Running through my head: If you are not at the table you are on the menu.

I think that’s how that phase goes.

I heard it once at a planning meeting, it was a planning meeting that had a pre-meeting to determine how the planning was going to go and then a post meeting to debrief, and probably a meeting after that to debrief about the debriefing…or some such nonsense.  Pre meetings!  Post meetings! Breakout sessions during meetings!  So many formal meetings, and then the informal coffee klatches, the “working lunches”, the spontaneous hallway summit.

Another phrase running through my head:  the world is run by those who show up.

This is how I have managed my professional life: show up, be at the table, participate, make yourself useful, be strategic and be brave.

I recently made a decision to step away from the table.  Its a decision that kept me awake at night, was the single focus of conversation between the Hubunit  and left me feeling  that I may  have professionally thrown myself off a bridge (complete with the overwhelming feeling of “OMG what did I just do”).   Still, I made the decision.  When I had my daughter, Lucy, I knew I could not work the way I used to.  I was at the table so much, had my hands in so many projects and was so very immersed in my work there was no room for anything else.  I would get up and go to work early, work late then talk with my work friends about work related things until it was time to go to bed and then I would get up and do it all again.  I did not invent this wheel; I am sure many who read this can appreciate. Lucy is small, but she takes up a lot of space in my heart and in my thoughts.  I like spending time with her, but more importantly she needs me.  I scaled back my work to a very part time position, giving up all my managerial responsibilities, authority and perks (farewell private office).  With my new part-time gig I have the freedom to work remotely and some of this is done from home and I only need help with childcare a few days a week as opposed to most days and that’s important to me.  It’s a compromise that I am satisfied with, at least for now.

If I were a therapist, I would say that perhaps a reframe of this is that  I am still at the table, I am still showing up…its just a different table.  The same rules apply: show up, be at the table, participate, make yourself useful, be strategic and be brave.  Its still frightening. Giving up the familiar, embarking on something new, the financial risk etc.  I am struggling with finding the balance here between following my heart and being eaten for lunch.

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