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Kathy Marshack News

Can Life Partners Be Good Business Partners?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


life partners becoming business partnersElise and Aaron have been in a happy marriage for more than ten years. During that time, each has built a successful, professional practice. However, unexpected problems began when they moved into the same office suite. Because they’re seeing each other every day at work and at home, conflicts are happening more often. The tools they used in the past to resolve problems aren’t working anymore.

This pictures a classic problem between entrepreneurial husbands and wives. Because their expectations are so radically different, husbands and wives become confused and frustrated with a partner that they love. They wonder why they ever asked the other to work with them. Sometimes they wonder even if they should remain married.

Search for a flexible system of relating that can change with the circumstances of your life, your lives together, and the changing marketplace of your business.

As more and more couples consider entrepreneurship, it becomes painfully apparent that they must prepare for the stress that business collaboration will cause their personal relationship. Much of this stress results from couples not discussing the ramifications of working together, not preparing for the blurred boundaries and turf that arise when a spouse becomes one’s business partner. However, clarifying the work/home expectations of each spouse/business partner should be the first thing that any entrepreneurial couple does, even before spending a cent on letterhead or signing the bank loan.

Whatever your style of couple entrepreneurship (a solo proprietorship, co-entrepreneurial couple or dual-entrepreneurs) there are few models to guide you in maintaining a loving marriage and a thriving business simultaneously. It is possible to design a model unique to the two of you that really works. Begin by talking with your spouse/partner about the goals each of you has for yourselves individually in life. Then go on to discuss marital goals, family goals and finally business goals. I have a more comprehensive outline of how to do this in my book, ENTREPRENEURIAL COUPLES: Making it Work at Work and at Home. It’s now available as a Kindle edition. Why don’t you check it out?

If you need some personal guidance on how to resolve a conflict in your family business, please contact my Portland Oregon/ Vancouver, Washington office and set up an appointment.

Read more on my website – Couples in Business.

How Are Women Entrepreneurs Changing the World We Live In?

Monday, August 26, 2013


women entrepreneurs juggle home and workThe numbers of entrepreneurial women are increasing rapidly. Because women are socialized differently than men, they tend to organize and run their businesses differently, though they are no less a force on the American economy. This is changing the way America does business, AND the ways Americans do marriage and family. Let’s examine this in more depth… 

How entrepreneurial women balance home life and work life.

Career women struggle with societal values and their own internalized beliefs about what is required of the competent professional versus the good wife and mother. In order to ease the struggle to define themselves, women can opt for the traditional homemaker role and not work outside the home. However, work proves to be powerfully alluring to women. Therefore, career women have chosen other methods to resolve this struggle.

Most commonly, entrepreneurial women overwork. Instead of asking for changes from their husbands, changes in the workplace, or even changes in society, career women increase the time spent in nurturing relationships as they increase their commitment to work.

While men strive for autonomy first and learn about relationships second, women develop their sense of self first in connection with others. Therefore, a woman’s sense of worth is highly dependent on the consequences of relationships.

Entrepreneurial women use unconventional methods in business management.

Women entrepreneurs have a more relaxed style of management. This can be seen in how women entrepreneurs treat their employees, suppliers, and customers. They seem to prefer a more people-oriented style. According to Putnam's 1993 study of entrepreneurial women in Oregon, women entrepreneurs blend their personal and their business identities. They base their management of the business on relationships rather than on the development of business plans. Employees are considered friends. Family and spouse support are elements without which the woman would not consider an entrepreneurial venture. Rather than network within traditional business organizations, entrepreneurial women rely on strong personal relationships with their customers and vendors. These findings led Putnam to describe the business orientation of entrepreneurial women as a "web of interconnected relationships."

Since this is becoming the norm, why don’t you and your partner reevaluate the arrangements you’ve made, as well as the assumptions underlying those arrangements? Are there ways that you can reorganize your relationship, your business, and your personal life to create an arrangement that works better for both of you? If you’d like a third party to help sort it out, talking with a family therapist can help. Contact my office and set up an appointment in either my Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington office.

Whether to work with your spouse or not is just one of the challenges I address in my book - Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home. It’s now available on as a Kindle edition.

4 Steps to Healing Negative Emotions In Your Family Business Relationships

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


use a notepad to do these four steps to healing negative emotionsWhen you run a family business, unresolved emotions can complicate the business relationship. When you improve the parent/child relationship, your family business will be a much less stressful place in which to work. How can you do this?

To clear up the negative emotions you have with your parents or children, take a moment to do the following four steps:

Step one:

Go to a quiet place and think about what really makes you angry with your loved one. This is the time for honestly listing the flaws, mistakes, habits and traits that bother you.

Step two:

List everything you admire and are grateful for in your loved one.

Step three:

Now comes the harder part, honestly ask yourself which traits are you perpetuating in the family tradition. Feelings of guilt may make it hard for you to acknowledge your parents flaws or your own, so it might be wise to ask your spouse for input.

