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Kathy Marshack News

How to Handle Divorce When You're Running a Business Together

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


If you run a business with your spouse it would be wise to consider the possibility of divorce when developing your business plan.In an ideal world, partners in a marriage and business would work perfectly together and everyone would be happy and successful. But the world is not ideal, and almost 50% of marriages end in divorce. Marriages between entrepreneurs suffer an even higher divorce rate!

So as a business owner married to your business partner, it’s a good idea to consider the possibility of divorce when developing your business plan. Remember that planning for the worst does not mean you will create the worst. It simply means that you have wisely developed contingencies should the worst happen.
 
Interestingly, planning for the possibility of divorce can have the opposite effect. If you are aware of the full ramifications of divorce, it may very well give you the incentive you need to keep your relationship healthy. It could motivate you to work together to nip any problems in the bud before they become insurmountable.
 
I encourage my entrepreneurial couple clients to create a partnership agreement after or in contemplation of beginning an entrepreneurial venture. It is a document that can go a long way to define the parties’ mutual rights and obligations in the event of a divorce and dissolution of the partnership. The agreement may specify which spouse will carry on the business. It may define each spouses’ respective contributions to the business and how much would have to be paid to buy out the other partners’ interest in the business.
 
This is not to say that you can’t run your business together after dissolving your marriage. Some people choose to stay in business together, and they are happy and successful while doing so. But others cannot continue to work together and need to divide up their interest in the business.
 
Often, we don’t think of these things ahead of time. Most entrepreneurial couples just wing it when it comes to business or marriage. They trust their drive and intelligence to get them through life’s roadblocks. They believe love is enough to carry them through as a couple. But as life becomes more complicated by marriage, children, and an expanding business, the weaknesses in this style begin to emerge.
 
So if you are in a stable marriage, please read on. Be advised of the preparations you can take now that could save you anguish should a divorce occur down the road.
 
And if you are at the point where you have made the decision to divorce your partner, please note the following steps to dissolving your business partnership when you divorce:

  1. Contact a qualified attorney. Try to work with an attorney that is familiar with entrepreneurial couples and your unique needs.
  2. Ask the court to decide which spouse will have the management responsibilities of the business until the divorce is final. During a divorce, trust is low and secrecy is high. Bypass these issues by having the court give one person management responsibilities. This can be done in a way where the non-managing spouse still has access to inspect the business premises and financial records.
  3. Honestly appraise your business. It is possible that your business doesn’t need to be appraised. If it does, hire a neutral business appraiser. When a modest business is involved, you can take the practical approach of valuing the equipment and accounts receivable. It is a relatively inexpensive and non-combative way to value your business. Fighting over intangible assets of your business, like goodwill, reputation, and position in the market, isn’t usually worth it.
  4. Decide who will get the business. If you have both put your hearts and souls into the business, this can be a tough decision. If the two of you can make this decision before going to court, you’ll save yourself a lot of money and heartache. Keep in mind that typically the court will award one spouse the entire marital interest in the business, which also includes the debts. The other spouse receives an equitable share (typically half) of the net value of the marital interest in the business.
  5. When it’s over, move on. Even if things don’t go the way you wanted, you still have the choice as to how you respond. Dust yourself off and move on. Look to the future. Remember, you’re an entrepreneur. Divorce doesn’t take away that spirit.

If you want to get started planning for the worst but hoping for the best with regard to creating a healthy, long-term, successful marriage and business partnership, try asking yourself this question: If we decide to divorce in the future, why would that be and what can we do now to prevent this? Often it helps to consult with an objective family therapist who can facilitate this conversation. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to make an appointment or utilize my online therapy option.

Train Your Brain to be a Successful Entrepreneur

Monday, September 11, 2017


Entrepreneurs - your attitude is integral to your success so make these small, simple changes to literally rewire your brain to think positivelyWhen you think of training you might think of learning a new professional skill. Or you might think of a personal training regiment that whips your body into shape. But have you ever considered training your brain to be more positive?
 
To be a successful entrepreneur, you need a positive attitude. Is it really that important? Yes, here are a few key reasons:

  • Entrepreneurship is like a roller coaster ride. There are ups and downs, things that make you happy that turn right around and make you want to scream. Because of the constant changes and challenges that can arise, it is necessary to cultivate a positive attitude. It will keep you grounded and able to see beyond your current circumstances. Optimistic entrepreneurs are better at problem-solving and bouncing back from disappointment.

