Cyber Free Monday


It’s Cyber Monday…and my internet is down.  I was in a bit of a panic this morning sorting out how I would get any work done today. I asked my husband if I could come to his office to use his internet but it can get pretty noisy with dogs barking and besides, there’s a litter of kittens to play with. I considered Starbucks (too tempting), Panera (too noisy), and Borders (too many books to distract me). I felt my shoulders rise as I worried about how and where I would work and then it dawned on me – I would work in my office and get a LOT done. Without e-mail, Cyber Monday deals just too good to pass up, or the infamous “internet research”, I could focus on meaningful work, projects that aren’t necessarily urgent but that are important.

Years ago when I was in the high-tech corporate world, I created an inter-disciplinary cross-company group who met quarterly to focus on forward-thinking projects designed to pull us forward. We brainstormed potential product avenues, considered systems to improve efficiencies, and asked “What if?” We worked on projects that we just never otherwise had time to get to because of the day-to-day demands. The results allowed us to more easily step into that next level as the systems were already in place.

My cyber-free Monday has resulted in a clear (okay, clearer) desk, my blog post written before noon, and significant progress on designing my coaching group (stay tuned – it’s coming soon!). Although I know I may be deluged with on-line activities later, I feel relaxed because I know my day is being spent on work that will move me, and my clients, forward more quickly. It’s a wonderful feeling, and I encourage you to try it. Join me, even if it’s just for a few hours, in a cyber-free Monday.


– 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

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.