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Natalya Bailey is CEO of Accion Systems, a company that provides in-space propulsion engines for satellites and spacecraft. Natalya completed her doctorate degree in space propulsion at MIT, where she helped invent the first working prototype of an ion engine technology for small satellites, this served as the foundation for Accion Systems. She is also an investor and operating partner in XFactor Ventures 2, a female-led venture fund investing in companies with a female founder.
ES: This is 5 Minute Mentor, a podcast where you’ll get advice from prominent engineers, authors, artists, and more in 5 minutes or less.
NB: I’m Natalya Bailey CEO and Founder of Accion Systems
NB: I’d like to share a little bit on breaking out of plateaus, and learning new skills and what to do when you feel like your head is under water again. So I actually read about this advice first in a book and it really stuck with me and comes up all the time so, I thought it was worth sharing. And the book is called Being a Technical Leader there’s a really wonderful analogy, and it had to do with skiing, and now when I’m skiing I use this as well. So you know I’ve gotten pretty good at skiing on bumps and through the trees but, what I’m really not good at is skiing in powder and I want to get better at it because I want to be able to ski across the whole mountain. But every time I even try to do it I fall and I get snow down my pants and I hate falling because I don’t fall anymore on other parts of the mountain. And it’s very discouraging and so I just avoid skiing in powder, until I read this book which also actually uses a skiing analogy. But if I want to get better I have to realize that I’m probably going to get worse first and probably going to feel bad and I’m going to fall and get snow down my pants. But that’s the only way that then I will ultimately come out even better than where I was before.
NB: This keeps happening to me in my professional life as well. So each time I hit a new phase at the company where it’s like learning how to fundraise. I’m back. I’m going to feel like a baby again. I don’t know what I’m doing, I have to spend a lot of time asking for help. I feel like I have, you know kind of lost control of my skis again. And I’ve got snow down my pants, and then I learn how to do it. And I come out with even more skills than I had in the first place and I’ve noticed it happen in my you know, academic career when I had to start learning how to transition from purely analytical work to building hardware and then all the time when starting a company.