CONTACT MY OFFICE:
(503) 222-6678 - Portland, Oregon
(360) 256-0448 Vancouver, Washington
   info@kmarshack.com

Therapy

ADD & ADHD
ADOPTIVE FAMILIES
ASPERGER & MARRIAGE
COUPLES IN BUSINESS
DEPRESSION & STRESS
ENTREPRENEURIAL LIFE
EXPAT ONLINE THERAPY
HIGH CONFLICT DIVORCE
MARRIAGE COUNSELING
MIND & BODY HEALTH
PARENTING
PERSONAL GROWTH
RECOMMENDED LINKS
NEWS CENTER
ONLINE STORE
Overview
ADD in Adults
Parenting a Child with ADD
Overview
Articles
Overview
Coping with Anxiety Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Overcoming Depression
Managing Stress
Conquering Fears & Phobias
Overcoming Social Phobia
Overview
Couples at Work & Home
Dual Career Couples
Families in Business
Overview
Recognizing High Conflict Divorce
Overview
Conflict & Communication
Infidelity
Couples at Work & Home
Love, Sex & Intimacy
Maintaining Strong Marriage
Dual Career Couples
Codependence
Advice for Singles Only
Overview
Alcoholism Recovery
Stop Smoking
Weight Control
Headache Relief
Holistic Health
Managing Blood Pressure
Releasing Unresolved Stress
Overview
Am I a Good Parent
Blended Families
Gifted Child
Coping with ADD/ADHD
Adoptive Families
Overview
Gifted Adults
When to Seek Help
Psychotherapy Options
Laid-Off from Work
Overview
Calendar of Events
Media Coverage
Newsletter
Press Center
Seminars
Related New Stories
Subscribe
Sample
Enriching Your Live Archive
Entrepreneurial Couples Archive

Enriching Your Life!

Sign up for my FREE newsletter! Get practical tips for you and your family.

Kathy Marshack News

Entrepreneurs – 9 Warning Signs that You Need to Change Your Life Before It’s Too Late

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Discover nine warning signs that life is about to change or NEEDS to change – they’ll help you tune into your own unique signals so you’re not blindsided.  Although change is constant, busy entrepreneurs often don’t recognize that change is happening and even go out of their way to try to stop the inevitable. When we do this, we create more hardship for ourselves, and those around us, than if we simply acknowledged the need for change in the first place.

Through my research on entrepreneurial couples for my book Entrepreneurial Couples: Making It Work at Work and at Home, I identified nine common warning signs that change is needed or may be coming. (They’re in bold font in this article.) Outright failure is a certain signal that change is needed, but waiting until that point may be so destructive as to be irreparable.

What makes more sense than waiting for outright failure is to learn to pay attention to those subtle wake-up calls that speak to you each day. Let’s consider some of these warning signs:

Boredom
One such wake-up call is boredom. A common way to deal with boredom is to come up with distractions to keep yourself entertained. However, the answers to boredom cannot be found outside yourself, through a new hobby or some other diversion. What you need to do is search within yourself to discover just what the boredom means. Only then can you make a real, meaningful change to bring a spark back to your life.

Confusion
Related to boredom is confusion. Confusion is another subtle sign that can be easily dismissed by focusing on something that’s less confusing. When we’re confused, we feel uncomfortable, even incompetent, especially if we’re perfectionistic entrepreneurs. But confusion is a valuable sign that a stable pattern has been interrupted. Stepping back, examining your motives and role in a given situation, and understanding your partner’s motives and role are important to clearing confusion and moving forward.

Unproductive Habitual Behavior
A potent warning sign that change is needed is when we engage in habitual behavior, even though it doesn’t work anymore. It’s a strange fact of life that once we get something working, it doesn’t work forever. In fact, just at the point that you get something working really well, it usually starts to decline. Such is the nature of change.

Therefore, it’s very important to assess your habits. You’ve developed habits because they’re convenient mechanisms for getting things done without having to give them much thought. However, when the habit really doesn’t serve the purpose anymore, stop doing it! It’s better to do nothing than to continue pursuing a habit that may have even become counterproductive.

Turning Points
Life's major turning points are another time for important changes. The natural turning points in life, which we’ve come to expect and accept anyway, are also a time to reevaluate our goals and values. Graduating from high school or college, getting married, giving birth to your first child, receiving a job promotion, turning fifty, and losing a parent, are all such turning points. Because of acquiring wealth and the leisure time that goes along with it, entrepreneurs are often able to take advantage of turning points to enhance their lives personally and professionally.

Since these turning points are bound to happen anyway, it seems foolish to deny them. Why not plan ahead? Change is inevitable with each step along the developing progressions of life. Even though you can’t know for certain what each turning point will bring you, you can at least recognize that change is happening and be alert to the phenomenon.

Boredom, confusion, unproductive habitual behavior, and life's naturally occurring turning points are only some of the subtle wake-up calls that you can strive to tune in to as you and your partner progress both personally and professionally. Others include fatigue, weight gain or loss, lack of sexual desire, and forgetfulness, among many others. As you pay attention to yourself more and as you come to appreciate change, you’ll tune in to your own unique signals. This is the kind of self-knowledge that successful people are known for.

