As I watched the final Space Shuttle mission complete its journey last week, I couldn’t help but think about our mission ahead. If you’ve ever watched a space shuttle launch, you know that it’s an enormous production. An enormous amount of preparation goes into the event, and tremendous risk is being taken to send a shuttle into orbit. As the shuttle nears its orbit, the nearly empty fuel tanks fall away. Once in orbit, the shuttle is able to coast with little effort.
Orbiting is literally having something fall toward the earth (but missing repeatedly), which creates an arc that resembles an object in flight; but the truth is, it’s much more like floating than flying. Or as Buzz Lightyear might put it, orbiting is basically “falling with style.”
We’re in the launch phase of our Clean Energy program. I am not remotely concerned that we will fail to launch. If I have a concern, it has more to do with our human tendency to prefer orbit over launch. We like to coast, to have things happen effortlessly. And when we make the transition from launching to orbiting, we begin to quickly lose momentum. We must not allow this to happen.
So my challenge would be to keep launching. No, we don’t want to always be starting over, but we can always maintain a starting mentality. When we get so big that we’re too confident in our resources to risk anything, we’re merely orbiting. Orbiting works for a while, but orbiting requires zero momentum and never takes us anywhere new.
May your business never run out of rocket fuel.
Safe and prosperous travels,