Quack! (Audio)

February 20, 2007

Listen to Marlene read the article here.

Last week, while at a busy intersection, my neighbor Ann and I witnessed nature in action. A mother duck led her paddling of 12 ducklings across the street and traffic stopped. We saw her step down from the curb at the other side of the street and confidently make her way across the busy intersection. Following quickly behind her, 12 little feathered offspring followed. At that moment, I realized how life supports us when we boldly move forward with our intentions.

The opposing light turned red just as she stepped off the curb. Waddling across the street with the signals in her favor, mother duck also enjoyed protection from an observant driver who got out of his SUV to stop any cars that may interfere with her adorable parade. Most certainly the chicks' tender age prevented them from flying, so along with the driver, we approached mama duck and tried to steer her up the curb as quickly as possible. Of course, she'd have nothing of our intervention and proceeded along without us - and with no looking back for straggling chicks to catch up - onto the sidewalk and into the grassy area wet from a recent sprinkler. Mother duck moved forward with confidence knowing that life would stop for her while she made her way with her flush of chicks - and life complied.

We watched, both amused by the 12 waddling feather-bottomed friends, and awe inspired by their abilities to climb the tall curb and to follow blindly. Ten chicks made their way closely behind mother duck and close together, yet none stopped for the two who made numerous attempts to jump the curb. We stood, watching, wondering what would happen if they didn't make the hop up, clearly twice their height. We thought aloud, "should we help them?" but before the sentence formed, the two succeeded in reaching the summit and scurried along to catch up with the rest of the flock. I found it interesting the other 10 ducks neither helped nor even looked back to see if the two stragglers followed. They marched on with confidence as their brace remained intact. Finally, the determined twelve trailed the mother without hesitation, without doubt, without looking around for a better route.

I watched as the confident mom didn't look back either. She seemed unconcerned if they all made it across the street and up the curb with her. She didn't turn around, she kept moving forward. Mother duck not only stopped traffic, she blazed a trail with confidence and determination and her chicks followed. After a few moments of watching the family, we realized the matriarch headed for the pond in the residential complex behind us.

When I reflect on this simple yet poignant event, I clearly understand that although at first we didn't know her destination, we engaged ourselves watching the process and the journey mother duck embarked on. In our observation, our focus lie not in her final destination, but in the deliberate and confident manner she carried out her plan.

What kind of Quack are you?
Are we leaders, followers or observers in our own life's path? All three serve to enrich our lives at some point in the ebb and flow of life, but it takes a certain self-awareness to know how we participate in the river of time at any given moment. As leaders, we arm ourselves with the machete of assuredness and visualize clearing the path which bring us to our end results. As followers we trust the process of life to take us where we need to go, and know that our needs are addressed if we put our faith in something larger than ourselves. As observers, we watch, wait and learn so that when it's time to follow or lead, we fortify ourselves with the examples of those before us.

How determined are we to reach our goals? We often allow ourselves to look back, to see if others kept pace with our desires. We walk around with a rear-view mirror for our lives, thinking what we left behind us still holds relevance to right now. The past serves only as a pivotal point to teach us new outlook. The compass changes at every given moment and so does your direction when new information or insight comes about. Know that the important things in life consist of not what you left behind but where you're going and the magic unfolds in the journey itself.

What the Quack are you waiting for?
We often wait for the lowest common denominator (whether it be a person, an idea, a resource or an opportunity) to dictate how grand we define our dreams. Surely, we rarely expect life to stop for us to walk by! We allow our fears to mute the songs within us as if remaining silent offers some security or righteousness. We wait for invisible approval from someone other than ourselves to step into our dreams. We think that anyone except ourselves possesses the insight, the clarity and the wisdom to know what's best for us and that we can only proceed with permission from an outside source.

Yet, evolution supports confidence and success and those who quack assuredly write the pages of history.

Ok, so what is "quacking," anyway?
Aside from the prosaic definition most of us refer to - that of a quack being someone of unconventional ideas or methodology, "quacking" offers a more in-depth insight into the spirit.

One summer I worked as a temporary employee at General Motors headquarters in the Fisher building in downtown Detroit. As an executive secretary in the marketing department, I saw the inner workings of the then-biggest corporation in America. I learned a lot. One senior executive quacked like a duck in response to questions, greetings or just in general conversation. Certainly this behavior stood out from the team, but his genius allowed him this proclivity. You'd hear this man walking down the hall "quacking" to himself or in response to "good morning," or "can you make the 1 o'clock meeting?" Everyone seemed to know what his "quack" meant at any given time, and soon I came to understand his language, too! His confidence and competence at his position allowed him to express himself this way. When I left, I heard he accrued over a year of vacation time and 6 months of sick time built up and he could retire early and never show up for work for almost 2 years, still collecting his regular pay. Quacking apparently had it rewards. This unique and confident spirit touched me.

Mother duck used her quack to communicate her intention to move forward, to keep her chicks focused on her direction and to declare to the world, "this is who I am and where I'm going! With me or not, here I come!" We mumble, grumble and complain. We brag, boast and pontificate. But what do we "quack?" How does your quack define you? It's part of who you are, and also part of your life's intention, so much so, your quack defines your dreams and declares it all at the same time.

The daring among us quack the loudest and most independently and life responds accordingly! Columbus, Galileo, Copernicus, Einstein, Edison and even Disney and Gates- you're in great company! They took daring risks when their "quack" infused so deeply into their spirit, it burst forth to change the world. History teaches us when your dream lives vibrantly within you, the destination of your goals so certain, you move forward in spite of the tall curbs of setbacks into the pond of manifestation to swim around in the glory of your focus and accomplishment.

What's your Quack?
We all know something deep within us aches for expression. From artistic talent, to analog or digital rage, each of us holds a unique talent (or "quack") for the world. Maybe you recognize it, maybe you don't. You've allowed yourself to lead, follow or observe your entire life. Never stand still waiting for life to define you- life doesn't wait for you. Get started, take the first step toward your dreams. Your talents unleash once you start to pursue your ideals, for your gifts become the methodology by which your aspirations transform into accomplishment.

So, go ahead, jump off the curb of your hesitations. Walk across the street of your desires with daring and never look back. Trust that life supports your every move when you proceed with passion and conviction. The power you exude may stop traffic or revitalize the world. Quack!

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