  • Your attitude rubs off on those you work with. If you are consistently negative, the people you work with will reflect back that attitude. In contrast, if you make the effort to have positive conversations in the workplace, your employees will follow suit. Happier, more positive employees make for better, more efficient and effective employees. It also contributes to a healthier work environment for everyone.

  • Clients can perceive what your attitude is. When you show a positive attitude about life and your product, customers will want to do business with you. This, of course, will lead your business to greater profitability and success.

  • Your attitude affects your day-to-day life. When you are positive, you feel in control and confident. You are motivated to take good care of your physical and mental health. These are the tools you need to perform at your best and make the most of your entrepreneurship.

What if you aren’t a naturally positive person? That’s okay, because with a little bit of effort you can literally change the structure of your brain to think more positively.
 
In your brain you have neural pathways that control your emotions. If your inclination is toward the negative, the neural pathways for negativity become stronger. It is like a muscle. It gets worked most often, so it becomes the strongest.
 
On the up side, your brain is capable of generating new pathways. So it’s possible to train the circuitry in your brain to promote positive responses. When you look for the good in life, you activate different neural pathways in your brain. Dopamine and serotonin production is increased, soothing and calming you.  The more you stimulate these circuits in your brain, the stronger they become. Positivity will become a more automatic response.
 
It doesn’t take much to rewire your brain this way. You can learn to be more positive by practicing simple skills that foster positivity. Some of these skills include:

  • Beginning each day with a positive thought. Simple, right? But it is very powerful. It will help you set the tone for your day and make the choice early on to think positively.

  • Practicing gratitude. Take note of the things each day that you are grateful for. Some of my clients find it helpful to keep a gratitude journal.

  • Doing good for others. If you focus on thinking about other people and working to make their life better, you think about your own problems and worries less. This, in turn, keeps you from dwelling on the negative and moves you to focus on the positive.

  • Living one moment at a time. Focus on the present and making that day the best it can be. The practice of mindfulness helps many of my clients to focus and see the good in their day.

Sometimes a negative attitude is a signal of something more serious. It could be that you’re suffering from depression or anxiety. Don’t put your mental health on the backburner. It may be time to consider enlisting the help of a trained professional. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach for an appointment. If it works better with your busy schedule, I also offer online therapy.

Struggling as an Entrepreneurial Couple? The Key to Lasting Change May Surprise You

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Woman holding signRunning a business with your spouse can be very rewarding. However, entrepreneurs deal with a unique set of challenges, and entrepreneurial couples experience these same challenges two-fold! Add to this the complications that come with marriage, owning a home, and raising a family and it’s no wonder entrepreneurial couples can feel at times that the arrangement isn’t working.
 
When something in your business and/or marital life isn’t working, what is your first inclination?

 
The most common response to life’s struggles involves a mental process where we solely consider external or technical reasons for the problem. When you encounter an obstacle in your business or your marriage is your first reaction to find an outside source for the problem?
 
Rather than being quick to look to external forces that are holding you back, could you look internally?
 
When working through obstacles in life, I encourage you to question every aspect of your approach to your business and relationship, including your methods, biases, and assumptions. This kind of rigorous self-examination requires that you honestly challenge your beliefs and goals, and work up the courage to act and make a change.
 
I’ve noticed that when people face a crisis or even just an ordinary problem, they are tempted to try a somewhat simplistic change. They change spouses, buy a new house, and so on. These simple changes are supposed to make them feel better. And sometimes they do for a little while. But in the long run, the new spouse presents problems remarkably similar to those of the previous spouse and the new house is still not big enough.
 
Rather than waste your time with pointless changes, put in the time and hard work to change yourself from the inside out.
 
Look deep and determine your personal definition of real success. What exactly are you looking for in life, business, and your marriage? Do your goals for your business truly align with your personal definition of success? Honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Everybody has both! Realizing who you really are will help you determine the best path to take and changes to make.
 
But what if you are dealing with a spouse who is dealing with a problem like addiction? Aren’t they the ones that need to change?
 
The love you have for them may move you try to fix them, change their attitude and behavior. Understand that their life is not for you to manage. You can’t change them. For real change to come, they have to decide for themselves to get help and move forward.
 
