Most have heard the story of the old man on the beach taking his walk before he began his writing. One day he comes out after the tides were high, taking his walk as usual and there are starfish, thousands of them which have been deposited upon the shore after the storm. Logically, it would take too much effort to get them all back into the water and try and save them. Plus, it would be too much effort for just one person. The old man thought that it was pointless as he saw the little boy coming toward him; stopping every few steps to pick one up and throw it as far as he could back into the sea. It was his attempt at giving them a chance at thriving after the storm. The old man asks him this question, “Do you really think that what you are doing will make a difference?” The boy reaches down and picks up another one and throws it as far as he can.
He turns and replies, “It made a difference for that one.”
Much too often you worry about doing the work of an entrepreneur, a coach or even just being a leader. You tend to look out into the vast crowds and your imagination gets lost in the numbers. You somehow see hopelessness and despair, wondering if you are getting through to enough people to make a difference. All your efforts seem to be hard work with not much to show in the way of success, except for the hope that those you did connect with maybe, just maybe are able to thrive and overcome the test of the storm.
“Don’t worry about being successful, but work on being significant and success will naturally follow.” ~Oprah
Just think of how much more powerful your purpose would be if it were set with the intention that everyone is worth saving. You alone, just won’t be able to rescue them all. No deed is too small, nor the effort needed to accomplish it. Often the goal is set so high that you forget that doing the work, no matter how small, still makes a significant difference. You have to stop measuring your work by how successful you think it will be. Instead look at the significance of what is being done and the greater impact it will make after a substantial amount of time.
What this little boy was doing had a much greater impact than he could ever have imagined. By throwing as many back as he possibly could, he set the course for the future of the species. Enabling them to replenish and grow in numbers.
You can’t save everyone, so don’t try. You were not meant to rescue the vast majority of every you come into contact with. The lives you are meant to touch, you will make an impact. Think of it like this. What if each star you save, they thrive and go and impact
thousands of more lives. I’m sure that little boy was thinking exponentially. His thoughts, “If I could just get 100 back into the water, they could repopulate and grow to thousands.” Thus seeing the benefit of diligently doing his work. For unto each starfish, a star is born. Giving them the chance of a lifetime. An opportunity to contribute to life and impact the others.
Would you put in the work to make it happen? Even if it meant you have to walk away knowing that you will not be able to help everyone. But for the ones you do, you have given them the opportunity to make a significant impact.