It is just natural for them to be whole-brained thinkers, with their heads in the future, but their feet firmly planted in the present. Visit my website for more information on the Entrepreneurial Life.


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