I worked with a woman who was married to and ran a business with an addict. She spent years trying to change him, to no avail. Eventually she realized that the only person she could change was herself. She courageously tackled the task of working on herself and cleaning up her own bad habits, misunderstandings and superstitions. She began to recognize many dormant strengths that had been overshadowed by her need to protect and control her husband. This led her to explore new directions in life and business that better fit her personality.
 
When you look inside yourself, you take back your power.
 
You restore your independence as a person and as a successful entrepreneur. By focusing on changing yourself first, you expand your consciousness and gain self-awareness. You become more skilled at resolving immediate problems, correcting past mistakes, and moving ahead with the new opportunities. This approach also enables you to encourage the development of your spouse, partner, employees, and children, which benefits you, too.
 
Changing from a problem-solving mode into self-awareness mode may be difficult, especially for busy entrepreneurial couples. I’m here to help. Please feel free to contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment. If you live elsewhere, consider remote education for entrepreneurial couples.

Avoid a Crisis – How Entrepreneurs Can Be Proactive About Mental Health

Monday, August 14, 2017


Man in suit holding happy face signWhat kinds of qualities come to mind when you think of a successful entrepreneur? Are they creative, tenacious, self-sacrificing? What about depressed, anxious, or obsessive?

The same qualities that make a person a successful entrepreneur can also make them vulnerable to a host of mental health issues. Some issues like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) can, in the beginning, propel an entrepreneur to success. But there is a fine line between healthy and harmful.

Depression, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, and a lack of motivation can arise and develop when entrepreneurs are overly focused on their business. Because entrepreneurs are driven to succeed, it is easy for them to push through tough times without pausing to evaluate if their negative feelings are part of a bigger issue that needs attention.

Do you find yourself paying little attention to the effect your schedule and lifestyle may be having on your mental health?

When you put your mental health on the back burner, you set yourself up for a mental health crisis later. If you neglect your physical health, you run the risk of disease, injury, or a traumatic event like a heart attack. Similarly, if you neglect your mental health, your brain and body will force you to slow down and take a break, but not in a manner that feels good for you or helps your business.

Wouldn’t it be better to be proactive about your mental health, caring for it before you experience a crisis? They key is to not wait until you’re broken. By waiting too long to take care of yourself, you’ll make it much harder to get back to where you want to be.

The good news is that you don’t have to be sick to get better. Here are four things you can do now to maintain good mental health and avoid a crisis later on:

  1. Care for your basic needs. As an entrepreneur, you work long hours. That’s a given. But prioritize sleep, healthy eating, exercise, and time with friends and family. Adequate sleep is absolutely vital to function at optimum levels. Eating good food gives your mind the nutrients it needs to make brilliant business decisions. Exercise relieves stress. Time spent with those you love keeps you balanced
  2. Simplify your life. The life of an entrepreneur is full of activity and decisions. Don’t make things harder than they need to be. Where you can simplify, do it. For you that may mean using a grocery delivery service or having limited wardrobe options to sort through each morning. Simplify as many things in your life as you can so that you can focus on the areas that will benefit most from your attention and creativity.
  3. Get help with the details. To make your vision succeed, there are a lot of teeny-tiny details to work out. Hire someone to help you. You have skills, but you are not skilled at everything. So outsource the things you need to. Let other people care for the details while you continue focusing on what you are best at.
  4. Hire a psychologist. People who regularly attend to their psychological health are not only stronger emotionally, but they are less prone to illness and experience a better sense of personal well-being. Engaging in psychotherapy enhances your analytical and intuitive abilities by utilizing the full range of your conscious and unconscious talents. It helps you take charge of your life.

If you’re ready to take a proactive stance, I can help you achieve strong mental health so you can grow your business and succeed as an entrepreneur. Please contact my office. I have an office in Jantzen Beach, and I also offer online therapy if that works best for your lifestyle

Women Entrepreneurs – Are You Afraid of Tooting Your Own Horn?

Monday, July 24, 2017


Business woman at meetingLook! The incredible invisible woman! She runs a successful company, has great friends and a loving family, but no one really hears about it. In spite of her accomplishments, she fades into the background by never taking true ownership of all the amazing things she has done.
 
Does that sound familiar? Do you find yourself deflecting attention, downplaying your accomplishments, or not taking full credit for your ideas?
 
