When it comes to coaching and the cosmos – it’s all about space!


When I was thinking of a name for my coaching business I considered a number of things it needed to be: timeless but relevant, personally significant and yet universally applicable, evocative but with plenty of scope for the imagination. Searching through my endless files of ‘inspirational things’ it wasn’t long before I was listening, once again, to the reflections of Carl Sagan – ‘The Pale Blue Dot‘.

A brief bit of context: Sagan was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, and author, whose work included advising NASA on various space missions, including Apollo and latterly the Voyager mission. The Voyager probe was sent to explore the outer reaches of the solar system. As it left the influence of the sun behind, Carl decided that it should turn around and take one last picture of Earth. This picture became known as the Pale Blue Dot (here is the actual photo if you’re interested). Here are Sagan’s reflections in full:

“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known”.


As Sagan so beautifully puts it, “The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.” But that is what makes the Earth, for us humans, so important: depending on how you look at it: the earth is ‘all we’ve got’ and also the sum total of everything we have. And because of this fact, our self development and our treatment of one another – and the pale blue dot on which we finds ourselves – becomes, quite literally, the most important thing we will ever do.

In both a cosmic and a coaching sense, whether ‘in space’ or ‘holding space’ for one another,  it affords us the gift of perspective and possibility, which is pretty great – even if we are, as Sagan says…  Just a fraction of a dot. Suspended in a sunbeam.