• Wendy Hornung

What's Not the Right Stuff?

In order to succeed, we depend on other people in some way, but not just any people. Whatever your dream, whatever your goal, the “right” people make the difference.


Do you remember Apollo 13? These astronauts were on a mission to go to the moon, but when one of the capsule’s oxygen tanks exploded they had to abort landing on the moon, go around the moon (further away than any other humans had been at the time) and head back to earth. The timing was critical due to mechanical malfunctions slowing the removal of Carbon Dioxide from the capsule. This was a maximum high stress situation. The “right” people were key to mission success.


It took a big team of NASA engineers and scientists along with the astronauts working together to make it back.


They all had the “Right Stuff.”


I know, most of us don’t require that big of a team, or even that bright of a team to stay alive in our line of work, however, in order to thrive as a person you need the “Right” people around you.

The Apollo 13 crew had a goal. They were determined to make it back alive, and were relying on the help of others, but the things that would have lead to failure on this mission are the same for all of us.


Let’s identify what is not the “right stuff.”

1. Negativity

If any of the crew or support at NASA focused on them not making it back to earth and each new problem was considered insurmountable it would have decreased the mission’s chances for success.

2. Draining your energy

NASA staff was not enmeshed in excessive worry about all the problems that leave people flustered and unable to create solutions.

3. Lack of boundaries

It is doubtful that scientists and engineers were interrupted by others to ask them unrelated questions, point out issues that had nothing to do with the task at hand, or allowed unnecessary distractions to steal time and divert focus.

4. Compares you to others

Who can compare someone to something that has never been done before? (Especially when you are in the middle of doing it!)

5. Feed doubts

As new challenges arise, some people will use this to fuel how your dream is doomed to fail, rather than a way to discovering the solution. This would not have worked to complete the Apollo 13 mission.


If you want the “Right Stuff” around you, it pays to be discerning. If any items on the list above describes any of your so called “supporters.” They don’t have the “Right Stuff.”

You may not need a team as big or as scientifically astute as NASA to succeed at your goals, but when the “people” around you believe in you and encourage your pursuits, it makes all the difference.


I haven’t always surrounded myself with the best people, so I can attest to the difference it makes. It’s critical to your personal life, which feeds your professional one.

May people with the “Right Stuff” surround us all!


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