I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about. I was speaking with a married couple who ran a business together. I asked them to tell me their official business titles. Although the wife had started the business five years before the husband joined her, she told me she was a “Sales Associate.” The husband’s answer? He called himself the “Vice President.”
 
There was nothing wrong with what the wife said. She was an associate in the business, and she sold the product. But she did not own the fact that she ran a successful business.
 
Why don’t women give themselves the credit they deserve? A number of factors contribute to this tendency. From childhood girls are taught to work together, to build a community, to support others, all without being taught how to communicate about their accomplishments. Boys are usually encouraged to talk about personal goals and achievements, but that lesson often gets forgotten when raising girls.
 
Women also tend to fear being known as “not nice.” They avoid saying or doing things that could be viewed as aggressive or selfish. Unfortunately, when a woman touts her successes, it is often seen as bragging. So they put their ideas and victories in the background, not talking about them or even acknowledging them. When they do talk about their accomplishments, it is generally framed as a group achievement rather than an individual achievement.
 
Why should you learn to more effectively communicate about your accomplishments? Here are four reasons:

  1. Your business will grow. Leveraging your success and accomplishments is one of the best ways to continue to build your business. 
  2. Your relationships with your employees will improve. Resentment develops when you feel you are not being recognized. This resentment does not go unnoticed, and can lead to strained relationships with those around you. When you allow yourself to be recognized and appreciated, your relationships will benefi
  3. Other people will benefit. Did you ever think that concealing your true self deprives other people of your talents? It does! When others see who you really are and what you have and can accomplish, they can truly appreciate you and benefit by your talents. It also gives people a chance to rejoice with you in your success. Let others be happy for you – it will bring them joy, too.
  4. You invest in yourself. By expressing your accomplishments, you remind yourself and others of your worth. You will surround yourself with people who appreciate you instead of people who need you to appreciate them. This creates an energizing flow between people, just as wealth invested creates more wealth.

Don’t be afraid to talk about the amazing things you have done. The world needs what you have to offer, so learn to communicate about you effectively! If you could use some help getting past social barriers to promote yourself in the best way possible, please contact my office. I have an office in Jantzen Beach, and I also offer online therapy if that works best for your busy schedule.

Find Time to Be Kind – You and Your Business Will Benefit

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Volunteers looking through boxesShowing kindness to others directly affects your own happiness. You’ve probably already noticed that when you help other people, it makes you feel good. But do you know why?

 
By focusing on other people and working to make their life better, you think less about your own problems and worries. This keeps you from dwelling on the negative and moves you to focus on the positive.
 
This is good news for your health! Positive thinking can boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and lessen your risk of heart disease. Since there is an inseparable connection between the mind and the body, feelings of joy, sadness, anger, hope, and apathy directly affect your body. So, by replacing negativity and pessimism in favor of kindness and joy, you can improve your physical health.
 
Showing kindness is also a great way to create and enhance social connections with people, which can foster a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Think about a time that you volunteered in your community or took a moment to say or do something for a stranger. Didn't you feel more connected with others and possibly made new friends in the process?
 
One small act of kindness can trigger a chain reaction. A small thing to you can mean everything to another person. It can move them to do something nice for someone else. When you show kindness to others, they are more likely to show kindness in return. Your one act can spread out into the community and come back full circle to where you are on the receiving end of someone else’s kindness.
 
But how can kindness benefit your business?
 
You might think that entrepreneurs need to be tough and aggressive but actually kindness does help you run a successful business. For one thing, as we already discussed acts of kindness fosters optimism. What business owner doesn’t need an abundance of that quality?
 
You’ll notice that showing kindness keeps you in touch with your community. Involving yourself and your employees in community events or fundraisers promotes a team spirit. It also helps your company’s reputation as a business that cares, which helps you stand out in a competitive marketplace.
 
The advent of social media is a great tool to offer memorable customer service. People are quick to lament a faulty product or terrible service on social media. When that happens, without being asked, reach out with a friendly note, send a free product, offer a sincere apology… Basically do something kind. These are interactions that people will remember and tell their friends about.
 
Kindness in the workplace also contributes to employee retention. Good, loyal employees can be hard to find. Once you find them, you have to work to keep them. A happy workforce is a good workforce. So encourage laughter, teamwork, and bonding. Express appreciation and offer commendation. Small acts of kindness, like buying lunch for the office, can make a big difference.
 
