Are you ready to take your personal or professional life to the next level? Is everything in place? Are all your "ducks in a row?"

We often hear people using these (and other) clichés to let others know that they're planning to do something big... someday, sometime in the future. Have you noticed that many of us are constantly "getting ready" to do something, yet never quite getting there – often not even beginning the journey? Are you doing this yourself? Are you stuck in the dreaming and planning stages, without ever quite reaching the “doing” stage?

We all know that if we ever want to achieve our dreams, especially big ones, we must do some critical homework before beginning the project, or our efforts will likely fail. The problem is that this preparation often extends and extends... and extends (until we finally run out of time) because we’re waiting for everything to be "perfect" before we begin. We’re waiting to get that last duck in a row.

I live on a small lake which a lot of wildlife call home. One day, I was surprised and delighted to see a family of ducks waddling up from the lake onto the grass of my back yard. One large duck was in the lead, followed by four baby ducks, with another large duck bringing up the rear.

Suddenly, the large duck at the rear broke formation with a loud cry and headed off behind a bush. Within seconds, the duck returned noisily to the formation, preceded by a quacking, franticly running fifth baby duck who had apparently wandered off to explore on its own! It was the cutest sight to see… and it reminded me of the cliché about having all your ducks in a row.

I began thinking that if this duck family had waited until all the baby ducks were old enough to know better than to wander "out of the row," or if the whole family had simply stayed where they were because of the likelihood that some of the baby ducks wouldn't stay there once they'd begun their journey, they'd probably never have reached their intended destination.

What a wonderful lesson we can learn from this family of ducks! While we must do as much preparation for any new venture as is reasonably possible, it may take a long time for all our ducks to line up in a row... and once there, there's no guarantee they'll stay there! It seems as though there’s always “one more duck” to get into line, or one duck that used to be in line but has somehow strayed off course.

However, if we ever plan to reach our intended destination, we must do as the ducks did and begin the journey, keeping in mind that ducks may stray, plan for that possibility and have a backup plan, just in case they do.

Let’s face it – life happens. There are no guarantees that everything will go according to our perfect plan – in fact, we can count on them NOT going that way. If we wait around for perfection, we may just wait forever to take even the first step on the journey toward our dreams.

So, make your plans, get most of your ducks in a row - at least the big ones - make a plan for what you will do when some of your ducks wander off on their own... and forge ahead with your dreams anyway.

Once you start, you'll be glad you didn't wait until it was too late to even try...

Author's Bio: 

National speaker and author of the book, It’s My Dream And Who Am I To Stop Me?, Sandy Geroux is helps others achieve breakthrough performance through programs on effective risk-taking, goal-setting and achievement, and customer service. For more articles and tips, visit her on the web at www.sandygeroux.com or e-mail her at sandyg@sandygeroux.com