45. Meet The Man Behind the Innovative Mindset of Distribution in “We Supply America” | Dirk Beveridge, Founder of UnleashWD

Episode 45

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The special guest in this episode is known for the art of speaking and storytelling, being a highly sought after public speaker and having hosted dozens of in depth discussions through his traveling platform, “We Supply America”. As a well-known figure in the distribution world, an entrepreneur, researcher, author, and the Founder of UnleashedWD, Dirk Beveridge understands and embraces this industry, and he is driven to support and spotlight distributors.

In this episode of the Driven by DCKAP podcast, Dirk sits down with Karthik Chidambaram, Founder & CEO of DCKAP, to talk about his mission in life, the importance of distribution and why it’s necessary to utilize innovative strategies in the digital age, taking a look into his own personal journey and the upward trajectory of his career. We learn more about the driving force behind Dirk’s efforts and why he feels so passionately about working in the distribution industry.

Through “We Supply America”, a program which began to hit the road soon after Dirk’s napkin-scrawled idea was formed in 2020, this heartfelt mission was created – to highlight relevant stories and the amazing people behind hundreds of inspiring distribution companies. Now, after its third season, Dirk has many stories to share and even more motivation to continue to bring the human aspect of distribution businesses to the forefront, to share moments of great innovation and success, and to help others be led by purpose.

Books mentioned in this podcast:
Driving Distributor Sales Beyond Best Practices for Outselling Your Competition by Dirk Beveridge
Innovate: How Successful Distributors Lead Change in Disruptive Times by Dirk Beveridge
The Innovative Distributor Mindset by Dirk Beveridge
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

Karthik Chidambaram: Hello everyone! Welcome to a brand new episode of
DCKAP’s Driven Podcast.

I'm really excited today because I have with me a great friend, the founder
of UnleashWD and the executive producer of We Supply America, Dirk
Beveridge. So Dirk, it's an absolute pleasure to have you join us for
DCKAP’s Driven Podcast, and welcome.

Dirk Beveridge: Karthik, thank you so much for having me.

I'm honored to be here and I gotta tell you something. Over the years, we've
had a chance to interact. I've had a chance to meet some of your teams at
Infor’s Tug Conference and the like. And, I'm a big fan of what you, your
team and DCKAP do to help distributors compete and thrive, in today's
digital world.

So, I am absolutely honored to be here.

Karthik Chidambaram: Thank you. That means a lot. Appreciate that. And we
are a big fan of you. I'm actually a big fan of you to be honest. And you
inspire us a lot.

Tell us about We Supply America. What is We Supply America? And what is it
that you do?

Dirk Beveridge: Yeah, thanks. So if you don't mind, Karthik, sometimes my
answers aren't super short like they should be.

So there's a little story to that. Do you mind if I tell you the story
behind We Supply America?

Karthik Chidambaram: That would be great, actually. We would love that,
yeah.

Dirk Beveridge: Yeah, so Karthik, you know, I want to take everybody back to
the pandemic. You know, right when the pandemic, March 2020, the government
came out, the world government came out and said two weeks to flatten the
curve, and then eventually two weeks to flatten the curve became more,
entering the second year. Somewhere in between that time, I wrote an open
letter to distributors and that open letter was titled ‘Shift to Tomorrow’.

And in that open letter, I- my objective was to help us raise our eyes
towards the horizon. To think about what we need individually as human
beings and as our companies to come out of the pandemic stronger than we
went in and in that open letter, it was the first time that I used the words
- the noble calling of distribution, the noble calling distribution.

What the heck does that mean? I didn't know what it meant. First time I ever
used it. So I had to think about it. And then you find things like, you
know, the sector that DCKAP and we serve. You know, it’s a 7 trillion, now
maybe an 8 trillion, economic engine. That's the third largest economic
engine on the planet behind the GDP of the United States and China.

And Karthik, I find that to be part of that economic engine that moves
society forward, I find that to be very, very noble. That 7, 8 trillion
contributes and builds over 6 million jobs across this country. And, again,
I look at these as not just good paying jobs, which they are. I look at
these jobs within distribution from the warehouse floor to marketing, to IT,
to administration, these are jobs that provide opportunities for human
beings.

To find purpose and fulfillment and to grow into their full potential. And I
find that to be very, very noble. And then when I look at, you know, you
pick the sector building materials. We don't live in our society without the
building materials, plumbing, heating, electrical, whatever. Our society is
really driven by the work that these distributors do.

And so. That's kind of the origin story that led me to this concept of We
Supply America, and I'll pause here and we can talk about that. But, We
Supply America basically is a platform, and I go across this country to meet
the people of distribution, within these businesses to hear their stories,
the personal and professional stories about the individuals who keep our
country supplied.

