Thursday, August 23, 2007

The (Older, Wiser) Space Cowboys

The space shuttle, Endeavour, landed at Cape Canaveral on Tuesday after an eventful 13 days in space. The trip was a successful one, notwithstanding a little missing fuel tank insulation. And among the many things to celebrate, let's remember a few things about the crew:

- Barbara Morgan, 55: the second-oldest American and the oldest woman to make an initial flight into space.

- Dafydd Williams, 53: was scheduled for three grueling space-walks on the flight.

Like my friend Congressman Dingell (81) who still keeps on fighting the good fight(see previous post) as the Dean of the House, these astronauts are a testimony to the changing beliefs about seasoned citizens! Not only are they often mentally stronger, with the wisdom that comes from experience, they are physical warriors as well.

So what is the leadership take-away:
- Opportunities come to those with the patience to wait for them. Barbara Morgan was the backup to teacher Christa McAuliffe in 1986, waiting since the shuttle Challenger exploded for her chance. We cannot abandon pursuit of our dreams just because we don't reach them as quickly as we might wish.
- I don't know about you but when I think of great leaders, I think of older, wiser people. They are battle-tested and have the scars to show from the experience that enables their decision making. It helps to have some muscle density!
- The conventional wisdom about life after 50, especially from those of us below 50, is all wrong. They are not on the home stretch, marking time until retirement. They are still growing, still adding value, and still pursuing their dreams. And, according to an article in Science Daily, they are still having sex into their 80s! Who knew?
So here's to you, Barbara Morgan and your crewmates. You deserve a little vacation - before you start off on your next adventures!
That's Leader Business. Hooah!

1 comment:

Steve Harper said...


Great post! I have been inspired by Barbara's story and believe that her flight into space was fantastic. She never gave up and realized her dreams. Very, very cool.

Take care my friend.

Ripple On!!!