It is spectacular. From about five minutes in, when we knew for sure that we were going to have the weather to go, the smile on my face just got bigger and bigger, and I was just beaming through the whole launch. I mean, it is just an amazing ride.
The beauty of the space station, and of human spaceflight, is that it is now at a level of maturity where you can invite people on-board, which is what I worked so hard to do on social media and all the videos I made.
Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It's about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others' success, and then standing back and letting them shine.
Almost everything worthwhile carries with it some sort of risk, whether it's starting a new business, whether it's leaving home, whether it's getting married, or whether it's flying in space.
I've had a chance to fly a lot of different airplanes, but it was nothing like the shuttle ride.
There are no wishy-washy astronauts. You don't get up there by being uncaring and blase. And whatever gave you the sense of tenacity and purpose to get that far in life is absolutely reaffirmed and deepened by the experience itself.
A lot of people live in fear because they haven't figured out how you're going to react when faced with a certain set of circumstances. I've come to terms with this by looking deeply into whatever makes me fearful - what are the key elements that get the hairs up on the back of my neck - and then figuring out what I can do about it.
And then finally, I'm the commander, so I am fundamentally responsible for the lives of the other people on board and the health and longevity of the space station. I need to bring six people back happy, healthy and feeling like they've had the best six months of their life.
The communities and countries best at using energy to optimize a microclimate for human life are also the ones whose people have the longest average lifespans. Canada, Sweden, and Iceland - places with inhospitable winter weather - are frontrunners in sustaining human health and life.
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