And I think these stories are filled with inspiration. These stories are
filled with lessons, and they are stories that need to be told for the good
of the sector of distribution, for the good of these individual companies.
And for the good of the people of distribution. So that's what we're doing
with We Supply America.

Karthik Chidambaram: That's great. How did you get involved in distribution
or why did you choose distribution?

Dirk Beveridge: Yeah. So, great question.

So, we're a second generation business. We're over 50 years old. My father
started the business years ago. And as I joined the business, when I came
out of college and I sold for about 18 months, we were really a sales
management consulting firm. We customized sales processes for businesses
within distribution and outside for a lot of years. And it was great. And,
then all of a sudden, Dad's retiring, 9/11 happens, and holy cow, the
business shuts down like crazy, kind of like the pandemic, but 9/11 shuts
down like crazy, and I had to make a decision.

We only had limited resources, certain bandwidth, and I had to really focus
our energies. And over the years, we had tremendous success. With a number
of distributors to come to mind, Berlin Packaging, and then, Morgan
Distribution, which was an Anderson windows distributor at the time. We
really helped those organizations drive their sales and leadership success
over the years to become tremendous organizations.

And so I said, that's where we've really been focused, primarily on
wholesale distribution, on distribution. And, yeah, so that's how it
happened. It- the world kind of caused an inflection point and we had to
pivot. And that's what we did.

Karthik Chidambaram: I'm just curious, Dirk, sales and leadership is
something everybody is very curious about and they always want to do better
at it.

So how do you really help distributors with sales and leadership?

Dirk Beveridge: Yeah, how long do we have, Karthik?

Yeah, so, so let me, let me see how I can do that. So how do we help them
with that? So for, you know, why I'm pausing is I- how do, where do I take
this? There's strategic help. There's tactical help, right? There's learning
and development help.

And so let me start with sales and sales management, if you don't mind. All
right. So, years ago, the first research project I did for the National
Association of Wholesalers was this research project, and that ended up in
this book titled ‘Driving Distributor Sales Beyond Best Practices for
Outselling Your Competition’.

And in that research project, what we found was that strategically, most
distributors had simply allowed their sales processes to evolve, right? They
hired salespeople. The salespeople developed relationships. They went out
and did their thing. And they did what was good for them. The same happened
with sales management.

We took a good sales person and we hired them into sales management. We
said, learn on the job if you don't mind. And what we found is that if you
went to a sales organization that had 50 different sales people, there were
basically 50 different sales processes. Everybody was doing their own thing
that seemed to work for them. Was it aligned with everybody else? Was it
aligned with corporate growth? Maybe, maybe not.

And Karthik, I don't know how good of a leader you are. Or how good of a
leader, but I know I'm not that good of a leader that I can manage 50
different sales processes. So what we did is we helped sales organizations.
Distributors really think about who they are at their core, how they add
value, how they differentiate themselves and how they help their customers
improve their profitability. And from that, we help them design their sales
process that is really based on the world's best salespeople.

And, and we said, here is how we sell within Merlin Packaging or Morgan
Distribution. And so, for example, real quick, we know the world's best
sales people are customer centric. We know that they lead not by pitching
product, but by identifying customers' needs from the customer's point of
view. So we know there is a form of a customer needs analysis in the world's
best performing sales organizations.

Now, how Joe, you implement that CNA might be a little bit different than
how Karthik does it, but we will do customer needs analysis in our
organizations. So again, long winded answer, but how do we help sales
organizations drive sales and improve leadership? That's one example how we
started with, um, with these distributors that we've helped over the years.

Karthik Chidambaram: Oh, it's awesome. You started with NAW and Eric
Hoplin, the CEO of NAW, was also on our podcast recently.

Dirk Beveridge: I listened to it. An amazing, amazing interview.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yes. Yeah, it was great. I mean, there was a lot of
learning for me as well. So yeah, thanks for sharing this.

So look, I mean, no better person to ask this question than you, you know,
because you have been traveling the US and meeting with a lot of
distributors. How do you see distribution evolving today?

I mean, again, let's say a couple of years ago. You talked about Covid and
then 3 years from now, hey, there's a lot happening across the world and
around us. How do you see all those impacting, or what are some of the
challenges distributors face today? Again, a couple of years ago, it was
supply chain, Covid, and all that. But what is the challenge distributors
face today?

Dirk Beveridge: Great question, Karthik. And here's the lens at which I look
at it. Okay, but, again, my lens is over the last three summers, I've
traveled 41,000 miles across this country in the We Supply America RV. I've
met with over 80 different distributors. I've met hundreds and hundreds of
thousands of people who chose distribution as their career, where they work,
and I've gotten to listen to their stories.

