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Seeing the potential in what can be

This week was the end of our three-week spring period where we as coaches can work with our high school soccer players. We got to see the boys that will be our freshmen in August for the first time. Our next opportunity is in August when fall practice starts. I haven’t seen most of our players since last season ended. I’m always amazed at the physical growth that can happen in just a few months.

The freshmen players were struggling. We did have a couple of pleasant surprises. One of the things I always teach our senior leaders is to see the freshmen not as they are today but as they can be in four years. We need to look at every one of the freshmen as a potential All-State player with the proper training and development.

Four years ago, Ethan, our goalkeeper who just graduated, was a scrawny freshman. He was so short he had to leap hard just to touch the cross bar of the goal. Ethan had good basic skills so he knew a lot of what he needed to do. He had a strong work ethic and a positive attitude. He also had the important ability to learn from his mistakes and then let go of them. Ethan became our starting goalkeeper by the end of his freshmen year and never lost the job. By his senior year he had grown to where he could easily reach up and touch the cross bar. He had bulked up and was solid muscle. He had honed his skills. Ethan was not just an All-State player he was Player of the Year his senior season. He will be playing soccer for WVU next fall. He became the player we always believed he could be. More important, he believed in himself.

We should always do our best to see our people at work, our friends, our children, our grandchildren, our spouses and even ourselves, not as we are but as we can be. People tend to live up (or down) to our expectations. My wife Lynnda’s father was a good man but he wasn’t Mr. Positive. He called her “stupid” a lot as a child, creating self-doubt in her life. She had to work hard to overcome the messages she had been told as a child. Today, in addition to being a great wife and mother, I have watched her develop into a strong medical professional as an RN. She has also now grown into a strong business partner and co-presenter with me when we do our leadership development seminars. That wasn’t easy for her. Hanging around with successful, positive and encouraging people has made a big difference in her life.

Shale Crescent USA is made up of successful, positive, business and community leaders. They have always seen this region and the people in it not as it is today but as it can be. The vision of Shale Crescent USA is to create high-wage jobs that will raise the standard of living for the people in the Shale Crescent USA region.

We see our region as a place of prosperity with some of the cleanest air and water on the planet. As people develop hope in a positive future we see the drug epidemic slowly becoming a thing of the past. Young people will not have leave to find good jobs. Our population begins to grow again. Companies want to locate where people are positive, love their jobs and their state.

The growth is quietly happening. Wages increase with the demand for skilled workers as $15 per hour workers take $36 per hour jobs. Lower wage workers take the $15 jobs. Wages go up as employers try to keep their best people.

Our prospect list is growing. Foreign companies are spending their own money to fly here and see for themselves what we have. They like what they see and they like the people. Very little of my time is spent on marketing now. Most of my time is now spent working with prospects. These prospects have their own visions. This month, I saw the CEO of one company on the a site tour mentally siting his plant.

For a company to locate and expand here is not a quick process. Imagine the process of just building a home. Locating the right piece of property, doing the financing, deciding on the design and interior details and finally doing the construction can easily take one to two years from conception to move in. The projects we are working on are multi-million and sometimes multi-billion dollar projects. The decisions, design, permitting and construction are far more involved and lengthy than building a home.

I challenge you to look at your family, friends and those you work with not as they are but as they can be. Be an encourager. Look at your community and region the same way. We have had a history of manufacturing success. Many may be too young to remember. Local history contains some valuable lessons. What happened before can happen again only better. We can also learn from past mistakes.

There is plenty of negative out there. Just listen to the major media or morning news. We can always find someone who can tell us why we will fail. Lynnda’s father almost did that to her. We don’t need to listen to those negative voices. Ethan and Lynnda ultimately chose not to listen and instead hung out with positive people and listened to encouraging voices. You can too!

Thoughts to ponder.

Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com, is the director of marketing and sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a master’s in environmental engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. He is the author of four books and numerous published articles.

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