I’ve been thinking a lot of success lately, and what it really means to me. Success is a word that is so easy to associate with monetary success or financial situation. I still find myself looking and comparing myself to people who in my eyes are “crushing it”. For my whole career success was the idea of a certain dollar sign in my bank account. However, that isn't the case anymore, for if I had that mindset I would never feel satisfied or content. I can pay my bills, go to the grocery store, take my wife out to eat if I want, so it success couldn't just be chasing that monetary carrot. There had to be little (and big) milestones to measures success. I constantly battle, question, and doubt the “success” in my journey. Lucky for my wife she gets to hear all about my self-doubt!
So several months back my wife asked me what are some signs that will show you that you are doing what you want and you are doing well at it. This was a question that took me back a bit, as a business owner who started his company less than a year ago there are a lot of moving pieces everyday that require my attention. Often times my head is so far down looking at what must be done, I rarely take a pause, look up to just see how far we’ve come. So I thought about it, and I mentioned there are several things that would show me this, besides financial freedom, colleague and peer feedback, and positive momentum, seeing the value that other people recieve after a connection, and one of the things I mentioned was if I was invited to speak at an industry event. So she casually jotted that down (along with other indicators) as I went about my day.
Flash forward a few weeks I was invited to speak to a TCU Sales Class by Jonathan Rhoads, then a few weeks later I was asked to speak to the Society of Petroleum Engineers at Texas A&M University. I couldn’t believe I was being asked to do this, after all I focus on networking, relationships, and the oil and gas industry, I wasn’t a sales professional nor was I a petroleum engineer. Both were awesome experiences and got to speak to many students about their career paths, what our industry was like, developing genuine relationships, and other topics. Then a few weeks later I was asked to speak at the IADC Onshore Conference! Now THIS was a big deal to me!
When I first started in the oilfield at Noble Drilling, I had the opportunity to attend these meetings and was always impressed by the heavy hitters, movers and shakers of the offshore world, and the sheer magnitude of one of these conferences. Plus I had the awesome chance to go to them around the globe: from Houston, to Amsterdam, to Brazil, which was an amazing experience getting to meet so many other folks in the industry from different parts of the world.
I always wondered how are people chosen to speak at these events, and I couldn't imagine that one day I would be up there giving a speech. That fantasy came with a lot of doubt as who was I to speak to a room full of industry professionals, what did I have to offer, and many of these speakers were experts in their field, and I knew little to none. So when I was asked to speak at the IADC Conference I was taken back, humbled, filled with anxiety, and honored.
The conversation they wanted myself and other industry “influencers” to have was simple: Why we do what we do (in regards to creating content for our industry), and what is our mission? I shared the stage with other industry content leaders such as Jamie Elrod & Massiel Diez, co-founders of the very successful and empowering “Flipping the Barrel” Podcast, as well as Jake Corley, Co-Founder of DigitalWildcatters, who put out some great industry content as well as hosting top of the line events, and a series of podcasts.
So why do we do what we do, and what is our mission?
The “why’s” really break down into 3 points, with the “what is my mission” at the end. With only 10 minutes per speaker, it was time to cram our thoughts into a short and concise message for the attendees. I’m going to break it down for you as I believe what we said couldn’t be more relevant than it is today, and if you weren’t there these are cliff notes:
Houston - we have a personality problem
Our industry in itself is an echo chamber, where we have very limited exposure to the outside world, and when we do they usually come with the negative headlines, the push for renewables, why oil & gas needs to get phased out, etc. When people think of people in the oil and gas industry there are a few stereotypes that are associated with us: the rich white dude in the 45th floor, sets the price of oil and gas at the pump, price gouges, hates the environment, and only cares about profit. Then there is the redneck roughneck who isn’t educated, throws chains, and walks around with dirty hands 24/7.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth! Our industry is filled with THE MOST intelligent individuals out there. We are engineers, geologists, scientists, tech innovators, tech disruptors, environmentalists, neighbors, friends, fathers and mothers. We are men and women from literally all over the globe, having more similarities than differences, who are in the business of providing affordable, transportable, storable, and most importantly a reliable source of energy. So why do I do what I do: I want us to re-introduce ourselves to people outside our echo chamber to who we really are, and what we really do.
Goal: to educate the masses of who we are and what we do.