And I think I'm going to say this, I'm going to say something, this isn't
exactly what it is. There's a lot. There's- the world is moving so fast
right now, where everything, Karthik (everything in bold, underlined, large
caps, large font) everything, you know, is changing at an unprecedented
rate.

The macro forces, you alluded to some of them, right? Supply chain issues,
the economic hell, what's going on in Israel and Gaza right now, in the
Ukraine, right? And these macro forces are just changing our world in ways
we can't control, and those macro forces move into the world of distribution
and all those macro forces are causing- It's causing us to rethink
technology and how to deploy technology in new ways in our organization.

The demographic shifts are changing the labor pools that we're going to have
to deal with, right? So everything is changing. The macro forces then move
into our sector of distribution. And then here's the third way. It's
changing, Karthik, which we don't talk enough about and is the lens where
I'm really being drawn to right now, and that's the people's forces. People,
human beings, those 6 million employees within distribution, our businesses
were disrupted because of COVID our businesses are going to be disrupted
because of what's going on in Israel and the Gaza strip and supply chain.

But here's what's not talked enough about in my mind, it's that we as human
beings have been disrupted, I believe even to a greater degree than our
businesses have been. Our businesses are resilient. Our businesses came out
of that pandemic stronger. I mean, my god, you look at the revenues and
profitability that came out of it, right?

But what I've discovered, what I know is that we as human beings might not
have rebounded as quickly as our businesses have. And so, I think the human
aspect of business is going to be what the world's best leaders are going to
focus on in the near and midterm. From a pure business perspective, our
latest future of distribution report tells us that 85 percent of
distribution leaders believe that the people and talent issue is going to be
the biggest challenge they have for the next decade.

And then that scales down to or ripples back to - how are the needs of your
people changing? And we can go down that path too. But our future
distribution report, I think the number is 93 percent of us believe and
understand that the needs, wants and desires of our employees have
significantly shifted over the past years, which means leadership had
better. We need to shift as leaders as well.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah, the people effect. And the human nature of the
whole thing, you know, makes a big difference. And again, not, I mean, I
watched your videos. It's very fascinating and also very inspiring listening
to the distributor stories, but not all distributors are like that.

For example, you know, I was watching the story of COE Distributing, one of
the largest furniture distributors in the country, which you just uploaded.
I was really moved by the story of the people working there, but then not
all distributors are that way. I've visited distributors as well. And some
of them are a little conservative.

So, what do you think they can do to change that? Or what are 1 or 2 things
they should be focusing on? Let's say, if they don't have that great a
culture and they really want to improve, what are one or two things they
should do?

Dirk Beveridge: Yeah, so let me answer it this way, because I've asked a
similar question like that when I'm out in the field and I'm hearing this.

I think even in the COE, I asked the gentleman from human resources, you
know, what do you say to the other leaders in business that don't have this
humanistic approach? And just by the very nature of that, I'm foreshadowing
what I believe the answer should be. I'm foreshadowing that I believe
everybody has the duty and the responsibility to do that.

Actually, Karthik, I believe that to be true. The fact is, it's a choice.
It's a choice. It's their business and they have a choice to lead and manage
in the way that they want to lead. And would we, would society like every
business to be like COE? The answer is absolutely yes. But it comes down to
the values of leadership.

It comes back to what leaders dream of. It comes back to, what's coming into
my mind right now, Karthik, I'm in my mind in real time right now. I see
Bono. A lot from people, from you too, in my mind, right? It's, are they,
you know, can they find inspiration from the bottles of the world and say
that you know, our job is not just- by the way, I'm a capitalist, right?
Profit is not only needed, it's good. It's noble. We owe it to our
investors, right? To drive that better than fair return for the risk and the
investments that they made.

So it comes down to the values. I think of the individual, does it not,
that? What is the world they see? What is the world they want to create? And
when I say the world, they want to, I mean, I'm talking about within our
four walls and who am I to judge them? I can't judge them. I can continue to
share stories of COE and Texas Plumbing Supply and First Supply and DSG and
everybody else.

And hopefully we can touch people's hearts, touch people's minds, show them
that there is a path and that by the way, being people first, putting
humanity first, it's also darn good for business. It's also darn good for
profitability.

So I guess right back to your question, I would say if they want something
different, search inside yourself first. Really define who you are as a
leader, as a person, as an organization. What are your values, what purpose
is driving you, and then ask yourself, how close to that vision are we? And
if we've got some gaps closed, we all have gaps closed. Then let's commit to
doing that.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah, or like the director of HR or the HR person at
COE talked about listening, right? So listening also makes a big difference,
yeah. No, that's great, Dirk.

