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Kathy Marshack News

Can Entrepreneurial Women Measure Up to Their Definition of Success?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Entrepreneurial woman caring for business and familyAccording to the 2012 US Census, women own 36% of all businesses, which is a jump of 30% over 2007. This trend isn’t going away. However, the challenges for women entrepreneurs on how to deal with differences between themselves and their husbands, and find work/home balance remain.

Even in the 21st century, women are still often expected to take on a submissive, dependent, supportive role. They help their husbands, nurture their families, and care for their homes. Over time women, even successful entrepreneurs, have internalized this definition of womanhood. This can lead to women being less assertive, struggling with the choice between caring for her own needs and that of her business, and taking care of the needs of others.

Women are keenly aware of their identity in relation to others. They view themselves are caregivers, wives, and employers. Women develop their sense of self through connections with others. Their sense of worth is highly dependent on the status of their relationships.

For example, I worked with a woman named Sarah who was at a crossroads with her husband and her business. Sarah’s husband had begun helping her with her business, but the arrangement was not working. She needed to take back control of her business but still save her marriage. Despite being a successful entrepreneur, she was struggling because her sense of success was based on how her husband would adjust to the new developments.

The fact that women view the world in relational, or interpersonal terms, helps explain why many women downplay their business achievements. For example, I asked a co-entrepreneurial couple to tell me their official business titles. The wife, who had started the business five years before her husband began working with her, said she was a “sales associate,” while her husband referred to himself as the “vice president.”

Over time, our society has developed the notion that money and power are synonymous with success. Entrepreneurial women certainly find satisfaction in business accomplishments. To many women, however, true success comes from so much more. It comes from relationships, family, and personal connections, to name a few. Women have different values, and these values are significantly impacting how they design their businesses.

Women are encouraged, even expected, to marry and have children. If a woman only achieves success in business, she runs the risk of being considered a failure as a woman. Of course, each woman gets to choose if they will work, start a family, or do both. What if a woman wants to have both a family and a business venture? They have to find the balance between what they believe is required of them as a competent professional verses a good wife and mother.

Often, women end up working overtime. While maintaining, or even increasing, their commitment to secular work, they also increase the time they spend nurturing their families, relationships and caring for their homes. To make this work, many women design their business schedule around family needs. Since they are well aware of the challenges of raising a family while working, they are often willing to work with employees to maintain their own work/life balance.

In spite of the challenges, the number of woman entrepreneurs continues to rise. In fact, they often report a high level of satisfaction with both work and home life. They are successfully facing the challenge of balancing love and work.

Do you need help balancing your home life and work life? I’ve been there, and I can help! If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.

I also encourage you to check out my book, Entrepreneurial Couples - Making It Work at Work and at Home. It explains why partners sometimes struggle to see eye-to-eye in business, but how to overcome differences and succeed. I encourage you to read it together as a couple and see how the suggestions can improve your home and business life.

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.

 

Entrepreneurial Couples – What Should You Change in 2016 If Your Lifestyle Just Isn’t Working?

Wednesday, December 02, 2015


Entrepreneurial Couples – What Should You Change in 2016 If Your Lifestyle Just Isn’t Working?Most entrepreneurial couples just wing it when it comes to business or marriage. They trust their drive, intelligence, and savvy to get them through life's roadblocks. But as life becomes more complicated by marriage, children, and an expanding business, the weaknesses in this style begin to emerge. Without a plan for the evolution of your marriage, family, or business, you may be very unprepared for the consequences. It is no surprise that most family-owned businesses never make it to the second generation.

Composing a life may be a better euphemism than life planning because it implies that life is art. The artist understands that the picture is more than the sum of its parts. The artist knows that when all of the elements are woven together, the tapestry takes on a life of its own. When you think about the business you have chosen to run with your spouse or partner, is it a representation of both of you or of some family history? How did you choose the name for your business? Does the name reflect a value or interest of yours? The answers to these questions reveal that it is not by chance that you are precisely at this point in your life.

It would be a lot easier to compose a life if you had a clean slate to start with. Unfortunately, you have probably been wandering around in life for a few decades already. You made decisions years ago that are still affecting you today. Some of these decisions can be changed; others are more permanent. Still others are perfectly good choices and are the foundation of the life you will begin composing today.

The first consideration in composing a life is to be brave. You may have to do radical surgery on yourself. You will probably find that your basic values as a human being are sound, but that their expression in the real world will have to change. When you were a young adult in your early twenties, developing a relationship with your new spouse was based on the needs and goals of youth. Your marriage today, as an older, wiser couple, may require revamping to keep up with individual, family, and business development. Even the business in which you chose to involve yourself may have been suited to you at thirty, but at forty-five has lost its appeal.

