When to Forget About Putting All Your Ducks in a Row

tundraswans by firda on flickr

tundraswans by firda on flickr

If you find yourself many weeks into planning a project, you may well be on target toward your goal. You may well be doing the detail planning and rehearsing that will ensure your success. But while putting your ducks in a row is a popular metaphor for making preparations and sounds like the right thing to do, it may not be a good idea.

Here are three times when you should forget about putting your ducks in a row.

When you are putting off taking action on something that you’ll have many opportunities to revise and refine later.

Two decades before I bought my first computer, I researched and asked questions of everyone I knew who owned one. I closely studied features, benefits and costs.

When I made my third round to the same friend with another pile of questions, she said wearily, “Just jump in and buy one. You’re going to replace it in a few years anyway.”

I had not realized until that moment that whatever computer I chose would just be the first of many. I was treating this purchase as if was going to be a one-time event.

It seems silly now, but until that moment I was stuck.

Now I was finally able to move forward.

When you are building up a lot of fear over losing something before you even get it

I once operated a home-based tutoring program that I wanted to move to a commercial building where I would have more room and could schedule multiple activities at one time.

I found the perfect building. It was about 14 blocks from my house and I passed it on the way to drop my youngest at preschool. It was brick with its own parking lot, and was already decorated and furnished thanks to the decorator/chiropractor couple who once owned it.

But fear set in, and for good reason. I was not savvy about real estate negotiations and didn’t have big bucks for a down payment.

When I went on a walk-through I fell in love. It had an eleven-seat waiting room, a glassed-in reception area, a large office with a skylight and down the long hall were rooms on each side that would be perfect for small classrooms.

There was a kitchen, two restrooms and at the end of the hall a large room for conferences or other events.

Again I was gripped by fear, but I bought a book called How Not to Get Taken Every Time and set out to negotiate for the building.

Normally I was the one in our marriage who was surefooted, but this time I was equally as afraid as my husband. As we got closer to the possibility of actually becoming the new owners something entered my mind that quieted my fears.

We didn’t have the building, and if we were able to get it and through some unfortunate turn of events lost the building we’d be right back where we currently were. We wouldn’t have the building again.

That was an amazingly freeing realization.

We proceeded to buy the building and kept it for two years until I decided to close the tutoring program.

When you are putting in a lot of planning for something you deep down don’t want to do

When I closed my tutoring program I thought I wanted to offer educational seminars. In my usual manner I began researching, reading and attending seminars.

I made notes and drafted plans for many months.

Finally one day I caught myself sighing when I was looking over my plans for my educational seminars. That’s when it hit me that I had no enthusiasm for this project.

It had seemed like a good idea years before, but it clearly wasn’t where I was being lead at that time.

Wow! I could stop lining up those ducks toward this goal and reassess my direction.

Did you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios? If so, forget about putting your ducks in a row and instead take more action, risk failure and check in with your enthusiasm to be sure you’re headed for a passionate interest.

How to Cultivate Happiness: Get Rid of the Weeds in Your Life

Working dog by meg price on flickr

Working dog by meg price on flickr

Weeds are a type of plant that appear in even the best of gardens. A whole industry of tools, techniques and herbicides has been created to get rid of them. Why are the grass and plants we call weeds so unwelcomed?

Weeds are the dreaded enemy of beautiful gardens because they compete with your garden for water and nutrients. Likewise, the weeds in your life must go because they sap your energy and block the intake of positive thoughts and action toward your goals.

What are some of these weeds?

1. Some weeds were born into your life through no fault of your own. They are better known as family. Some family members are wonderfully nurturing and a joy to have in your life. Others are toxic, negative, choking the life out of your goals and positive action. You know the ones I mean. They are the ones who leave a heavy cloud of doubt, depression and sorrow even after they are no longer physically present.

2. Some weeds you brought into your life. These are better known as friends, spouses and children. While we all would love to be able to share our dreams and goals with these people closest to us, it’s not always the wisest thing to do. Be selective about sharing your dreams with those who don’t have your best interest at heart. Even though they may have good intentions, watching you go after your passion makes them afraid for your safety and ashamed of their own lack of action. If you let them project their fears and insecurities on you, your progress toward the life that makes you happy will be slowed if not stopped.

3. Some weeds come into your life based on circumstances and situations. These are better known as neighbors, coworkers, and members of clubs and associations. When you were hired by your company or when you joined a given church or club, folks were already there. Some of these people will share your interests and become close friends and partners. Others may feel threatened by your positive actions and work to sabotage you.

How do you remove these weeds from your life?

Minimizing contact is the first step to reduce exposure to the life-sapping efforts of people out to diminish your worth and devalue your goals. When on a job, for example, you choose carefully the people with whom you will have lunch or take breaks.

There are some, of course, from whom you must sever ties as soon as you are aware of the damage they are causing. When you are in any relationship where you sustain physical, emotional or psychological violence, your life and well being depend on removing yourself as soon as possible to safety.

Preventing future weeds from entering and taking over your beautiful and thriving life is the next step. Now that you can recognize them, you can act quickly to keep them from getting a foothold in your life.

Finally, be on guard against inviting and entertaining your own internal weeds in the form of negative thinking and self-destructive habits.

As you practice more positive thoughts, follow your passion and pursue your goals be prepared for the efforts of the weeds to return. It’s their nature to go where they can get nourishment. Now that you are set on cultivating happiness, you must absolutely deny their presence in your life.

But don’t worry about them, they are a hardy and determined breed. They will soon find new, unsuspecting hosts nearby.

Fill Your Mind with Empowering Thoughts

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