In honor of Father’s Day, the NY Times ran an article “Now Dad feels as stressed out as Mom”. 

The author claims that fathers are struggling just as much or even more than mothers to fulfill their responsibilities at home and in the office

Even in dual career families men remain the primary breadwinner. When a father has the desire to spend more time with his children, work is reluctant to give him necessary time flexibility. Taking time to be with kids is discouraged and viewed as compromising his work commitment.

When men do contribute to child care at home, studies have found that mothers do not value their husband’s contribution enough.

A father helps to put children to sleep, make sandwiches for lunch, or give kids a bath. But his wife is not likely to value that contribution as much as he does.

Therefore, men have both stresses at work and at home.

Work-related stress varies between industries and choosing a corporate culture supporting fathers can be done prior to accepting a job.

The home stress results from the expectations related to the primary family roles. With father as primary breadwinner, mother often assumes the role of primary caregiver. This includes the physical and emotional care of the children and most often the upkeep of the household as well.

Therefore, when a man helps he is entering her domain of primary responsibility. Often when he spends time caring for children there is a sense that he is helping his wife. Since a mother only gets short reprieves from those responsibilities she often feels her husband’s contribution is minimal, or certainly less significant than he thinks it is.

A helpful suggestion is for father to take on primary responsibility for a period of time, with mother being out of the house. This can be at night or on a weekend.

Just as men must acknowledge their wives hard child caring work, a wife must communicate appreciation for what their husband is doing as a father.

Jennifer Davis made the distinction between being a father and being a daddy. Anyone can be a father she wrote, but being a daddy is something special to appreciate

I would suggest you read the beautiful essay she wrote on Father’s Day for a moving expression of appreciation for daddies. 

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I cannot think of a need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection” Sigmund Freund

This Sunday is Father’s day across America.

It’s no surprise that having fathers around is in the best interests of children’s emotional as well as physical health. Historical studies document that fact. Their primary, not exclusive, responsibility is different than a mother’s.

As a faithful Bible reader, I believe this model for mothers and fathers originates in the third chapter of Genesis in which God tell s Eve in the Garden of Eden: “your desire will be for your husband and he shall rule over you. “

Woman’s desire for a husband is the female inclination to value monogamous heterosexual relationships more than men. It is a reflection of a higher premium women place on human relationships, which is in the best interests of children and family.

During the past thousands of years, women were faced with the challenge of attracting males and encouraging them to maintain a monogamous relationship. That insured greater safety and regular sustenance for the family. Women’s greater skill in nurturing and caring for children required her to focus on that task, and have a male partner providing and protecting her and the children.

Despite the modern women’s movement belief that men and women are psychologically indistinguishable I think that the reality of caring for children and providing for the family has adjusted those roles but not changed them fundamentally. When taking responsibility for a family, just like a business or a sports team, it is important to have defined roles with primary responsibilities.

For a woman to maximize her potential in the role of nurturing parent she is dependent on a supportive male. Without adequate male support the emotional security and physical sustenance are weakened and stresses increase.

For a male to embrace the role of father, and not just provider, takes an investment of time and a lot of learning. Some tips include: spending positive quality time with your children; disciplining with love; being a positive role model; be a teacher; listen before you speak; and make time to eat as a family.

The best father is one with a loving relationship with his wife. And children thrive when mother and father respect and value each other’s importance as parents.

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In a study conducted in the 1970’s psychologists interviewed some lucky people who had won between fifty thousand and one million dollars in the Illinois State Lottery. Strikingly, less than a year after receiving the potentially life changing news of winning the lottery, they reported being no more happy than regular folks who had not experienced the sudden windfall. This led to a belief that happiness came from within. You were internally peaceful and happy or not, and changing your financial status would not affect your happiness.

Obviously that is not the case for people with severely limited resources. They worry more about satisfying basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing with little concern for life happiness. But it has been proven that once you have attained a level of income above poverty level, increases in money does not translate directly to increase in happiness. Therefore, for many of us, deciding how to invest our resources to maximize happiness is a challenge.

In his book Luxury Fever Robert Frank wrote about this challenge. He wondered why, as nations rise in wealth, their citizens become no happier. He examined why we are devoted to spending money on luxuries and other goods, which we take for granted quickly, rather than on things that would make us lastingly happier.

For Frank it is a question of how you spend your money. Whether you spend it on “Conspicuous or inconspicuous consumption”. Conspicuous consumption refers to things that are visible to others and that can be used as markers of a person’s relative success, where their value comes not so much from the objective value as from the statement they make about their owner.

