The Right To Be In the Room

The room was filled with a variety of men and women and bustling with energy. I had been invited to talk to them about how good communication skills could increase the visibility of their businesses. During my presentation I laid out a series of actions steps ranging from speech crafting, to customization of topics, to where they could find speaking opportunities. The audience was enthusiastic and very invested in making their businesses a success.

At one point, I asked if anyone wanted to receive on the spot coaching for a particular visibility issue. A woman raised her hand and shared that she had recently completed a 3 year training program and received certification as a health coach. She went on to say that prior to this she had worked in the health care field and after her children became of school age, began her training.

After asking what kind of support she needed, I began coaching her on how she could funnel her passion into a variety of presentations topics. At some point during our coaching, she seemed to freeze and I could tell she had checked out. When I asked her what she thinking, she said, “I don’t have enough experience to talk about what I do. I just graduated and there are people who have been doing it a long time and I haven’t.”

As I switched to my therapist hat, I took a moment and then said to her, “You have a right to be in the room.” I paused again and said,.”You have the right to be there. You may want more experience speaking, you may want more experience coaching clients, but you have the right to be in the room.” As she stared back at me I asked her a series of questions about her background in health care, the amount of hours that went into her training program and all the life experience she had being a mother and spouse. We figured out together that it added up to quite a lot.

As a therapist and coach I have repeated that phrase to many of my patients and clients. They want to write books, ask for a raise, start a new business or simply let themselves be seen and noticed. They feel ashamed because they can’t “just do it” no matter how much they want to. Most of the time it’s due to the negative beliefs they have about who they are and what they have to offer. When they share those beliefs with me, I never dismiss their fears no matter how illogical. However, I do ask them to explore what is really holding them back.

In my experience, people shift when they understand where their fear started, challenge it’s validity and get support for a new way of thinking. Only when their outdated view is understood and dismantled, can they catch up to who they are in the present. And when that happens, the relief I witness is palpable. Not only do they discover that have the right to be in the room but also get to take up as much space as they need.

Here are some questions to consider when you find yourself wanting to shift your perspective:

What would you notice or feel if you had the right to be in the room?

How would you be standing, sitting or speaking if you had the right to be in the room?

What is one step you could take today if you knew you had the right to be in the room?

Who is one person that would support you if let yourself believe you have the right to be in the room?

Remember, when you are ready there are lots of rooms out there waiting to be filled and you too can be the one to fill them.

Have any thoughts about the right to be in the room? I’ve posted this article on my public Facebook page. Please feel free to share your comments.