A Profile in Determination
Several years ago I was on a recreational whitewater rafting trip with a bunch of people associated with my husband’s profession. It was one of those deals where a guide directs six or eight rowers on each side of the raft to paddle at any given time. The water was moving fast, we all had life jackets and helmets, and it was fun. Around a corner we suddenly came to a small dam. It wasn’t a dam designed to generate electricity, in fact I don’t know what its purpose was. It was a ninety-degree spillway, only three or four feet high. The river split into two sections at that point, one part flowing toward us above the dam, the other continuing to the left. The guide, sounding quite serious, told us we needed to get over that dam so we’d better paddle hard. Most of us sat and looked at him in shock. It would have been an impossible task. One man didn’t see the grin on our guide’s face and began to paddle harder and harder against the the waterfall. He was obviously determined to get us upriver as directed. When he discovered the joke, he laughed as hard as any of us. I think about this every now and then and smile. That man was someone I’d want on my side in a tough situation. The true emergence of an organic leader, someone said. I saw in the newspaper the other day this man has been hired to run a non-profit here in Seattle. I had seen the article but didn’t recognize his name or photo until my husband pointed out, “Look, it’s the guy who tried to paddle us up over that dam in the river in Oregon!” That place hired wisely, in my opinion. I have no question he will do whatever it takes to help it succeed.
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