Conspicuous consumption means the consumption has an objective tangible value. It is the difference between driving a Chevy Alero, Ford Focus, Honda Accord, Lexus 350, BMW 740 or a Porsche Targa. The differences are tangible, measurable, and conspicuous to all.

Inconspicuous consumption on the other hand, refers to activates that are valued for themselves. They are usually consumed more privately and are not bought for the purpose of achieving status because they are much more difficult to compare their value to those of others.

Two examples of conspicuous versus inconspicuous consumption relate to our salary and vacation at work. Which job would you rather have, one in which you earned $90,000 a year and your coworkers earned an average of $70,000 or one in which you earned “$100, 000 and your coworkers earned on average $110,000? Many people chose the first job, thereby revealing that relative position is worth at least $10,000 to them.

Another question is whether you would rather work for a company that gave you two weeks of vacation year, but other employees were given, on average, only one; or would you prefer a company that gave you a four-week vacation a year but other employees were given, on average, six? The great majority of people choose the longer absolute time. Time off is primarily an inconspicuous consumption.

Frank’s conclusions are bolstered by recent research by the psychologists van Boven and Gilowc, who identified the benefits of “doing versus having”. Their primary conclusion suggests that people derive more enjoyment when they use their discretionary income on experiential purchases than from discretionary material purchases.

They gave some interesting reasons why experiential purchases make people happier.
Experiences are more open to positive reinterpretations to the fact that they are more open than material possessions to increasingly favorable interpretations with the passage of time. People are not limited by reality in their evaluations of past experiences as they are with material possessions. We forget incidental annoyances and distractions that detract from the experience. It allows the “great storyteller” the opportunity to embellish and reconfigure to create a much rosier retrospective view than the event enjoyed originally. Even if we don’t verbalize it, or do to consciously work on it, our memory naturally is included to it for us.

With the material purchases, its value and perception to us remains constant or even detracts over time.

Experiences are happy because they have great social value and are more pleasurable to pleasurable to talk about. Social relationships which are closely associate with happiness … Furthermore, experiences are more likely to have a typical story narrative structure with a beginning, middle, and end. People like listening to and telling stories. Both listeners and storytellers may enjoy talking about experiences more than about possessions

Experiences are also more central to our identity. A person’s life is quite literally the sum of his or her experiences. The accumulation of rich experiences thus creates a richer life. That is why in working with parents if there is a choice between buying something for a child or panning a fun entertaining experience together the experience wins out all the time. It is a positive investment in relationships that enrich our lives.

When you invest your money remember that “doing” beats “having” all the time. Money can buy more happiness when you make the right decisions.

“Money is only a tool, it will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace the driver.” Ayn Rand”

Morris N. Mann, Ph.D.

Authentic Happiness Coach

Moving Forward to Happiness and Success

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One of the most powerful tools you can use in finding success at work is identifying your strengths. As a small business coach, I find that it is an important part of business and professional success and happiness.

The guru of this emphasis on personal strengths is Marcus Buckingham of the Gallup organization. He has written many books about the most successful and happiest people being those that identify and reinforce their strengths rather than compensate for their weaknesses. You can see some of his work on the site – www.simplystrengths.com

In the course of my coaching work with professionals, I often deal with accomplished professionals who are looking to expand their area of expertise or clarify their niche of work.

I often use Marcus Buckingham’s latest book “Go Put Your Strengths to Work”, to give direction. His understanding of strengths and suggestions about how to identify them is unique.

What should you look for when trying to identify your strengths?

Conventional wisdom dictates that you need objective confirmation from friends or people you have worked with, in order to evaluate exactly what you are good at. It assumes you need to some “objective” assessment to validate your “true” strengths.

Buckingham claims that the true strengths are “those activities that make you feel strong… and draw you back to them time and again”. Such activities leave you feeling energized, fulfilled and powerful.

In such a case you must listen to your own inner voice. You are the best qualified person to identify what keeps your interest and concentration.

The process of identifying your strengths can be done in a short or long time span. If we assume you dedicate a week to the process, what you should do is to take a three step method of: Capture, Clarify & Confirm.


STEP 1 – Capture your strengths
To begin with start out with a small memo book with at least 40 pages, and carry it around with you. Take a blue or black marker and write in the top of the first 20 pages “I loved it”. On the last 20 pages use a red marker and write on top “I hated it”. Then carry the book around with you.