When people face a crisis or even just an ordinary problem, they are tempted to try a simple change. They change jobs, change spouses, build a new house, and so on. These simple changes are supposed to make them feel better—and sometimes they do, for a while. But in the long run the new job fizzles, the new spouse presents problems remarkably similar to those the previous spouse presented, and the new house is still not quite big enough.

Rather than waste your time with pointless changes, compose a life, and plan for meaningful change. Change your map of reality to include the possibilities that you (your spouse and your family) are capable of, even if this involves painful and difficult work. In other words, composing a life that works this time probably means changing your concept of the interdependence of love and work.

Are you ready to compose a new life plan as an entrepreneurial couple? You can order a copy of my book, Entrepreneurial Couples: Making It Work at Work and at Home, to get my more advice on how to do it successfully, including my 7 Ground Rules for Successful Life Planning. Do you have a question for me? Sign-up for a Remote Education session with me to get some answers.

Protect Your Heart and Your Bank Account When Dating Online

Monday, August 03, 2015


protect yourself when dating onlineOnline dating seems here to stay. According to Pew Research Center almost half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or who has met a partner via online dating and attitudes towards online dating have grown progressively more positive.

 How can you protect yourself when you’re dating online?

First, watch out for scammers. Unfortunately many older singles in their 50’s and 60’s are being scammed out of their life’s savings! The New York Times reported recently, “Between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2014, nearly 6,000 people registered complaints of such confidence fraud with losses of $82.3 million.” The real number is much larger because many are too embarrassed to admit it happened to them, which allows the criminals to perpetrate their scam on someone else.

What are some warning signs to watch out for when dating online? The F.B.I. gives the following alerts:

“1. Be cautious of people who claim that the romance is destiny or fate and that you are meant to be together.


2. Beware if a person tells you they love you and cannot live without you, but they need you to send them money so they can visit you. And if you do not send them money or help them, they will claim you do not love them.


3. Swindlers typically claim they are originally from the United States (or your region) but now are overseas, or are going overseas, attending to business or family matters.”


The AARP network recommends that you use Google’s “search by image” to see if the suitor’s picture appears on other sites with different names. Also, if an email from a potential suitor seems suspicious they recommend that you copy and paste it into Google and see if the words pop up on any romance scam sites.

What about protecting your heart when you’re dating online? I often advise singles to make a list of the qualities you’re looking for in a prospective partner. Be as picky as you want. If he or she is to fit nicely into your life, then you need to be specific. Don’t compromise. List everything your heart desires from physical appearance, to political beliefs, to leisure interests, to favorite foods. It’s all important. In fact, it’s often the small details that make or break a relationship so put them all on your list, big and small.

After you make your list, ask yourself if this list is a good match for you. Remember opposites attract, but the best partners are much like ourselves. If your list describes your opposite, you might want to rework it.

If you are recently divorced or widowed, it can be scary thinking about dating again. But you don’t have to be alone. There are safe ways to find romance by getting support from a psychologist who specializes in relationship development. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment so we can explore your options.

Read more on my website: Advise for Singles.

How as a Woman You Benefit from Having and Being a Mentor

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


women benefit from having and being a mentorBack in the 90’s I made the statement

, “Women mentoring and mentoring women will undoubtedly insure a strong female leadership in the 21st century.” This has certainly proved true as more women discover the value of working with 

business coaches and life coaches to build the lives they want to live.

Women, just as men need to be wise to the politics of corporate life. They need to have professional credentials and skills if they want a good salary or to achieve that promotion. It's just that women take things personally so those personal needs must be addressed.

My research has found that, for women, getting to know oneself in relationship to others is the foundation of life. Mentoring for them is about developing relationships and about learning as much from the protégé as from the mentor. It's collaboration, a dialogue, an evolving and developing process leading both women into a deeper relationship as well as a more advanced stage of life.

In the past the mentor was a cherished grandmother, aunt, older sister or neighbor who took the young woman under her wings and showed her the ropes. With so many fractured families this support system isn’t always available.

If there is no woman to mentor her, no mentor to relate to her personally, a young woman may hold herself back from accomplishment because of lack of confidence or lack of a mirror to show her she's on the right track. That's why being a mentor, or finding one, can be the key to success.

So just what does a mentor teach? Mentoring can cover the gamut of female behavior from dressing for success to litigation tactics to canning vegetables to dating etiquette. If you’re considering mentoring, don't limit your options to the traditional male arena. We owe it to the next generation to teach what we know. Your young protégé needs to learn how to be a woman, not just an attorney or an artist.

Principally a mentor will encourage her to believe in herself. However, young women are still in great need of learning about the career possibilities there are in the world, so if you have a unique specialty, tout it. Let young women know that there are new and exciting career realms to explore.

