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Our Animal Instincts: Learning When To Ask For Help


The days are getting cooler, the leaves are turning, and I’ve started to see and hear Canada Geese as they begin their migration.

When I see the geese form their “V”, I’m mesmerized. How do they decide who’s in front? When the geese change position within the “V”, letting the lead goose move back in the formation and experience less air resistance, I marvel again at their instinct. Nature tells them to rely on another and they just do it.

Do we have similar instincts? If so, why does it feel like we beat our heads against the wall at times?

Since I saw the first “V” this Fall, I decided to pay attention to my own gut feel and determine if I was granted similar instincts to ask for help; to let someone else take the lead. My gut responded with a resounding “Yes!” for the natural reaction and a “sometimes” for the communication and follow through.

It seems that humans and geese are quite different when it comes to the various emotions tied up with asking for help; we’re afraid the other person might say no or they might think less of us. Instead of asking, we struggle along by ourselves, insistent that we can do it. Usually we can, but there is a price to pay, in the form of mental exhaustion or feeling overwhelmed.

I’m trying to be more “goose-like” these days, letting others know that I need help and then letting them. Give it a try yourself; you’ll be surprised by how good it can feel when we ask for help.

– Helen Dutton, Business Coach


It seems that every time I listen to economic news, I hear the word “uncertain.” It got me to thinking, if “uncertainty” stands out as how we describe our outlook, would experts and business owners alike in years past have called our future “certain”?

My Webster’s dictionary defines “certain” as “positive, without doubt.” Have we all gotten so complacent that we believe our future is without doubt? Yikes. No wonder we’re in aQuestionMarkCreditjscreationzs mess economically!

Let’s get back to basics: In your business and/or life, what is certain? Facts are certain – I am sitting at my desk, my dog is under my desk; I am certain about those facts. I have no doubt that I am a good coach for my particular audience; bright, decisive, and energetic business owners. I seem to have products and services that people want right now.

What can I say, without doubt, about the future of my business? Not a heck of a lot, to tell you the truth. I am certain that I will continue to try to evolve and grow and that I will do my best to help my clients grow and to reach their goals. Hopefully I will realize my own personal and business goals as will my clients. But can I say that my clients or I will reach our vision without doubt? Not a chance.

This lack of certainty does not mean that I throw my hands up in the air declaring “Oh well! I’m not in control so no sense trying to make plans.” It means that I pay careful attention to what I am in control of: my actions, my words, and how I choose to spend my time. I can say that, based upon my current knowledge, my actions will help me to reach my goals. It is imperative, though, that I evaluate my actions continuously and adjust my course as I think necessary at the time. While I like to amuse myself in thinking that my course adjustments will take me to my desired end result, again, I would only be fooling myself. It is nothing more than my best estimate at the time.

As you progress through your day, catch yourself when you find yourself thinking, “Well, I know that will happen.” Stop, dig a little deeper, and find what you can truly be certain about.

Is your behavior in line with your true goals? Ask yourself what assumption you’ve made and then turn it around; what if that assumption was not true? What course corrections would you make? Is there value in making those adjustments now?

I love taking a “truism” and turning it upside down. Sure, questioning our actions or making adjustments can be uncomfortable but you will learn something. And that I can say without doubt.

– Helen Dutton, Business Coach

Committing to the Next Level

Last week I wrote one of the biggest checks of my life. It wasn’t for a piece of real estate, a vehicle, or for what most people would call “fun” (although this will be fun to me!); it was a check to help my business grow in new and exciting directions. And it was to help me to grow in new and exciting directions.

Typically, I’m a decisive person who acts on my strong gut reactions. Within 30 minutes of talking with my platinum (now diamond!) level coach, I was sure I wanted to move to this level of commitment.

Yet when it came time to send off my check, to committing, I hemmed and hawed all morning. “Am I really ready for this level? Will it be too much for me or my family? Do I have what it takes to run at this level?” Bottom line is I was just plain scared. And that’s when I knew I was doing the right thing.

Fear is often a sign that we are about to make a breakthrough. Think of a time when you were afraid of doing something… then did it anyway. It might be your first piano recital as a child, or the first time you spoke in front of your peers, or the first time you made a significant investment in infrastructure for your business.

How did you feel afterwards? You probably felt like you could conquer the world! Once you’ve taken that step, there is no turning back. Your world is more expansive and you have more opportunities. There is one more thing about which you can say “I’ve done that”, and nothing can take that away.

My own Diamond Level Coaching Program doesn’t begin for a couple of months but my business has already started to shift. I have been more critical of my time usage and more decisive. The financial commitment is only a symbol of my bigger commitment to my Self – and by extension, my business and my clients.

That’s a commitment I am not willing to back out on. – Helen Dutton, Business Coach


Find out more about my business coaching services, click here.

Helen Dutton, A Vision of Your Own, has provided business and personal coaching for small business owners since 2000, providing online and face to face coaching for entrepreneurs, small business owners, start-up businesses as well as established businesses across the country. Clients come from New Hampshire, her home state, but she has also acted as a mentor to business owners in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Denver area, and closer to home in the Boston area. Helen helps her clients develop their small business ideas, create marketing plans, improve operation efficiency, build customer service systems, build management and leadership skills, and develop confidence as a business owner. Helen provides business tips and resources through her blog and her newsletter, where you can also find business templates to help your business prosper.