I came across a saying the other day that I had not heard before, and never caught the context in which it was being used, yet it made an impact on me for the day. What I heard was “if you are not at the table, you are on the menu”.
While thinking about what this meant I thought to the many board meetings, business meetings, budget meetings, etc. where it made perfect sense; you are with a group of individuals at a table deciding the fate of others who are not present. Where this saying made an impact on me is when I placed it internally and stopped thinking of it in an external context.
In life, we are either at the table or on the menu; we are either making decisions or having decisions made for us. In empowerment, to personally advance, we need to be the ones at the table looking over the menu of life and thoughtfully choosing what will fulfill us the most. By doing this we learn to live with purpose, we gain control, and we allow our best lives to take the forefront.
All too often we find ourselves driven by what others wants and needs are. Our decisions are not our decisions because they are attached to someone else’s desires of what they want us to be. We begin to act in a way that best suits our perceived position in life, but is not necessarily our best purpose in life.
To be at the table means that we are in a position to decide fate. In business that usually means the fate of others for our and their advancement, but in our personal lives we must act on what our fate, determined by us, is to be. The second we lose this philosophy is the second we become something on a menu for others to select only when they have the desire to select us. This is the exact moment when we give up the privilege of choice and respond instead of act.
Putting yourself in a position where you have earned the right to sit at the table is a collection of strength and fortitude and the challenges we face in getting there allows us the right to have power; the right to create choices. The stronger and more determined we become, the larger the menu gets and the greater life we allow ourselves to live.