Perception is not everythig

Last Sunday I was in church and rolled into the communion line on my wheelchair. One of the ushers, Tony a friend, approached to push me. I smiled, waved him off and said, “I’ve got this.” I kept up with the line and easily wheeled back to my place in back. Tony came up after church and said, “I’m just so used to doing that.” I thanked Tony and told him I prefer to wheel myself. People naturally just want to be helpful. That’s fine. Their perception may be that people need and want help. I have become like a lot of people in wheelchairs, I want to be independent. I will accept help when needed but prefer to do for myself.

In rehab, we learned all of the little things to do so we can get dressed and perform other tasks to be as independent as possible. I would ask the nurses to move the wheelchair so I could get out of my bed. Then I took care of the rest. They quickly learned if they needed to find me for medications or vitals I would be out and about in therapy or in one of the day rooms.

I really appreciate all of the well wishes cards and prayers. It is amazing how they lift my spirits. When my wife was in the hospital, I noticed how she perked up when a friend called or someone sent an e-card or text with a picture. If you have a sick friend or family member never assume or perceive that you are bothering them or they need their rest or they don’t want to talk to you. In my experience, it is just the opposite. They need to know that people care about them.

I have also found that I need to remind people that I’m fine. My pain is low to non-existent. My only problem is I can’t walk until my knees heal and can support weight in another 3 weeks. I can do everything I could before the injury except to drive to a meeting. One of the assistant coaches drove me to our high school soccer Team’s end of season banquet on Sunday. I did everything I usually do including the closing remarks. Surprise, this year’s topic was adversity. Our Team suffered a lot of that and overcame most of it. We can’t always control what happens to us. We can always control how we choose to respond to it.

Never underestimate someone we perceive as “handicapped”. You may be surprised at their capabilities. I encourage you to never put limitations on anyone by your perceptions. Especially your employees or family members. After all of the years we have been married, I thought I knew my wife’s capabilities pretty well. I always encourage her to grow. She surprised me. I have watched her blossom as a business woman and public speaker. She has gone from a supportive partner to become a full partner and integral part of our business.

Sometimes we have to do things to change the perception of others. The founders of Shale Crescent USA realized they would need to change how this Region is branded to create an accurate perception for prospects. When someone says “Appalachia” what do you picture? It probably isn’t high tech manufacturing, clean abundant energy or some of the most technically sophisticated natural gas wells in the world. One way you can help to bring jobs back to this Region is to use the term “Shale Crescent USA” in place of “Appalachia” to describe our Region.

When we were in Japan last year most of the people we met had no idea where Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia were. They know where New York City, Hollywood and Texas are. They perceived that most of the oil and gas in the USA came from Texas. We changed that perception. When we showed them where Shale Crescent USA is and said, “If Shale Crescent USA were a country we would be the number 3 natural gas producer in the world.” The entire Japanese petrochemical association membership in that packed room all picked up their pens in unison and started writing like crazy. The most frequent comment we heard on the trip was, “We thought all the gas was in Texas.”

The other term many people use when talking about this part of the county is “the Northeast”. We are NOT the northeast. We are more closely aligned with the mid-west based on our values. When I ask people from companies around the world and even in the USA, “What do you think of when you hear the northeast USA?” They told me they think of New York City and Boston along with high costs and labor that is difficult to work with.” That does not describe our Region accurately. We are not the northeast.

Be careful of your own perceptions of people, places or things. They may not always be accurate. I encourage you to look at your own personal and business brand. What do people perceive when they see and hear about you and your brand? Is it what you want them to perceive. People form impressions in less than a second today.

Our prospects need to hear the Shale Crescent USA brand on a routine basis if we want to create the best possible perception. We can all help to create a new, positive and accurate perception of our Region, the Shale Crescent USA.

Greg Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert and the author of four books and numerous published articles.


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