Snow Blind (Issue 607)

In which we are encouraged to choose mid-range targets to guide us so we’re not distracted by daily swirling.

We had a BIG snowstorm here over the weekend. The Blizzard of 2013.  By the end of the storm, we received 26 snowy inches in our  driveway plus the drifts, significantly deeper .

Of course, I wasn’t IN my driveway at the time it began falling on Friday afternoon. I was several miles away, sitting in my office, and was prompted to leave by the Governor’s imposition of a driving ban. Nothing like a potential fine and jail time to move a man from his office in a storm!

As I drove the last mile on the country road that leads to my house, the snow fell so fast that I could barely see to drive.  The large, dense, swirling flakes reflected my head lights’ light back into my eyes, reducing visibility to around 10 yards.

So, what’s the first thing a New England driver does (er, sorry… SHOULD do) under such conditions?  If you guessed, “crack open a beer,” good luck to you. My answer was….. “slow down.”

So I did.  At that point I was driving slowly and blinded instead of too fast and blinded, peering intently at the ten yards of road I could see, making dramatic steering adjustments as I came too close to one edge of the pavement or the other.

What to do?  Reacting to a momentary jolt of inspiration,  I turned off my headlights. After all, there were street lights every 150 yards and no other cars on the road. Who needed headlights?.

My depth of vision immediately INCREASED almost 150 yards, to the next street light.  I couldn’t even see the swirling snow immediately in front of me (because it was dark and my lights were off).  I immediately felt safer; I simply drove from one street light to the next. (Hint: the road has to be fairly straight for this to work.  Don’t try this in the mountains.]

As we think about our sales year ahead, no matter how charged up we are now, our daily selling or managing activities, administrative tasks, and requests for our time will swirl toward us like wind-driven snowflakes.

Like me, looking through the windshield, our eyes will tend to focus on the swirling flakes. Our depth of vision reduced, we’ll be tempted to slow down, to manage what we can see in the ten yards ahead of us… and risk driving into the ditch.

By picking targets in the distance on which we can focus, the street lights in our sales years,  we can ‘drive’ from light to light, from target to target, maintaining momentum and direction rather than being distracted by the swirling flakes at close range.

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