The Importance of Being Present

Often times I think about business concepts in other settings, such as when I am sitting at Coors Field, home of my beloved Colorado Rockies, enjoying a baseball game with my dad. I have a Twitter account that I dedicate to my sports passion, and I love interacting with other fans. Twitter is also where local journalists comment on game stuff I might want deeper analysis of, and the source of many connections and laughs.
    Unfortunately, to enjoy Twitter during the game means I have to take my attention away from the field and, more importantly, the person I am sitting next to. Attending games with my dad is an incredibly special time, our chance to bond. Yet more often I have noticed myself basically ignoring him as I bury myself in my phone, respond to messages, post clever tweets, or even *insert embarrassed face emoji here* check the number of likes something received.
    Even worse: Despite how critical I have been of people who get injured because they’re not paying attention at games, I once missed catching a foul ball because I was busy posting online. And my posts are a whole different issue. . . occasionally misspelled, often second-guessed, sometimes lacking in context because, in effort to get back to the game, I was rushing to write them.
    It’s the inevitable result of trying to do too much at once, and I’m left feeling shortchanged on all ends: I didn’t fully enjoy the game. I can’t really recall what my dad was saying. And online there were at least a half-dozen things I forgot to tweet.
    How often, I wonder, does this same problem occur in the bridal retail world? What about on the sales floor when you are dealing with brides? Is your mind half-focused on the appointment but also wandering to the display you’d like to create, the social-media post you’re going to make, the follow-up e-mails you need to write, or the cell phone buzzing in your pocket? These are all work-related tasks and it might seem harmless to have them on your mind, but is the message you are subtly sending to customers that they aren’t worthy of your full attention? Do they end up getting short-changed because you weren’t able to fully engage with them and therefore might’ve missed out on an opportunity to bond? What if trying to multitask caused you to overlooked a critical hint an on-the-fence bride dropped about her dream dress?
    The importance of being present applies to so many things outside the sales floor too: meetings with employees, discussions with vendors, events you attend or host. Giving the task at hand your full time, attention and heart leads to greater satisfaction, greater competency, and the knowledge you have truly done your best. Every customer, every person you interact with in a bridal retail setting deserves this, but mostly importantly you do too. It’s part of providing a great experience. After all, how do you know if you truly could have solved that issue, created that bond, made that sale if you didn’t give it your all?
    Distractions are everywhere, and sometimes they are unavoidable; all of us struggle at times to keep out thoughts, concerns and ideas while trying to focus. But I believe a lot of the distraction creeps in slowly – a glance at the phone here, an attempt to multitask there – and you are not even aware of how it’s impacting the bigger picture until after the fact when you find yourself feeling dissatisfied.
    I know it’s not the beginning of the year but how about joining me in making a mid-year resolution to slow down and focus fully on the task at hand? Whatever that is – conversing with a bride, creating a display, posting on Facebook, writing a thank-you note, making a phone call – focus on giving it your all, free from distraction.
    I think you’ll find work more enjoyable and the results will have a higher probability of being outstanding. After all, greatness can only be accomplished when we apply laser-like focus to the task at hand.
    As writer Og Mandino, author of the bestselling book “The Greatest Salesman in the World” says, “It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time who advance in this world.”

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