Perseverance is key trait

It isn’t about getting knocked down it is about getting back up. I will never forget Thomas, a former high school soccer player I coached several years ago. Thomas’ skills were average. What made Thomas a starter by his senior year and an All- State Player was his persistence. If you beat Thomas on a play you better shoot fast because he will be coming after you. If Thomas got knocked down he never stayed down. He was back on his feet and back in the play.

In sports, we have all seen those Teams that never gave up and came from behind to win. We also appreciate athletes who give that second effort whether it is following a shot in basketball or pushing a to pick up a first down in football. In life, we all get knocked down. It might be a layoff, not getting the promotion, the job we wanted or getting rejected by in love. It might be losing that big sale we worked hard for.

Getting knocked down is tough. What is worse is not getting knocked down because we didn’t try in the first place. Just as bad is setting a low easy to reach goal so we never have to stretch. I was talking to a large high school group in Maryland a few years ago. I said, “I never got turned down for a date in high school. Can you guess what my secret was?” They made a lot of guesses but didn’t guess the right answer. I finally had to tell them. “I didn’t ask. So, I would never experience rejection. I also didn’t have very many dates.” One young man stood up and said, “Mr. Kozera, you should have known that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” He was right. I learned later that this quote originally came from hockey great Wayne Gretzky. The point is, we need to overcome our fears and take action.

The path to any worthwhile goal will be filled with challenges. The key to success is to persevere when things get tough. It typically takes at least 7 touches (customer contacts) to make a sale. Most sales people quit after 2 contacts. They always have an excuse like, “He won’t return my calls.” “He won’t see me.” “He said my price was too high.” Sales isn’t easy. It takes courage, people skills, persistence, patience, a work ethic, creativity and a sincere attitude to want to help people. It doesn’t matter whether you are selling little league baseball candy as a nine-year-old, services and equipment in industry or selling a Region for economic development like Shale Crescent USA.

Selling baseball candy was pretty easy if we were willing to walk door to door, smile and remember the pitch our coach told us. The decision was a quick “yes” or “no”. Services or equipment sales required all of the sales qualities I listed and at least 7 touches to make the first sale.

Selling the Region takes more time and a lot more touches. Seven touches are just a start. There are no quick sales like baseball candy. The process isn’t a few months like services or equipment it is many months or years. There is no short cut or instant gratification. It is hard to stay focused for a long period of time.

Perseverance is easy to say but hard to do. How can we stay focused on our long- term goals? What can we do so we don’t give up when faced with challenges. Here are some thoughts that may be helpful to you;

* Know what you want. Be crystal clear on your goal. Write it down. It helps if the goal is an emotional one. Most people aren’t motivated by just hitting the numbers. It has to be personal. What good things will happen to you if you succeed? What will happen if you don’t? My players visualized themselves hoisting the State Championship trophy. They could feel it in their hands. They had also felt the frustration of defeat and didn’t like that feeling. At Shale Crescent USA. We have felt the frustration and deterioration of being the “Rust Belt”. We watched our children and grandchildren leave because they couldn’t find good jobs. We know this is a once in a generation opportunity. We have a written vision of what the Ohio Valley could look like and what it would mean to the people who live here. We know what regret feels like and we don’t want that feeling 10 years from now.

* Believe you can succeed. This is essential. You won’t do the hard work to achieve any goal if you don’t believe it can happen. We need to expect success. This takes time to achieve. Without belief when things get tough we quit. We need to celebrate the small wins. They build belief. At Shale Crescent USA, we have 2 studies that justify why we can succeed. Our Region has already had success like this on two other occasions. That is why the current plants built after WWII are here.

* Get invested. Take action. The more we have invested whether it is time, sweat or money the harder it is to quit. At Shale Crescent, we have invested all three. After spending time and money going to conferences to get a prospect and work with them for months we are going to see it through.

We don’t have to be the most talented we just have to know what we want, believe, do the work and don’t quite when it gets rough. This is true for your business, personal life and the Shale Crescent USA. Thoughts to ponder.

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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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