Dirk, the theme of this podcast or this podcast is called Driven. And how
are you so driven?

Dirk Beveridge: How am I so driven? First, I love the concept of the
podcast, right? And, so I'll tell you, I'll tell you a story. I don't think
I've told this in 20, 30 years, Karthik.

I mentioned that we're a second generation business and early on, back in
the eighties, my father was out doing his thing. I mean, doing his thing. It
was good. And, I came on board and my sister came on board and we got to a
point where things weren't working, and Dad flew up from Florida, sat my
sister and I down and, you know, I think there were a lot of tears in that
room talking about, and then my father looked at us and says, what do you
want? What do you want?

And I won't share what my sister's response was, but my response, Karthik,
was all I want is an opportunity. All I want is an opportunity. Nothing
should be given to me. I hate the word entitlement. I hate it. And I think
that moment was, now that I'm looking back at it too, was a key moment for
me.

Because how am I driven? I believe that I've been given a tremendous
opportunity. And I believe it's incumbent upon me to seize that opportunity.
Yes, for those close to me, my family, my employees. But I mentioned Bono.
He's inspired me. Steve Jobs put a dent in the universe, inspires me.

And Karthik, the thing is, I mean, truthfully, I mean, right? Here's what I
think I'm capable of, and here's where I think I'm at. And there's so much
more to do. I'm 62 years old, and I just, I just feel, I think now more than
ever, that there's so much more for me to do and to accomplish. And I'm
driven to seize the opportunity that I have to make a difference, to make an
impact and to, Karthik, yes, hopefully improve the channel of distribution
and yes, hopefully improve the businesses.

I have a chance to interact with people, but I'm really driven to make an
impact on people's lives. And if you don't mind, just last Friday, I did the
closing keynote for the ISA's fall summit. And our theme was force for good.
And it was the first time I ever gave that presentation. I was a nervous
wreck, right?

First time I ever gave it. And as I walked off the stage, as Brendan Breen
was concluding that summit, one individual who was out the door to go catch
the plane just leaned in, put his hand out to me and said, ‘We needed that’.
And I don't know what he meant beyond that.

But what I take from it is, we made an impact, somehow, someway. And that's
what I'm driven to do.

Karthik Chidambaram: That's awesome, Dirk. I've listened to you speak and
you're such a great speaker and even the way you speak right now is amazing.

Just shifting gears a little bit. Tell us about, have you always been a
great public speaker or how did you develop those skills?

Dirk Beveridge: Karthik, you are the world's best interviewer because I'm
going to tell you another story that I haven't told in 30 years.

I mentioned, second generation. I mentioned we started out focused on sales
and, I remember the first two day sales training program that I, not my
father, that I was hired to do out in Atlantic City, New Jersey, with a
large, what's become a national moving organization.

And Karthik, I won't tell you the whole story, but I'll bring you to 10:30
AM on day two. When I was fired from the stage, my client came up to me and
said, ‘Dirk, we'll take it from here. Pack up your bags, pack up your
computer. I'll take it from here’. So, no, I was literally fired from the
stage. Years ago.

So the answer is, the answer is no, I have not always been talented on the
stage. I think I still have a long way to go in terms of, but I think what
it comes down to, what it- I'll tell you this, you know, years ago, Karthik,
I, I thought about taking acting lessons so that I could tell stories great
from the stage.

Right. I, um, you know, I used to get books on jokes so I could pull jokes
out and insert them into the presentation and, and I- you need two or three
things. Number one, you have to be passionate about the topic. Karthik,
we've got great stuff on sales, and I still do. Sure. It's not what I'm
drawn to do right now, but you have to be passionate. You have to feel a
calling for getting up on that stage.

Number two, you have to study. Yeah, you have to have some insight that can
move people, not from, you know, zero to a hundred. But from zero to one,
just move them to the next step. And third, you have to be authentically
yourself. And I will say this, I tell this to people off camera again,
you're getting me to say things I haven't said on camera before, Karthik.

But I'll tell people this. I am, on stage, the best I've ever been in my
career speaking today. Why? Because it's not a speech for me anymore. It's
not me talking or presenting to anybody anymore. What I have the opportunity
to do, what I am blessed with right now is I have met hundreds of
individuals. I've hugged them on the We Supply America tour, and I get to
tell these stories that have impacted me and that I think can impact other
people. And I think those are some of the secrets to presenting well.

Karthik Chidambaram: Thank you, Dirk. Very helpful. Great advice for people
listening as well. I think you appreciate that.

