Nationwide Marketing Group’s independent retailers, beset as every other business is with COVID challenges in 2020, were offered an inspirational sendoff from their Virtual convention on Thursday, Oct. 29, courtesy of Nationwide’s Kris Kuester. In a talk entitled “Redefining Your Path to Success & Facing the Unexpected,” Kuester presented his life history as a journey of successive stages and challenges he has met as an athlete, as a musician/singer, and as the survivor of a devastating neurological condition. They are all roadblocks that he has surmounted – the latter, for the last 26 years – through determination, attitude, and the support of a solid foundation of family and friends.
“It’s all part of redefining what you are willing to do to get back to where you need to be,” he said, making an apt analogy that can apply to retailers who are now constantly reassessing business needs in light of the rapidly changing pandemic landscape. “It’s not motivational mumbo-jumbo,” he told listeners. “The difference between making it and not making it is if you’re willing to fail some. Never think that ‘incremental’ improvement isn’t worth it. It is.”
Driving home that point, he spoke of setting a goal early in his rehabilitation of merely walking the 100 steps to his home’s mailbox to retrieve the day’s letters. “It was a massive battle plan, done in secret” even from his wife, but he added that the monumental effort and time it took to achieve that 100-step trek validated to him his self-value. From that day forward, Kuester pressed on to additional successes, culminating in his being able to “tell my story all over the country.”
“You need to climb whatever mountain you have in front of you. Business can – and will – get better. It’s up to you to make the change. What’s your ‘mailbox’? And what are you going to do to get there? You need to define it.”
Reinforcing the benefits of solidarity within the Nationwide family of members, he added that going it alone is not an option. “If you do, you’ll be crushed. It’s got to be done together. Together, we’re so much better. Alone, we’re simply not as strong.”