Starfish Story

They say that one of the most common reasons we procrastinate is because we see the challenge before us as overwhelming and that a good way to counter that is to break the big challenge down into smaller pieces and then take those one at a time – like one starfish at a time.  And to that one starfish, it can make a world of difference…


…One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?” The boy replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” “Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…” I made a difference for that one.”


For those of us dedicated to improving lives through our work the “starfish story” is the standard call to duty, knowing that each life you touch matters, even if it is only one.