The Power of Hope

Greg Kozera

This week at the West Virginia Manufacturers Association (WVMA) Winter Meeting, a speaker discussed the promise and pitfalls of zero carbon. The question was asked, “Will a net zero U.S. power grid solve the problem of China’s increasing carbon emissions?” His response was, “No! China is undoing any progress the USA is making. In addition, people in other Asian countries and Africa are demanding a higher standard of living and growing their emissions. Coal is their fuel of choice because it is economical and dependable 24/7. Currently there is no workable plan to solve this global problem.” That was depressing.

We can probably say this about many global and personal problems like war, gun violence and drugs. Maybe that’s why depression is rampant. I grew up in the 1960s where anything was possible. We put men on the moon. The song in Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress at the 1964 World Fair said, “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day. There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, just a dream away.” Have we forgotten how to dream?

Leadership expert John Maxwell said, “Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present.” Put another way, the late Sales Expert Zig Ziglar said, If there is hope in the future, there is literally power in the present.” Hope is not a plan or as Maxwell says, “Hope isn’t a strategy.” We must have a strategy and a process to make our vision become a reality.

Everything starts with hope. Hope is a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future. Hope is a choice. It gives us the courage to dream. After Lynnda’s serious car accident 10 years ago, she had a broken neck. Two days after the accident in the ICU she had the hope to ask the head trauma doctor, “We have a trip to Disney world with the grandkids planned for the middle of next month. Is there any reason I can’t go?” Because of her dream, the doctors and physical therapist put together a plan. Lynnda did the work and followed the plan. A month later I took a picture of Lynnda and our oldest granddaughter in front of the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World. Her hope (confident expectation and desire for something good in future) made it possible.

Laying in a hospital with two ruptured quads in 2019 I had the hope to dream about running a half-marathon again. My surgeon and physical therapist did the plan. It took faith in them and their plan along with hard work to make it happen.

Sometimes it’s necessary to change our thinking about what is possible. Life’s challenges, our past failures and the negative all around us can destroy our hope and throw us into despair. When I began coaching high school soccer, I wanted to give back to the school that gave my three kids a good education. What I didn’t expect was, working with energetic young people who believed in the future gave me the greatest gift of all, the ability to dream again. My players gave me hope in the future.

Changing our thinking is a start. It takes time. It also takes winning some small victories to begin to develop the confidence leading to hope. In Lynnda’s case it was getting out of bed the third day after her car accident and having faith in her doctor to get into a walker and take slow steps down the hall. In my case it was letting go of my walker and taking small steps on my own. It meant walking ¼ of a mile that was so painful I needed to stop and rest by holding on to neighbors’ mailboxes. It meant following with confidence the training plans my daughter put together and finally running a half-marathon one year after my injury.

Solving global problems like emissions, drugs and plastic waste means trying new ideas and celebrating little wins like CRDC’s first U.S. plastics recycling facility in York, PA which is taking 2 tons of plastic waste per hour out of the environment and turning it into stronger and lighter concrete blocks and paving material.

The solution of eliminating global supply chains in favor of short-regional supply chains eliminates large amounts of transportation emissions and lowers cost. It is an idea many companies didn’t consider or think possible.

Taking advantage of U.S. energy and raw materials to manufacture products used in the USA in the USA instead of China was a new concept. The 137-page study released this week by Shale Crescent USA and Jobs Ohio showed it is more profitable to manufacture products for U.S. consumers in the USA and especially in the Shale Crescent USA. The concept for this study began with hope in the future and the vision to bring manufacturing back to the USA. Next week we will share more information on the study.

Solving personal and global problems starts with hope and a dream in a brighter tomorrow. Perri Small, talk show host on WVON radio, serving the black community of Chicago understands the power of hope. She asked me, “How can we bring manufacturing back to the vacant buildings of Chicago? If we bring manufacturing back we can give our young people hope and end the gun violence in this city.” My students at Pierpont Community College didn’t have a drug problem. They had hope, a dream and a work ethic. Graduating drug free meant a $60,000+ per year job was theirs.

My hope starts with God. The Christmas season is a good time to decide to rekindle our hope and faith. It is a time to change our thinking and begin dreaming again. Every great journey starts with a single step. Celebrate the small wins. Hope in the future gives us the power we need in the present.

Greg Kozera, [email protected] is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. (You can follow SCUSA on Facebook) He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert, high school soccer coach, professional speaker, author of four books and numerous published articles.

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