Archive for Relationship Mindset


Be Thankful

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Happy Thanksgiving

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.

Author Unknown

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


Change seems to be one of the few things we can be sure of in today’s fast-paced world. If you chose to be an entrepreneur, the only thing you can predict in your business is change. Therefore, it is imperative that you ask yourself the following question: “Do you and your partner have similar enough financial, emotional and spiritual wants and needs to withstand the unpredictable nature your entrepreneurial business will bring into your lives?”

Being an entrepreneur is not just about being your own boss – it also represents your personality. Entrepreneurs, by definition are risk-takers who desire to create their own path in life rather than follow the path someone else has paved. Sure, entrepreneurship represents a business model; however, make no mistake about it, your entrepreneurial success and/or struggles impact not only your business but your marriage and family life as well. Unlike a traditional job where you work for someone else, an entrepreneur cannot always separate their business relationships from their other relationships – especially their marriage. Why? Because entrepreneurs take their business “personally” since their work represents something they have created and constantly nourish.

Money – let’s look at the financial reality of being an entrepreneur. Your financial situation might take a roller coaster ride – with a lot of money coming in at times and no money coming in at other times – often being unable to predict the cycle of financial feast or famine. In the start-up phase, you might need to take on some initial debt before your business ever turns a profit. Are you comfortable with this financial arrangement? And just as importantly, is your spouse comfortable with this arrangement? You need to look at and discuss the financial ramifications of entrepreneurship with your spouse to make sure you can endure financial uncertainty together, especially during the start-up or expansion phase of your business. Do NOT assume your spouse knows about this financial roller coaster ride. The last thing most spouses want are financial surprises.

Time – speak to any successful entrepreneur and they will tell you entrepreneurship requires more sweat equity than they initially thought. Many spouses of entrepreneurs will tell you they sometimes feel their like their spouses’ business is a mistress – due to all the hours, energy and emotional commitment the business requires – leaving little, if any, time and energy for their relationship. Are you prepared for the long hours and emotional commitment it takes to make your business successful? Have you communicated to your spouse the amount of time, emotional energy and commitment your business will require to be successful? Is your spouse on board with this? Can your marriage withstand the long work hours and emotional commitment many businesses require – at least in the start-up phase (and often beyond)?

Spirituality/Religion – are you a spiritual or religious person? Is your spouse? Will your spiritual practices be impacted by your entrepreneurial work? Are you willing to close up shop during religious holidays if that is important to you – knowing as an entrepreneur you do not get paid for personal days, vacation days, religious observances, etc. It is imperative you and your spouse understand and discuss how your entrepreneurial business will impact the spiritual aspect of your lives and relationship.

There are no correct answers to the questions posed above but these questions must not be ignored. The answer will be different for each marriage and they will give you a pretty good indicator as to whether your marriage will be able to survive whatever challenges your entrepreneurial lifestyle will present.

For more information on how to survive the constant changes entrepreneurship brings to your marriage and family life, read Chap. 8 titled: “Bending without Breaking-Meeting Hard Times with Strength, Courage, and Commitment” in my best selling book: “Not Tonight Dear, I’ve Got a Business to Run!”

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


It appears as if nobody does one thing at a time anymore. At work we talk on the phone while reading an email or while on our computer. At home we cook while texting or watching TV or helping the kids with their homework or while talking with our partner. Business meetings at the most senior level have executives give presentations while those in attendance are listening while simultaneously sending client and/or employee emails or they’re secretly surfing the net. And, unfortunately, we all know the dangers of texting and driving, but many people continue to do this nonetheless.

In many respects multi-tasking is the only way we can manage to get everything done. This appears to be especially true for women who have way too long “to-do” lists – at work and at home. However we are kidding ourselves if we believe that our choice to never (or hardly ever) be thoroughly engaged in any specific activity – whether it be working on a client project, parenting our children or interacting with our spouse (or significant other) is not compromising our activities and relationship with others.

As a married mother of four children, I totally understand the need for multi-tasking at work and at home. My point is that we must not forget that the ability to focus, concentrate and be totally present at work and at home must not go the way of the dinosaur. There are times in our professional and personal life where it is imperative that we deal with one task, one assignment and one emotional issue at a time. The people with whom we work and love must know that we can prioritize their needs when necessary – and put them in the spotlight, where our skill and emotions are not shared with anyone or anything else. Working moms must know when to put down the smart phone and/or shut off the computer so we can be fully engaged with our children.

