Astronauts

[Post by John Kanengieter]

“So this Russian Cosmonaut, and an Italian and American astronauts go into a bar…..”   Sounds like the start of a bad joke, right?

I’m writing this while on a flight home to Wyoming from Houston where I just spent 2 days in quarantine at NASA’s Johnson Space Center with an International Space Station crew.  I enjoy working with leadership teams in high-risk environments. The four of us engaged in an intensive team development and leadership session.  I laughed, commenting that living with them sounded much like the start of a bad bar joke as they were representing the afore mentioned countries.  It was a great experience and we all gained from working with each other on the dynamics of creating great teams.

One of the aspects we talked about was leadership practices while under stress. We discussed how they tend to react and communicate under stress and crisis.  I observed them as they prepared for an emergency crisis simulation that they would be put through by NASA later in the day.  I reminded them of the importance of calming oneself by slowing down and creating a stillness in the mind.

At the Ascent Institute, we work to teach this as a ‘leadership practice’.  It’s important to consistently practice this skill-whether you call it meditation, sitting, deep relaxation, etc- so that when your body and emotions hit the stress redline you can focus on what’s important and not react and be controlled by fear and aggression. Leaders especially need this focus and centeredness as they move through adversity.

…..

Now..…I mentioned I’m writing this on a plane.  Just an hour ago an alarm sounded and the pilot mentioned that we were diverting to another airport in Cheyenne in order to land as quickly as possible and get this checked out.  Apparently a sensor went off indicating that the door could open and lose pressure and that’s evidently not a good thing on a plane.  It didn’t help that two passengers near the front said they heard a bump just prior to the alarm.

While making the quick descent I noticed our small cabin went quiet and I started to see some white knuckles.  I felt my own breath quicken.  It was at this moment that I was reminded of the words that I spoke to my astronaut friends.  I shut my eyes, started focusing on my breathing and noticed my anxiousness literally flying out of my body.  We landed, smart guys fixed the light, and we’re now on our way.  By the time you read this I’ll have already been home in front of my fireplace, enjoying the stillness of the Wyoming winter.

Take a minute and create your own moment of stillness. Refocus on what you want to accomplish today. Be thankful for this wonderful life that you have.  Let whatever stresses you presently are feeling be put into perspective.  Try to do this on a daily basis and watch what happens!

Happy flights!

Johnny K

Johnny K back in his office in Lander, WY.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: