Yesterday I heard such an inspirational story that I had to share it.
Kate’s Story: Doing Impossible Things
“As I tell you this story, bare in mind that I am a regular girl from East London and amazing things don’t usually happen to me.
When I was at school I applied to go to Cambridge University and somehow I got in. Now that may or may not sound like a huge achievement, but because it was way above what I thought was possible, it was a moment I realised that maybe I was capable of more than I realised.
At University I was studying genetics, I randomly attended a seminar on physics and artstronomy. After it finished I spoke to one of the organisers’ who worked for actual NASA. As in the astronaut people. The people that you know are real, but don’t expect to meet them.( Like Father Christmas)
As I jumped up and down like an excitable child, the NASA guy gave me a pin badge. Badges he normally gives to children when he goes into school. I kept this pin badge and exchanged contact details, hoping that one day I could expand my dream and get close to a launch, or maybe even into space!
I continued my career for 4 years being a journalist, working in the media and on radio. One day I received an email inviting me to be part of a team documenting a SpaceX and NASA research project in Nevada. I immediately said yes and set off to America for 10 days. Little did I know I’d end up being there for 4 months after being persuaded to stay by Buzz Aldrin! I’ll explain how it all happened.
I went to document the take off of the 2011 Space Shuttle Discovery Mission. But after some complications at mission control, the mission was going to be delayed for 2 weeks. Fortunately at the time I was freelancing so I could continue to work and I had a little bit of savings. I’d made friends with my new fellow space geeks, so I had lots of places to stay, I loved in 5 shared houses. I needed to stay and make it happen!
But another setback at mission control meant it was going to be delayed again and again. I was at the launch site when I received the news. My excitement quickly deflated at the thought of going home. I was so close to being part of the launch. Again to remind you, I’m a regular girl from East London, that amazing things don’t usually happen to. But for some reason I had a cheeky belief that it would all be okay. As I met the other research colleagues I even said to them, ‘stick with me and cool things will happen’. I was about to prove myself right. This is when I met Buzz Aldrin.
I’d survived 3 months in America and worked my way into the main press event. I shared my courageous journey with a combination of wild excitement that I was actually at NASA HQ and working with SpaceX. He didn’t need to say much to convince me to stay!
So I stayed, and you’ll be delighted to know that I was part of the main team recording the mission. The mission took off and as my self made luck continued, I was watching from one of the main control towers overlooking the Launchpad. Apart from the laucnh teams and emergcy crew, we were next in line. Only 3 miles away. Not only that but I was watching with an amazing group of people, I knew the husband of one of the astronauts and watched it lift off and sky the sky alight! It was so incredible.
So 4 months after leaving the UK, packing for 10 days and staying for 4 months, I did it. And now I’ve seen a live take off, I have friends that are astronauts and I’ve met Buzz Aldrin. And more importantly my passion for space travel is even more humongous and I believe I can and will go to space!!”.
5 Things I learnt from Kate’s Story
- Hold onto mementos
It got Kate excited and kept the dream alive. By staying in touch, she allowed an opportunity to open up. And took it when it did!
- If you believe it will happen, you can make it happen
But you’ve got to be persistent and resilient enough to keep going, even if you have setbacks. And be positive and friendly on the way, it helps people do good things for you and opportunities open up. And perhaps be a little bit cheeky when you need to!
- Space in the limit.
When I spoke to her Kate said, ‘I don’t think it was a case of limiting myself, as in saying I couldn’t do that. Or I’m not good enough. I just didn’t know it was a possibility. I thought space was untouchable.’ Once her mind was open to space being something she could do, her life changed.
- Space friends are always cool
When you have things it common it’s amazing how quickly you become friends with people. Kate shared 5 houses with people she didn’t really know, assuming they were cool because they liked space. And they were!
- Share your dream, people will help you make it happen.
Kate mission is alive and out there. “I still want to go to Space and I know I will get there by the time I’m 40 (I’m 30 now). I know I will need some help. I have a blog to document my journey. Hopefully people will learn something from my journey of discovery and be inspired by all things space and science too!”
Now it’s your turn to dream. Dream big and take inspiration from Kate.
What is your dream? What are you working towards? What do you need help with to make happen?