Sometimes we need help to identify the signs that change is necessary. Other times we need help accepting the changes that are inevitable and happening right in front of us. If you need help appreciating the changes in your life, and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

If you live elsewhere, we can schedule an appointment via a secure video Q & A session. Learn more by visiting Entrepreneurial Couples Remote Education.

Entrepreneurs - Money Problems Are Really Indicators of Bigger Issues

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Every entrepreneur experiences financial struggles, yet money problems arise because of how you think or what you believe about money and how you use it.Do you have problems with money? Actually that’s a misleading question. The fact is you really don’t have problems with money. Money is a neutral form of exchange. It’s neither good nor bad. Money in itself isn’t the problem. The problem is how you think or what you believe about money and how you, in turn, use it.

In situations of extreme dysfunction it’s not surprising that money problems surface along with addictions and domestic violence. As I have said several times, once one ethical boundary is crossed, it becomes easier to cross others.

Yet it’s equally true that not all problems in an entrepreneurial relationship eventually cause money problems. Some couples retain their financial wealth in spite of problems in other areas of their business and life. Still other couples are able to keep a problem isolated long enough to work it out so that the balance is restored before the consequences affect the pocketbook. In the case of dual entrepreneurs, money trouble may trigger events that upset the balance of their lives and business.

There isn’t an entrepreneur that hasn’t experienced financial problems. Perhaps your first venture fizzled out. Perhaps a change in the industry forced you to seek diversification. You may have had to borrow money to make payroll on at least one occasion. You may even have faced bankruptcy.

The American Dream is not as easy to achieve as the naive may think. It takes hard work and resilience—often a lot of resilience to fight back when the cash flow has dried up. When you have life and business plans, and when you’ve been attending to your stress level and keeping your developing progressions in a healthy balance, you can face money troubles with determination and creativity. Unpleasant as the task may be, healthy people do what they need to do. Still, you never know just exactly how you will survive a financial disaster until you face one.

Even though your life may not be as out of control as the lives of some, you still may be alarmed by the stories you hear and these may alert you to changes you need to make in your own life. My book, Entrepreneurial Couples: Making It Work at Work and Home provides many Self-Assessment Exercises that can guide you as you build your own personal and couple power plan for total mental, physical, and spiritual health and well-being. If you have questions about what you read, I’m available for an online Q & A session.


How Can You Guarantee that a Copreneurship will Work for You and Your Spouse?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


The social exchange theory describes the essential features of exchanges of married copreneurs, and predicts relationship satisfaction, progress or decay.You can’t. There are no guarantees in life. But you CAN hedge your bets and set up a good framework that supports your entire work/family life.

I did in-depth research on the dynamics of copreneurs for my book, Entrepreneurial Couples: Making It Work at Work and at Home. I learned there are a number of human behavior theories, one of them being a dialectical theory known as social exchange theory, which sheds light on what makes some couples succeed where others don’t.


Social psychologists, Kelley and Thibaut defined the basic propositions of social exchange theory in this way:

(I) costs being equal, individuals choose alternatives from which they expect the greatest rewards;
(2) rewards being equal, individuals choose alternatives from which they anticipate the fewest costs;
(3) immediate outcomes being equal, individuals choose alternatives that promise better long-term outcomes;
(4) long-term outcomes being equal, individuals choose alternatives providing better immediate outcomes.

These basic propositions of social exchange theory can be used to describe the  essential features of exchanges in married couples. They can also be used to predict relationship satisfaction, relationship progress, and relationship decay.

For all married couples, the exchange context includes trading with one's partner for love, sex, status, and life support. However, entrepreneurial couples—especially copreneurs because they work together—makes this trade with their spouses for self-esteem, mastery, and achievement. Whereas other couples have a wider variety of resources from which to negotiate exchanges (i.e., colleagues, employers, fellow workers, as well as their spouse), copreneurs must negotiate their love and work needs only from one another. Therefore, the potential for stress is heightened.

In other words, a trap that many entrepreneurial couples fall into is getting locked into deriving all of their rewards from work and spending money (i.e., immediate rewards). Since they work together and live together, they spend all of their time together. They only have themselves to compare to, so there’s no way of knowing when they’re heading into a major problem. As long as the rewards (i.e., work and money) outweighed the costs, the couple won’t notice the other rewards or benefits of marriage and family life may be slipping away.

It takes something catastrophic like a liquor bottle being thrown in the heat of an argument to alert them that the immediate costs to their quality of life no longer outweighed the long-term gain of business wealth.

On the other hand, when a couple has a well-developed system for maintaining a healthy balance in their lives, they won’t get blindsided. What are three must have rules of conduct in this system?

  • Keep business discussions at the office and family/relationship discussions at home.
  • Be sure you are equal business partners, giving each other full credit and respect for your separate contributions.
  • Insist on developing individual private lives.

With outside contacts, you’ll have other people in your lives with whom you can trade for feelings of self-esteem, mastery, and achievement. And this can make all the difference in the world.