Are you convinced that being kind is worth the effort? Sometimes it can be challenging to be kind if you’re dealing with a lot of internal or external stress. If you could use some help please contact my office to set up an appointment.  I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we can meet in person or I offer online therapy if that’s a better fit for you.

Entrepreneurs - Stop Complaining! Try Honest Self-Assessment Instead

Monday, May 15, 2017


Stop complaining signStop complaining? But it feels so good to complain! It helps you get things off your chest, feel heard, and start working towards a solution. Your business moves forward when you identify problems and communicate about them. Or does it?
 
The reality is that complaining has become a knee-jerk reaction to anything we don’t like. We complain about the weeds in our yard, our pants that have become too tight (as we sit there eating a cookie), the high cost of living, and the trials of running a business. As a society, we have become quick to complain and slow to change.
 
There are times, of course, when “complaining” or notifying someone of a problem or injustice is a good thing. Discussing a problem with a team of people can help solve it faster and more effectively. However, most of the time our expressions of pain, dissatisfaction, or resentment are simply reactions to a perceived issue.
 
What’s wrong with complaining? Simply put: it doesn’t do anybody any good. It won’t solve your problem. It won’t make you feel better. It will waste your time, time you could have spent working on a solution. Complaining also fosters a negative attitude in you and the person listening to you.
 
Another problem with complaining is it relegates you to perpetually being a victim. The more you complain, the less you feel in control of your life and your business. As an entrepreneur, you have worked hard to be in control and lead your company to greatness. Complaining takes away some of that power you have.
 
The most common response to obstacles involves a mental process where we solely consider possible external or technical reasons for the problem. What kind of obstacles do you encounter in your business path? Is your first reaction to find an outside source for the problem? The product isn’t good enough. My competition has better advertising. The economy isn’t doing well. The more you think like that, the less control and power you have over your problems.
 
Let’s look at these problems a different way. Rather than being quick to look to eternal forces that are holding you back, could you look internally? When working through obstacles in life, I encourage you to question every aspect of your approach to your business, including your methods, biases, and assumptions. This kind of rigorous self-examination requires that you honestly challenge your beliefs and goals, and work up the courage to act and make a change.
 
Look deep and determine your personal definition of real success. What exactly are you looking for in life? Do your goals for your business truly align with your definition of success? Honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Everybody has both! Realizing who you really are will help you determine the best path to take and changes to make. And in the end, look for the positive. Don’t let challenges stop you. Instead, view them as incentives to change and move in a positive, new direction.
 
When you look inside yourself you take back your power as a successful entrepreneur. Other people and things did not make your business great – you did! So only you can take back your life by taking a deep look at yourself instead of complaining.
 
I encourage you to look at and complete the Self-Assessment Exercises in my book Entrepreneurial Couples – Making It Work at Work and at Home. They will help you dig deep on a number of topics from your working relationship with your spouse, to your views on family and money, to how you view yourself. These are great tools to begin your journey inside yourself.
 
Sometimes we need the help of a trained professional to get past barriers and assess ourselves honestly. If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.

Money Tips for Couples Starting Their Own Business

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Couple sitting at desk looking at billsYou’ve got a new business idea? Great! Your romantic partner is on board to work with you? Even better! As you begin to plan the logistics of how this new enterprise with your partner will grow and thrive, it goes without saying that planning financial matters will be on the top of your list of things to do.

These plans do not refer solely to financial matters directly related to the business, such as start-up costs, fees, and overhead. When you’re working together as a couple, money issues are also part of your personal lives. One partner may keep their full-time job while the other devotes their time to the new business. Maybe you will both quit working and jump in with both feet. How will this entrepreneurial venture affect your children?

As a couple, you need to determine ahead of time, how you will manage your money, or lack thereof, during this transition.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with many entrepreneurial couples, and there is a pattern among those who have long-term, happy relationships interwoven with a prosperous business life. Here are some money tips for couples starting their own business I have seen work time and again:

  • Make a plan for personal expenses. Know what you have, and what you can afford. Growth usually requires a certain amount of risk, but don’t go into your new situation blind. Create a solid plan for how you will continue to pay for your personal expenses as the business grows.


