Someone asked me this week why I always follow through on what I say I am going to do. Without hesitation, I answered, “because I know that it matters.” They continued, prying me for what drives me on a daily basis to always chase my goals, no matter what. My answer surprised me only in the surprise it incurred in the asker. “I just know that every little step, every little decision, and every little bit of movement forwards matters; I have confidence in knowing that those small things are what will bring me whatever big thing I am pursuing.”
I have always been like this. I remember being 10-years-old, working myself silly in the pool at swim practice and putting the older kids, who were lazier and less motivated than me, to shame. In an effort to bully me in the locker room after practice for making them look bad, they cornered me and told me to stop working so hard. I looked them straight in the eyes and answered with confidence, “No thanks.” Continuing, I added, “I work hard on every set that I do because at the end of the season, when I need to win by .01 of a second, I’ll have put the work in to guarantee that win because I know that no one else will have done what I do. I’m going to keep on training with all my might because that is the training that will get me to the Olympics, and I expect that Olympic cut to be a difference of 0.01 seconds.”
I didn’t make the Olympics, but is the year that I broke the United States National Age Group Record in the 100-yard freestyle. Those bullies didn’t like me very much, but they had to keep training with me because I helped push them to make them better. Besides, the added bonus was that they all had a crush on my older brother, so they had to be nice to me. I had confidence that my hard work — hours, weeks, months of it at a stretch — would pay off, even if only years later. That confidence shined in the pool and it shined itself with results that no one could argue with. I was gifted for sure, but that isn’t what made me the swimmer that I was. Belief made me successful. Belief gave me the confidence to vulnerably put my all, my heart and soul into everything I did. Belief works.
The same vibrant faith drives everything that I do today. It’s impossible for me to forget that every second matters, every day can change my life and every person has great potential lying dormant within them. Unleash what has been sleeping within you. Give yourself permission to believe that every little thing matters, because it really does.