Leadership and the Ducks

Does it really matter which duck you represent?


Could this popular picture inspire you? It did for Indiana photographer, Jim Rider, along with me and many others since.

A few years ago, Jim Rider, an Indiana photographer, was in his truck headed for a photo shoot. However, on the way, he saw something that in some ways would change his life.

Crossing the street in front of him were nine baby ducks with no mother duck in sight. As Rider stopped the truck, they were approaching the curb on the other side, when all of a sudden, they stopped.

Trapped with no place to go, they waited for over ten minutes; each looking around for someone else to lead the way. Finally, one of the baby ducks got the thought ‘enough is enough’ and made the move to climb the curb. Scratching and clawing, he made it! And after that move, each little duck, one by one, followed their leader!

We spend so much time discussing and celebrating our leaders – maybe too much time. Life is not a spectator sport, but an action one. It is just as important to be a wise and awake follower and take pause before following anyone. Does the leader really have everyone’s best values at heart and do they pursue their goals in a loving rather than fear-inducing way. Is their journey directed toward love and abundance or fear, scarcity, and judgment? It is when we become blind to poor or mis-directed leadership that we all head into detours. While that first duck was the pioneer to be celebrated, every duck’s action contributed to the group’s success. And perhaps that last duck was waiting to see that the other ones made it up safely before finishing that portion of the journey.

Consider adopting a leadership role is some area of your life even if you consider it tiny or inconsequential. You most likely already are a leader in some area and haven’t realized it yet. The important thing is to take action whether you are the first or the last to climb your curb. Perhaps someone admires your talent, your style, your grace or your generosity. We may never realize the lives that we quietly touch so even if you aren’t called a leader, don’t be afraid to take action, to lead, to lead the best life you can for someone else is always watching and that someone may also be you! A life well-lived is truly something to be admired so be the leader of it.

And remember these little ducks. Each one took action, pulled his weight, and attained a worthy goal. When we are all doing so together we ALL get ahead.

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