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When it comes to space travel, timing means everything. Whether you’re relying on the sun for workplace lighting or performing a rendzvous maneuver with another spacecraft, being sure those hour and minute hands are lined up at the right place in ‘time’ is critical. Just like your fuel, in the realm of darknes without a horizon in sight, time is limited. There are not many commonalities when comparing space with Earth, but to the gravity-loving people back home, when you make things more recognizable and familiar you get a positive, keen response.

Look back in history, or if you can’t remember a single thing from high school, open up Wikipedia and research, “20th Century.” Sure, the imagery of warfare and global warming can be a little displeasing, reality can be a bitter pill to swallow. But look past that right now, the negative. What do you see?…You see people. More often than not, you’ll come across a specific person, a figurehead, a face or icon defining a specific moment in time. A triump among hardship. A genius that stands alone among the crowd of displeasure and revolt. It’s those people that truly make a time you look back on worthwhile, worth remembering, and worth the hardship and difficulty that stemmed from it.

Leadership is often considered as a solo effort but that’s honestly never the case. Although one man/woman may lead an expedition, rally, or bake sale, it’s the effecteness of working with others that truly makes or breaks a person’s efforts. Think of it as a bobsled team. Sure, there’s the driver: the first to show and the last to leave. I’ve seen “Cool Runnings, I get it. Behind them, however, are three other members of the team: two push men and a brakeman. Without all four in-sync, running in line at the same speed, getting in the cart at the same time, and roaring down an iced over water slide downhill to pass the finish line faster than anyone else requires a full team effort. You can’t do it alone, no way. It’s not just the man in the front but the men behind him.

A person can struggle to get to the front. Many people think a leader is at the head of pack, which in a lot of examples are true. The military, a relay team, and a merting room at work. More often than not, a stranger can walk into a room of twenty people and within three guesses figure out the group leader. But settling for the typical, acceptable, and conventional answer doesn’t get you noticed. So what brings a voice to someone who isn’t at the front of the pack?

You bring something special to the table. Whether it may be a certain niche, loads of experience, or even knowing how to make a soapbox derby car that you built as a kid in Cub Scouts, a person will stand out when they fill in a gap that othes do not or failed trying. Remember, failure is not final. At the same time, silence speaks loudly. What do I mean by that? Think of a time when you were with a group of people (friends, family, coworkers, etc.) and you all were trying to figure out a solution to something. While all that brainstorming was occurring, the sound of silence filled the air and boy can it be loud! In those few moments, you start to realize a little bit of pressure building up. On one side you are inclined to provide input but on the other you’re unsure what others may think if your idea is flawed. Then you waited too long and others chimed in before you could get anything out. Timing is everything…but most important of all: dont let failure define you. Be a voice to others when the world lays in silence, regardless if you think it’s worth it or not. Try and don’t regret trying. That doesnt require much fuss but simply the courage and determination that what you’re doing is right. Whether its leading a group of four or four thousand, a voice can travel for miles whether you are the definitive leader or not.

Leaders come in all shapes, sizes, genders, colors, cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. There is not a recipe for producing one said “perfect leader”. With some trust, encouragement, dedication, and sprinkle of courage, the average joe can become a great leader among a group of people. As Dwight D. Eisenhower once said,”Leadership is the act of convincing others to do something you want to do because you know they know they want to do it.”