2. Combat the “us vs them” mentality
We live in a world where everything is either this camp or that camp. Republican vs Democrat. Masks vs. No-Masks. Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard. Chik-fil-A vs. Popeyes. Square toe vs. Round toe. Beans vs. No beans in chili. In addition to all of these camp boundaries we are now falling into the “us vs them” when it comes to energy, especially fossil fuels. I believe that we have a duty to educate people on the realities of energy and hydrocarbons and how they benefit not just our lives, but those around the globe. When we get lost in the “renewables are bad, fossil fuels are good” we are isolating a LARGE majority of the population that reside outside our echo chamber. When we isolate them, we aren’t including them in conversations. Conversations that are crucial in the education, understanding, and comprehension of energy and the future of energy supply.
We need both and all sources of energy to meet today and tomorrow’s energy needs, so when we shut down one avenue and hold onto why oil & gas is the only way, we essentially lose the opportunity to engage in discussions with those that view us unfavorably (not hard to do with all the narrative and celebrities and politicians spreading not sound or informative sound pieces). These discussions and constructive conversations are crucial as we write energy policy, face higher energy costs, shortages of diesel, etc.
Moving away from the “this/or” style of conversations and focusing on the “this/and” style conversations would be hugely beneficial to our industry and those that oppose our industry that aren’t based.
Goal: to educate people through calm and constructive conversations.
3. Public Disconnection in regards to Energy
We live in a world of wants and needs, expectations versus realities, truths and half truths. There is a huge separation on energy “wants” versus energy “needs”. For example: I’d “want” a plane that can fly to Paris from Houston to fly on water, wishes, and kisses, however I “need” a plane that can fly based off a proven and reliable energy source. People want so bad for “green energy” or “renewables” to be exactly that “clean” and “good for the environment”, they want their energy source to be from the sky above or the winds from the west. But they need the energy source that comes from the ground. Technology is not there yet to have a battery that has storage capacity to power cities and towns, often mining the rare earth metals for EV batteries is more destructive not just to the earth, but to the people that labor it digging it out of the ground. People don’t see the landfills, mining sites, or where and how solar panels are made, nor do they care as the “green energy” movement has done a way better job marketing than us.
The move away from fossil fuels in this big “Energy Transition” is ridiculous. Just like I stated above that there are energy wants and energy needs, we need all sources of energy, and the majority of that will be from fossil fuels. So it isn’t an “energy transition” at all, a transition indicates that we transition from one primary source to another. On the contrary, we are adding other sources of energy, thus it is an “Energy Addition” not an “Energy Transition”. These simple terms can have a big impact when speaking to others about energy realities.
Goal: educate people on the realities of energy
So what is my mission? Why do I put out content such as conversations, podcasts, memes, pictures, Kids Crüe, Crüe Club, etc. It falls into 4 points
Humanize our industry by sharing our stories (podcasts, conversations, breakfast runs, coffee & beans)
Make our industry smaller and more connected. We are stronger together.
Educate people outside our industry the realities of energy
Re-introduce who we are
As we were the “influencer panel”, which is a term I used to cringe at as I thought of Paris Hilton and other “Instagram influencers”, but after looking up the definition it’s simple: The ability to influence others. I believe WE ALL have that power to influence others and help our industry tell our story and who we are. I concluded my speech with several simple ways everyone can do this:
Start at home - have conversations with your children, take them to museums, watch YouTube videos, go to show and tell, have dinner conversations
Talk to strangers - when in line at the grocery store, say hello to someone. Eventually the conversation of “what do you do?” Comes up, and this is the perfect time to discuss our industry
Share good content from our industry. Energy Strong has some great commercials in regards to Natural Gas, Chris Wright often speaks to the benefits of hydrocarbons, Digital Wildcatters American Shale is a great production that shows how dairy farms are positively impacted from the oil & gas industry.
Don’t make someone feel dumb. Before I started in the oil & gas industry I didn’t know how gasoline got to the pump. Many people don’t understand, realize, or comprehend energy, hydrocarbons, and the entire process. Don’t let them feel dumb for not knowing.
Change your conversations to “this/or” to “this/and”. It’s not fossil fuels OR renewables. It’s fossil fuels AND renewables. Don’t let the noise get you into a camp mindset.
But most of all, take a step out on a limb and introduce yourself and your company to the world! It’s our job now to take hold of the narrative and our story, and that is done through creative and genuine content that we can share with the world.