In our fast-paced world where women are wearing so many hats, this is, of course not always possible; but it must, at some times, be very possible – and we must not lose the ability to determine when this single- focused attention is critical to our professional and personal success!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


Stephen R. Covey, the best-selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, emphasized the value and importance of personal development skills as tantamount to one’s success in business and life. The rise and fall of our career and business is often rooted in our ability to network, build, sustain and nurture professional relationships, both within and outside the workplace, in an authentic manner. Consequently, it is imperative we seize the opportunity to develop and enhance our relationship skills any chance we get.

The most important relationship we have is the one we have with our self. Understanding yourself is the foundation upon which all other interactions, both professionally and personally stem. Reflect on the past year and make an honest assessment of how you relate to others in the work place. Make a conscious effort to work on your personal flaws, while continuing to develop your interpersonal strengths. Many of us need to improve our communication skills — where our ability to effectively listen is often inadequate. Additionally, we need to learn to understand our emotions better so we can control them, instead of our emotions controlling us.

The more confident and secure we are with ourselves, the less we will need to lash out at others, especially when criticized and/or stressed with looming deadlines. Rather than being defensive when criticized, try to pause and reflect upon the elements of truth found within the criticism, keeping our anger in check.

Reach out to your colleagues to nurture and solidify the relationships you have already established with them. During the holiday season, thank your clients and anyone else within or outside your organization with whom you have worked with throughout the past year. Let them know how much you appreciate their help and efforts in achieving your organization’s common goal. Do not underestimate the importance of how far a sincere “thank-you” goes in the work place.

Regardless of one’s position within an organization, everyone loves to be acknowledged and appreciated. While reaching out to your colleagues, make sure you let them know you will be more than willing to help them out in any way possible in the coming year.

A sincere attempt to mend any friction you may have created or been a part of this past year could potentially go a long way in creating a friendlier, less contentious relationship and work environment in the upcoming year. If you have had difficult moments with co-workers in the past year, now is a great time to reach across the aisle (as they say) and extend a hand.

Make amends and try to re-assure them that any work differences, whether it was in developing a strategic business plan, marketing initiative, setting goals, etc., was in fact a business difference and not a personal matter. Clearly state your intention and desire to work together in a more harmonious and aligned way in the upcoming year.

Success is not achieved within a vacuum. We must be able to build healthy relationships with others to achieve any success in business and life. Commit to increasing your ability to build these relationships in the upcoming year!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


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Thanksgiving Day – and with it begins the official commencement of the holiday season! Today Americans give thanks and celebrate the fact that we live in the greatest country in the world; a country that provides unprecedented freedoms, abundance and liberties to all! Thanksgiving Day allows us the opportunity to pause and express our gratitude and love for each other, and for all this great country has to offer. In addition, I believe there is absolutely no greater country in the world than the United States of America to live in as a woman, and for this too I am extremely thankful.

In keeping with the tradition of giving thanks on Thanksgiving Day, I would like to share with my readers some reflections on all I am thankful for on this very traditional American holiday.

I am thankful for all the wonderful people with whom I share my life – my family, my friends and the ever growing, inspiring followers of this relationship advice newsletter. I am thankful for the privilege of having all of you be a part of my life.

Be thankful for all the things you have in your life and consider everything and everyone around you to be a miracle – for life is truly a miracle!

Express gratitude and thanks for what we have in our lives instead of worrying about and being resentful for what we don’t have (or for what you think you should have more of). This includes focusing on all the wonderful qualities and positive aspects of our relationships and your business, while minimizing the negatives.

When we view our relationships and our life through the eyes of gratitude and thankfulness, our inner world becomes a place of peace, joy, happiness and tranquility that radiates out from our very core, and influences our external reality. Gratitude and thankfulness provides a mindset that allows us to see the good in the people who make up our lives, and this mindset extends to the world at large. Feeling thankful for all we have in our lives makes us feel good about ourselves and our relationships. Thankfulness increases the bond we have with each other on an individual level, and within our community at large.

Thankfulness puts us in a place where we truly want to give back to the world for all that we have. It injects positive feelings into our relationships and allows them to expand from a place of love and abundance.

The presence of thankfulness within our hearts allows us to look at conflict in our relationships from a healthy perspective. Therefore, when we are faced with these conflicts, we feel less inclined to escalate them because we are coming from a place of abundance. We do not have the energy, the desire, nor the will to view conflict from a “winner takes all” sum game.

The mindset and expression of thankfulness and gratitude in your day to day life helps solidify all your relationships and acts as the glue for maintaining love and intimacy in your romantic relationships. When we show thanks and gratitude to our partner, we let them know we appreciate the love and intimacy they bring into our lives, so be thankful for all the love you have in your life.