Step four:

Finally, make a plan of action to change the negative traits.

These four steps reveal a great deal. Because of feeling guilty and wishing to avoid blame, you may inadvertently be carrying on the same mistakes generation after generation.

The goal of each generation should be to improve, not repeat mistakes. Holding your parents accountable gives you freedom to do the same. Accountability is the answer to removing negative emotions. It does no good to keep doing the blame game. When you’re respectful in your confrontations, you can communicate how your parents/children have hurt or angered you. An essential key to being respectful is to give them the dignity of being capable of accepting responsibility for their mistakes and correcting them.

Another challenging business arrangement is working with your spouse. My book - Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home is now available on as a Kindle edition and will help you with this.

For more information, visit Entrepreneurial Life - Families in Business.

Working Moms – Create More Flexibility in Your Work Schedule

Tuesday, July 09, 2013


working moms juggling work and home life“I never miss one of my child’s ballgames.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to say that? With the busy work schedules that working couples have, especially entrepreneurial couples, it seems like it’s nearly impossible to accomplish something like that. One of the things working moms and dads regret most is that family time gets sacrificed in order to keep their job or stay in business.

In today’s world, very few women want to be stay-at-home moms. Most women prefer to have a career. However, statistics show that many are working much more than they’d really like. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll showed that only a quarter of mothers with school age children want to be working full-time if money were no object.

That’s where thinking outside the box and taking the initiative is beneficial for creating a flexible work schedule. One great alternative is working from home one day per week. That’s what one enterprising mom did. After 9 years of working full-time for her employee, she mustered up the courage to ask to work from home on Fridays. You can gain inspiration from her story in The New York Times, Coveting Not a Corner Office, but Time at Home.

Some advocate that women should seek careers of leadership positions while depending on a partner to help with the childcare, however not everyone wants to live that way. It’s important for you and your partner to figure out your work-life priorities, and then not be afraid to ask the boss if you can work in an out-of-the-ordinary way, e.g. part time or from home. True, the boss may say, “no”, but there’s a good possibility you’ll get a “yes” instead.

But what if you are the boss? Of course, if you and your partner are in business together, then you have more flexibility of how and where work is done. If you’re having trouble coming to a satisfactory arrangement for your work-life circumstances, you might benefit from talking with a family therapist. Contact my office and set up an appointment in either my Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington office.

Check out my book - Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home that’s now available as a Kindle edition. You’ll find the true-life experiences helpful and inspiring.

Keys to Problem Solving Effectively

Monday, June 17, 2013


Do you know someone who handles problems with ease? You might be attracted to their confident yet carefree attitude when it comes to conquering daily challenges. For some, this type of attitude and ability to problem solve comes naturally. For others, it can be a real struggle. If it doesn't come naturally, don't be discouraged. You can learn how to adjust and problem solve when challenges come your way. It's starts with your attitude. Once your attitude has been adjusted, then you can attack the problem.

Keys to Problem Solving:

Adjusting Your Attitude

1. Separate the negative feeling from the positive thoughts. Clearing your mind from negative thinking with give you a clean slate.

2. View the problem as an opportunity for growth.

3. Take responsibility and don't blame others. You can only control yourself.

4. Develop a strong desire to solve the problem.

Attacking the Problem

1. Identify the root cause of the problem.

2. Think, strategize, then act on the resolution.

Problem solving is a vital process to learn and implement. You may need assistance from a mental health care professional who can guide you through the steps specific to your needs. Contact my office for an appointment.

For more information, visit Personal Growth.

Entrepreneurial Couples - Focus on Your Physical Health

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Entrepreneurial life equals a busy life. Maintaining balance between the business and the family takes hard work and determination. When working with entrepreneurial couples, I encourage them to focus on five tools for accessing purposeful growth. These five areas are key to adapting to the ebb and flow of the entrepreneurial lifestyle. One of these tools is to get healthy.

Getting healthy is something we all know we should do, but can easily shove aside when the day gets busy. Why is taking care of our physical health so important? Science has proven that your eating and exercise habits profoundly affect your intellect and longevity. Isn't that what we all want? Take some time to assess your physical health and then develop a routine to correct whatever needs to be adjusted.

Here are a few simple things that could make a big impact on your health: 

  • Educate yourself about proper nutrition and physical fitness. 
  • Minimize your intake of sugar. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole foods. 
  • Go for a walk every day. During an evening stroll with your spouse, talk about anything but business. 
  • If you are more sports-minded, join a basketball team or tennis club. 
  • Do your own gardening and housework and build up a few unused muscles. As an added benefit, mindless work sometimes helps to drain the day's stresses and rejuvenate the creative juices for the next day. 

To learn more about my five tools for purposeful growth, pick up your own of Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home. Now available on Kindle!

Kindle Edition of “Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home”

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


Great news! My book - Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home is now available on as a Kindle edition on Amazon.com.

Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home examines the traps entrepreneurial couples can fall into and offers practical advice for dealing with them. For example, entrepreneurial couples with a full family life have greater potential for breakdown in communication than do other couples. They often fail to confront issues head-on, instead relying on compromise and other avoidance techniques to ward off conflict.

How does a couple balance intimacy with family life and meaningful work? You'll read how to assess strengths and weaknesses in each area of your life, improve communication with your partner, develop flexibility, and reexamine priorities, offering a new way to design and live a more balanced, integrated, and meaningful entrepreneurial life.

"This book is a must read for any couples who are in business together." W. Gibb Dyer Jr., Ph.D. Marriot School of Management, Brigham Young University

"We wish we had this information thirty years ago when we started our business." Tom and Linda Denchel, Co-Owners, Tom Denchel Ford Country

Download your Kindle edition today!

Working Within Your Strengths – Practice Giving

Thursday, May 02, 2013


Each and every individual is endowed with strengths and weaknesses. In order to find success and joy in life, you must learn to work with those strengths and weaknesses. How is this possible?  


The New York Times published an interesting article about a man who has mastered the art of working with his strengths and overcoming his weaknesses. His name is Adam Grant. He is a professor at Wharton and an organizational psychologist. Organization psychology takes the principles of psychology and apply them to the workplace. He works with companies to help them care for and motivate their employees and also works with the employees to get the most out of their work. Grant is approachable, helpful, and dedicated. He believes that the biggest source of motivation should be found in helping others. His book, "Give and Take" centers around this idea that satisfaction and productivity are linked to extreme giving. 

 

What struck me about Grant was reading about his childhood and adolescence. He was shy, socially awkward, and had a fear of public speaking. Grant challenged himself to overcome his social weaknesses and in the process learned that giving enabled him to do that. He learned to work within his strengths and weakness and now has joy and success. What a win-win situation! I recommend reading his story in the article - Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead? 


To learn more about finding success and working with your strengths and weakness, visit Personal Growth

Encouraging Independence in a Family Firm

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


If you are an entrepreneurial couple with children, are you looking to grow into a family firm? If you want to include your children in the business, then there are a few vital things to keep in mind. There are two goals. One is to develop a thriving business. The second is to develop healthy independent adults who can contribute to society.


Most of us cherish the responsibility of parenting and are reluctant to give it up when the children leave home. In family firms where children may never leave the “nest” so to speak, the parenting role may continue indefinitely. How do you encourage independence for your child when they never really leave? There are a variety of strategies for ensuring that the second generation in family firms really grow up. The strategy that fits for you depends upon the business, the parents’ skills and personality and the skills and personalities of the children. 

 
The child needs an environment where they must prove themselves capable of leadership in the family business. For some this means leaving the business for awhile and working elsewhere. For others, it means getting an education before returning to the family business. Another child may benefit by working their way up from the "mailroom" with no preferential treatment from the parents. Finally, some children will be better family members and more capable adults if they never return to the family business.


You must keep in mind that the business can be successful without the child and the child can be successful without the business. That is, set your sights on accomplishing both goals independent of each other, and you may be surprised how they come together in the long run. For more information, visit Entrepreneurial Life - Families in Business

Your Response to Addiction – Is It Codependency or Kindness?

Friday, March 22, 2013


When an individual becomes addicted to drugs, alcohol, or another unwise behavior, the remaining family members are faced with a decision – what do we do? Often times a codependent relationship ensues. Why? Because kindness and codependency are often confused.


The reason it is so easy to confuse kindness and co-dependency is that they are essentially the same behavior within different contexts. To be kind means to give unconditionally, to share, to show that you care for another person. When the giving, sharing and caring is reciprocated by a healthy individual, the condition is kindness. However, when the kindness is not reciprocated, when you find yourself giving and giving and giving, it may be co-dependency.


How can you stop this behavior? If you love someone who is in trouble, why can't you help them? The key word here is help. If you are doing all of the work toward solving a problem, what is the other person learning? If you stop helping in a co-dependent way, you may offer your loved one the chance to show you they can solve the problem themselves. A key lies in respect – if you respect your loved one, then trust that they can take responsibility for their faults and clean them up. In other words, show the chemically dependent person that you respect them enough to let them show you what they are made of. If they have the right stuff, they will clean up their own act. In fact, the very act of turning the problem back to the person who created it, frees both of you to take responsibility for your own actions.


So how do you tell the difference between co-dependence and kindness? Well, one feels bad and the other feels good. One covers up the real problem, while the other brings the problem to the surface. One destroys self-esteem, while the other encourages self-esteem. Since you have a choice, the choice seems pretty simple. Choose positive self-esteem, honesty in solving problems, and taking and giving appropriate responsibility for one's actions. However, if you sense that you can’t break the cycle of codependence on your own get help from a trusted mental health advisor. 


For more information - visit Marriage Counseling - Breaking the Cycle of Codependence



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