Goal Achievement – Ride, Sally Ride!

"Sally Ride", "Gordon Bryan", "goal achievement"July 2012, and I was caught up in the anticipation of the London 2012 Olympics. There was a news story which totally passed me by, about a woman called Sally Ride…


A year later, and I’m revisiting the story and the goal achievement lessons it brings. Sally Ride died on July 23rd 2012 at the age of 61, after a fight with pancreatic cancer.


2013 sees the 30th anniversary of her historic landmark, when she became the first American woman to go into space.


She applied to join NASA’s astronaut programme after the shuttle’s development led to NASA wanting astronauts with a scientific background to go along the military pilots they had always used.


Having been accepted in 1978, and after 5 years of training, she finally took off aboard the Challenger shuttle in 1983. She flew on it again, and was scheduled for a third, but that flight was shelved after the Challenger exploded on take off in 1986.


When the commission was set up to investigate what happened, there was one woman on the panel – Sally Ride. Her experience as an astronaut and her tenacity led her to playing a key role in getting to the bottom of what had happened, and being far more critical of NASA than NASA had intended.


She then worked on developing ideas for the future direction of NASA, and it was after leaving NASA that she left a legacy that some see as even more important than her space flight.


After being a physics professor, she launched her company, Sally Ride Science, focused on encouraging young people, particularly girls, that they could and should develop a career in science instead of leaving it behind them in school.


So, if you’re reading this in 2013, think back one year to the passing of Sally Ride. Think back 30 years to the moment when she did what no American woman had done before.


Think of your own goal – is it something that no-one has ever done before? Will you need to forge new territory like Sally did, or can you follow the trails set by others, by people like Sally.


Sally’s company provided tools and encouragement for young girls to follow their dreams. The tools will be out there for your goal, the education will be there to soak up, and the encouragement will definitely be there!


Yes, there will be obstacles and setbacks along the way, and people who won’t want you to succeed. Don’t worry about them though, focus on the positives and you can end up riding high, riding like Sally Ride!


In researching this article, I discovered that President Obama will in 2013 award Sally a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honour for a civilian, recognising contribution to society. Well deserved too.


Ok, do let me know what you think – feel free to leave a comment below,
‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
P.S. You’ll also enjoy this article: Goal Achievement – Are You Neil Armstrong?
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    • Indeed – there are many quotes from Sally available online, and one has her saying she would be happy to be remembered as someone who went for what she wanted, and took risks to follow her goals.

  • What a great perspective! It can be such a learning opportunity to look back like you’ve done here. We tend to just see someone’s end accomplishment, but don’t look at what it took to get there. It’s motivating and educational to look at what went into the realization of that end result – – some great success principles like perseverance, learning from others and going for what you want no matter what.

    • In fact your last words here echo one of Sally’s quotes when she was asked how she’d like to be remembered.
      She’s just such a great example. She said when was the first US woman to go into space, she didn’t consider herself a role model, but once she saw the reaction she realised she *was* a role model for women, and took on the importance of it.
      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Hi Rachel,
      It’s easy to read that Sally was the first US woman in space and just accept it nowadays, but apart from the physical and technical challenges of 5 years of training, she had to go through media questions like ‘do you get moody if things go wrong!!’
      A woman to be remembered for sure!

  • I love this post! I love the story of where she came and where she went. I am thankful that she is getting the well deserved award!

    So many times we look at where we are at and we sometimes forget where we have come from and the progress we have made over the days, weeks, years.

    • Hi Shay,
      An impressive figure all round! All those degrees, then space, accompanied by realising she was a role model and then leaving a legacy from what she did *after* the space part of her life. It was only when I saw a documentary about her being on the Challenger investigation that I went to delve deeper into her story – unfortunately her passing got little coverage here as the media was all on the Olympics. She certainly left her mark on the world and above it!
      Cheers, Gordon