Ted Williams, The Splendid Splinter, wanted everything just right when he was at the plate. He wanted to be able to focus on one thing: hitting the ball hard.
I love what he says in The Science of Hitting: “My preference was a light bat…I didn’t want them chipped or discolored, because those are distractions. Just like the uniform — I didn’t want the cap too tight or the pants bagging or the sleeves flapping. I didn’t want any distractions. I often swung with the label down so I couldn’t see it for just that reason.”
And George Brett once said that the secret to hitting a baseball was to “think about nothing.” He went on: “What do you think about when you’re in a slump? You think about where your hands should be, where your feet should be, how well you’re seeing the ball. When you’re going bad, you’ve got all the world’s problems on your mind. But when you’re going good, your mind is blank.”
We are a nation driven to distraction. In some cases, literally driving distracted. In most cases, it’s a self-imposed distraction that is utterly derailing our sales efforts.
From adding stress by overburdening our family lives, to companies loading up on the administrative portion of our roles, to failing to let go of minor work and personal issues and letting them pull our minds away, to simply failing to focus when it matters most. We are distracted.
We can’t truly appreciate the level of concentration of the world’s greatest athletes. We think we have to focus in our profession. But we have no idea. And the result is, we’re easily distracted away from success. The temptation is so great to multi-task, or shift from task to task, or complain about what we don’t have, or pay half-attention to a buyer as he discusses his company’s problem because we think we know them already.
The challenge to you is to step up your level of focus. Clear your head and think about the one thing that matters most at that moment. And then apply overwhelming effort at completing the task, whatever it may be.
The day of the wishy-washy, wing-it sales representative is over. The divide in income between those individuals and true sales professionals will continue to widen. What side of the gap will you be on?