Please join me on my Facebook page and share your story of how a mentor helped you.

How Therapy Can Give You the Competitive Advantage in Business and Life

Friday, June 19, 2015


entrepreneurs can get a competitive advantage from therapyHigh-powered executives know the secret to getting a competitive edge. They recognize when something is missing and they’re not afraid to do what it takes to find it. They know that seeking help at the first sign of trouble keeps them moving forward. So they’re comfortable seeking help from counselors and therapists.

Are there areas in your business and home life that would benefit from counseling? Check out the following list of feelings and the consequences for ignoring them and see if any of them resonate with you...

Do I still keep up with my commitments, but the effort seems pointless and tiresome? (The longer you wait the greater the likelihood you’ll experience burnout.)

Do I feel unfulfilled and unhappy with my home life and business life? (The longer you wait the greater your chances are for a mid-life crisis, health issues, family breakup, or losing your business.)

Do I feel like my motivation and energy are gone? (The longer you wait the harder it is to get going again and you may tragically give up.)

Do I feel negative behaviors becoming more a part of who I am and I don’t like it? (The longer you wait the more time, money and effort it takes to improve.)

Do I feel like I’m not functioning at my best? (The longer you wait the more you’ll resist change.)

Do I want to be a better person but don’t think I can change? (The longer you wait the more likely you’ll settle for the status quo and miss out on your greater purpose.)

Do I experience unexplained health problems? (The longer you wait the more irreparable damage is done to your brain, heart and immune system)

Do I put myself down and have low self-esteem? (The longer you wait the more convinced you’ll become that you deserve a life of less than.)

Do I treat others in a disagreeable, critical and negative way? (The longer you wait the more damage you’ll do to relationships you cherish.)

Do I feel stuck? (The longer you wait the more you’ll repeat past mistakes.)

Do I feel invisible and unappreciated at home or at work? (The longer you wait the more likely it is that you’ll get passed over and won’t get credit you deserve.)

Do I want to communicate more effectively but can’t seem to connect? (The longer you wait the more likely you’ll lose opportunities for building great relationships.)

Do I want to increase management skills, i.e. time, people, organizational? (The longer you wait the more likely you’ll never achieve your goals and desires.)

We don’t think it’s strange to go to medical doctors, hire personal trainers or seek spiritual guidance from religious leaders. It’s time we erased the stigma attached to seeing a mental health therapist.

Why not reach out to a business coach or professional counselor so you can tap into your own competitive edge? If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. We can tailor a success program for you.

Learn more on my website: When to Seek Help and Therapy FAQs.

How Does Your Two-Career Family Divvy Up the Housework?

Monday, June 08, 2015


two career families divvy up the housworkDo you remember before you married you each promised that you’d split the running of the household and childcare 50-50 since you both had careers? Is that still working for you or have more of the household tasks migrated back onto your plate? Or rather are these tasks just going undone?

To keep the household and childcare covered, one person, usually the mother, has to keep things organized, scheduling the to-do lists, doctor appointments, school permission slips, extracurricular activities, and so forth. This greatly affects how much time and energy mom has left for working secularly. That’s not to say the dad doesn’t want to spend more time with the children, because he does. Yet he feels driven to work to take care of his family.

In a recent New York Times article, various studies were examined to determine today’s reality of housework equality. One 2008 study by Dr. Lareau and sociologist Elliot B. Weininger found, “Mothers’ paid work hours go up when children’s activities go down, whereas fathers’ paid hours are not affected by how much their children do.” This indicates that juggling home and work puts a tremendous drain of time and energy for moms.

The article goes on to explore the perception of both sexes: “Half of the men surveyed in a Families and Work Institute study from 2008 said they were either the responsible parent or shared the role equally with their spouse, while two-thirds of the women said they were the one in charge. This suggests that either men overestimate their contribution or women define the work differently.”

I’ve often commented that communication is key to successfully merging family life and work life. Yet, with frayed nerves, stress, and overworked emotions, conflict arises and good communication skills often go out the window.

Is it time to reconnect with your spouse, but you don’t know how? Many have found that it helps to enlist the expertise of a professional who can help you reorganize priorities and teach you tools of communication to cut through the conflict. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. It’s truly a sign of maturity and strength to be so committed to your marriage that you’ll do whatever is needed to make it work. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment and we can talk about how to help your family be happy and strong.

Read more on my website: Dual Career Couples and Conflict and Communication.

Entrepreneurial Couples Checklist for Success Free Ebook

Is the Stress of Entrepreneurial Life Putting Your Family at Risk for Domestic Abuse?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


stress of entrepreneurial lifestyle putting family at risk for domestic spouse abuse child abuseNo one wants to think it could happen to them. And commendably, many entrepreneurs go into business for themselves because they want to spend more time together as a family. Yet the stress of growing a business can become an unbearable strain on the individual and on the family, and some turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. The greatest majority of child abuse cases are related to alcohol abuse.

