President's Message: Simple Things

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 7/13/20 2:45 PM

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Sometimes, it’s just good to be reminded of the simple things.

For example, I was on a call the other day with a variety of colleagues who are also actively involved in the National Association of Wholesalers, when one of my colleagues mentioned, “I’d rather be wrong than not try.”

I’m certain you’ve heard that statement, or some variant of the axiom, throughout your life and career. I know I have. Shakespeare said it like this: “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

My friend’s reference to this concept was said about her attempt to return to normal (as much as possible) and getting things back on track in their office for the clients she represents in the association world. And you know what, she’s absolutely ‘spot on’ with the notion.
It’s been my experience that failure is a great motivator. When you learn from the mistake, then use it to your advantage going forward, failure feeds your future success. Fearing to attempt in the first place is where too many go wrong.

Sounds simple, right? But so often folks fall into the trap of being overwhelmed by fear and anxiety. It’s easy to do. And sometimes, let’s face it, burying our head in the sand and pretending it doesn’t exist does seem like the easy way out. There are many days, especially lately, when I long for things just to be easy, so the temptation to give in to those fears is even greater.

So how do you cope?

Over the past few months, I’ve been helping to facilitate regular calls with other wholesale industry association executives from across the country. We share information and best practices on a whole host of topics. It’s been part of an initiative created by the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW).

As you can imagine, every industry has been impacted somehow, and some more significantly than others, by what’s been taking place these past few months. Together, with this group of amazing and talented leaders, we’ve been able to lean on each other for ideas to help our organizations, but more importantly, in my opinion, we’ve been able to lean on each other as people, as friends.

I think what’s surprised me most is that our group of around a dozen folks has actually grown very close. I wouldn’t have thought this possible since we’re hosting these meetings over Zoom, which inherently removes some of the personable nature of face-to-face gatherings. But our singular focus on helping each other has helped me grow in ways I didn’t necessarily expect.

Not only have I learned some wonderful new skills I can implement within the NASGW arena, but I’ve learned with astounding clarity this fact… all of us are surrounded in this world by spectacular, gifted, considerate, compassionate, and altogether amazing people. Together, we’ve shared a lot of incredible insights on making things better in the midst of a situation we’d all rather was in the rearview mirror. Together, we are making a small difference for our organizations, and together we’re making a huge difference for each other.

This… this is how it’s supposed to work. I’m so grateful and so blessed to be where I am, in this moment, in this time. And despite the challenges we’re all facing, I’m here to face them with friends like you. To stare the challenges in the face and exclaim proudly, “You may knock me down, but I promise you, I’m going to get back up.”

Now, if we could all convince a few of our national leaders to learn from this notion as well… just think what a difference we could make.

Simple things.

I hope you are enjoying your summer. Mine is off to a great start. I am very much looking forward to seeing you all at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas, on October 20-23. It’s going to be an amazing reunion.


Until next time,


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Kenyon Gleason
NASGW President

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