Table Captain!

A few months ago I attended a family wedding. It was a beautiful occasion with great attention to detail. One aspect that supported this was the appointment of table captains, the idea being that one person would attend to the needs of their fellow guests and ensure that everything was running smoothly at each table.

Flag saying 'table captain' attached to the top part of a chair

Personally, being a table captain was interesting. As someone who has been used to taking a back seat and letting things happen, being appointed to the captain’s role required quite a change in my approach. No longer could I just let the event wash over me, I had to be attentive to the needs of the other guests and be engaged in the process of ensuring things were running smoothly.

It made me reflect on my wider participation in life, how each moment I can be that table captain, taking responsibility for how others are, tending to the needs of people around us: not at the expense of our own wellbeing of course, but definitely there is an exquisite opportunity to care for and be proactively in the service of others. Or to put it another way, “get ourselves out of the way,” a term I first heard described by Serge Benhayon.

I also considered how the more I take on the role of table captain in my life, the less anxiousness takes hold as the presence we feel in ourselves becomes stronger. A perfect example of this arises in daily meetings. If I go into a meeting knowing I am not the chair or not the lead on a project, do I sit back and say, “Well, that person is leading, what are they going to come up with?” or do I play my table captain role and see myself as equally responsible for what unfolds, regardless of the picture of what my role is, not being the appointed ‘leader.’

In such a scenario, when I have taken responsibility, my energy levels and enjoyment have both skyrocketed, and I have felt the positive impact I have had on those around me.

This scenario could be related to any aspect of life and the wider societies we all live in. Do we say, “That’s someone else’s job,” or “Can’t someone else do it?” or do we initiate, take the lead, set the example, make things happen, and stand up for it when we know something is corrupt, not true, or just needs doing?

And if we are someone who is used to leading, the opposite can be true. We can provide support to others to take the lead – a table captain gently inspiring others to be captains too. The most beautiful thing about being the table captain is that we are tending to the needs of others, yet we are nourished deeply from the way we then allow ourselves to naturally be.

By Stephen Gammack, Sydney

Related Reading:
Being Responsible for the Life I Live
Change your life
Serge Benhayon – the universal man

620 thoughts on “Table Captain!

  1. I love people working together, putting all they have to the table – bringing a dish to a community event, helping organise and tidy up, writing music for the occasion & performing from their hearts. How beautiful is life lived this way? How beautiful is this community!

  2. I like the idea of everyone being a table captain, we can all chip in and support each other when needed, as there is always something that needs doing, from simple things like washing or drying the dishes to more responsible roles in life. If we all contribute even in a small way it makes a big difference in appreciation of others and ourselves.

  3. As someone who always enjoyed taking the back seat and letting others take responsibility it has come as a surprise at how vital, strong and joyful I feel by choosing to be in the front seat.

  4. ‘…when I have taken responsibility, my energy levels and enjoyment have both skyrocketed, and I have felt the positive impact I have had on those around me.’ This is so true. I’m looking at all the situations where I am reluctant to participate – usually something where I’ve been ‘ordered’ to go because it’s mandatory and I think I’ve got better things to do! It maybe that I’m feeling insecure but whatever it is I’m learning to get myself out of the way and be open to what is being offered for me and everyone.

  5. Interesting how taking responsibility is portrayed as a chore and something that is exhausting when in fact it often results in the opposite – you feel inspired and energised as you are working with more purpose.

  6. When we do not want to take responsibility, it is easy to want to blame another when things go wrong. But in reality by choosing the back seat and not speaking up/stepping up in responsibility when it was needed, means we are just as responsible as anyone else.

  7. As we step into greater levels of responsibility, we get to live and bring the authority of the table captain and inspire everyone around likewise. All too often we take the backseat in life, but really it is about asking ourselves what we get out of this, and when is it time to really show the world who we are.

  8. Being the one seems to be something many of us shy away from. I don’t know, does that come with a sense of having to carry the burden on our own, forever? It’s like, we are so scared of saying ‘Yes’ to stepping up to take the lead as if that would be a life sentence, like we can never ask for help from others, or others wouldn’t be wiling to support and contribute.

