“Touchdown confirmed,” a member of NASA’s Entry, Descent, and Landing team, said. “Perseverance is safely on the surface of Mars ready to begin seeking the signs of past life.”
Last week, as we all went about our daily lives, something incredible happened – NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully touched down on the surface of Mars after surviving a harrowing seven-minute plunge through the Martian atmosphere. Unfortunately, here in Texas, many of us missed the live landing of Perseverance as we struggled to recover from an unprecedented artic blast that paralyzed our state.
As I later reviewed coverage of the landing, I found myself both mesmerized by the achievement and proud of work done by NASA engineers. The Jezero Crater posed the most challenging landing site NASA has ever faced. Perseverance had to navigate the crater’s steep cliffs, massive boulders, and dangerously sandy pits to reach its landing spot.
Following a 2020 that seemed to serve up an endless stream of negativity, I found this remarkable feat uplifting and comforting. The ultra-precise calculations required to make such an epic leap is mind-boggling, and the unwavering commitment and comradery shown by every member of the landing and science team was powerful stuff. As the NASA Administrator said of this momentous occasion: “The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission embodies our nation’s spirit of persevering even in the most challenging of situations, inspiring, and advancing science and exploration. The mission itself personifies the human ideal of persevering toward the future.”
Reflecting upon last week’s winter storm, I was also warmed by the kindness and gratitude of our friends, neighbors, and complete strangers. People in the Lone Star State were all “in it together”, and despite egregious institutional and operational failures by the powers that be, Texans showed its mettle through a once in a lifetime event. As we all know, Texas is known for its fierce independence, determination, and perseverance in the face of adversity.
In my servant leadership role at United Tax Services, I am truly inspired by our team of professionals that are so instrumental to our business strategy and culture. None of us get to where we are in life without some level of grit and determination. And while intelligence, ambition and creativity are all qualities that we are drawn to when building a team, perseverance and stamina are perhaps just as crucial. When facing those seemingly no-win occasions, our intellect and ambition may help us navigate the challenge, however it’s our ability to withstand those trials that will ultimately see us through. And while we all want to do brilliant things and create something great, we can’t do those things without persistence and perseverance.
Relax and be happy.