Sharing what I’ve learned the hard way
With the project in crisis, I joined the team responsible for the camera that would ultimately turn Hubble from a joke into the triumph it became. It takes a lot to rise from the ashes, especially when the whole world is looking over your shoulder. Or perhaps I should say, breathing down your neck.
As anyone who has ever had to deal with that kind or pressure knows, raising the stakes and cranking up the scrutiny can make it even harder to find the right path. Buy me a beer and we can talk about how easy it would have been to fall victim to the same kinds of mistakes that crippled Hubble in the first place!
Quoting science fiction author Robert Heinlein, “Live and learn, or you don’t live long.” After 30 years of experiencing both success and failure in that high pressure, high risk world, I’ve learned a few things that I think are worth sharing.
If you work in engineering, academia, medicine, IT, or most other professions, chances are that you don’t know much about coaching. But you should.
Coaching isn’t about fixing deficiencies. Coaching is about getting what you want out of your life and your career.
A coach gives you an edge in your life and your career. In a competitive, demanding, rapidly changing world, that edge matters.
Entertainment – When it comes to mind-bending “cool!” astrophysics is hard to beat.
Inspiration – From hopeless disaster to miraculous recovery, the story of the Hubble Space Telescope is inspiration on a cosmic scale.
Impact – Your audience will carry away powerful tools that they can use in their businesses and lives today.
Most of the time failure and missed opportunity have the same root cause. The world turned out to be different than you thought it was.
If you want to thrive in a changing world, the first step is to break out of the box of your own thinking.
Dr. Jeff Hester works with leaders and organizations that are ready to accept that challenge.
In today’s world, more than anything else success and failure hang on two things: the fact of rapid, fundamental, ubiquitous change, and whether your knowledge can match that pace.
When things fail, it is usually because the world changed and someone didn’t notice.
Success, on the other hand, comes to those who see the changes first.
A key member of the team responsible for the camera that fixed the Hubble Space Telescope, Dr. Hester’s image, “The Pillars of Creation,” was selected by Time Magazine as one of the hundred most influential images in history.
Dr. Hester’s work includes research on star formation, supernovae, and pulsars, as well as other topics. He remains a contributing editor at Astronomy Magazine.
“It is easy for me to be lavish in my praise of Dr. Jeff Hester. To my mind he is one of the best “explainers” in our midst today… He is a front-runner among those whose willingness and ability allow them to cross the walls of different fields. His handling of Q & A sessions is masterful, and audiences he interacts with find their time has been more than worthwhile. I believe him to be motivated by impulse deeper than his career: the promotion of ideas that further the health and potential of our society.”
Emmy Award Winning Broadcaster
“Jeff has a rare combination of extraordinary intelligence and the ability to take extremely complex topics and make them consumable for the masses. His broad range of experience makes him a valuable part of any team because he approaches every problem or situation in a unique way. Most importantly, Jeff listens. He hears what you have to say before providing constructive feedback and has a clear passion for helping others to learn and succeed.”
Regional Sales Manager
“The whole affair was a home run… The real highlight of the evening was Dr. Hester. He held the audience in absolute stunned silence as he described the relationships of the universe and beyond. A fantastic presentation. He nailed it.”
Major General, US Air Force (ret)
“Dr. Jeff Hester is loved and respected for his ability to communicate his message effectively and understandably. He is universally well received. . . Dr. Hester is a delight to work with.”
Director, Office of Presidential Advancement
Arizona State University
“Dr. Jeff Hester coached me through one of the most difficult career decisions I have ever faced. With his help, I was able to identify and articulate my ultimate goals and set priorities. With Jeff’s guidance, I was finally able to come to a decision that was in alignment with my core values; one that is in my personal and professional best interest. Subsequently, Jeff has helped me identify obstacles and methods to address them, and establish a clear path forward.”
State University of New York
“Dr. Jeff Hester was a hit at our summer leadership conference. He is a five-star speaker with a practical, hard-hitting message that goes to the core of what makes businesses succeed and fail. I think that everyone in the room felt like he was talking to them personally. I hope to see him again at another of our meetings!”
Senior Vice President
Independent Bankers Association of Texas
“My work with Jeff has had immediate and obvious benefits to me professionally. It is stretching and challenging me in unexpected ways, and it’s fun! Jeff is a fantastic coach.”
Senior Research Fellow
Space Sciences Laboratory
University of California – Berkeley