How to make the first-ever music video from space

chris hadfield 1Scratch that. You can’t. It’s now been done and the effect gave shivers to nearly 2.5 million viewers worldwide (including artist, David Bowie, himself). But Chris Hadfield, Canada’s much-loved and watched astronaut, has a few other tricks he can teach you about how to #standapart.

Here’s 5 leadership and career ideas worth exploring as Hadfield’s 6.5-million mile space odyssey comes to an end.

1) You are already in training:

Asked when he started training for his role as Commander of the International Space Station, Hadfield answered age 14. “I was in the Air Cadets and I went to a junior leaders’ course and they taught me the basic precepts of leadership at 14 years old as a young Canadian, and since then I’ve watched leaders, and you can learn something from every leader.” The lesson? Don’t wait until you’re CEO to start thinking about leadership.

2) The soft skills are often more important than the operational:

When you imagine the scope of responsibility faced by a space commander, you might be thinking space station mechanics or lab-time overseeing science experiments. But, as it turns out, Houston has most of the station systems under control. The crews’ job is just monitoring it. Hadfield’s main challenge: ensuring mental stability and healthy relationships amongst his crew. Translated: results and processes are part of the mission, but your people and their emotional health are the real keys to success.

3) Make contact with new life:

Chris Hadfield wanted to make his time in space worthwhile (beyond the regular once-in-a-lifetime type worthwhile). His plan? While in space, Hadfield committed to tweeting, uploading YouTube videos, online chatting with students and even co-creating music with one of the Barenaked Ladies. The result was over 880,000 global followers, 25-million+ views and a reputation as the man who “turned earthlings onto space.”  His time in outer space, says Hadfield, and “being able to share it through all the media that [he] used” actually made him feel “closer to people.” Being “social” at the top, means being relatable, accessible and mutually appreciative that the leadership experience is “not individual… it’s shared, and it’s mutual and it’s worldwide.”

4) Spend time away from your “planet”:

Hadfield is not in PR, communications or marketing at the Canadian Space Agency. And no one would ever say he’s just an astronaut – only a handful of people can claim such a title. Still, Hadfield found a way to be more. He seems to understand he’s a part of something much, much bigger and even more worthwhile than just his job. What about you? How can you expand your skill set, or even your awareness, to start adding positive contributions to your company beyond your at-hand role?

5) Widen your scope for “time management”:

Astronauts only have about 12-hours of free time per week. Hadfield used a large chunk of those hours during his last remaining weeks in orbit to make the first ever music video made in space. Creating something one of a kind doesn’t take a lot of time, just hard work and concerted effort. What else does Hadfield say about time management: “a routine of exercise and work and play is grounding, even in orbit. I deliberately balance all three, and make time for each if possible, every day.”

Looking up or down, you’ve got to appreciate the view: Hadfield decided he wanted to be an astronaut at the age of 9. Now, 40 years later, he is looking down at planet earth as he hurtles through space on his triumphant return home. In Hadfield’s own words: “I always take interest and pride in what I am doing. If you find what you’re doing to be challenging and worthwhile, it keeps you engaged and mentally fit.” So, whether you’re looking at the moon, or back down at mother-earth, take time to appreciate where you are and what you’re seeing.

Now boldly go, and #standapart.