  • Prepare to live on a single income. It may not come to this. Your business could be profitable immediately. Or you may both continue working full-time until the business reaches a point where you feel comfortable with one or both of you quitting your full-time job. But be prepared for the idea that you may very likely have to survive on less for a time. Make sure that no matter where your money is coming from, you both feel like equal partners. Regular communication is vital to maintaining that feeling of partnership.

  • Designate responsibilities. Don’t get lost in the chaos that comes with launching a new business. Keep in touch with each other and make sure everyone feels valued. For efficiency’s sake, you may divide up duties along the lines of who is most capable or available. At the end of the day, though, you are just as responsible as your partner for the success of your goal. If one spouse is less involved in the business, show gratitude for the work they do and sacrifices they make in other ways.


  • Give 100%. Each partner should consider themselves 100% responsible for the quality of their individual life as well as their joint venture (i.e. parenting, household duties, managing & promoting a business). You should put your whole self, talents, intuitions, and muscle into the marriage and business partnership. When both partners do this, it makes them each equally responsible for the outcome.


  • Communicate. There is no substitute for regular, meaningful communication. What does this have to do with money? Your business will suffer if you are not working together as partners in life and business. Take time out from the stress of entrepreneurship to reconnect and keep love as your top priority. This means talking about things unrelated to your business. Talk about the things that feed your soul, that concern you, that bring you joy.


  • Maintain a healthy work-life balance. Starting and running a successful business requires an inordinate amount of time and energy. It could result in you losing touch with those most important to you. It is also crucial to care for your personal health and well-being. Your business can’t run without you, and your partner doesn’t want to do it without you. Set aside time to be active in a way that energizes and invigorates you, and schedule time with your family and friends. That time spent recharging your batteries can be just what you need to persevere and achieve even greater things.


Talking about money is a top stressor for many couples. When you add in the stress of starting a new business don’t be surprised if things get a bit rocky in your relationship. I’ve helped many couples make a success of their marriage and their business. If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment. If you live elsewhere, take a look at remote education services specifically for entrepreneurial couples.

The Art of Negotiation When You Live With Your Business Partner

Monday, March 20, 2017


Man and woman negotiatingAs an entrepreneur you are probably pretty accustomed to negotiating to get what you want. You negotiate prices, interest rates, contracts and more. And when you enter into a business partnership, you negotiate the details of the arrangement and the way you will do business.
 
What you may not be so used to is “negotiating” with your romantic partner. The term used most often in this setting is “compromise.” Two people communicate and discuss an issue, and eventually reach a compromise. The idea of compromising, though, carries the connotation that at least one person loses out in some way. They have to give up something important or valuable to them to reach an agreement.
 
Now, what happens when your romantic partner is also your business partner? How can you negotiate successfully with someone you are very likely used to compromising with? As with any relationship, life partners who are also business partners should work toward finding a win-win solution. The art of negotiating a win-win, or no-compromise, solution with another person requires a lot of effort. But the pay-off is a relationship filled with respect and cooperation.
 
The art of negotiation for entrepreneurial couples consists of the following:
 

Listen. It is very important to hone your listening skills. Listening can be a difficult skill to master, especially if you have a lot to say. But a good listener gains understanding of the other person’s reality, which is necessary before you can proceed with negotiations.


Listen to what your partner is trying to tell you, not just the actual words they are using. It will take some perception and understanding on your part to read between the lines. Pay attention to their body language. Also, be truly interested in what they have to say. You have chosen to spend your life with this person, so show that same interest and kindness when you deal with them in regards to your business.

 

Display empathy. Your partner has likely spent a good portion of their day being beat up by the outside world. So when negotiating with them, deal with them in a different way. You are a source of peace, a place of sanctuary. If you are genuine and make the effort to feel what your partner is feeling, they will feel appreciated. This will make them more comfortable speaking in clear terms that will require less analyzing and translating on your part.


Watch your tone. Maybe a direct, assertive, no-nonsense tone has gotten you what you want from others in the past. It probably doesn’t work so well with your partner. Your voice helps sets the tone for negotiations, so start light. Keep your tone positive, even playful. If things get more serious and stressful, use a low and slow voice. This type of voice inflection signals that you are in control, but does not show aggression or put your partner on the defensive.


