It’s that time of year again. Beautiful foliage and falling leaves are a clear indication that we’re closing in on the holidays and, with them, the start of a new year.

That visual cue of the changing season offers an excellent time to pause and think about the future. Just what does next year hold for the economy, and how do we prepare? I wish I knew. But one thing is for sure, planning for recession leads to certainty it will occur.

If promotional firms pause investments, make plans for retraction, and search for areas to cut costs, we risk missing out on opportunities for future growth.

One of the strengths of the promotional products industry has always been the adaptability of its offerings and its members. The enduring nature of our medium has been proven over time. As end-buyer preferences evolved, our industry has recognized, embraced, and delivered those preferences. This adaptability has been fundamental to our Association’s relevance, endurance and growth, as well.

In his book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith argues that to be successful in a rapidly changing world, we need to be willing to let go of the old ways of doing things and embrace new ideas and approaches. It’s a challenge for certain, but essential for ongoing success.

This practice is true for individuals, businesses and associations. Over time, PPAI itself has proved its ability to evolve. The Association is much different than it was before the pandemic. We’re financially stronger, more nimble and guided by a new strategic plan. That plan has launched new initiatives, led by new faces with expertise in areas such as research, technology and corporate responsibility. All of this is new and different, but it’s evidence of the Association’s ability to adapt and evolve with the market and deliver value to our members.

As you savor your fall season and prepare for the coming year, don’t fear the unknown. Instead, focus on all that you’ve accomplished this year and what you can do to prepare for success in the coming year. The serial entrepreneurship that is ingrained in our members – and our industry – will continue to power our evolution, and along with it, our success.

I’m forever an intentional optimist.

But don’t mistake that for meaning my head is in the clouds and I ignore causes for concern. What it really means is that I believe we each have the capability to positively affect our own outcomes, adjusting and adapting as necessary to survive and thrive.

Walsh is chair of the PPAI Board of Directors