Why are you at the table or why are you the leader?

Today’s guest post is by Doretha Walker. Doretha is past president of the Charleston, SC Center for Women , leads at DAK Americas, and blogs at Wecanflyhigher.blogspot.com. Doretha provides inspiration and information to support women so they can fly to their own success.

I did myself a grave injustice the other day at the Charleston, SC Women in Business Conference, Pathways to Power.

First, let me say that I hate speed networking. So when it was time to do it, I allowed myself 36 seconds of my allotted two-minute time. Okay, I didn’t want to be there so I didn’t fully participate.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have two minutes worth of merits. I mean, in my current position, I lead a locomotive crew. I established a foundation. I’ve met Oprah, and I promise you that it takes longer than 36 seconds to read my resume. What was I thinking?

There is a saying that you may be the only Bible (or holy book) that someone will read today. Well, your two minute speed networking speech may be the only resume someone will read today. I gave myself 36 seconds of airplay. So why should I expect anyone at my networking table to think I was worthy of more? They may have wondered why I was even at the table.

I missed a multitude of opportunities. I earned my journey and I have a right, no, I have an obligation to share it. It may inspire someone else.

Hoda Kotb wrote in her book that a man sitting next to her on a plane said something like don’t hog your journey. It isn’t meant just for you. In other words, many need to see where you are going and understand how to get there so they may do the same.

I think Marianne Williamson said it beautifully “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same.” Isn’t that what we as leaders strive to do – inspire, encourage, and uplift while accomplishing the mission?

Not only did I miss the chance to inspire, I lost the chance to have a door opened to something had someone been looking for what I had to offer. But I offered nothing while I had plenty to offer. I think this is called self-sabotage.

As leaders, we have earned our stripes and some of us have the battle scars to prove it. Our accomplishments are what brought us to the table and to the position of leader.

Understand that telling others how we arrived at our present destination is not bragging. It is simply charting the milestones that paved the way to our successes. It is our road map. That map may be traditional or it might be a bit scenic, but it is ours. It is ours to share. It is ours to be proud of.

So remember, people need to know why you are at the table or why you are the leader. You are there for a reason; and if you don’t believe that, why should anyone else? Do not follow my lead and short change yourself.

Share your journey. You are worth at least two minutes of airplay. Take it.

And you can bet that I will be fully present and accounted for during my next speed networking session.


3 Responses to Why are you at the table or why are you the leader?

  1. Wow. Your taking only 36 seconds sure turned into delivering a message that will last far longer than the two minutes allotted Thanks for proving that being a bad example can be as valuable as being a good one. Thanks also for giving us permission to share the negatives as well as the positives of our life experiences.

    Archie Burkel

  2. Thank you, Archie! You are so right. We need to take the lessons offered from our errors so that we can grow. I think that sharing our mistakes may keep someone else from doing the same thing. None of us are perfect and most of us will admit that!

  3. Pingback: NOW Leadership - February Edition | Germane Insights

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