As the hustle and bustle of this holiday season begins today, remember to express your thanks and gratitude to the people who make up the relationships with whom you share your life!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


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Conflict between people can be viewed in very general terms, i.e.,  as a fight or battle. The word conflict may lead you to think of a nasty fight with your spouse, or a mild argument between business partners.  Regardless of how mild or severe, most conflicts in business and marriage are rooted in power struggles.  In other words, who gets to make the decisions?

Conflict arises from many sources but at its core conflict stems from differences – whether these differences reflect disagreement over values, motivations, perceptions, ideas, desires or goals.  In business and in marriage, these differences may appear trivial until they trigger a strong personal feeling, or a deep personal need to feel respected, valued, secure and/or a need for greater intimacy.

Conflict is an inevitable part of life; many people view conflict in negative terms. I find it helpful to think of conflict from a positive perspective since conflict provides your business and your marriage with the opportunity for growth. Conflict presents an opportunity to develop deeper more meaningful relationships based on the ability to understand and respect differences – creating trust. When you can successfully resolve conflict in any relationship (your marriage or your business) trust builds. It’s this very type of trust which is the foundation for success in your business because it creates trust among your colleagues and your clients. It creates success in your marriage because it strengthens the emotional bond between partners which enhances intimacy.

Below are 5 tools for conflict resolution that apply as equally to your  business as it does to your marriage.

1. Acknowledge that the conflict exists – sounds like common sense; however, I have seen marriages fall apart because either one, or both partner(s) refused to acknowledge the existence of a problem;  many businesses have declined for failure to recognize a conflict within the organization or a conflict between what the client wants and what the company thinks the client wants.  Failure to acknowledge conflict puts your marriage and your business on the fast track for failure.

2. Communicate effectively – failure to effectively communicate creates misunderstandings and misperceptions.  Verbal and non-verbal communication along with the ability to actively listen will allow for the appropriate sharing of information – minimizing the chances for any misunderstandings to escalate the conflict.  Be cognizant of verbal and non-verbal cues and address any ambiguity between them to insure people are saying what they mean and meaning what they say.  Use your active listening skills – hearing what someone is saying to you is not the same as listening to what someone is saying.
Note: more than 50% of all communication occurs non-verbally so it is imperative you actively listen for what is not being said.

3. Take responsibility –  Many times conflict can only be resolved with a change in our behavior and/or attitude.  Yes, often we can be the only person that resolves conflict in some situations because we are either at the heart of the conflict or we are being totally unreasonable, rigid and unrelenting about our position within the conflict.  Be realistic and remember there is no such thing as a one-handed clap.  If there is conflict in your business or in your marriage – you are as much responsible for the existence of the conflict as anyone else.

4. Resolve to make conflict resolution a priority.  We all know people who thrive on conflict – sad but true. In your marriage and your business, be determined to resolve conflict from the perspective of what is good for the business and what is good for your relationship- instead of being “right” at all costs.  Do not make the mistake of winning the battle only to lose the war.

5. Compromise &  Negotiate – Compromise and negotiation is based on understanding the other person’s position.  Understanding does not mean you are in agreement; rather it means you understand what their position is based on where they are coming from.  Compromise and negotiation is the most effective response to conflict in your business and your relationship because all parties gain something – leaving all parties feeling heard and empowered. Compromise and negotiation can only be reached if the above 4 conflict resolution skills are artfully employed.

Conflict can be seen from a positive perspective because once conflict has been resolved, all parties will feel secure with the knowledge that their relationships (in business and marriage) can survive challenges and disagreements.  View conflict as an opportunity for growth through adversity.

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


We all know some incredibly smart people that consistently sabotage their success in business by either alienating or angering the people around them. Regardless of how skilled and/or smart these people are, their success will be limited because they will have failed to develop a network of people who “have their back.” So when the crap hits the fan, and sooner or later it does for everyone – nobody is covering for them.

Business success is no longer about being the smartest person in the room. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly clear that the secret to success in business is predicated less upon your IQ and more about something else. This “something else” is your EI, that is, your emotional intelligence.

What is emotional intelligence and exactly how can you harness it for professional success?

Although emotional intelligence can be defined and identified by breaking it down into four categories, for our purposes here we can very succinctly define emotional intelligence as the ability to develop healthy relationships. Whether you work as an entrepreneur or within a corporate environment, you must be able to successfully relate to others to create success. Within our highly competitive global marketplace, the ability to create relationships with our subordinates and superiors, with our customers and with our clients is critical to our success – and the success of our team. Emotional intelligence allows us to do just that.

