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

474 thoughts on “Table Captain!

  1. Gorgeous blog Stephen. Being the table captain in life and taking lead I have also found builds purpose in the body and gets the self out of the way. I absolutely love these words you use as they sum this up beautifully ‘tending to the needs of others, yet we are nourished deeply from the way we then allow ourselves to naturally be.’

  2. When we do say yes to responsibility it absolutely feeds you back and you feel charged and totally equipped for the next moment. When we ignore or dismiss the call for responsibility then we feel that in the body big time yet we don’t want to feel it so we resort to ways of numbing this tension in the body.

  3. ‘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. ‘This is very powerful. When we step into this way of being we are present with all that we need so there is no space left for anxiousness.

    1. The building of purpose in the body and actioning what we feel and taking lead let’s us set how we are in life and the quality we bring, rather than being at the mercy of taking a back seat, letting others do it and being in the anxiousness of the unknown, the quality or the how. Anxiousness has no room when we choose to be present in ourselves and in our actions – and taking lead in this quality closes the door on anxiousness.

  4. I feel, deep down, we all love responsibility when we choose to take it, it engages us with life, with those around us, offering us the opportunity to consider how our movements and actions are affecting not only those around us, but everyone everywhere – the beautiful ripple effect. Taking responsibility is very honouring of us and everyone else.

    1. Completely agree Alison. When we actually see and feel where society is at and what people experience in life daily – people taking lead in a true attention to quality and detail is actually what is needed.

  5. What if we continually made our life one of being in service to all of humanity what would that look like? Would it start by connecting to our essence so we would be “nourished deeply from the way we then allow ourselves to naturally be.”? Then what would life look like? Maybe we would all become so alive and focused on living in harmony nothing else would become a problem for everyone would be feeling each others reflection of divinity from their essence and life would be lived-in true Joy.

  6. I love the example you gave of going into meetings, taking a back seat because you are not the one leading it. I recognise this, and I also see that the times I have done this, I was not fully present, so in other words giving my power away and at the same time not being responsible for myself and everyone equally, which were my old patterns.

    1. Yes this is example is cool because it means that even though we may not be technically ‘running’ the meeting that we can still take lead in our quality and what we bring. A choice is always there.

  7. In a recent conversation with a friend, I was expressing how unsure or tentative I felt about being a leader, and how this did not seem like something that I could ever do. However, my friend very gently and skilfully pointed out that sometimes being a leader can simply mean speaking the truth as you see it and sense it to be, that is, to be honest about your own perspective given all that you have experienced and know to be the truths of life.

  8. A beautiful sharing of the joy and flow that comes from simply being and taking care of others’ needs naturally also.

  9. This example of table captains reminds me of true leadership where we can each step up and lead taking responsibility for overseeing the care of others in different aspects and moments in life.

  10. A beautiful call to embrace the responsibility we all have to lead at any moment the impulse is there for us to express and move what we feel is needed. We all are more than capable of taking the lead as we simply need to connect to and reflect the truth we feel in a particular moment and our openness to this is what allows our awareness to develop. There never is only one leader as we all know truth and all can feel that truth of what is needed as such we all have the ability to respond to truth and take the lead.

  11. I am loving embracing being more present in my life, open to the awareness of what is needed. The thoughts that question what I bring to the situation are very much dying as I reflect positively on what I’ve said. Sometimes I’ve not said anything but I’ve felt the quality and felt that’s opened up the space. We are never bystanders but have a presence that brings quality or not. I see how greater presence brings greater confidence – and without arrogance. I’m seeing glimpses of humility as I understand what’s of quality that is being brought through isn’t of my making.

  12. This blog has come to mind a few times recently, and how we can step up when required to and also how we can facilitate that for others as well.

  13. For me being a “Table Captain” is all about taking responsibility for how we are living and being with others and in the world. It is not the heavy, weighing down feeling of responsibility that so many of us have made it but a joy-filled knowing that my next choice could make a wonderful change in my life or in someone else’s. I am saying yes and signing up to be “Table Captain” of my life.

