Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It's about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others' success, and then standing back and letting them shine.
The International Space Station is a phenomenal laboratory, an unparalleled test bed for new invention and discovery. Yet I often thought, while silently gazing out the window at Earth, that the actual legacy of humanity's attempts to step into space will be a better understanding of our current planet and how to take care of it.
Every single thing that you learn really just gives you more comfort. It's something I counsel kids all the time: if someone is willing to teach you something for free, take them up on it. Do it. Every single time. All it does is make you more likely to be able to succeed. And it's kind of a nice way to go through life.
The best simulator for spacewalking is underwater - it allows full visuals and body movement in 3D. Virtual reality is good, too, and has some advantages, like full Station simulation, not just part. Like all simulators, they have parts that are wrong and misleading: an important thing to remember when preparing for reality.
For the last several years and culminating in six months in orbit next year, I've been training for my third space flight. This one is almost in a category completely different than the previous two, specifically to live in on the space station for six months, to command a space ship and to fly a new rocket ship.