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.
I've had a chance to fly a lot of different airplanes, but it was nothing like the shuttle ride.
I don't want to be treated like I came from another planet or something or was somehow born with some weird birthright or super power. I don't view myself that way. I am a normal guy, picking up the crap from the dog and scraping the BBQ and having a beer and fixing the shed out back.
Nothing focuses your mind quite like flying a jet. That's one reason NASA requires that astronauts fly T-38s: it forces us to concentrate and prioritize in some of the same ways we need to in a rocket ship.
Just taking risks for risk's sake, that doesn't do it for me. I'm willing to take risks that I think are worth it, and I've worked so hard to make sure that I survive.