So, Dirk, it's not easy to get out there. I mean, speaking is one thing.
Let's say delivering a keynote is one thing. But then with the We Supply
America tour, you take an RV, you drive around the US, you go, you meet
people, and it's not an easy thing to do. And it's like getting out of your
comfort zone.

So how do you get out of your comfort zone, and how do you do this?

Dirk Beveridge: Don't tell your spouse your plan before you actually invest,
because then it would have stopped.

But, so how do you do it? So if you don't mind. Karthik, if you don't mind,
I am going to read to you. Can I read to you something that I wrote in my
journal this morning and then something that I posted on LinkedIn? And if
you don't mind, I'm just going to read it. And I think it, it answers,
begins to answer your question. What I wrote this morning on LinkedIn is
this.

I said, to be a force for good, to be good for the world, we must first be
good for ourselves. To be more human for the world, we must first be more
human for ourselves. To impact others, we must first impact ourselves. To
better understand others, we must first better understand ourselves. To
better love others, we must first better love ourselves. To quiet the noise
around us, we must first quiet the noise within ourselves. To do good in the
world, we must first do good within ourselves. Joseph Campbell tells us
individuals cross the chasm, not to save the world, but to save themselves.
And in doing so, they save the world. To save the world, we have to save
ourselves. Here's hoping you find the space, time and quiet today and every
day to focus on yourself.

And so I think it's taken me to the age of 62 to really understand this
graphic. Okay. And your question is, how do you, did you say courage? How do
you step out of your comfort zone? Right.

Joseph Campbell calls that crossing the chasm, this call to adventure. Yeah.
And if you listen to those around you, even your loved ones who want to
protect you, they will stop you from that call to adventure. They will often
stop you from a ‘Joseph Campbell’ cause, that crossing the chasm. And when I
look at We Supply America, it was a huge risk.

I went out and bought a six figure RV, didn't have the money for it. There
was no business plan. There was no logistics plan. I bought the RV before
Infor, our sponsor for three years, a partner was even on board.

And truth be told, I didn't do it for distribution. I didn't do it for the
distributors. I did it for myself. I was called to do it and I listened to
it. Prior to this, in 2004, I started a nonprofit called We Do Care to
support and thank our troops that I ran for seven years to support and thank
our troops. And it went global. If I would have listened to everybody,
there's no way I would have started that nonprofit that made a great impact
around the world for our troops.

And so how do you do it? I think that was your question. And I think that
you've got to trust yourself. You got to trust what I am now calling that
divine awareness inside of you, that voice. And rather than fight it, man,
rather than listening to the noise around you, go deep within yourself,
because I believe your intuition, I believe that divine voice within us
knows what's right and knows that it isn't going to be easy. But I think
that's how you do it.

Karthik Chidambaram: Follow your calling. That's great.

And I love Infor as a company, and that's where we met. If you remember,
right? We would remember the first time I met you. So you were speaking and
there was an aura around you. Every time you're there, you know, there's
always an aura. There are people surrounding you and then you make the place
very vibrant.

And I was watching you from afar, and then we exchanged a few words. And
then we were at this FedEx store trying to ship some stuff, and you actually
offered to help. And you were really genuine about it. And I was really
amazed by your hospitality and your down to earth nature, in spite of being
one of the most sought after people at the conference.

I thought that was really, really interesting. Can you tell us about what
helped shape you as a person?

Dirk Beveridge: Yeah, so what helps shape me as a person? So, I think I'm a
mix of my father and my mother, right? My father, I mean, Karthik, he would
talk about non negotiable standards. If- he passed a little over a year ago.
If he saw me right now with you in this shirt and not in an IBM blue suit
with a red tie and shined shoes. He'd be rolling over in his grave right
now, right?

He was all about non negotiable standards and, you know, and all that. My
mother, you know, was, our home was the place where kids came to after
school. All summer long, right? There was always food. There was all, how
she did it, I don't know. And I think I got the discipline and the drive.
from my father, and I think I got the love- By the way, my father was loving
in his way. I think I got the love, and the desire to reach out and hug
people and let them know that I love them from my mother.

Karthik Chidambaram: That's amazing. Great patterns here. Thank you, Dirk.

Dirk, how are you camera ready, right? So, I mean, any tips on that for the
audience? How can you be camera ready all the time? Or are you camera ready
all the time?

Dirk Beveridge: I'm a nervous wreck every time I take the stage. I'm a
nervous wreck. Look at my hair. I'm not camera ready.

Are you kidding me? I'm not, but Karthik, no, I, I hope this sounds right.
But again. I don't care if I'm camera ready, right? I don't care. What I
care about is being authentically myself and connecting with people and
helping them, you know, and, and seeing if I can put that little dent in the
universe.

