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  • Writer's pictureShannon Lantzy

How much family time is worth a trip to space?

Working toward a noble mission has consequences on our personal lives. When is the personal sacrifice worth it?

This week Astronaut Frank Rubio returned from space. His trip was almost half a year longer than planned, causing him to miss his son's graduation and other life events. This was Rubio's first spaceflight.

He said:

“Had I known that I would have had to miss those very important events,” he said, “I just would have had to say, ‘Thank you but no thank you.'"

He also went through extreme suffering and emotional rollercoasters, being essentially trapped in the space station with a lot of uncertainty about his prospects for return and physical well-being. He noted, "Personally, it was an incredible challenge. Professionally, it was incredibly rewarding.

A noble mission is often a cause for personal sacrifice. When we work for something bigger than ourselves, we inherently believe that our work contributes to a greater good than our individual happiness (and presumably the happiness of our loved ones). I'm watching a Netflix series that illustrates the point very well; it chronicles the personal and professional life of a Danish politician, including the loss of loved ones and personal relationships as a result of her dedication to work. (I can't say much more without spoilers, but it's a good watch!)

I struggle with balancing professional pursuits and family dedication, too. Covid actually afforded me the opportunity to rebalance; pre-COVID I was giving more to work than family. Now, I constantly check in with myself on the balance of priorities. I often ask others to weigh in and be a backstop for me, because my love of my work as well as my personal gratification from it may cloud my judgment and the relative needs of my family and friends.

Sometimes we need an outside voice who will give us feedback and honesty about our whole self, balancing the pursuit of success in both our professional and personal lives, to the benefit of both. I work with both a business coach and a parenting coach and sometimes wish I could combine the two.

~Shannon, the Optimistic Optimizer

Ps. If you're interested in professional coaching that includes whole-self success, let's talk


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