Updated: Feb 11
“A seat at the table” refers to someone who’s successful, who has the ability to effect change, to have a say in important matters. It’s become a symbol of power, and gives a person the influence and opportunity to be heard and make a difference.
Recently I attended a conference where I had the opportunity to converse with another visionary. During the conversation she asked what my inner critic was telling me. My inner critic responded, “I don’t belong at The Table”.
She laughed and asked, “Belong at whose table, table 49? Can you belong at that table?”
I laughed back. Of course I belong at Table 49.
Her next question was intriguing. “So you’re saying that you’re comfortable sitting at Table 49 because they’re not successful?”
I’ve been pondering this concept ever since. I DID have a seat at the table of success, Table 49. It’s so simple, and so true.
The truth is, we ALL have a seat at the table, the most important table…our OWN table. The question is, how do we show up at our table, show up in our own lives? How do we make our table successful? We can ask ourselves, “How can I show up for myself? How do I make decisions about my own health? How kind am I to myself? How do I value my time and money? How do I nurture myself and others? How do I address my own demons, heal my own wounds?”
I started contemplating my life. Depression can rob our memories of the value we’ve brought to the world. As I thought about it, I’ve been at the table of success a lot: as President of the Surgery Club, as PTA President, as the coach of a Champion soccer team, as a doctor, and as a Mom. More importantly, I was at the table every time I helped a friend get through a lousy moment, every time I showed up for my family, every time I smiled and said something kind to someone.
Every person who gets up each day and shows up in the world, handles their business, smiles, laughs, and in general helps people. Every parent who lovingly cares for their children, every mental health professional who guides someone into a brighter life, every doctor who helps a patient, every soldier who defends the freedom of others, every teacher who helps a child’s confidence, every plumber who cleans our pipes, and every garbage man who gets rid of our trash. We are all sitting at The Table of Success, Table 49.
The most important question is, “What are we DOING at our table?” Are we dining on fine food and engaging others in deep conversation or are we eating fried Twinkies and shooting spit balls at another table? Are we dishing out Love or hatred, Compassion or violence? Are we living Bravely or in fear?
What I’ve realized is that she’s exactly right. We ALL have a seat at the table, Table 49. It’s not where we’re sitting, it’s what we do with it, what we order from the menu, the types of conversation we have. So I ask you, what are you doing at your table?