Paddling down the river last week in a canoe race, I was trying to chase down the boat in front of me. I was in my canoe paddling it in the middle seat with a kayak paddle. In front of me was a dad and his 8th grade daughter. They were in a two person kayak that was not built for speed. Early in the race, they got in front of me and took a sizable lead. I decided that I would not let them beat me. I systematically started a slightly stronger paddle stroke and a faster cadence. Over the course of about 3 miles on the water, I was within about 10 boat lengths. During this time where I was frantically paddling to catch up, the dad was paddling a consistent effort but was loosing ground. However, when the young girl (8th grade) started paddling, they would quickly pull away from my boat.
This story may not sound like much, but it was quite moving to me. The young girl did not appear to have much to contribute to the paddling power of the boat she was in. When she did apply what she had to offer, it made the difference between them loosing the race to me and winning by a fair margin. I have looked at several situations different after this experience. A tiny amount of “extra” effort in many situations will make all the difference. Your success is defined only be the amount of effort you put into it!