Look at things a different way. There are many “right” solutions to a problem. We tend to think our solution is the right one because it fits our reality the best. Be open to ideas that work just as well, or even better, than our original one. Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to benefit from the creativity of other free thinking individuals.


Take your time. Don’t move too quickly, or too slow. Don’t drag on a negotiation longer than need be. But devote the time necessary to have a productive conversation, or series of conversations. It may be that a solution cannot be reached in one day, and you have to go to bed and start again tomorrow. That’s ok! Don’t give up just because you aren’t getting your way. You may be tempted to resort to intimidation for the sake of expediency, but you will risk your healthy relationship with your partner.


Focus. Keep your business discussions focused on business. Try to avoid letting personal issues or outside forces into the conversation. And when the discussion is over, don’t let it carry over into your personal relationship. Living with your business partner doesn’t mean that everything revolves around the business. Nurture your personal relationship, too.


These positive negotiation skills should help you resolve most issues. However, the tendency to compromise, intimidate, or acquiesce can be difficult to get past. Sometimes it is necessary to get some outside help get personal and business discussions back on track and productive. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA, please contact my office to schedule an appointment. If you live elsewhere, I offer remote education for entrepreneurial couples via video conference.

High Emotional Intelligence – A Must for Successful Entrepreneurs

Monday, February 27, 2017


High emotional intelligence helps entrepreneurs succeedHow well do you manage your emotions? How about other people’s emotions? Can you read what they’re feeling and use this awareness to improve your relationships? If so, then you likely have a high EQ or Emotional Quotient.

Is this important for entrepreneurs? Absolutely! Studies have shown that over 90% of top performing business people have a high EQ.

Emotional intelligence is made up of two parts, personal competence and social competence. Emotionally intelligent people have the capability to recognize their emotions and the emotions of others. They can then use this information to guide their thinking and manage their emotions so they can adapt to their environment and achieve their goals. An emotionally intelligent person can also find a balance between the rational and emotional parts of their brain.

The good news is, unlike other measurements of intelligence, your EQ fluctuates throughout your life and you can drastically improve it through increased awareness. Below are qualities that emotionally intelligent people posses and how these qualities provide an advantage in business and life.

As you read through this list, I encourage you to rate how well you do in each area.

They are difficult to offend.
People with a high EQ have thick skin – they are confident, open-minded and not overly self-conscious. They are comfortable joking about their own faults and not offended when others do so. This trait makes them invaluable in social situations.

They’re a good judge of character.
This trait has to do with the social competence aspect of emotional intelligence. The ability to read others’ emotions, by observing body language and facial expressions, enables them to avoid stepping on toes. Emotionally intelligent people are also able to see beyond the facade and understand a person’s real motivations and intentions. This ability is paramount for savvy entrepreneurs.

They have a large emotional vocabulary.
Everyone experiences emotions but few have to ability to describe and categorize them. Having a large repertoire of emotional words allows you expand your consciousness about your feelings so you can connect them to the rational part of your brain. Instead of using the word “happy,” an emotionally intelligent person might use “satisfied”, “content”, or “cheerful”. When you use this specific word choice it allows you to connect with the source of your emotions and empowers you to decide what to do with them.

They can neutralize the effect of toxic people.
Dealing with a difficult person can be taxing on anybody. These types of people create complications, hurt feelings and in general create stress for others. People with a high EQ, have the advantage of dealing with difficult people effectively. They stay aware of their emotions and can remain calm and objective. They establish boundaries and decide when they have to put up with that person and when they don’t. Lastly, they keep an emotional distance from the person while still keeping aware of the other person's emotions.

They don’t hold grudges.
Emotionally intelligent people understand that holding a grudge is pointless and exhausting. Holding onto a grudge means holding onto stress, and emotionally intelligent people avoid unnecessary stress at all costs. Chronic stress increases the risk of long-term heart problems and a variety of other health issues.

What do you think? You probably saw areas where you are doing well and other areas that could use some work. Improving your emotional intelligence can be difficult, it requires conscious effort, but the benefits, far outweigh the cost. Having an awareness of your emotional state and that of others’, whether they are employees, customers or family members, will result in much stronger relationships. And relationships are the foundation of every successful business.

Heightened emotional intelligence can give you and your business the competitive edge you seek. If you would like to dramatically improve your EQ and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA, please contact my office to schedule an appointment.



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