  14. I really like this Stephen, as a fellow backseat person, if I see someone else doing something or that they have everything sorted I tend to step back and think the job’s done and I have no role here. But perhaps I need to approach life more as a table captain and look more into my abdication of responsibility and what possibly could be on offer that I am saying no to.

  15. It is sometimes easy to sit back and allow events just to unfold which maybe what is required at times however this can also mean that we are non-committal in life and when so many issues facing society and humanity exist because we do not stand up to be counted in expressing what we feel to be true this is a great time to reflect on why we do not step forward as the ‘table captain’ all of the time and then choose how we feel to go on.

  16. I love the point about the ‘table captain’ being someone who can lead and inspire others to lead. This is where we open ourselves up to the awareness of what is needed – in each moment and by those around us – whilst also taking into account how we respond to different situations… this requires a level of honesty with ourselves.

  17. I feel one of the biggest things that can hold us back from expressing in meetings is this fear of being ‘wrong’, of being seen as less and being ridiculed. However, by holding back, we are already choosing to make ourselves less than everyone else, what we are feeling to share may be the very thing that takes the meeting to another level of honesty and truth. Our lack of expression is what keeps us small, allowing in the self doubt, we are the ones judging ourselves, not the other way around.

  18. I love what you shared Stephen, I often sit back in meetings not realising that I too am an important part of the group as anyone else, I too can be a table captain, sharing and supporting others with what I have to bring.

  19. I love the caring aspect of being a table captain and how true and beautiful to allow for that in every moment of our life.

  20. Thinking that life is just about us has an emptiness that can never be filled. No matter how we strive to improve things, the only resolution is realising life is always about love and us all.

  21. It’s amazing, once we give ourselves the opportunity to shine, how much we learn and grow. We become aware of our qualities and what we offer to the world.

    1. So true Susan – when we step into this we are then given all we will need. We can fall into the trap of waiting to have what we will need and so not stepping forward when in fact it works the other way around.

      1. Great point Michael, this is something I am observing and experiencing at the moment. It is easy to have pictures of how we want life to be but all of that holds us back, waiting until everything looks fine or better. Then when we move from the picture of better, it actually isn’t true.

  22. Thank you for this timely article Stephen. I have been taking a back seat and being the support person for the leader most of my life. But like you I have also found that my enjoyment and sense of purpose come alive when I realise I can be the ‘table captain’ at any moment, as we all can be. When you feel this responsibility you are no longer in the existence of life or the passive receiver of what comes to you.

  23. This blog brings out some very points to really consider, it is easy to sit back and just let those that have the ‘leading’ role take charge and do all the work, it’s almost like, the others play a less role therefore they can sit back and not participate. But when everyone participates and cares something happens, there is an alchemy where everyone’s contribution becomes an offering to the group experience because the roles are not about where one person does it all but everyone has something to offer and this ignites inspiration, joy, ideas, etc and the group connection is one of care.
    I’ve seen this in a workplace, where everyone came together on a project and the leading person included everyone’s participation, each person’s contribution offered a part to the whole and what worked was the caring factor towards each other in getting the project done. The group was able to overcome challenges and have inspirational ideas. If some sat back or others only led this would not have been possible.

  24. Sitting back and allowing someone else to do things is so passive in any situation and we are actually missing the learning when we do this. When we take responsibility and sort things out ourselves, we learn, develop and grow.

    1. And being passive in life and missing the learning, with that the thing is, we keep attracting similar situations until we learn the lesson…. stopping and holding the intention to learn the lesson opens us to so much support especially those challenging lessons – but I have come to observe that there is nothing we are given that we cannot handle – and sometimes I forget this little gem of wisdom!

  25. Yes, Stephen, I too have recently been reflecting on how much we miss out on and how much we withhold when we sit back and don’t bring our all…it seems crazy now when I am starting to experience the joy of embracing a life full of purpose.

    1. Agreed Janet, I am learning to embrace life and observe that when we don’t, we are holding ourselves back and so the world does not get the real us.

  26. Stephen, I love the way you took the lessons from you role of table captain in one specific situation and applied it to other areas of your life. We can all learn from this. True learning informs everything we do.

    1. I agree, Michael, it feels such a beautiful way to bring everyone together and ensure everyone is taken care of, whilst having a lot of fun in the process.

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