NPR recently ran a story that reported, “Almost 680,000 children in the United States were the victims of abuse and neglect in 2013. More than 1,500 of them died.” The Center for Disease Control has a downloadable fact sheet that reports that in the US, in 2012, the Child Protective Services received an estimated 3.4 million referrals of children being abused or neglected.

It takes just one incident of domestic violence to send a marriage and a business reeling.

For example, in my Entrepreneurial Couples book, I talk about Jay and Celia who thought they were untouchable until Jay allowed mounting stress at work to turn to abusing alcohol to unwind. His very successful auto repair business was starting to go sour because he could no longer compete with a national chain. One night when Celia was still at the espresso cart, Joe came home after having had a few drinks and was annoyed that his wife was not there cooking his dinner. Rather than wait until his wife got home, Jay started an argument with his teenage daughter; before he was through, he had pinned her to the wall and was strangling her, until he stopped in horror.

Although Jay was mortified that he got this out of control and immediately apologized to his daughter, he asked her to keep the incident a secret from Celia. Of course, this secret festered and came out two years later when the couple was in marital therapy as part of Jay's alcohol treatment program. Celia was unable to tolerate the betrayal, and the couple separated.

At the point that domestic violence erupts, the lives of entrepreneurs are extremely out of control. Stress from the typical workaholic entrepreneurial lifestyle can create health problems, marital problems, drug abuse problems, and ethical problems. Spouse abuse and child abuse indicate an obvious breakdown in the multiple developing progressions of an individual's life, and are evidence of serious mental and spiritual problems. In fact, to allow the stress of entrepreneurial life to become this extreme means that the couple has gone beyond crisis. Chronic problems that have persisted for years are responsible for this total disregard of human values and dignity.

As a result of these problems, in combination with the weaknesses of character that evolved years earlier from neglectful and abusive upbringings, the crossing of boundaries into domestic violence is more common than you might think. If you recognize yourself or your partner taking even a small step in this direction, you should seek the help of a psychotherapist immediately. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. If you live elsewhere and want to learn more, check out remote education for entrepreneurial couples that allows us to connect via video or telephone conference.

Read more on my website: Entrepreneurial Life and Alcoholism Recovery.

Do You Have to be “Supermom” to be a Good Parent?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


supermom juggling motherhood a home and a careerWhat’s your definition of a “good mom”? What image comes to mind? Is she the “have it all” “be-it-all” type of supermom? Does she tirelessly manage a spotless house while keeping her kids busy in 10 different, after-school activities so they can get into the best colleges? Does she have an “even if it kills me, they’re going to have it” attitude? And all of this sandwiched in between a career or business as an entrepreneur!

A recent New York Times contributor, Heather Havrilesky, poured out her feelings about the mixed messages that are putting immense pressure on moms to be supermoms, while at the same time receiving degrading messages like, “Oh, you’re just a mom”. She talks about losing her own identity, which I’m sure many moms out there can relate to.

Even though my daughters are both grown up now, I remember the stress involved in trying to do it all. Do you sometimes find yourself wondering…

  • When did the role of motherhood get so out of balance?
  • How did it become the norm that life revolves around everything your child wants rather than the child learning to fit into the family?
  • How is it you become a bad mom if you don’t keep running from the moment you wake up until you fall exhaustedly into bed at night?
  • How are you supposed to smile happily through it all?

On top of that, you’re burdened with an immense sense of guilt every time you take some ‘me time’ for yourself…” This striving for a false perfection sets you up for the frustration of never being able to measure up.

Moms, especially working moms, are people too, not superheroes. You’re going to make little mistakes, even big blunders. The key is to recognize the mistake, accept it, and learn from it. As a psychologist please let me assure you that children are remarkably resilient. If you err, stop it, change it, apologize for it. You will be modeling flexibility and honesty for your child – two important values for them to have.

It’s important to remember that your child is a unique and a separate person from you. He or she isn’t an extension of the parent, but is as different and distinct as their fingerprints. If you take the time to be curious about who your child is, how they think, who they’re becoming, you’ll have the opportunity to make a lifelong friend.

Occasionally, when a problem arises that is beyond your understanding, it’s appropriate to seek the expertise of a family therapist. Sometimes personal problems or relationship problems interfere with productive family life. It is important to recognize these problems, seek professional help and restore family life to a healthy, happy balance. If you like in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Want to create a better work/home balance? If you’re an entrepreneur please check out my book – Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and Home.

Read more on my website: Women Entrepreneurs, Resources for Copreneurs and Am I a Good Parent?



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