When you feel any of the following emotions after an activity – write it down immediately. Feeling: “powerful, confident, natural, smooth, high, great, authentic, awesome, when can I do this again”. Don’t wait until the end of the day, do it immediately after you become aware of the positive feeling.
Also write when you think “I can’t wait to start, I could do this forever, this is perfect for me, and can I find a way to do more of it.

Like wise, when you feel any of the negative feelings immediately write it down: drained, frustrated, irritated, bored, I can’t concentrate”. Also when you think: “I hate it when I have to do this, Will this ever end, and can I delay this and do something else.

Remember that you do not have to write something after EVERY activity. You will find many activities to which you are neutral.

At the end of the week, tear out your pages and spread them over a table and sort them into a pile with the most positive pages on top and the least on the bottom. Identify the first 3-5 most positive as they will be the basis for your strength identification.

STEP 2 – Clarify your strengths

In an attempt to direct your work toward areas of your strengths you will need to have a clear description, yet one that can be applied to many circumstances in the future. In order to clarify what aspects of the activity are irrelevant and which are important, ask yourself the following questions.

Does it matter WHY I do this, WHO I do this with, WHEN I am doing this, or WHAT this activity is about?

Now based upon the clarification of those questions, write on 3 separate pieces of paper – “I feel strong when …..” An example Buckingham uses is “I feel strong when I am leading a team to develop content for a new service project”.

STEP 3 – Confirm your strengths
This last step requires you to confirm you strength statements by answering the following questions as “strongly agree or agree”.

• I have been tremendously successful at this type of activity.
• Other people tell me I have a gift for this type of activity.
• I often find myself volunteering for this type of activity.
• This type of activity is a “gut reaction” for me
• I pick up this type of activity quickly
• I can’t wait to learn new techniques for doing this activity.
• I always look forward to doing this type of activity.
• It’s fun for me to think back to when I was doing this type of activity.

Try and incorporate as much of these strengths into your work on a daily and weekly basis. It will help you contribute to a successful business or organization too!

While acting on your strengths will propel you to success, remember that no one better than you can better identify which activities make you feel strong and which activities you love. Since these are work related activities and you are looking to sharpen your work focus, it may help you to engage a business coach on a for this short term project.

But remember, if you identify and confirm your strengths, then outstanding performance will follow.

Morris N. Mann, Ph.D.
Authentic Happiness Coach
Moving Forward to Happiness and Success

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I was reviewing marketing materials for a new business campaign and thought there was a lot of valuable information to share.

It became really clear that marketing is the process of developing a relationship with your customer/client.

This relationship process is applicable to a large business organization as well as a single practitioner service business.


Challenges that Need to be Overcome:

#1 Being Unknown –this is the first stage when your prospect does not know who you are

#2 Recognition without Awareness – this is like being an acquaintance you recognize but don’t know anything about them.

#3 From Impersonal to Personal – – your client prospect has an awareness of your business – product/service, but is not sure what it does for them.

#4 – Connection and Commitment – this is when your prospective client understand that you can help them but is unsure of trusting that you will be the right person to come through with results in the right time frame and right priceEach of the steps in this relationship building process needs to have a different focus.

If you have more than one person in your organization handling these marketing efforts, then make sure to be consistent. Your organization should have everyone “on the same page”, by training them to have the same message, approach, and solution to offer prospects.

Building your Marketing Relationship and Securing New Clients

#1 – Overcome the Unknown
The aim at this point in your relationship is to generate interest. You want to find the right message that will draw the attention of your prospective targeted clients

It is most helpful for this to develop a Core Marketing Message which is often called an “elevator speech”.

This is a short concise message that communicates the essence of what you do.It addresses the kind of clients you work with, the problems you solve and the results you get. It should be one to two sentences maximum, but informative enough to elicit interest

#2 Becoming More Personable – “ Increase Awareness
You will now need to build on the attention you garnered in your “elevator speech”.
This means presenting your business in detail by answering the questions of who you are and how your product/service works.
It is crucial to keep a clear focus of the benefits you offer to prospective clients and address questions of:

    Who you work withWhat approach (program/system) you use
    Your background, training, expertise
    The track record of success

The most effective way to convey this message is by using an example of one of your past success stories. Stories are easy for people to relate to.

These objectives are often accomplished through a brochure. In today’s internet savvy marketplace it is incumbent in most cases, to have a website presence to establish credibility as well.

