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Would You Go To Space With Strangers?

If you had the chance to go to space, would you? And would you go with three complete strangers? A man named Jared Isaacman did just that – he was the mission commander of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and Inspiration4, the first human spaceflight to orbit Earth with only private citizens on board. The Netflix docuseries “Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space” follows the crew from training to launch to landing; it’s an epic story you don’t want to miss. At episode 3, you start to understand how this group of strangers – private citizens of diverse backgrounds, experiences and ages – prepared and trained together physically, mentally, and technically. Their final test was a group climb on Mount Rainier, the tallest mountain in Washington state and the Cascade Range (summit elevation of 14,411 feet). Sidenote: per Wikipedia, Mount Rainier is also considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Yikes!

The crew’s experience was a great reminder of the importance and value of training, learning, and getting to know the people we are serving with – which can literally be, in some cases, a matter of life or death. Though not usually so dramatic, that training, along with recognizing, appreciating, and working with different strengths, skillsets, and experience, can and does impact our teams. A few years ago, I spent the day with my brother-in-law and two sisters-in-law at the Gunstock Aerial Treetop Adventure course, New England’s largest aerial obstacle course. What started out as a day of fun and leisure turned into an unexpected physical and mental challenge. We learned a lot about our own capabilities, as well as how we needed each other to complete every obstacle successfully.

It’s not uncommon for leaders to spend time “sharpening the saw” individually, but how often do teams do so together? Part of a commitment to leadership is focusing on performance and creating high-performing teams; take some time over the next few weeks to consider how you might help your team, as a group, sharpen the saw. If you aren’t quite ready to tackle Mount Rainier, why not plan a team hike at a local park (Adirondacks in our own backyard), offer a course the team could complete together, or start a team book club – or just watch the Netflix series together!

Keep leading!

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