Key Point: It is healthy to laugh heartily and often, hopefully many times a day. And with the right mindset we can see humor in just about everything. Of course, we all have days or moments that are not funny in any way. Thankfully, for most of us, that is not usually the case. Work is a huge part of our life and I believe having intentional, authentic fun everyday is actually a leadership matter. Why? Leaders create an environment for fun to exist and thrive. The best leaders I’ve worked with have a great sense of humor and love to see it in others. They rarely take themselves or their positions too seriously. Additionally, they work at having fun. Even when your job is walking on the moon, humor can be there to share with the world (sometimes years later). In that spirit, I hope you enjoy the following story:
On July 20, 1969, as commander of the Apollo 11 lunar module, Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon. His first words after stepping on the moon, “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” were televised to earth and heard by millions.
But, just before he re-entered the lander, he made the enigmatic remark “good luck, Mr. Gorsky.” Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival soviet cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs.
Over the years, many people questioned Armstrong as to what the “good luck, Mr. Gorsky” statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled.
On July 5, 1995, in Tampa Bay, Florida, while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26-year-old question about Mr. Gorsky to Armstrong. This time he finally responded because his Mr. Gorsky had just died. So, Neil Armstrong felt he could now answer the question. Here is the answer:
In 1938, when Armstrong was a kid in a small mid-western town, he was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard. His friend hit the ball, and it landed in his neighbor (the Gorsky’s) yard by their bedroom window. As he leaned down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at her husband… “Sex! You want sex? You’ll get sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!”
This story created, as you can imagine, quite a laugh in the room… Neil Armstrong’s family confirmed that this is a true story. Although some believe it’s a hoax, the story is funny regardless, and an example of humor in the most “extreme” of work environments.
- How much do you laugh on a daily basis? Do you consider yourself fun to be with even at the toughest times? If you’re a leader, how do you promote it?
- Make fun natural but intentional in your work environment. Go to sleep reflecting on at least one great laugh you had that day.
P.S. Some of you may know that I did my graduate work at the University of Oregon. It is well known for its stirring academic and athletic programs… And the iconic movie, Animal House, was filmed there. So Garrett saw this, knew I’d enjoy it, and sent it to me. Considering he’s an Arizona Wildcat, that is unusually friendly.
Fun at Work in the Triangle,
One Millennial View: I do have to give credit where credit is due. Funny enough, here’s another couple cool pictures. (I’m not sure I’ve shared these before). They’re from my personal camera roll back in 2007, when I rushed the field in Arizona after my unranked Wildcats upset the then No. 4 Oregon Ducks on a brisk, beautiful Thursday Nov. night. The win effectively ruined Oregon’s post-season hopes, and started a fun and lasting rivalry. How perfect. Can’t wait to Duck hunt and keep and laughs going again this season!
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis