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Take a Risk

Take a Risk                                       

By Greg Kozera

Earlier this week we were at a conference in Virginia Beach, VA. My oldest grandson, CJ, lives there. He graduated last year with his engineering degree from Virginia Tech and is working for an engineering firm in the area. We had dinner with CJ and his girlfriend on Monday night. After dinner, he asked me if I wanted to play soccer on Tuesday for his adult rec league indoor team. They were going to be short players. I still play on an outdoor team in the over 35 league. I protested, “You guys are a lot faster and quicker than me.” I’m thinking; A- I could get hurt playing with these guys. B- I could cost them a game.

I had to make a decision. Was I willing to risk pain and possible embarrassment in order to play a game with my grandson and his girlfriend. CJ added, “Grampa we have some old players in our league.” I thought about the risks. Then I thought about the rewards. With CJ living 9 hours away we get very few chances to do things like this together. It would be quality time with CJ. This was a rare opportunity that may never happen again. I said, “Yes” and went out the next day to buy shin guards.

When I got to the field Tuesday night, I learned that “old” didn’t mean the same thing to CJ as it did to me. There was one other “old” player and he was about 40. I got a lot of playing time as a sub and found that I could be competitive and contribute. I got a lot of support from CJ and his teammates. I also had a lot of fun. They had enough faith in me to put me in to close out the game and protect our one goal lead. We held on for a 5-4 win. No embarrassment and no major injuries for me other than a few strained muscles. Most important it was an incredible experience both CJ and I will remember. We got to spend quality time with each other. I’m glad I took the risk.

Risk is a major part of our lives. I remember the first time I called my now wife of 44 years for a date. I was nervous. I had sweaty palms. I was afraid she would say “No”. She said “Yes.” It was worth the risk.

Speaking on the main stage at the Global Plastics Summit a couple of weeks ago was a big risk for IHSMarkit who put on the conference and for Nathan and I. If we bombed on stage it would look bad for Shale Crescent USA. It could hurt us with prospects. We may not be given another opportunity. Nathan had never spoken to a large group of seasoned professionals. If we bombed would it hurt Nathan’s self-confidence? We also had a lot of control. We could control our message and our slides. We could practice until we knew we were flawless. We could be there a day early and make sure the audio could be heard and the video and slides could be seen and read from every seat. Our preparation and risk paid off with two new prospects and a new lead who came to us because of the presentation.

IHSMarkit looked like a genius. Their risk paid off. Our presentation was well received by the audience and we got a major story with photos in Plastics Magazine.

Shale Crescent USA took a big financial risk to be a major sponsor and attend the World Petrochemical Conference (WPC) in Houston in 2017. We left with one lead and a lot of information we didn’t know we didn’t know. Based on the information we learned at WPC 2017, Shale Crescent USA took another risk and did a major study comparing a new ethane cracker built here to one built on the Gulf Coast. This study turned the petrochemical industry upside down, has given us notoriety and brought companies to our Region.

The risk I’m talking about here is calculated business and social risk. Driving without a seatbelt or taking other foolish risks that can kill or injure you badly are risks to be avoided. Your success as an individual or organization can depend on your willingness to take risk. Here are some ideas to consider about taking risk. Only you can decide how much risk is acceptable to you.

  • Will this activity move me closer to my goal?
  • What is the best thing that can happen?
  • What is the worst thing that can happen?
  • How likely is success?
  • What can you do to lower the risk and increase your probability of success?

If the activity will move you closer to you goal and you can live with the worst outcome, then consider going for it. Even if you fail or come up short you will learn in the process helping you for future success.

If the activity won’t move you significantly closer to your goal and you can’t accept the worst thing that will happen than don’t do it.

If we expect rewards and a full life we need to expect risk. Being a hermit in a cave may be safe but it isn’t how I want to live. No risk. No reward. Take a risk. Make the best decision you can and then work to make it right.

Thoughts to ponder.

© 2019 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.