So, this presentation that I mentioned the other day. Right for industrial
supply association, ISA. Karthik, it's the first time in my life I did a
keynote presentation, not in a suit coat and jeans, not a suit. I walked up
in jeans.

Again, I'm thinking to myself, ‘Dad, Dad, this isn't for you’. This is for
everybody out there in the audience. Right? And I will tell you this. Can I
just share this with you too? Sorry, you're giving me many things. I never
had a camera. So here is my journal and to-do list for last Friday when I
presented to ISA.

Here is a note that I wrote to myself the following Sunday, as I really
started dialing in for that presentation. And Karthik, the note that I wrote
to myself was this. I said, ‘Be you. Talk. And share. Don't present’. I
said, ‘it is your passion, commitment, energy that they want and that will
move them. You are there for them’.

Help them see something in themselves they might not have seen in a while.
Was I camera ready? I have no idea. But what I do know is I was there for
the right reason for those in the audience.

Karthik Chidambaram: How long have you been writing journals, Dirk?

Dirk Beveridge: Karthik, I wish I had been doing it for 62 years, right? I'm
late to the game.I probably started, on and off, five years ago. And I'm
still not doing it daily. I want to get to it daily, but I'm probably four
or five times a week right now. And, it's magical.

Karthik Chidambaram: You go back and refer to these journals, or what do you
do?

Dirk Beveridge: Yeah. So I have two different types. I have two different
types and I've learned. So I'm going to go. So, I have one journal that I-
my thoughts, right, that I need to get out into the world that I need to get
down, right? Do I refer back to it? Yes.

What stopped me from journaling years ago was I felt the need to be able to
index it and to be able to find everything that I ever wrote down. That's
not the purpose of journaling, right? What I thought, it's to get it down
and out into the world, out of here, into the world. And then that somehow,
you mentioned ‘aura’, that somehow I think stays with you once you write it
down.

So, that's one way. The second way I learned just this year, and can I go
into a little detail on this if you don't mind? So... I'm going through a
fantastic program right now, Karthik. A 300 day program put on by a guy by
the name of Brian Johnson. It's called Heroic, and it's all about how to
become that better, best version of yourself.

And real quick, he starts off by asking, what's this game that we're playing
of life and he brings us back to Aristotle and he says it's eudaimonia,
joyful happiness. Martin Siegelman, founder of positive psychology, says
it's to flourish. It's the same thing. And how do you flourish? How do you
find eudaimonia?

It's through virtues, which means moment to moment to moment to moment. It's
those micro decisions. So, to help with those micro decisions, I won't look.
Here's my journaling from that day. Okay. And I do this every day. This is
the journaling. I do that. I just repeat because I'm trying to ingrain it in
myself.

What's the best version of me? And so real quick, it's three columns across
- energy, work and love. As my best self, what's the energy I'm bringing out
to the world? What's my best self in my work? And what's my best self in my
love? And then down the left hand side, you ask yourself, what's your
identity?

When I'm at my best, what's my identity for energy, work, and love? What are
the virtues, the values of each one of those? And then how will I behave
today for each one of those? So, those are the two types of journaling that
I do.

Karthik Chidambaram: And what's the name of the program you enrolled in,
Dirk?

Dirk Beveridge: It's called Heroic. Brian Johnson is his name and he's got a
brand new book coming out in November called Arete. Arete is a Greek for
virtues, right? And it's that moment, to moment, to moment decisions.

Karthik Chidambaram: So talking about books, you've also written books and
you're an author of several books. Can you tell us about the books you have
written?

Dirk Beveridge: Yeah. So, I've written two books for the National
Association of Wholesalers. The first book I shared with you. The second
book is called ‘Innovate, How Successful Distributors Lead Change in
Disruptive Times’. That book is relevant and will be relevant for years to
come because it identifies, of the five key component parts of, what a
distributor needs to focus on to remain relevant, proper, and sustainable.

Five things - vision, culture, value proposition, business model, and
leadership. And so that's Innovate. Then I've also self published some
books. One is titled, ‘The Innovative Distributor Mindset’, where we've
taken a look at eight different mindsets and put them on a scale to help
people think about that growth and that innovative mindset for them. And
then some other smaller pamphlets and the like.

Karthik Chidambaram: What tips would you like to share for budding authors
out there who would like to write books like you?

Dirk Beveridge: Don't do it. No, I'm teasing. I'm teasing.

First, do it for yourself. Number one, writing a book is hard. It's hard.
It's, boy. If you ever want to question yourself about how good you are, how
capable you are, how smart you are, how skilled you are, write a book.

