If you came from a large family, you might recall sitting at the kid’s table during holiday meals or gatherings. The good seats were reserved for adults while the kids sat on the floor or on folding chairs around the card table. I hated the kid table and I remember the day when I finally got to take my seat at the big table. A true right of passage.
As we move through our adult lives, there are many experiences that mirror the adult and kid table. Starting out as a young adult I was broke, uncertain but also filled with a desire for more. I think of this first adult table as being filled with people, loud and crowded. Everyone talking at once, having a few drinks and wishing someone would “just listen.” People complaining that they never get a chance, they are treated unfairly, asked to work long hours for low pay, their boss is a jerk and the list goes on. I now see that this room stays full and loud for decades for many people.
It takes a bit of courage to shift your attention from that first table to notice another table with a few less people around it. They are sharing crazy ideas, about taking a chance to start a business, move to another place or to try for that promotion. The conversation is different here. It has shifted from complaining about the lack of opportunity and how unfair the world is and is focused on ideas and chances. This next table is filled with hustle and hard work.
There is yet another table. These people sit with confidence, competence and grace. What you might notice here is how quiet it is. Those at this table have developed the skill of truly listening, reflecting and curating their ideas to ensure they are valuable. They collaborate and have moved from getting ahead themselves to now seeing ways to grow together, to give back and to create big changes. I refer to this table as the mastermind table. Where each individual becomes exponentially more in the group of changemakers.
If the idea intrigues you, first notice what table you are currently sitting at. How does it feel? Are you curious or ready to move? Then reflect on who you will need to become to take your seat at the next table. What might you need to let go of?
Here are a few ideas:
- Drop the habit of blaming. Your parents, your boss, the government. We will never create true change by complaining. We create change by becoming leaders and really listening.
- Stop gossiping. Share ideas, share your own stories, ask more questions and get curious about others. There is no gossip at the mastermind table.
- Notice when you are pulled back. Be willing to limit your time and energy that you give to those no longer at your table.
- Recognize when your place at the next table is set. Don’t hesitate to join, it will feel uncomfortable at first but the rewards are huge.
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