#3 Becoming Personal
As highlighted by Dale Carnegie in his best selling book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, one of the most important and effective ways things you can do to establish a relationship is to get people to talk about themselves and their situation.As highlighted by Dale Carnegie in his best selling book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, one of the most important and effective ways things you can do to establish a relationship is to get people to talk about themselves and their situation.It is no different in business relationships

This is when you want to ask questions about the challenges they face as well as their successes of the past. Try to find out what is their greatest motivational factor and what are their short term and long term goals.

This information is crucial, because without it you will not know how to personalize and apply your service/product to fit the needs of your prospect

#4 Make the Connection and Get the Commitment
This is the challenge of getting commitment from the prospect to move forward with you.This is the challenge of getting commitment from the prospect to move forward with you.It is often best to offer your prospect a proposal which includes how you will benefit them and solve the challenge they face

The proposal should include the financial terms as well as time frame you expect will be needed to reach initial short term goals.

If you make an offer and it is not readily accepted or someone says “I’ll think about it – make sure to probe further and flush out their concerns. Ask them, if we could clarify and solve that issue will be ready to make the commitment ?

The key factor in success in marketing developing business relationships is being able to focus on the needs of your prospective client and build trust. Trust comes from establishing your credibility and competency. From you paying close attention to the needs of your prospective client.

When you have done that you must show you have a cost effective solution and your relationship will begin.

For a jump start to your success, contact our Marketing Coach !

Morris N. Mann, Ph.D. – Small Business Coach

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It is popular in time management articles and books to help you more effectively utilize your time by learning how to prioritize what you need to do. If you are a small business owner you probably have a never ending list of things that need your attention. It is not unusual to hear people say:

“There is too much to do, and I don’t know which to prioritize”
“I’m always stressed because I procrastinate, but I procrastinate because I am always stressed out”
“I want to enjoy life and my family more. I need more time because I never have time for myself”

Stop for a moment and review what you are doing. What is important is a matter of what you do and why you do it rather than how much pressure you are feeling to get it done. Too often we get busy taking care of those things that are pressuring us. It is these “external pressures” that interfere with use from taking the time to stop and ask ourselves if what we are doing really matters to us.

Management works within your existing frame of reference and paradigm. Managing is externally driven. It means dealing in an effective way with what is “thrown at you” by the environment you are in. When you manage you are inevitably managing things, and sometimes relate to the people around you as things.

Leadership is internally driven. When you engage your personal or business leadership qualities, you are often modeling and leading people. As an internally driven leader you should first be asking yourself the question “am I doing the right things” before you ask “am I doing things right?”

Steven Covey in his book “First Things First” makes important distinctions in the type of work we do and how we spend out time. He identifies areas that are combinations of urgent and important, or not urgent and not important.
While most time management list prioritizing helps people deal with the urgent, it too often neglects the important. And while urgent issues can sometimes be important as well, they often get taken care of because they are urgent even if they are not important. In such a case, your actions are becoming driven more by external factors, which are not important to you, rather than internal meaningful purposeful ones.

Covey uses an interesting name he calls the “urgency addiction”. This is the sales manager who satisfies an irate customer, the shipping manager who must get out an overwhelmingly huge number of orders in time for Christmas, or the IT manager who gets the computer system up and running after it broke down. You may remember, feeling the “rush” of solving the urgent problem. While that is necessary, it should not take the place of following through on you pre-determined list of important goals.

The first step to working in more on important issues is to identify what is important to you. For some people that can be developing a mission statement, while for others it can be identifying a clear, concrete vision of where you are headed. It means asking yourself, “what is most important?”, “what do I want to be and to do with my life and business?”

You must set aside time each week to be asking yourself these questions. Take the time to reflect, and don’t say you are too busy. Without reflection you are on a path without direction. Imagine you are an airline pilot. Would you take off without a pre-determined flight plan and direction?

After you have reflected and re-affirmed your values, you need to decide on the steps to take during the week that will help move you in the direction of that long term goal. You must make sure that what you are scheduling is aligned with your purpose and mission.

Once you have identified what is important for you, it becomes crucial to list daily, weekly, and/or monthly goals that will help you slowly accomplish that which is important. You have to find your own comfortable way to make it happen, but do it. Remember that to accomplish your truly meaningful and important goals you must add them to your weekly to do list. Be driven by internal motivation and not only by what is urgently thrown at you..

Be realistic. The famous saying that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, means that significant achievement takes commitment, sweat and hard work. You can’t become successful small business owner overnight.

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