You’ve probably heard the famous political quote, “If you are not at the table, you are on the menu”. So, given the choice between sitting at the table or being an entrée, why do we choose the latter? Could it be because we don’t feel worthy of the table? Do we think we are not smart enough? Arewe embarrassed by the clothes we will wear to the table? Do we believe our opinion will not count?Are we held back by some other inadequacy our mind has conjured up for us? We can always think of a dozen more reasons why we are unable to step up to the table.
These reasons, which are actually weak excuses, for not showing up have one recurring theme – an innate belief that we are not ready. We were invited to participate, but chose to sit it out because we think we should be more prepared! Basically, we uninvited ourselves. We have an opportunity to be heard, but we choose to remain silent. We have an opportunity to share our talent with the world, but we choose to hide it.
The table is every goal or dream we have but feel unprepared to pursue. We decide on not starting a new venture, going back to school, taking a vacation, getting married, eating healthy, losing weight, having a baby, quitting a dead-end job, visiting family, etc. We refuse to act until whatever arbitrary limitation we impose on ourselves is dealt with. There is this belief that we should have all our ducks in a row before we embark on any venture, and that we have to be a hundred percent prepared and every potential leak plugged before we can start. This mindset literally cripples us from ever getting started.
The harsh reality is that you may never have enough money, time, support, etc. to get your dream off the ground. So, what should you do to get off the menu? It’s very simple. Start from where you are. Like Richard O. Moore reminds us, “we build our temples with the stones at hand.” This basically means you should do what you can and use what you have to get started. Never wait for a perfect scenario.
“You are made for perfection,
You are not yet perfect,
You are a masterpiece in the making.” ~ Desmond Tutu
The dream of perfection can prevent one from taking any step forward. You do not have to have all the tools and finances you may need to get started. You will be amazed how far you can go with only the resources you have currently. The key is to begin. Shamgar slaughtered 600 men with a simple farming tool – a cattle prod (Judges 3:31). He did not wait until he had a more effective weapon for battle. He merely used what was in his hands and it did the job. He may not have survived if he waited to have a full armor and other paraphernalia of war before joining the battle.
Going forward, choose progress over perfection. Resolve never to think or start a sentence with “if only …”. This thought pattern is guaranteed to land you on the menu. Rather, determine to begin where you are with what you have. Dreams do not materialize until we take action. Are you thinking of going back to school but can’t afford it? Start part-time. Do you want to lose weight but don’t have the time? Start with 5 minutes a day. Have you been thinking of visiting friends or family but can’t afford it? Plan ahead, pick a date and explore various modes of transportation.
I hereby commit to quashany justification I may have for not making my dreams a reality. I will not be on the menu and will take my rightful place on the table. I will begin from where I am; furthermore, I will do what I can by using what is available to me today to build my temple.I will not allow perfectionism to stop my growth.
Who’s with me?
Iruka A. Ndubuizu is a Negotiations Expert, Speaker, Trainerand Founder of Eureka Consulting, LLC. www.eurekaconsultingllc.com;
firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 678.224.1960.