“We do only have one life and if I really do want to accomplish certain things that I think would be great and that really motivate me, I’m gonna give it a go. And so I gave it a go in many cases and ended up doing three different careers."
Marc Garneau is a Canadian politician and also the first Canadian astronaut to fly to space in 1984.
Mr. Garneau has had not one but three stellar careers. He started out in the Canadian Navy, then got chosen out of 4,000 applicants to be part of Canada’s first astronaut program. In the next decade, he rose up the ranks and was appointed president of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in 2001, but left four years later to enter politics.
“I can’t tell you how many times people have said I wish you’d stayed out of politics, we liked you when you were an astronaut,” Mr. Garneau tells me during the interview. His foray into politics certainly surprised many people, myself included. In many ways, Mr. Garneau appears to be the opposite of the typical politician, and his big gamble in leaving CSA initially didn't work out. He lost his first federal election and spent the next two years volunteering in politics before finally winning a seat in the House of Commons.
Mr. Garneau admits that it took him some time to get used to his new position, but he slowly learned, and through his efforts was appointed the Minister of Transport by Prime Minster Justin Trudeau in 2015, and more recently the Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2021 during the Meng Wanzhou – two Michaels crisis and the Afghanistan evacuation crisis. During our interview, he recounted each of his three distinguished careers and we talked about how one thing led to another.
In this episode, Mr. Garneau talked about:
What it was like to be the first Canadian to space
How that experience gave him a new perspective of the world
Why he decided to enter politics
The initial shock and how he got over it
Being Canada’s foreign minister during the Meng Wenzhou – Two Michaels crisis and the Afghanistan evacuation crisis
How he’s adjusting to life after leaving the cabinet
Marc Garneau: @marcgarneau
Wiser Living with Sissi Wang: @wiserlivingpodcast
And here’s my takeaway from the interview
I’m notorious in my family for being annoyingly indecisive on the small things and the big things in life. But talking to Mr. Garneau has taught me that sometimes you have to just jump on a good opportunity when it’s presented to you, even if you don’t believe you’re fully ready for it.
Mr. Garneau’s life is extraordinary because he boldly went after what he wanted. He truly believes that life is short, so when an opportunity comes knocking, you take it and give it all you’ve got.
We all have the potential to do something amazing with our lives and there are so many opportunities out there waiting for us everyday if we just believed in ourselves and went for it. So this week, I challenge listeners to go out there and do something that you've always wanted to do but were afraid to give it a shot, and share with us in Facebook/Instagram comments how that went for you :)