I love space. In fact, I am a bit of a space geek. I have early memories of going to Cape Canaveral with my parents. I have read or seen a bunch of documentaries about the space program and the astronaut’s journey.
This week, I was travelling and had the opportunity to hear Terry Virts share his experiences living and working in space. He is one of 4 astronauts who had walked in space, flown the space shuttle and flown with the Russians as well as commanded the International Space Station. He also has a deep interest in photography.
“Don’t tell yourself no.” I was struck by this statement by Terry Virts. He was in the test pilot training program and hadn’t yet been certified when the astronaut roles were posted by NASA. There were many experienced, proven test pilots that had flown many types of aircraft, making Terry a long shot. Against the odds he was chosen as the youngest astronaut and pilot in the program.
I often hear people share how frustrating it was to be told they weren’t going to get that promotion, project, raise or role they were hoping for. Reflecting on Terry’s statement made me realize that in many cases people have already told no themselves “no”.
The first person that often say no, is you. To yourself.
No, I don’t have enough experience to lead that team.
No, I am not worth that much.
No, I am not ready.
No, there is a better candidate than me.
No, I don’t have enough experience in that sector.
No, I don’t think it is possible.
What I found interesting with Terry were his thoughts about not getting chosen. He considered the risk and he understood the reality of his situation. Terry knew he couldn’t lose anything by going through the process. He would learn things, raise his profile, figure out what areas he was lacking in and focus the next few years building upon those areas and then applying again. Against very long odds, he was chosen as the youngest astronaut and pilot in the program.
Along the road with you,
P.P.S. Welcome to Kathleen McLean, our newest coach specializing in supporting our public service clients. Kathleen started her coaching career following 36 years in the Public Service, the last ten of which were as a successful senior executive. Learn more about Kathleen and her experience.