In The Trenches

Persistence Pays Off

Published on January 11, 2021 Back to blog
James the Corgi Pup

As you may recall from previous blog posts, my 13-year old son, Josh, is obsessed with Corgis. I’m still not quite clear on how his love for this long-bodied, short legged, “royal” breed came to be. However, even though we have Jasmine, a very well-behaved and loving Golden Retriever, Josh has been asking for a Corgi almost daily for the last several years. 

 Until recently, my wife and I were adamantly opposed. However, as Josh’s Bar Mitzvah approached, and my wife and I considered what to get him, we finally caved. Although I really didn’t want a second dog in the house, that instinct was overcome by the thought of how much happiness such a gift could bring. (And, I was still feeling some guilt from the prank I played on Josh last summer – see prior blog post.)

So, on the afternoon of his Bar Mitzvah (Dec 19, 2020), after the “parade” of scheduled guests came by our house to say hi and enjoy food from the burrito truck in the freezing cold outdoors (thanks, COVID), we told Josh that someone wanted to say hi via Zoom. At first, he assumed the person on the other side of the screen was a distant cousin who happened to have a Corgi in her lap. But, once he realized that it was the breeder introducing him to his new puppy, his entire body filled with joy. One week later the puppy (James) arrived and, to be completely honest, I’m not quite sure who in the family now loves the dog the most (although, I can assure you that it is not Jasmine). 🙂  

Aside from sharing this story and cute puppy pic to help you start the New Year with a smile (and provide a distraction from the horrendous events of last week), I share it to remind us of the power of persistence and what we can all learn from Josh’s.

  1.  Don’t give up – Don’t be discouraged by a non reply after just one email or voice message. The moment you stop trying is the moment you can pretty much guarantee it won’t happen. If you really want something, keep at it. (When I was a kid, my mom framed this poem for me and, to this day, a version of it sits by my desk.)
  2. Do more than just ask. Demonstrate. – For almost 4 years, Josh has demonstrated how much he wanted a Corgi. Aside from the daily “ask,” his room, computer, bike and almost everything he owns is fully adorned with Corgi stickers. And, pre-Covid, he attend monthly “Corgi meet-ups” in our neighborhood.
  3.  Evolve your pitch – Josh’s initial pleas were very self-serving (“I really want a Corgi!”). But his “sales pitch” continued to evolve, with the latest approach focusing on the fact that Jasmine really needed a friend (a much more compelling argument.)
  4.  Don’t assume “No” today is “No” forever – Don’t get discouraged by hearing “no” for an answer. The timing may just not be right today. Stick with it and, eventually, circumstances and attitudes can change. (Even if it takes 4 years…)
  5.  Keep it honest – Through it all, be sure to stick with the truth. The moment your “pitch” is tainted with falsehoods, the greater the disappointment will be to all if/when you get what you want. Fortunately, Josh never claimed that Corgis don’t shed, need little attention or come fully potty-trained. 🙂

In writing this post, I couldn’t help but think of my first boss at Hill Holliday (hi, Sarah), telling me that she hired me because of my persistence. I called her almost daily (email and texting wasn’t an option) until she finally returned my call and made me an offer. And, the rest is history…

I hope that this post makes you smile and encourages you to be persistent in all of your endeavors. 

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners