Joanne Stern, PhD -- The Road to Happiness

The Road to Happiness

A wise friend told me recently, “Wealth is not your money in the bank. Wealth is your ability to appreciate your life.”

Taking in the wonder – the miracle – of each new morning lightens your heart, puts a smile on your face, and brings happiness into your heart to soul.

As I was trekking up a mountain trail the other morning, the only sounds I could hear were the chirping of the birds in the trees and the crunch of my ...

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Slow It Down . . . for Better Communication

Being a good communicator makes you more effective in every area of your life. Good communication engenders greater love and intimacy with your spouse. It promotes deeper understanding and closeness with your kids. It creates more trust and loyalty with your colleagues.

Yet most people are not the great communicators they’d like to think they are. That’s because most of us correlate good communicating with talking. But actually, it’s more about hearing and observing.

In fact, if you could distill good communication ...

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Joanne Stern, PhD

Helping Your Kids Build a Meaningful Life

Take a moment to consider all the gifts you’ve given to your children. A great education; a lovely home to grow up in; exciting and life-enhancing travels; opportunities to experience sports, music, and art; toys, devices, and athletic gear — maybe even a new car or a deposit on a home. You may have taken them with you on your boat or private plane to special events or your vacation homes.

Affluent kids enjoy many privileges other kids do not. Most ...

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Joanne Stern, PhD - Conflict

Working Through Conflict

The first time I talked with Marilyn privately, we sat in a cozy corner of her parents’ expansive living room. She spoke as though she was confiding in me.

“I’m afraid our family isn’t going to make it,” she said, sounding both resigned and sad. “I’m afraid we’re going to be one of the 70% of families that fail. I’d like to see our family money make it to the third generation, but I don’t think it will. We just don’t ...

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Designing Your Legacy of Giving

When I called my daughter Carol, I caught her soaking in her hot tub with house guests. Snow was falling lightly on their heads, accumulating in white, fluffy mounds in the pine trees in her backyard. She wasn’t able to chat at the time, but it was evident from the sound of her voice that she was eager to talk as soon as she could.

I knew that Carol had invited her friend Heather, along with her family, to spend a ...

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Courage to Change

I’d like to tell you the story of John and his family. Their story demonstrates how difficult it is to change — even when not changing spells catastrophe for both the family and the family business.

John called me for help in dealing with Bruce, his 34-year-old son, who was addicted to alcohol and other drugs. Bruce was causing trouble both at home and at work.

In his personal life, Bruce was in and out of a turbulent and troubled relationship with his drug-addict ...

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From Bottlenecks to Bridges: Helping Your Family Flourish

If you’re a wealth creator, you’ve probably built a successful business and grown a substantial portfolio. You’ve earned the right to enjoy your wealth and live the life you’ve worked for. You deserve it.

But the question is, “What now?” Most likely, you are a person who makes things happen. So, what would you like to make happen next in your life?

If you’re like most people, your answer would be, “I would like to ensure that my children and grandchildren flourish ...

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Parenting is a contact sport

Parenting Is a Contact Sport

Parenting presents the greatest challenges you’ll ever face, but it also offers the greatest rewards.

It’s the hardest and most important job you’ll ever have, and yet the one for which we’re all, most likely, least prepared.

On some level, it’s simple. But it’s never easy. Because you never know what’s coming. Some days are blissful and joyful. But others just knock the wind right out of you.

I wouldn’t wish any of this on you, but…

What would you do if ...

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Joanne Stern PhD

How to Avoid Divorce and Grow Marital Bliss

Phillip is a control freak. He exerts his power both at home and at the office in authoritarian and demanding ways. His wife, Pam, rarely has a say in anything.

Even at board meetings for the family business, he cuts Pam down whenever she speaks. So she keeps quiet to avoid being humiliated in front of the other board members.

At home, Phillip rules the roost. No one tells him what he will or won’t do. He can be charming and fun ...

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Joanne Stern, PhD - Your Family System: Open or Closed?

Your Family System: Open or Closed?

Sitting in the living room with Jessie and her family, I felt almost enclosed in a box.

This was a troubled family. The air was stifling, and no one smiled. Jessie and her brother barely spoke to their parents. Secretly, they both used drugs and alcohol. Jessie was rebellious; her brother was depressed.

As we talked, Jessie looked angry and sullen. She was uncooperative and spoke only when her parents asked her a question. Prior to my visit to her home, she had ...

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The Matriarch as CEO

I bumped into a young mom at a coffee shop a couple of weeks ago. She’s a hard-charging entrepreneur… always on the go. I hadn’t seen her for more than a year, so we grabbed a quiet corner table and started to catch up.

Over a couple of steaming lattes she opened up to me about her harried life. She loves her children. But she confessed that there were times when parenting didn’t feel as rewarding as her career.

“I used to ...

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Joanne Stern, PhD - The Comparison Trap

Don’t Get Caught in the Comparison Trap

Do you ever think that the couple next door has a happier marriage than you and your spouse do?

Do you ever compare the trouble your kids are having to the perfectly behaved kids down the street?

It’s human nature to compare yourself to others. This is especially true in accomplished, affluent families. Wealthy families are often driven to be the best. After all, it is this striving for excellence that brought you success in the first place.

But the comparison game is ...

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