Because from day one, you're going to be questioning yourself. The very act
of putting that down on paper, you realize what you don't know about what
you're claiming to be an expert on. And so, do it for yourself.

Number two. And, I haven't thought about this in a while, Karthik. So thank
you. When I wrote this book for the NAW, it was an amazing experience for
me. Because as difficult as it was, I went in with a learner's mindset. I
did not perceive myself as an expert on innovation.

So I had to go out and find out what that looked like throughout
distribution. And it's that learning process that just kept me alive, kept
me lit and kept me going forward. So one, what did I say was number one? I
forget. Number two, go into it to learn.

And then number three, commit to it. If you're going to do it, I guess,
cause it's, it's hard. I use mind maps for it. I take all my information and
I develop a mind map in an app. And that allows me to move my ideas around
so that I can see the story before I actually start writing.

That might be a tactical tip that I have found helpful.

Karthik Chidambaram: That's great. And, talking about innovation, and you've
written in a book called Innovation, Innovate. So how can distributors
innovate? What tips would you give them?

Dirk Beveridge: Yeah., so what tips would I use? Okay, ready? Just off the
top of my head, right? Number one, if you want to innovate, step outside of
your world.

For years, I had the Unleash WD Innovation Summit. And Karthik... it was an
industry summit with no industry speakers. People would call me up and say,
Dirk, I hear you're having this conference, but why should I go? Cause I
don't know any of the speakers that are going to be speaking there.

I said, that's why you need to be here. If you want to innovate, you got to
get outside of your box and generally speak. I think we're getting better at
this, but generally thinking, I think we're incestuous. We like to hang out
with people that we like and that we know. And so number one, if you want to
innovate. Get outside of your world.

If you're industrial supply associates just had their fall meeting, right?
If I was a leader in the industrial supply association, I would go to the
American supply associations network meeting, go meet with plumbing
distributors, see what they're doing. Even more than that, right?

I’d go take a course at Harvard or something. I don't know. We, you gotta
get outside of your world. Number one. Number two, focus on the team and the
culture that you have around you. Right? There is an inherent inertia.
There's an inherent inertia in all of our businesses. And that keeps us
towards making decisions that are safe, that are known, that we know the
outcome of. If you want to innovate, you gotta have that culture that allows
for that experimentation, that allows for failure, if you will, and
experimentation.

Next, I don't know what's next. What, what would you say? What did I forget?
Let me ask you, Karthik, what would you say are the one, two, or three tips
for innovation?

Karthik Chidambaram: No, I mean, I really agree with you. That's a good one,
right? So I would say experiment and get out of your comfort zone like you
rightly pointed out.

You never know what's going to work and what's not going to work. And you
learn from failures. The more you fail, the better. So I would say celebrate
failures. So just start celebrating failures. And if you fail, and like you
said, I mean, even your first public speaking experience. You were asked to
get out of the stage and that teaches you a lesson.

So, I mean, I really like failures. Let's say, you know, we try to do
something and if it doesn't work, we try to innovate. Again, if you're going
to do something big, you are going to fail. Yeah, so, and then you learn
from it, get up and do something else or always be iterative as well. So,
these are some things, you know, I would say.

Dirk Beveridge: Yeah, without question. And, you know, again, one of the
things that I'm learning through this heroic program that I'm going through.
I love the way he worded it. I'll try to pull it out. And what I mean by
that is, look, you try something, right? Even if you're working on yourself,
right? You try something and you have to detach yourself from the results.

In a sense, the results don't even matter because you go into that process
to learn, right? And then if you can detach yourself from the results that I
have to succeed this time, but you go in there knowing that you're going to
learn something that it's just data. Then you just take that data and you
start the process of iteration all over again.

And then you look at that data and say, okay, what's the next best decision
that we can make? And you go through that cycle all over again.

Karthik Chidambaram: Yeah. Certainly, you don't control the outcome.

So, Dirk, what are your hobbies? What do you do outside work?

Dirk Beveridge: I tell you what, so I love to read. I love to work on
myself.

I love philosophy more than I ever have. I love trying to take care of
myself. I used to be an Ironman triathlete. Over the years, I've completed
four Ironmans. One, I ended up in intensive care. I kind of let that slip.
So I'm enjoying taking care of my body again.

One of the things I've done- I love Apple. I love Apple fitness plus, they
have turned me on to yoga. You know, as I get older, I've gotten stiffer and
all that, and that's not a way to live. And so, I really enjoy my quiet time
doing yoga, as I say, I think. You don't want to see me do yoga because it
ain't pretty. Okay. But, I'm down there doing it and the like, and, you
know, I guess it's working.

