Are You Squeezing the Toothpaste Tube Too Hard?

I planned a Saturday golf game with my friends last spring. I was very excited because it was my first game of the year, and I really needed some time to unwind with the guys.

I ended up shooting one of the top 10 games of my life. I reflected that evening on why I had done so well, and there was a very simple answer. I was relaxed. I had only played two rounds of golf all winter, so my expectations were low. I just wanted to have fun, and did not think about scoring.

I started well, and kept the momentum going throughout the entire round. Typically (due to my infrequent  play) I will have a great front nine, then a rough back nine, or vice versa. But this game was consistent throughout. I still had some bad shots, but was able to recover quickly.

With my golf game, relaxation and good shots breed confidence. I heard a humorous golf analogy many years ago and I often think of it when I am struggling.

  • Pretend the golf club is a tube of toothpaste. What happens when you squeeze the tube of toothpaste too hard?
  • Well of course too much toothpaste comes out!
  • If you are squeezing the golf club too hard, inevitably you are going to make more bad shots than normal.

What happens if you have a bad day of sales calls, or perhaps a bad week or month in general? We all have confidence and feel great when things are going well; that is the easy part. The true test of character is how we respond when things don’t go our way.

Sales people and golfers need to have short memories. If you are “squeezing the tube of toothpaste” too hard on your sales calls and during the sales process, things may not go according to plan. If you feel under pressure to close more sales, you may “squeeze the entire tube of toothpaste” out on each call! You press, you are not yourself, your presentations and discussions have no flow, and you are off your game in general.

I asked my friends about their golf game that day last spring, and they said that it was not uncommon to have 10-15 stroke swings from one nine-hole round to the next. It proves that we have the ability to bounce back if we stay focused and regain confidence.

As usual, I watched the Master’s Golf tournament in April of 2011, and it was more exciting than normal. There were 7-8 golfers in the hunt until the last few holes. I am always amazed how golfers can keep outside distractions to a minimum and just focus on the next shot. Their focus is superhero-like, and they handle pressure remarkably well.

Rory Mcllroy was in first place after three rounds, the proceeded to shoot the worst final round in Master’s history. After the last round he said that he will learn from the experience and knows that he will be in the running for many more major championships down the road. His positive attitude was impressive.

To show his resilience, he came back at the next major tournament (US Open) and destroyed the competition by nearly 10 shots. That is an incredible example of putting a negative experience in the past, learning from it, and moving on quickly.

Sales and golf have many similarities which I look forward to exploring more in the future. Relaxation, confidence and a general sense that you will excel are all keys factors while “working” on the golf course and in a sales territory.

  • Do you find that you are squeezing the tube of toothpaste too hard in your sales or business role?
  • What factors contribute to these feelings “invading your body”, and making things more difficult in the field than they should?

If you are struggling right now, reflect back to when things were going very well, and you were full of confidence. Make some notes about those times, and do more of that!


About Tim Mushey

Dynamic and energized sales rep, mentor and leader since 1999. This blog will be about sales, social networking, personal branding, leadership, music and having some laughs! Don’t be surprised if I mix it up on occasion, and talk about something totally different! I thrive on being part of successful, forward thinking teams. I am ready to go from the moment my feet hit the floor each morning, with the expectation that new adventures will be coming my way. It is rare that there isn't a smile on my face, as I take it all in, and have some fun along the way!

Posted on August 20, 2013, in Rewind, Sales, Success and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Moosh, Nice post! It’s funny how things seem to go well when you are relaxed and confident. Nothing good ever seems to come from “squeezing the tube” to hard! Whether it’s in sales, on the golf course, or in everyday life, sometimes you just have to back off, relax, and enjoy the moment.

    • Hey “Zim-Master” (ha ha!) I could not agree more. We all get in those situations throughout our lives. But I can tell you from experience, my best golf has been played when I barely felt like I was gripping the club at all. Enjoy your week..

  2. Tim – very nice post. I have been known to squeeze a little too hard – whether it’s on the phone or holding a 7-iron in my hands. A nice, relaxed person is a better golfer and a better sales person. Awesome post!

    • Hey thanks Dennis! I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by this morning. I was at the driving range yesterday and the post was already done. I was still thinking, “easy on the grip”! Have an awesome week.

  3. Great post, as usual! As a sales associate, I feel my tube of toothpaste being squeezed sometimes by my superiors. We all have sales targets that we must hit individually and collectively, along with credit goals, customer satisfaction goals, etc., but the more pressure I feel to perform, the worse I do. Thankfully, I have a team of managers over me that realize this and they let me do my own thing, as they know I perform best without them breathing down my neck! Some need motivation, some do not. Its finding the right amount of pressure being asserted on the tube that seems to make things work!


    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Brandon. I hear what you are saying! Pressure certainly does not relate to top results. The best results that I have had during my career have come when I was calm and confident. At no point during the “glory years” was anyone breathing down my neck. Thanks again and good luck!

  4. Great post. Reminds me of the quote: “focus on process, not outcome.” Have fun, do your best, the results will follow. Yet, we tend to insist on certain outcomes (that are often at least partially beyond our control), tense up, and choke. I “know” that lightening up and having more fun would improve results. Now I just need to do it. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Hey thanks for taking the time to comment! I really appreciate it. Tensing up, and getting anxious in certain situations is very common. But to your point, have fun, do your best and the results WILL follow. Basic things like taking some deep breaths and really focusing on relaxing helps as well. Thanks again for your input …

  5. love this post

    a person who enjoys working at a level of excellence is relaxed and focused on the work

    they don’t have to chase successful outcomes because successful outcomes will hunt them down

    • Thanks for taking the time to respond! I appreciate your compliment. Relaxation and focus are pivitol aren’t they? I love being “hunted down” by successful outcomes. Thanks again…

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