Think about the following example as a way to understand how emotional intelligence is essential for your business success. You have an important presentation to present to your boss tomorrow and your computer crashes today. You call the IT department – and here is where emotional intelligence (EI) comes into play. A few months ago, you developed a healthy relationship with a manager in the IT department – long before you ever thought you would need his/her help. So when you call the IT department – you have an actual person to call – rather than just calling the general “help” desk. You call your buddy down at IT, you tell him/her your dilemma, and because you have a relationship with this person, your problem gets resolved much quicker than it would have otherwise. This is a great demonstration of emotional intelligence – how the ability to develop healthy relationships, is operationalized for success.

So the next time you are in the elevator at work, in line at the cafeteria, walking into the office from the parking lot etc., take a moment and say hello to the person sitting or standing next to you. Start a little chit-chat conversation and then build on this over time. You might be surprised at how this first hello will act as an ice-breaker to the beginning of a wonderful working relationship!

This is one of many simple and yet highly effective ways to use emotional intelligence as a way of creating success in your business and life!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


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Women can multi-task in Olympic proportion. Current research suggests that working mothers spend approximately 50% of their time doing two things at once. Barbara Schneider, sociology professor at Michigan State University, states: “This suggests that working mothers are doing two activities at once more than two-fifths of the time they are awake …” Interestingly, recent research reports that all this multi-tasking is not experienced positively for women, it is often experienced negatively.  Rather than feeling good about all we have accomplished in a day (or even an hour) quite the opposite appears to be true; and our ability to multi-task can actually leave us feeling unhappy and negative. Why? Working mothers are usually multi-tasking at home with labor intensive activities, i.e. we are cleaning up dinner while helping the kids with their homework – and once one set of multi-tasking activities ends, we often immediately move on to the next set of activities.  With all this multi-tasking, although we are getting many things done, we are left feeling exhausted, both physically and emotionally with an underlying sense of feeling overwhelmed.  Therefore, rather than feeling satisfied and happy with all we have accomplished by virtue of multi-tasking, there is a sense that what needs to get done, day in and day out, is never finished.  This leaves us feeling quite unhappy and negative about our lives.

This sense of feeling of unhappy and overwhelmed can contribute, albeit unknowingly, to a sense of dissatisfaction with both our careers and our marriage and family lives because we are never fully focused and totally engaged in one activity, and perhaps most importantly one relationship, at a time. This plays out at work and at home.  For example, we are on a work conference call and our mind begins to wander. The next thing you know you are on the internet looking at school supplies for the kids – while on your conference call, with this being just one simple example.

So what is the solution to this double-edged sword we call multi-tasking? The answer is found in one simple word: boundaries.  We must create boundaries in our mind so when we are at work we are totally focused on our work and when we are at home, we are totally focused on our kids and marriage. Do not allow your personal lives to creep into your minds and steal your time and emotions from the productivity of your work day.  Doing this will accomplish two things: making us more efficient and productive at work, making us feeling better about the quality of our work while simultaneously leaving more energy for our marriage and kids at the end of the day.

Create the same values around your boundaries when you are at home.  Do not allow thinking about your work to steal away your precious family time, and the best way of doing this is to stop being a slave to technology. With that in mind, turn off the iphone and resist the temptation to open every email that comes in during “off” hours. Because technology has created the ability to connect us 24/7 in a global world, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t unplug ourselves from these work connections during our personal time – which you – alone- are responsible for creating.

If you do not create boundaries around your work and personal life, they will cease to exist and you will continuously be multi-tasking both between work and personal activities. Be totally present wherever you are, and resist the need to multi-task – even though you can! Sometimes less is more!!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


Controversy and conversation continues to swirl around the announcement of Marissa Mayers being named the new CEO of Yahoo. The good news is nobody appears to be questioning her qualifications and/or competency for the position – reflecting how far we have come as a society in accepting women in the C-suite.  Rather the fact that she is pregnant and her plans for working through her shortened maternity leave is what has people, men and women alike, weighing in on all sides of this situation. Why? Because people mistakenly believe work-life balance is a woman’s issue, when in fact, it is everyone’s issue because it is a family issue.

It raises everyone’s antennae around the evergreen issue of work-life balance. It is fascinating to watch this controversy unfold as it reminds me of the days when we thought women couldn’t play sports for many silly reasons but the one most often cited is related to menstruation.  Then women entered the work force in masses because they “had” to – the men were away at war, but the moment they found out they were pregnant they stopped working outside the home for fear of losing their pregnancy.  And today the question is rarely asked of pregnant women: “Are you going back to work?” but rather: “When are you going back to work?”  Which leads us to the present question of working through maternity leave and its implication for work-life balance.

