Are you waiting for your ducks to line up before you take action? – Before you make your next move?
How many of us are waiting for our ducks to line up taking action or starting something new?
If you are waiting for your ducks to line up, then you are going to be waiting for a long time. As ducks do not line up.
The mother duck moves and her ducklings follow. When ducks migrate they make a formation and they alternate who takes the lead. They do not line up!
So, don’t wait for your ducks to line up. Don’t be a duckling. Be the mother duck and make the move. Be the leader. Your ducklings will follow.
Take the risk. Take the first step. Set the path. Choose the way you will go. Stop procrastinating. Stop waiting for a sign. Stop waiting for everything to be perfect before you start. Stop waiting for all the pieces to fall into place before you make your move. Just make your move. Then watch the pieces fall into place. Be a responsible risk taker. Be a leader. Be a mother duck and step out.
Which leads me to another perspective on ducks and life.
I was sitting on a park bench one day with a friend and we were watching the ducks waddle around when this perspective occurred to me.
On land ducks appear very awkward. They waddle from side to side on their wide, flat, webbed feet. Like us when we are learning and attempting something new. We waddle a bit. We take a wobbly step in the new direction, and then another or perhaps we hesitate and step in another direction. Then slowly over time our wobbly steps become less unsteady. The duck waddles to the water and jumps in. Once in the water they appear quite calm. Their bodies float gracefully along on the surface, but what are their feet doing underneath?
Like us, we have taken those first few steps and dived in, on the surface we may look calm and in control, but under the surface we are still paddling like crazy to keep moving forward. We may appear confident and assured, but underneath – inside – we are not necessarily so calm and confident. We keep paddling. We keep practising. We keep developing our new knowledge and refining our new skill.
Then over time, with practise, we gain a greater knowledge and understanding of the new skill and we take off. We leave the water and we fly. Like the duck we beat our wings and fly up into the air, and up there we have a new viewpoint, a new perspective. We may need to keep moving our wings to stay aloft, but the movement exerted and what others see match more closely. Our inner and outer world are more congruent and we don’t need to exert as much effort. The task that was once challenging is now easy and we may question why we ever felt it was difficult. It has become something we do with ease and little conscious thought. Like the duck flying, we can look around from up there. We have a new perspective, a new way of looking at things. We can see what is happening below us, behind us, around us and most importantly right in front of us. We can now choose a new path. We can begin a new challenge, gain new knowledge, or learn a new skill. We can land and waddle along the ground towards the water, and if our ducklings follow that is great. We do not need to wait for them to line up.
Yet what of the duck diving? Head down, tail up! When learning a new skill, or facing a challenge, we have a choice. We can waddle awkwardly to the water, dive in and start paddling, until it becomes second nature and we fly into the air. We can take on the challenge one step at a time, dive in and swim, learn the new skill and face the challenge, until it becomes easy and we fly. Or we can duck under the water – head down, tail up – and hope the challenge will go away. With our heads under water we cannot see what is happening. We can choose to remain ignorant and unaware. No tentative steps, no calm outer while the inner is in turmoil, and no mastery later on. So, similar to having your head in the sand, we need to raise our heads out of the water, look at what is happening around us, face the challenge, learn the new skill and in time we can fly. When flying we allow ourselves a much better perspective than we have with our head under water.
Which leads to another analogy between ducks and life. When ducks migrate they don’t do it alone. They fly together in a flock. They form a triangle and they fly together. Those flying at the front of the triangle have the most difficult task but as one tires, they fall to the back and another duck takes the lead. They work together for the greater good of the flock. They work together for the greater good of the whole. We as humans can learn so much from this.
How much of our lives do we spend doing things alone? Afraid to ask for help. Not wanting to look weak. Wanting others to believe we have it all under control. Just a little more effort and we can get ‘there’. But… Where, is ‘there’? And how much effort do we need to put in alone to get wherever ‘there’ is? We keep struggling along on our own, thinking it will get easier soon. When really, we would love to be sharing. To be supporting others and feel supported by others. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is quite the opposite – it is a demonstration of strength – showing our vulnerability.
We started off with a quote, “Waiting for your ducks to line up”.
Let us finish with a quote, “Many hands make light work.”
Share. Work together. Cooperate. Collaborate. Take the lead. Ask for help. And watch your ‘ducks’ fall into place.
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