how to reach Mars

IMGP9160In all of history, only 12 people have walked on the moon. A lifetime of study and preparation, many years of training and practice, teamwork, and the perfect performance of gazillions of rocket components and wires had to synchronize exactly to make those outer-space steps possible. It was inspiring and challenging to hear about the missions and visit the Kennedy Space Center with my team. Many of the principles that enabled those amazing accomplishments are also relevant to the big goals we attempt today.

Which of the following can you apply to your next challenge?


No one had ever put a man on the moon before, but dreamers believed it could be done. They envisioned it, and then they figured out how to make it happen. Today, we must do the same – look ahead, see the future, consider the possibilities. Lane Arbuthnot, an engineer for the Apollo 11 flight, encouraged us to imagine ourselves five years into the future: What is your dream? What do you envision for your life/family/work/mission? How do you want the future to look? and then ask “What will we need in order to reach the goal?” IMGP9162


Astronauts gave their lives in pursuit of the mission. We may or may not have to pay the ultimate price, but a great dream will cost us something. I am asking myself these questions: What are you willing to give up? What are you willing to risk? Financial security? Reputation or ridicule? Comfort or convenience? Time? IMGP9169


When we visited the Launch Control Center, it was interesting to observe that all the work stations faced away from the huge windows with a view of the rocket and launch pad. Each person’s concentration and attention were vital for the success of the mission – they were not mere spectators. Are there things in your life you need to re-arrange in order to better concentrate on your dreams and goals?IMGP9197


In the Launch Control Center, the “Public Affairs Officer” desk sat right next to the “Launch Director”. That openness provided honest communication of launch attempts – successes and failures. Today information and truth is powerful and necessary for alignment and accountability. I know that I often underestimate the need to communicate vision, expectations, feedback, and gratitude. How about you? What could you communicate more often or more clearly?public affairs desk


Although the rockets and spaceships are definitely impressive, the tour guides consistently emphasized how important the people were to the mission. Over 400,000 worked together on the Apollo 11 flight! Human Resources played a crucial role on the leadership team; hiring, developing, and even firing when necessary…ensuring that all collaborated well. Every person counts when accomplishing an incredible mission! How are the relationships on your team or in your family? Do they know they are uniquely important? Is each person maximizing their strengths?

For NASA, the next goal is Mars! Many people working together will apply these principles to make that dream come true. What is your dream? What will it require?

8 thoughts on “how to reach Mars

  1. Mike and I loved the tour of Mission Control, too… for a personal reason. My Uncle Bob was the first Safety Director after the Apollo 1 fire when three astronauts died on the launch pad. We saw his desk and chair where he would sit during a launch.

    • That is SO cool, Sus! We have a Starbucks “friend” who knew Neal Armstrong. We have enjoyed talking with him about the historic Apollo 11 mission. So amazing all that the program accomplishished with the little technoogy they had compared to today!

  2. Reblogged this on Leader Impact and commented:
    Our team had the privilege to visit NASA Kennedy Space Center and tour behind the scenes of Mission Control. We got to know Lane Arbuthnot who was a key engineer on the Apollo 11 mission that put a man on the moon for the very first time. It was a fascinating day. Terry wrote a great post on lessons learned on dreams, teams and more. Worth the read….

  3. Great “picture” in my mind of the importance of living with a dream and gathering around me those who can help me get there! Too often I live more for the moment and how to keep “today’s wheels turning”! I often wish I were more of a dreamer!

  4. Outstanding! The components of dreaming and sacrificing almost sound counter-intuitive, and yet apart from those two, nothing of great importance ever happens. Dreaming is huge–but it needs to be done with those who can encourage us and help us move forward. I love this whole perspective! There’s such a sense of mission and purposefulness and hope in the way you’ve laid this out. I fear we’re missing some of these components in our mission at times. Especially the people aspect. Thanks for this revealing insight, Ter!

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