I continue to practice learning to just be and to stop worrying about, or being attached to, the outcome. I believe that the world is letting me know that I’m on the right path, yet there is still a lot of work to do. Because of this, along with two years of intense networking and determination, I’m having more fun in my work life than I’ve had in a very long time. I was speaking with a very good friend this past week and told him that I should have focused on developing companies around products a long time ago. He stopped me in my tracks and said that I was crazy. He pointed out that I’ve had opportunities that most people would kill for. Having owned a services company for almost 25 years allowed me to have a tremendous amount of balance in my life. This process is just the next stage of my journey, and I can take all the lessons I’ve learned and use them on this portion.
I’m approaching my 54th birthday in a few weeks and I can’t imagine retiring. So, if I just make it to the average age of 75 or so, I’m looking at another 20 years of opportunities to create should I be so lucky to live that long. I am excited to see what that time period will allow me to create and I know I won’t be doing this alone. I’ve started to reach out to current friends who might want to participate financially in some exciting companies as well as talented executives and individual contributors who not only want to make money, but also want to make a difference in the world. One of the big issues that I’ve learned through this journey, to not only bring in talented people, those talented people need to be values aligned toward a common goal.
One of the purposeful companies that I’ve been supporting for the past 18 months or so is a water company that can take brackish ground water and turn it into clean drinking water and fertilizer. The company is currently focused on processing brine that is produced by current inland water filtration plants. There are hundreds of existing water treatment facilities that create brine as a waste product and this patented process can turn this waste product into a saleable product with no waste at all. The challenge has been that no one in the US wants to trust a technology that is only working in a plant in South Africa, where the technology was created. That pilot plant in South Africa has been in operation for a couple of years and has produced amazing results, but people don’t want to be the first in the US to install the system.
The technology is actually pretty fascinating. The system takes the waste from a traditional reverse osmosis treatment plant that’s servicing inland water (not salt water) and uses a process called ion exchange to take the waste and recombine the molecules into a usable product known as potassium nitrate. Potassium nitrate is valuable and is used as fertilizer for high valued crops. Most of the world’s supply of potassium nitrate comes from outside the US, so creating a process that creates fertilizer here could be extremely effective on many fronts. The key to the opportunity is to get the first plant built in the US and then the opportunities will continue to show themselves.
Well, just last month a company that also uses ion exchange to process the brine was identified in El Paso, TX. They have built a very similar plant with the only difference being that the company in Texas creates gypsum instead of fertilizer. That plant should pave the way after numerous years of hard work by Aubrey and Glenn Howard, the driving forces behind the efforts. Aubrey has been talking with hundreds of prospective buyers for the technology and taking meeting after meeting looking for the right opportunity. It has been exciting and frustrating at the same time, yet persistence will pay off in the end.
One of the more interesting developments during this process is that the more I pursue these business opportunities the more I enjoy the coaching work I’m doing. When I was just focused on coaching and building a coaching business I realized that everything would always depend on me and that there was no opportunity to create value without my investment of time. This hybrid approach, combined with giving away time to make a difference through Purpose San Diego, is creating a nice picture for the next stage of my career. If you ever have any questions about the projects that I’m working on, or if you have a project where you believe I can be of service, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
To a life well lived …..