To send or not to send?
That was the question swirling through my mind as I sat in front of my computer as a 17-year-old high school senior in Istanbul.
The cursor was blinking at the end of an email I had just typed up to a professor at Cornell, where I had recently been admitted to study astrophysics.
I had discovered that the professor was the principal investigator for a planned mission to Mars. What’s more, back in the day, he had worked as a graduate student for Carl Sagan, a childhood hero of mine. This was too good to be true.
The email I’d just written shared my resume along with my burning desire to work for him on the mission. But when I thought about hitting send, my inner critic began screaming.
There’s no job posting. Why would you apply for a job that doesn’t exist?
You’re a skinny kid with a funny name from a foreign country halfway around the world. What could YOU possibly contribute?
I reminded my inner critic that a closed door isn’t necessarily a locked door. Sometimes, you just have to push.
I decided to push. I took a deep breath and sent the email.
Little did I know at the time, but that email catalyzed a series of events that landed me a seat on the operations team for the Mars Exploration Rovers mission, and later led to the publication of my last book, Think Like a Rocket Scientist.
Think back to your biggest regrets. If you’re anything like me, they’re a list of things you wish you had done—but didn’t do.
Rather than taking a leap, we cling to the safe bet.
As a result, we pass up opportunities to level up.
To find the greatness in ourselves.
To make a dent in the universe.
What sets universe-denters apart from the rest is their willingness to trust themselves and fly in the face of uncertainty, while others stand rooted to the ground.
And that’s the topic I’m going to explore in an upcoming online event: How to (really, truly, deeply) trust yourself.
I’ll join 2 other amazing authors (Laura Gassner-Otting and Michael Bungay Stanier) in a free, interactive event on October 12th where you’ll learn how to go from second-guessing yourself to fully trusting yourself.
During the event, you’ll discover:
- How to identify what you’re truly good at … even when you never quite feel masterful
- How to be ready … even when you never quite feel ready
- How to navigate success … even when you regularly flirt with failure
- How to find your people … even when you often feel lonely
I still struggle with imposter syndrome. When I’m afraid of making a leap—when that chorus of voices comes roaring in telling me that I’m not good enough—I think back to the email that changed my life.
And I click send.
P.S. Here’s the link again to register for the event. Sometimes online events can be a lot of hot air, but this is not one of those events. It’s not a webinar. This gathering will be highly practical, playful, interactive, and succinct. We’re going to do a lot of great work in just 90 minutes.
Can’t make it live? No problem. If you register, you’ll get the replay.