For most of my career, not only was I the only woman at the table, I was the only woman in the room. When other women began to appear on the scene, I was not sure what to make of it. Should I be threatened? Should I rejoice or ignore them, embrace or try to bury them? I was already established by the time there were other women at the table. I didn’t really embrace them but I was open and kind. I found myself competing with them; judging them as if I forgotten I had already made my mark. I woke up one day and realized I had been a passionate mentor for the younger women in my sphere, but somehow as my peers, I treated them differently. Wasn’t this exactly what I was trying to accomplish? I was being a complete jerk by not mentoring these women who were not at my table. I hope someone else was quietly cheering them on. Did I think there were not enough seats at the table for all of us?
A couple of years ago I wrote a book entitled Upsetting the Table. It’s purpose was to help women take their rightful seat at any table in the world and to understand that they belong, they are leaders and deserve to be seated. That they are enough!!!
Thankfully, we now need a bigger table! Not because those who are already seated need to be pushed out of the way but rather we need to make room for others like ourselves. When women support, celebrate and cheer each other on, the table gets bigger & bigger.
I just listened to a great book entitled, Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power and Change the Game by Abby Womback. Abby takes the leadership lessons she learned from her time playing soccer (Olympic Gold Medalist) and brings them together in this book. She writes:
“ Championing each other can be difficult for women because for so long we have been pitted against each other for the token seat at the table. Maintaining the illusion of scarcity is how power keeps women competing for the singular seat at the old table, instead of uniting and building a new, bigger table.”
Lets build that bigger table and help each other take their seat.