Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The story of the starfish

People often ask me what my fascination with starfish is about.  I would like to share it with you.  This is a story of hope and survival and sparking change in the world adapted from the original, The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley.

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing.  He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work.  Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach lettered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy tossing starfish into the water one by one.

"Good morning," the man said to the boy, "may I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied, "Throwing starfish into the ocean.  The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can't return to the sea themselves.  When the sun gets high in the sky, they will die unless I throw then back into the water."

The old man replied, "But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach.  I'm afraid you won't really be able to make much of a difference.  Why does it matter?"

The boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it as far as he could into the ocean, then turned to the man and said, "It matters to that one."

All of the work that I do, whether it's in my preschool classroom, at a Damsel in Defense event, when I'm speaking, or in my writing, there is one hope, that somewhere out there, it matters to someone.

When I tell my story, it's not to get my own praise.  It's to unlock someone from the bondage of slavery and shame.  I speak life and write intention without dreams of fame and fortune.  What I do is hard, and it's uncomfortable, and there is often tears involved, and though it sometimes seems when I look at statistics, or I'm faced with a room filled with survivors, that there is no end, but if I don't do what I can to create a pathway out of darkness for those around me, they can never begin.

If you're feeling the struggle of your life, if you're feeling the pull of indifference, if you are feeling like the battle is too hard to continue, if you are wondering why it matters, it's time to stop, turn around, and look at the lives you've touched.

If you're a direct sales leader, and you're feeling like giving up, turn around and look at the team you've built and ask if it matters to them.

If you're a parent and you are wondering why you should even bother doing the hard stuff because it doesn't feel like it matters, I promise, it does.

If you're a spouse ready to throw your hands in the air because you don't feel loved and appreciated, the change has to start with you in order for it to matter.

Giving up and sitting in your own putrid comfort zone is not an option if you want to grow.  Retreating into the darkness is not an option if you want the work in your life to matter, and if you don't think it matters, it does.  It matters to someone.

Keep throwing those starfish in the ocean.  It's hard, it's exhausting, but it's amazing.

Trust me, you're gonna love it!

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