The Right Stuff

kristina leonardi
6 min readFeb 10, 2024


Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

As I looked back at our Earth … I imagined a world where people and organizations set aside their differences and … realize that each and every one of us is riding through the Universe together on this Spaceship we call Earth. They realize that because we are all interconnected, we are all in this together and because we are all family, the only way to solve the problems we all face is together. ~ Ron Garan, Astronaut

They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel. ~ Carl W. Buehner (popularized by Maya Angelou)

The Overview Effect is a powerful one, causing those few who venture into outer space to then experience their inner space in a much more profound way; seeing the planet from that very rare vantage point puts everything into perspective, most profoundly in how fragile, seamless and beautiful our Gaia truly is, and how now, more than ever, we need each other to survive.

With our increasingly micro-focused obsession with frivolous and trivial mundane matters, it’s always a good idea for us to broaden our focus, sans the spacesuit and shuttle.

And what better time of year to do so than now, a month of fresh starts and new beginnings, as we go back to school, perhaps eat apples and honey, and usher in a new season. In NYC, this is also when world leaders come to town, replacing the fashion models and tennis fans for a more serious UN General Assembly, Clinton Global Initiative, Global Citizen Festival, and this year, a visit from none other than his humble holiness hailing from Vatican City — all ceremoniously gathering to solve the most pressing problems facing humanity. (Note: This essay was originally published in September 2015)

It’s a time when change is in the air, not only because of the crisp temps, multicolored leaves and sweaters coming out of the closet. But change is even more palpable after a summer, or longer, when you may have experienced unexpected shifts, fundamental transition, major moves, and/or perhaps, like me and several friends of mine, the loss of loved ones.

Death and dying is an important theme that I explore often and express in my talks, but nothing makes it more real than actually losing someone close to you and then interacting in the world, in their world, without them, and on their behalf. And there is something quite primal about losing both parents, especially a mother, that activates a flesh-and-blood desire to be part of someone with the same DNA, the unsettling feeling of not having a direct tangible link to a very specific tribe or lineage.

The challenge for us is to evolve beyond that, knowing that in fact, not just in theory, we are each a part of the human tribe of Mother Earth and are all seeking community, connection, and a feeling of safety, belonging, acceptance and being understood, regardless of where we come from, the color of our skin or the god we pray to.

When you think about how your life will be looked at and celebrated once you are gone, what will people say about you to your loved ones? How did you make them feel? What have you created? What material stuff have you left behind and who will benefit from or be burdened by it? The more we can start looking at our own lives with the overview effect, the more we can plan for our highest and best exit when the inevitable day arrives.

I have been blessed to increase my appreciation of and connection to my mom through those whose lives she touched. And I embrace how others who expressed their sympathy to me but didn’t know her thought she must have been great because they are so impressed with and impacted by who I am. Because I have kept myself open and vulnerable, and I allow myself to feel my feelings, I have deeply absorbed and sincerely integrated all the heartfelt sentiments coming my way. (Thanks to so many of you who reached out with your condolences!)

The whole process has only reinforced to me that the most important thing on this journey is demonstrated love — experiencing and knowing you are thought of and cared for, and that you thought of and cared for others in whatever form it may take; that you exist and your existence matters.

One thing is for sure: We reap what we sow. And once you’re physically gone, you’ve still left an imprint on this planet. What will you leave behind? What quality and quantity will the harvest of the fruits of your life yield? What intentions, thoughts and actions will you plant in people and on this planet today that will help make its inhabitants thrive and become more peaceful, loving and abundant? Remember, in order to have good crops, you must begin with good seeds and soil — and it’s never too late to cultivate what you want to grow.

Not sure how to Prepare for Liftoff? Give me a buzz and I’ll make sure you’re like John Glenn, ready to have a blast and make the most of your orbit, with or without gravity, and whether or not you relate more to being a farmer or a foreign delegate!


Looking for a great tool to set you up with a positive routine in 2024? Check out my book Say It To Make It: Affirmations to Empower Your Heart, Mind, Spirit and Soul. Grab a copy and add some color and positive energy to start your New Year off right!

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Kristina Leonardi is a nationally recognized career and life coach, speaker and author who for over 16 years has empowered individuals to make lasting professional and personal changes aligned with their true passions and talents while fulfilling their role in the world at large.

With a holistic and personal growth-oriented approach, she has helped hundreds of men and women improve their job performance, enter or re-enter the job force, change careers, better manage their time and stress, and live happier, more meaningful, balanced lives.

Her specialty is working with people who feel stuck or are in transition and can help you clarify exactly what you want to do, identify blocks, issues, and patterns in your way, and offer proven ideas, resources, and action steps to get you there.


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kristina leonardi

Speaker,Coach,Writer.Very Tall. Expertise:People. All kinds, what makes 'em tick, how they fit into the world, how they can best connect to themselves + others.