Posted April 26, 2021 by Mark Perna
Remember those goals you set way back in January, to make 2021 a better year? Maybe they were health and wellness goals. Maybe you set your sights on professional growth, better work-life blend, or more quality family time. Whatever it was, you made a decision to get there.
From the stage (and these days, the screen), I often share the inspiration I found in a short line from the blockbuster movie Apollo 13. Looking up at the night sky, Commander Jim Lovell muses on how they reached the point where humanity had walked on the moon. He says, “It wasn’t a miracle. We just decided to go.”
I remember that first time I saw Apollo 13 in the theater and the deep answering thrill my heart experienced at this powerful line. We just decided to go. None of the logistics had been figured out or even invented yet. America was nowhere near ready to land on the moon when President Kennedy made it a national priority. But the decision was made.
It’s easy to look at the starting and ending points of that goal, from Kennedy’s declaration that America would land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth, to the culmination of that goal on the Apollo 11 mission when Neil Armstrong’s foot first touched the surface of the moon. But what about everything that happened in between?
The history of America’s space program has always fascinated me. On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American to travel into space on a mission that lasted 15 minutes—a quarter of an hour that changed our country forever. Just 20 days later, President John F. Kennedy addressed Congress (and later Rice University) to set the ambitious goal of a successful moon mission by the end of the decade.
Between the beginning and end of the goal, Americans worked tirelessly to make it happen. Each successful mission laid the groundwork for the next success.
Landing on the moon was always the end goal, but the middle was filled with goals and objectives that needed to be achieved to make that end goal possible. In one mission alone, Apollo 9, there were 11 things that had never been done before, including the first two-person spacewalk (EVA), the first two-spacecraft docking in space, the first extraction and crewed flight of the lunar module, and many other firsts.
Without the middle of the story, there would be no successful end.
I love a good success story. Someone dreams big, sets a huge goal, and then overcomes all odds to reach it. But success stories tend to focus mainly on the highlights: the moment that person made a decision to go, to change something meaningful in their life—and the moment that change was realized. Most of the story is in the middle.
The real decision to go is made again, every day, when you’re in the middle. Between setting your goal and reaching it, you have to stay committed. But that’s precisely where we can get stalled.
If you’re feeling stuck in the middle right now, here are some tips to keep you committed to the decision to go.
The middle part of your success story matters. When you’re in the middle, stuck somewhere between making the decision to go and actually arriving at your destination, stay committed. And like amazing men and women who made America’s space program successful, stick with your decision to go.