  9. This is really interesting and makes sense; ‘I also considered how the more I take on the role of table captain in my life, the less anxiousness takes hold as the presence we feel in ourselves becomes stronger.’ I noticed this when I went to a party, I was initially feeling anxious, I didn’t know anyone and was not enjoying being there. I could see that food needed to be cooked and served and no-one was doing this and so I started to take on this role, I asked people what they would like and really enjoyed serving them, with this I felt purposeful, made lovely connections with people and really enjoyed the event.

  10. Could the tendency to take a back seat be our lack of willingness to take responsibility? And, also an opportunity to then blame someone else when something doesn’t go to plan? Humm, something for me to consider as I have been really good at taking a back seat.

  11. I too have found this; ‘In such a scenario, when I have taken responsibility, my energy levels and enjoyment have both skyrocketed, and I have felt the positive impact I have had on those around me.’ After being inspired by your article, I have found that if I act as the ‘table captain’ and care for those around me rather than waiting to be served and sitting there, then I have found this role to be very enjoyable, it is beautiful to support others and to feel purposeful.

  12. This is really inspiring; ‘It made me reflect on my wider participation in life, how each moment I can be that table captain, taking responsibility for how others are, tending to the needs of people around us.’ Since reading this perviously I have noticed how lovely it is to support and serve others, this I have enjoyed at work and at social events – thank you for the inspiration.

  13. Being there for others without a ‘what’s in it for me’ agenda feels great. There’s an openness to being with others without the impatient waiting for a reward for my efforts. And it is an effort when I am expecting a prize. There’s none of this when I get my self out of the way.

  14. To me it is essential to be fully active in life and not sitting back waiting for others to do something. This doesn’t mean you have to ‘do’ lots but rather how you are in yourself, fully present, open, transparent, willing.

    1. Spot on Vanessa, it is a willingness to be ready to participate in full no matter how that may play itself out. And with this of course we need to maintain an awareness and know when to act and when to sit back and keep feeling.

  15. Irrespective of what the roles are, we are all responsible to bring our vibrations along and share them with others. There is a false belief that if you go into the back seat you may just forget all about it.

  16. “The most beautiful thing about being the table captain is that we are tending to the needs of others, yet we are nourished deeply from the way we then allow ourselves to naturally be.” Yes it is our True nature to deeply care for people and to activate this in life is very nurturing.

  17. Having table captains at a wedding is a wonderful way to expand the energy of brotherhood, responsibility and love together. It takes the quality of the wedding to another level.

  18. “Table Captains” are needed in life to offer the next level of evolution and growth we can go to. Without them we can plateau and stay in comfort. And this is exactly what humanity has chosen and why there are so few true leaders in the world today.

  19. When I consistently take a back role or secondary role it might mean that I do not bring forward all that there is to express.

  20. The responsibility of living as equals, working to our strengths and never shying away from an opportunity to lead, overtly or simply by reflection… this is definitely something to commit to.

    1. Aye aye Captain! Well said Matilda – we love having people to lead the way, but in essence there is a true leader within each of us, and this must never be forgotten.

  21. I love the idea of a table captain at a wedding and how you have expanded it to relate to life. It is a responsibility and like any other responsibility it can be abused or used for the good of all.

  22. Yeah this is an interesting one. I think a lot of people see responsibility as a burden. Like ‘ugh, I’m the table captain. Now I’ve got to DO something’’. I’ve definitely been that person. But I also know that life is a lot more enjoyable if responsibility is seen as an opportunity to have (a) purpose. It may not always be the most fun thing to do, but it is supportive to me and to others.

  23. Getting myself out of the way has been one of the greatest lessons gained from spending time with Serge Benhayon. And not necessarily because of what or how he has said it, but because of how he lives this simple approach to life, with each person he meets and in each situation he finds himself, there always being an opportunity to move himself out of the way and therefore making space for the greatness that is in him to come out and to be expressed – for the benefit of everyone.

  24. We all can be the “table captain”, that is be the one who brings a focus to any situation and with focus comes purpose and responsibility.

  25. We all have something truly valuable to contribute to society and the more we claim the power and wisdom we all innately hold, the more we share or respond with the truth of what is needed for us to support each other to evolve as a humanity.

  26. I appreciate what you have shared Stephen, as I too have taken a back seat in life letting things just happen, I have since realised that in the group I am in, I have an equal responsibility to bring all of me to the table so to speak with no holding back, we each have something to contribute to the whole we are a part of ..