I love family, obviously, right? Some people call it work, but Karthik, I-
this is, I'm going to say it too straightforward. I don't like being in my
office. I like being out. I love the We Supply America tour. It's the most
rewarding and the most difficult thing I've done in my entire career.

But Karthik, there is nothing for me like pulling up to a business and
meeting people that I've never met before, hearing their stories and
connecting with them on a human level. That's fun. It's fun. And, does it
work? I guess so, but it doesn't feel like it.

Karthik Chidambaram: Certainly, We Supply America is very inspiring. Thank
you, Dirk, for doing that. Thank you.

So, Dirk, I would like to end with this question. What book are you reading
right now?

Dirk Beveridge: What book am I reading right now? So, I'll answer it in this
way. Right now, I am reading, not a book cover to cover. Here, I'm looking.
But in this program, sorry Karthik, because I want to answer it quickly.

So in this program that I'm doing, he has what he calls philosopher's notes.
And for me to progress through this program, I read six page summaries of
all of these books that are built into the program. And so, you know, so
here, here are just some of them. Can I just tick off some of them that I've
read in the last, let's say 30 days, these six and taken notes on and, and,
you know, the seven, the seven habits of highly effective people, 15 secrets
of successful people.

No, brain energy. Deep Work. I love this book. Do you know Deep Work by Cal
Newport has impacted me in a big, big way? Love 2. 0, Making Hope Happen,
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and the like. So those are the books that I'm
diving into right now on my way through these six page overviews. And then
after I get through the program, I'll be diving into the key ones that have
meant most to me, super deep. Can I ask you, Deep Work, tell me about you
reading what it's meant to you?

Karthik Chidambaram: No, I mean, I think it's great. I think I have a book,
a copy of Deep Work here somewhere. Let me check. Yeah, I don't find it, but
yeah. I mean, I really enjoyed reading the deep work book.

So it talks about, right, hey, you know, you don't do, you can't be on the
computer all the time. So let's say, for instance, you know, this week. I
decided I'm not going to read any news. I'm not going to be watching YouTube
Monday to Friday. So that's deep work in a way, right? Because I'm going to
have a time to watch YouTube again.

I've done this in the past, but sometimes you get sidetracked and you just
go back to it again. So, I thought that was really, really good or maybe,
you know, have some thinking time or just go out for a walk. I think these
are some of my great learnings from the Deep Work book.

So what I'm reading right now is this book called The Mindset by Dr. Carol
S. Dweck. It's a good one too, right? So it talks about, hey, what are you
thinking? You know, you become what you think. And, you know, it's all about
the mindset, right? So let's say, you know, you're playing a game of tennis.
If you think you're not good, you're not going to be good, but then you
practice and you get better.

Then you're going to get better at it. So it's just like acquiring a skill
is not that difficult. Anybody can acquire any skill. And that's what
mindset talks about.

Dirk Beveridge: Yeah, I love it. Thank you. Can I comment on that? So yeah,
so deep work in mindset. All right. So now, if you don't mind, let me type
back to my daily journaling here.

Okay. And, so, you know, energy, work and love. Let's look at the middle
column ‘work’, if you don't mind. Alright. And then identity, virtue, and
behavior. Every morning I work, when I get to that work column, I say, who's
my identity and my identity, who I want to be like is Tom Brady. Okay.
Because man, when he went to work, he went to work, nothing else mattered to
him.

Except for what he had to do right there on the practice field in the weight
room in the film room, whatever, right? So, so identity, I wouldn't be like
Tom Brady there. The virtue, now let's go to deep work, is to be pro.

You know, I forget the exact definitions of professional and amateur, but to
be a pro means that you are all in, right? Nothing else matters, right? So
Tom Brady, he was a professional more than all the other professionals,
right? He just zeroed in, right?

And then behavior. So what I do is I block off these 90 minute segments, at
least two a day that I turn off email. I turn off text. I turn off my phone.
I turn off everything. And I put those 90 minutes in front of me and I
envision that I'm Tom Brady in this moment doing what I need to do for this
piece of work and go as deep as I possibly can in it.

That's what I do. Strive to do so. Mindset, I've mindset. Mindset and deep
work put together. I think that's it.

Karthik Chidambaram: That's amazing.

Dirk, I really enjoyed this conversation. It was a lot of learning. I'm sure
the audience are gonna enjoy this interview with you, Dirk. Thanks for
inspiring us. Thanks for doing what you're doing and thanks for being the
force for Good, great chatting with you and thanks for joining us on The
Driven Podcast.

Dirk Beveridge: Thank you, Karthik. Hey, I love, loved being here and I'm
honored to have been asked. Thanks, bud.

Karthik Chidambaram: Thank you.

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Episode 45