Under Control (Issue 492)

In which we are reminded to stay focused as we pursue our sales goals. Eight a.m. Saturday broke a crisp, golden sunny, glorious October morning as the contestants in the Head of the Charles Regatta began their events.

At that time of the morning, the first sleepy, shivering representatives of an estimated 300,000 people and what seemed like 10,000 dogs lined the banks of the Charles River in Boston to watch the first of almost 8,000 rowers compete in this event. Your correspondent found himself on the Eliot Bridge, about three quarters of the way through the winding course, watching and cheering mightily the early racers warmed by the sun, the conversation with friends whose mothers, friends, wives, and husbands raced beneath us, and their three dogs.

At about 10:30, our group broke from the bridge and began walking to Harvard Square to wait for our. rowers to return. Accompanied by two of the three dogs, walked on leash by one of the group, we headed East along the bike path next to the River. I was in the front rank with a friend, dogs and handler behind us.

Suddenly, a bloodcurdling growl from behind us. We turned to see the larger of our two dogs, beautiful red coat shining in the sun, snarling and lunging in the direction of a passing long-haired something-or-other, also on leash, but barely.

Yanking Max back into place, Mary, the handler said, “Out of control,” referring to the other dog.

“What did you mean, ‘out of control,’ “ I asked my friend, thinking that it was Max, our red coat, who was out of control.

“Look at how Mary walks Max,” my friend replied. “Under control, right next to her leg, focused, on a tight leash. If we pass another dog who is under control, Max won’t even look at it.”

We continued our march to the Square. Periodically, my friend would say, “here comes one, out of control.” I could see it too. Dog X, wandering all over the path, little or no tension in the leash, sniffing at this and at that, tugging to reach passing dogs.

We are a little over two months away from the calendar year and the beginning of a new sales year. Some of our readers begin their new sales years in a week, on November 1. We have to ask ourselves, are we “on leash,” focused, targets clear, under control, and moving efficiently toward our goals, or are we wandering all over the path, distracted by emails, reports, meetings, and RFPs, tugging to reach random passing prospects, squandering our energy.

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