Ideational Perseveration

This can misleadingly sound like a daunting phrase to get your head around. Don’t fret it;

You have one specific idea.

And you relentlessly persevere with it.

You continually pursue the thoughts, ambitions, dreams of that idea.

I learned this at around 6.30am in a San Francisco hotel room, listening to English radio at about 3 in their afternoon today.

The inspiring woman who taught me this (also my age, why am I not meeting girls like her?!) is Kate Spicer. Her younger brother, Tom has what I think she described as ‘autism on steroids’, the learning disability Fragile X Syndrome.

He became obsessed (Kate’s word) on thrash band Metallica. And over time, especially with their drummer (and if you’ve seen the at times painful fly on the walls about their making of albums, wannabe group leader), Lars Ulrich.

Tom kept asking if he could meet Lars. Then kept asking. And asking. And asking.

This is a kind of ideational perseveration.

So Kate thought “everyone deserves one adventure in their life” and off to meet Lars they went. And it was all filmed for Mission To Lars.

Even without knowing the denouement, one happy outcome was the emboldened Tom. The joy Kate felt came through on the other side of the world. My eyes are welling up once more just typing about it now…

So, mine here is a blog for the aspirant sales-CEO. Naturally ideation preseveration got me thinking.

Yesterday I actually talked with a CEO about one entertaining school of management, where whenever someone comes into your office and asks you for something, you must always instinctively say ‘no’. The theory goes that most people then disappear back out the door, tail between legs, never to mention it again. They only come back if they really believe in it.

I don’t buy that. Still, imagine such scenario plays out regularly.

Tom’s persistence started his journey.

If you have an idea in which you truly believe, then stick at it. In selling, this often means something akin to ‘always be closing’. Ignore the compulsion to follow this confusing parallel. Better, take a customer idea. One that you can uniquely resolve. And bang away at it.

Perhaps not with the singular intensity showed by Tom, tweak the pitch along the way, but if you constantly chip away, eventually people might just stand beside you.

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