One of the things I learned from Story Musgrave, my mentor and the only astronaut to fly all five Space Shuttles, as well as design, deploy, and fix the Hubble Space Telescope, is that you have to have humility and gratitude if you want to be a remarkable entrepreneur. Specifically, if you want to be someone that can create large impact or if you want to be an innovator in somebody else’s business. You have to have humility and gratitude, because if you don’t have those two things, you can’t find people who are going to give you their all. No one wants to work for an egomaniac.
I learned this over the course of running my first business. I hired lots of people and I put my foot on the accelerator. You were either hanging on for the ride or it was okay if you blew away. I knew I could find somebody else. But I never really thought about who I was working with. Quite honestly, I was indifferent. I was more interested in pushing to the end result.
When the business sold, I realized, in a company of 400-500 employees, I didn’t have a lot of personal relationships. So, I made the decision that if I’m going to spend a handful of years doing something, I want to be close to the people that I’m doing it with. I want to have an environment that’s not just a churn and burn type situation. I actually want to have an environment where we all care about each other, we enjoy working together, and we enjoy accomplishing together.
What I realized for me was that I needed to have humility and I needed to have gratitude. I needed to be thankful for the people who were showing up every day, putting all their energy and effort into the work, and being very respectful of the contribution that they are bringing to the organization.