You don’t have to be one of those couples that waits for something to go very wrong before waking up to problems and doing something about them. If you’re already experiencing problems in your work/life balance and need help getting back on track, and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

If you live elsewhere, we can also discuss best communication practices for business and/or family relationships via a secure video Q & A session. This would come under the heading of Entrepreneurial Couples Remote Education.

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

Monday, April 25, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Read more on my website: Conflict & Communication.

 

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Get further details here.

Is it Persuasion or Manipulation? How to Tell the Difference

Wednesday, March 09, 2016


Is it Persuasion or s it Manipulation – How to Tell the DifferenceWhen we watch a movie or a TV show we want to be manipulated. We want the script to make us feel like we’re involved, feeling the joy, sadness or thrill. It’s a great escape. Maybe you secretly admire the con artist. Perhaps you harbor just a little desire to get something for nothing just as the con does? Don't you wish you could be so clever?

The truth is that the con knows that you’re not so different from him or her. The only real difference is that you’ve created an illusion that you’re different, that you would never stoop to manipulation, and that you would never willfully take advantage of another person. Because you’re not so different, but are in denial about it, the con swoops in and relieves you of your money, your pride or your sense of safety.

None of us like to be manipulated to do things that aren’t in harmony with our values, desires or plans. Yet, it’s easy to become guilty of snowing the ones you love to get our own way. However, it creates incredible suffering not just in the short run but potentially for generations.

As difficult as it is to admit that we can be conned, it is even more difficult to admit that we can do the conning. However, the mark and the con are two sides of the same coin.

To investigate your manipulative qualities, ask yourself a few questions…

1. Are you in sales?
2. Does your business require that you use persuasion, diplomacy, and charm?
3. Have you ever lied?
4. Have you ever taken advantage of another's ignorance or naiveté?
5. Have you kept something you didn't pay for?
6. Have you ever cried in order to get your way?
7. Have you ever intimidated your opponent into capitulating?
8. Have you ever hurt someone else?
9. When you have hurt someone else, did you say, "I didn't mean to do it."
10. Have you kept a secret to avoid conflict?
11. Have you ever "dropped names"?
12. Have you ever changed the subject when the topic was too close for comfort?
13. Just once, was money your only concern?

The tools of persuasion, diplomacy and charm can be used ethically or unethically. They are like a hammer and screwdriver. The hammer and screwdriver can be used to build a house or to break into someone's home. The choice is up to the individual using the tools. Likewise, persuasion, diplomacy and charm can be used to swindle or to negotiate a mutually rewarding settlement.

Being conscious of your own manipulations allows you to be ethical. With consciousness comes choice. Choosing to be ethical in your communications and dealings with others requires that you take the time to understand others and to be understood fully. There is no room for conning. The risk of destroying trust is too great.

This topic of manipulation is a hot issues for family businesses. If you're in a family business and are concerned about the repercussions of manipulation schedule a Remote Education session with me to dig deeper.

Are You Encouraging Girls Who Are Natural Leaders?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


People usually either have a natural leadership ability or they don't, and you can see the quality almost from birth. But that doesn't mean all people born with this quality become leaders. The quality needs to be nurtured for it to grow and flourish. Just as soccer camp and piano lessons nurture the young athlete and young musician, so must parents help their young leader find experiences to help her to hone this skill.

In one psychology study a number of years ago, participants were asked to describe the qualities of a male leader. They listed such qualities as strong, decisive, charismatic, aggressive, goal oriented, tall and so forth. When a separate group was shown this list of characteristics and told that this described a woman, the participants considered her unfeminine, unlikable, angry and manipulative.

The big difference I’ve noticed between male and female leaders is mostly in how those characteristics were acquired. In other words, women business leaders develop their leadership from quite different life experiences than their male counterparts. And these life experiences do distinguish leadership styles and qualities.

I’m thankful that more and more women leaders are being acknowledged and welcomed as unique human beings who bring their own particular personality to the organization they lead. So many women of my generation grew up feeling like an odd ball. We were told we were too aggressive or unfeminine. Now women are at the helm of multi-billion dollar corporations, like Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, or run for major political office, like Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have.


For girls to grow up to be successful women business leaders they must conquer the fear of being unfeminine, being willing to break the rules. They need to continue to rise above the negative female stereotypes. It requires:

  • Pride in independent thinking
  • Fearless determination to accomplish your goals.
  • Willingness to create opportunities where others see limitations.

As entrepreneurs or business leaders both women and men are achievers, driven, tenacious, and independent. They’re unafraid of hard work. They strive for excellence in whatever they undertake. They can be impatient with the insecurities of others because these insecurities slow down the process. On the other hand, these leaders are very good at encouraging excellence in others, because they have a powerful belief in their cause. Leaders also believe in their abilities to accomplish whatever they put their minds to. This is probably the defining characteristic of leaders. Strong belief creates charisma and charisma creates followers.

Do you see leadership qualities in your daughter and would like expert advice on how to nurture it while caring for her emotional, psychological and spiritual needs? If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Read more on my website: Gifted Children.

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Read more: Spiritual Component Essential to Healthy Entrepreneurial Life.

 

Online Education is Ideal for Helping Your Family Business Thrive

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Recent Posts RSS


Tags


Archive