Much has been written about Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In mantra and I don’t really want to add to that. Or maybe I do.
I read the book (audible audio book to be exact) and I was impressed with the tough road that Sandberg described. But on reflection I don’t think leaning in is my problem. If anything, I probably over-lean and the thing I need to work on is of a different nature.
TD Jakes cracked my code with his own posture statement: Be Seated.
Be Seated gives you permission to take the position that has been given to you and function in that place.
Over the years I could never understand why people seemed to want to move me out of my position all the time. People questioned my authority and would look puzzled when I turned up to meetings “are you the brand manager?”” “”they used to hire more senior people to be communications managers…”’ and the seed would be planted that I wasn’t really meant to be there and I would start selling and justifying my position to other people.
I guess it is related to the ‘”imposter syndrome” that Sandberg says she still suffers from but I really like how Be Seated provides an answer. Don’t be surprised if people try and steal your seat -it happens-and the more valuable your seat is, the stronger the winds will blow to try and move you.
I did a little Be Seated experiment a few weeks back at a conference. I was allocated a seat at a round table that just happened to be next to the keynote speaker. He was a Silicon Valley tech advisor and we made friendly banter about the weather and his sightseeing around Sydney. Suddenly, the seat attacks commenced. People hovered around and tried to push into my conversation “can I just get passed you?”’, “can I just get my chair in there?”
I remembered to Be Seated and ignored the swooping. The keynote speaker started showing me a new SIM card that’s being tested by the US military. The swooping intensified. All I was doing was sitting in my allocated seat and chatting to my neighbour but I started to realise that the activity had nothing to do with me
They wanted what I had. I had a good seat.
Then I started to realise "I've always had good seats and that's why I've always had people trying to unseat me.""
If you are currently experiencing swooping and elbowing in your allocated position remember, it’s a positive sign. Other people have seen what you have and they want it. Be seated, chat to your neighbour and enjoy your good seat. You might learn something about US military SIM cards and it's less tiring than leaning.