President's Message: Uncomfortable? Good, It Will Make You Better

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 10/14/19 8:47 PM

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“In order to take things to the next level, you need to become really uncomfortable where you are.”

I wrote that down recently in a journal I keep. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down where I saw or heard it. But that’s something I often do, jot down short notes that strike me as meaningful to my life and work.

I thought this statement was exceptionally relevant right now, because If this is true, then the shooting sports business should be in for a very nice “level up” in the near future.

As I’m sure you can imagine, in my role leading the NASGW, I have the privilege of speaking to people from across the industry on a regular basis. And every year as the Expo draws near, the frequency of those conversations is much more active.
And given what I’ve been talking to folks about lately, if I had to pick one word to describe what I hear from all across the channel, the word uncomfortable might best fit the bill. Because to simply say that 2019 has been an interesting year might be doing a severe disservice to the word interesting. Uncomfortable seems much more fitting.

I’ve been engaged in conversations with industry executives and leaders that range all the way from complete doom-and-gloom scenarios and feelings that the industry is hanging by a thread, to conversations reflecting near or above record business performance this year for some companies. Occasionally I’ve had those two extremes on the same day.

So let’s be honest, you’d have to have been living in the wilderness not to know the distribution channel has had a particularly challenging year. You’re all thinking it and talking about it privately. I’m just going to talk about it, right here, in the open.

You can’t experience the loss of as many distributors as we’ve seen this year without at least a little concern about what it means for your future, whether you are a former competitor of these distribution companies, or one of those distributors was a business partner. I’d love to tell you I have a crystal ball and can play the role of psychic here, predicting a smooth and wonderful future, but that’s a talent I simply don’t have.

What I can tell you about the future is this – the many members of NASGW recognize this changing world, and they’re committed to doing any and everything they can to both blunt the impact of the immediate changes and put plans in place to help shape the future in a positive direction. We began that journey as an organization in late August when the bulk of our distributor members joined together in Atlanta to put some ideas on the table and begin a dialogue. That conversation will continue fervently in the coming weeks and months. We understand we’ve got our work cut out for us.

But here’s what I know about members of the NASGW… they are good people, smart people, and people who’ve in some way, shape or form, been through tough things before and have come out ahead. Most members have been in this business for a long time. They do not plan to sit on the sidelines and let the game happen around them. Rather, they will be calling the shots, changing the rules if needed, and working to adapt where and when it’s needed. They realize that sometimes it’s the hard stuff that makes you better.

In spite of fears about the future, members of the NASGW have an opportunity to lead with fearlessness. And that’s just what we intend to do. We’ll attack this with courage, tenacity and bold thinking during the 2019 NASGW Expo and Annual Meeting.

This isn’t like monsters under the bed when you were a kid. You don’t fix things by covering your head with a pillow and wishing it all away – you go fearlessly into the future to find the answers.

And while we don’t yet know what the answers might be, we do know we’re going to find them. It will take all of us, working together, to get there. So, get used to being a bit uncomfortable. It’s ok, finding answers is what the NASGW is all about. I know that you, our members, are up for the challenge.

Let’s arrive in Orlando, ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work on leveling up.

See you in Orlando!

Best wishes and safe travels,

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Kenyon Gleason

NASGW President

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