    1. I agree Joshua as it is part of who we naturally are in essence as the wise, beautiful, all-knowing Souls and in our essence we know what is needed for us to step into and when, for in this quality it is not about us as an individual but us as a humanity.

  27. I find that being attentive to the needs of other people always makes for an amazing experience – this is what life is about – us all taking care and supporting each other.

  28. “It made me reflect on my wider participation in life,” A beautiful wedding gift to you in all your relationships with others.

  29. I simply love sitting down at a table with a group of people having fantastic connections and conversation, the icing on the cake so to speak is the attention to detail when others are caring for you like you would them. Beautiful.

  30. Moving through life with attentiveness, awareness and responsibility never goes astray, in fact, they are very handy allies to have along the way.

  31. It is very easy in our busy days to forget about those around us, and be in our own little world. But there is a responsibility we have for everyone we meet, not to pander to them and put ourselves second, but to walk on earth with the soul that we each are as our guide. With that alignment to our soul, we are offering everyone we meet the truth of who they are, without even uttering a word.

  32. I love this concept of Table Captain. It highlights the fact that in order to be able to be there for others in this way we need to be alert, present and vital, which means we have to take care of ourselves first. It brings it all into perspective.

  33. Being connected to what’s needed around is a real joy – whereas choosing to just take care of no. 1 and those we care about is so limiting and feels so constricted. I feel I once would have been much more comfortable being in the supporting table captain role rather than taking the lead, but actually being table captain is a role of observing what’s needed and acting on this, it’s not some mysterious set of skills I didn’t possess- as I once believed to conveniently keep me from stepping out and doing what I could see was there to be done.

  34. If I’m working in a group or team together with others on something I’ve noticed how asking myself how I would contribute if I were the leader really helps me to be honest with what I’m feeling is needed, rather than sitting back and waiting for another to say what to do; it’s something I know I can develop more in my life and can see how really worthwhile it is to reflect and act on.

  35. Being aware of what is going on around us is so important. If we are locked into our own little world we miss out on what is available through connecting with people and caring for others.

  36. Stephen, this is interesting; “That’s someone else’s job,” or “Can’t someone else do it?” or do we initiate, take the lead, set the example, make things happen, and stand up for it when we know something is corrupt, not true, or just needs doing?’ I can feel that I am starting to take the lead and take more responsibility rather than leave things up to others. I have found that it is amazing what happens when we take the lead and initiate projects and how lovely it feels getting others involved and creating a sense of community with everyone working together rather than trying to do things on my own.

  37. I love how when most of us are given a sense of responsibility we relish it. I see this a lot with children as soon as they are included in what is going on and asked to participate even if it is just doing something simple they feel a sense of inclusion and immediately step up to what has been asked. So I ask myself now do we need to wait to be given the responsibility or can we instead step up and offer it and by doing so take responsibility for what needs to be done. Most of my life I have played the waiting game but see the fruitlessness of it as nothing changes yet when I am on the front foot, so to speak, suddenly I feel much more involved and a part of what is going on rather than simply a bystander.

  38. I was feeling pretty sluggish this morning and when out walking our dog I realised I had a very clear and simple choice: I could move sluggishly all day or I could check in with my body and stride out a bit, putting purpose and vitality into my steps… a choice we have with all of our movements and the quality of them.

  39. As a Team Leader I have often fallen into the trap of believing that I need to command everyone to do things. But recently I have experienced a beauty in simply being and connecting with the individuals in my team and supporting them by meeting them first and foremost. From there I have been working ‘with’ them to discover effective ways of doing things. There is such a vast difference in this. There is more harmony, less stress, and more mutual respect. Being ‘table captain’ is simply being aware of everyone, meeting everyone where they are at, and supporting them by being present.

  40. Having purpose and responsibility wakes us up and really does energise us. It makes all the difference and I find I enjoy everything I approach in this way.

  41. To be at a table where you are the main focus of being looked after and that you are being cared for is one table everybody will want to sit at.

    1. It sure is Natalie and should be the case at every single table we sit at. The more we all start by doing this in our homes at our dinner tables the more this is will become the norm and my feeling is the more it will help us address the way we eat and what we eat going from one of trying to cram as much in and indulge our sense to one where we eat to support and nourish our bodies without over stimulating or dulling it with the food. Why, because the company and the conversation is now the focus and not the food.

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