In today’s fast-paced global economy and the ability to communicate on a 24/7 basis, the ability to create boundaries around our work and personal lives becomes ever more challenging.  In my best selling book: “Not Tonight Dear, I’ve Got a Business to Run!” I make the point that women know we can’t keep our work and personal lives totally separate and the ability to reconcile these two responsibilities is what creates work-life balance.  What is lost in the conversation surrounding Marissa Mayers is the fact that work-life balance is not a one size fits all formula. What is considered work-life balance for me might not be considered work-life balance for you because your business and family goals are most likely different than my business and family goals – and isn’t that exactly the point? Having the ability to create a life we love defined in a manner that represents a winning formula for our own unique needs – that fits our own unique marriage and family goals.  We all love our children – but we raise them very differently based upon our values and goals for them, therefore, doesn’t it make sense that what one considers to be work-life balance doesn’t work for someone else.

My strongest recommendation for obtaining a gold medal in your quest for work-life balance is to create a family plan, (as recommended in my book) that compliments rather than competes against your business/career goals.  And just as importantly – live in the moment and be totally present.  When you are at work – work.  Focus on your work by creating the self-discipline to tune out any personal issues that might distract you from your task at hand.  When you are at home – be totally present.  Discipline yourself to not check your smart phone incessantly and be truly and thoroughly engaged by living “in the moment”.  There is a time and place for everything.  The fact that we, as women, can multi-task efficiently doesn’t mean we need to use this skill all the time.

Creating your unique family plan than compliments your business/career plan will ensure work-life balance and your success in business and life! It’s your life to live – go for the Gold!!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


Drum roll please – another crack in the glass ceiling for women in business is made as Yahoo names Marissa Mayer their new CEO. For a few minutes Ms. Mayer’s appointment and impressive bio was the talk of the town. This announcement was quite inspiring given the very pessimistic article recently written in the July/August issue of The Atlantic magazine – which all but denounced a woman’s ability to “have it all”. But wait, the conversation took a sudden shift and was practically eclipsed with the announcement that Ms. Mayer is 6 months pregnant with her first child – and the debate rages on for women regarding work-life balance.

Yes, men and women are different in many ways; however, could you ever imagine a headline which reads: “Most Powerful Male CEO’s Wife is Pregnant with First Child!” As a matter of fact, does the discussion ever take place when a male CEO is announced as to whether or not he has children? My point is – the personal lives of powerful men rarely enter into the discussion. Yet, as I state in my book: “Not Tonight Dear, I’ve Got a Business to Run!” women cannot keep their professional and personal lives separate. They are intricately intertwined and contrary to conventional wisdom – this is a good thing. The fact that women have a “life” outside the office is not something that should be shrouded in secrecy. Remember the “good” old days? (lol) When a woman would not tell anyone at work she was pregnant until she had to – translation – until she was “showing”. Yahoo appointing a pregnant CEO shows that we have, indeed come a long way baby. However, I am disheartened by the way in which the media has taken this discussion of work-life balance and questioned Ms. Mayer when she discussed her maternity leave plans! And the criticism just keeps coming.

Besides being a wonderful role model for our children, both our sons and daughters, being a “working outside the home” mother also brings unquantifiable benefits to any business or corporation. Why? Being a mother develops so many relationship skills that cannot be nurtured in any other role we might undertake. Mothering requires the development of patience, a rapidly fading quality in our fast paced world, the ability to multi-task, the ability to listen to not only what is being said but also to what is not being said and finally, mothering is at its best when we teach and then lead by example. All these personal characteristics are the same ones that make a great employee and leader! Therefore, becoming a mom enhances a woman’s worth in the work force, it doesn’t diminish it. How a woman reconciles what appears to be the opposing responsibilities of work and family life does not just happen. It requires work, but that does not mean it is impossible. It is hard, yes, but that does not mean it is impossible. As I describe in detail in my book: “Not Tonight Dear, I’ve Got a Business to Run!” creating success in your business and personal life is predicated upon creating a well thought out family plan – one made by taking into consideration your career goals and plans. This family plan is one that must be re-visited throughout the year to make sure it is consistent with your personal and professional goals – as they evolve throughout the course of your life.

The bottom line is women can’t have it all, but with some hard work they can “create” it all. This is a huge difference! What defines work-life balance for one woman is probably not the same operational definition for another woman. Work-life balance is not attainable the way the present conversation unfolds – but once we redefine the conversation and address the reconciling of work and family responsibilities – predicated upon your unique family and career goals – all women can, indeed create it all.

For a proven system for creating a life you love – see my best selling book: “Not Tonight Dear, I’ve Got a Business to Run!” because it provides real answers to the evergreen question and debate regarding the ability for women to create a successful business/career without sacrificing happiness in their marriage and family life.

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann