Friday, January 23, 2015

Don't look at the menu... yet

When I first got into sales, they paired me up with a senior sales rep to show me the ropes. Bob was a very successful, experienced rep with a dry, sarcastic sense of humor that had no tolerance for stupid, fancy, or ego boosting behavior. I don’t think he liked very many people, but that was just my perception as a 25 year old. Anyway, we got along very well. In fact, he became a person that I hold in high regard and have quite an affinity for. Of all of the things he taught me – how to organize your territory, how to make the most of a business trip, how to get people to give you information, how to ask for the deal – the most important thing was to never look at the menu until you have had your first drink.

We traveled together a dozen or more times and I was on his timeline – I mean, he’d been doing this for years on his own and then the company forced him to take this spunky, optimistic, overly confident young thing under his wing – I knew I had to be careful not to cramp his style. His routine at the end of the day was to find a nice restaurant, you never eat in your hotel room, order a drink, once it’s finished and only when it’s finished, look at the menu and take your time to choose what to order. I loved this then and still love it today. It forces you to slow down, it forces you to have a conversation or think, it is a ritualistic activity that changes the pace of a crazy day. Because you savor your drink, you then savor your meal, your time, and you savor your experiences.  

I still do this. And take the sentiment into other activities. When I am at home, I take my time making a proper James Bond martini – 2 parts Hendricks gin, 1 part Grey Goose, Lillet, dirty, with blue cheese stuffed olives. I chill my vintage cocktail glasses I got from a dear friend, hand stuff the olives, measure the ingredients, shake exactly twenty times, serve topped with extra olive juice, and take my first sip with my eyes closed. I love this ritual. I enjoy it. I savor it. It signifies the end of one part of my day. And it is a physical and mental shift into enjoying my night at home.

 
Cooking gives me this same feeling. Coffee is the same for the start of my day. The 5 minute warm-up at the gym before working out. Writing a list. Completing it. Listening to jazz and taking a bubble bath. Slipping on a pair of amazing heels for the office. All of these actions give significance to the change in attitude or activity that is required. This mental shift gives me the focus on what I need to do or in some cases what I don’t need to do. Like look at a menu before I’ve had a proper drink…

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