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This is My Table


I recently discovered: "The Power of your own Personal Table and the importance of standing on Top of it."

I am sharing the story with you in this article.


As an ICF-certified coach, I empower people to claim their intangible space. Enjoy reading!


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“Excuse me. This is MY table.”


I stared down at the lady in the cafe seated at my table. Although I tried to keep my voice neutral, my eyes gave away my anger. In the few minutes I had taken to order another chai at the counter, she had installed herself comfortably at my corner table. All my things were visibly there: my jacket, my bag, my laptop, my sunglasses, and my used tea cups. Did she not see that? How on earth did she even assume nobody was sitting there? This is my table. I sit here every day. Every server, every regular visitor, knows this is my table. How can she be so ignorant?


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I had carefully chosen this table months ago. After thorough research - testing out every single table in the process - I found this one to have the best mountain view, the largest social distancing, the smoothest AC breeze in summer, and the snuggest corner to sit in winter. To my delight, monkeys never ventured this far to steal food (it lies just beyond their escape route). The wifi here is rock-solid. I can make phone calls without noisy distractions. I even have an outlet next to me to charge my laptop conveniently. This is my table. There is no doubt about that.


Every morning at 7:30 am, I arrive at my table and watch the sun rise above the mountain tops. Feeling the morning’s rays warm my skin while sipping sweet chai brings me into a meditative state of gratitude. I care much less for the street view Dhiren prefers to have from his table, as it pollutes my mind. The distraction of watching everyday street events unfold is a never-ending disturbance. The regulars each have their own table; Kim likes to observe the cafe’s clientele from his seat facing away from the mountains, while Ashok retreats to the corner table across the room. Ashok aside, no other human can stand the heat and lack of air at that table, guaranteeing him quiet and focus time.


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The lady apologized, stood up, and left.

Hours later, I feel guilt, shame, and embarrassment creeping up my mind. I started wondering why I had responded in such a manner. My little monkey voices happily took the opportunity to chatter away: “Sarah, This was clearly your fault; you should not have left your table. Or maybe it is her fault, and she is a nosy person who likes to get into other people’s business. Or maybe she knew this was your table, felt lonely, and wanted to start a conversation with you - were you being unfriendly? Maybe there was no other space available (in my anger, I did not care to check if there were free seats or not). It could have been an opportunity for you to meet someone new. You could have even practiced the Human Library concept, where she would have told you her life story, and you, in turn, yours to her.“


Why did I shoo her away? Why was I not more open to having a friendly 30 min chat and getting back to work? What made me think I had no 30 minutes to spare out of my life? Was I scared of talking to strangers?” By now, my little voices had played all the tones a piano could possibly play and were dangerously effective in talking me down… They continued: “See, this shows you are not open to new experiences…Did you really think your work was more important than having a chance to connect with others?” “Enough!” I told my little voice.



I recalled a similar instance that had happened a few weeks prior to another cafe regular. Upon returning from the restroom, he too discovered his seat to be taken and growled in his thick Australian accent: “Thanks, mate. This was my seat. You took it without even asking.” He gathered his belongings and relocated to another table, losing his beautiful mountain view. Unlike me, however, he didn’t claim his space - he simply gave up and left.


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From where does this need for claiming our space come? What is the response one ought to give? What is a nice thing to say? Is it normal to want my table back? Was the Australian guy a pushover? Observing these instances made me think deeper about the various ways of responding; I realized I, too, had much to unlearn in how to respond in a friendlier manner, more in line with who I want to become.


In the weeks that followed, I started getting obsessed with the concept of needing to claim one’s ‘table’. I saw it happening in the work environment, at home, in an open space, in a cafe, in an airport gate waiting area, at beach loungers around a swimming pool, … everywhere! What struck me most was that this space-claiming trait was a human trait - irrespective of the country or culture I was in, the ‘This is My Table’ concept popped up again and again. No name is carved on our table, yet we all confidently claim it. And whenever someone does attempt a coup at our table, well, from that moment onwards, there is nothing they can ever do to appear in our good books anymore.


I also noticed something else: this space-claiming is not limited to a physical space like a table. We can also claim ownership over our thoughts, actions, and experiences. It is easy to claim a physical space, but claiming an intangible space seems difficult for us to do. We often comfortably tend to 'forget' to claim our thoughts, actions and feelings. If only we could raise our awareness of this and claim these more, it would help us move forward much faster in life. We would respond less from a victim mode and more from a proactive and action-taking mode.


I dived deep into research of this concept; I even followed the hype of ChatGPT-ing it: “The concept of "this is my table" is rooted in the idea of ownership or control. This can be over a physical object, such as a table, or it can be a metaphorical one, such as a project at work. It also can be over personal space at home. In a coaching environment, it can be taking ownership of one’s thoughts, actions, and experiences. It is all about claiming ownership back. It empowers you as you set boundaries in terms of responsibilities.


- The phrase "this is my table" establishes boundaries and communicates to others that a specific area or responsibility belongs to a particular person. This can be important in various settings, including the workplace, where individuals may need to collaborate on projects but also have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what.


  • When someone says, "this is my table", it can also be related to personal space and privacy. They may indicate that they want others to respect their space and stay out of certain areas or activities.


  • In a coaching context, this phrase could refer to a person's sense of ownership or control over their thoughts, actions, and experiences.



· A coach might encourage a client to take ownership of their own goals and challenges by saying something like, "this is your table”: you get to decide how you want to approach this problem." This phrase could empower the client and encourage them to take an active role in their growth and development.

· A coach can refer to a person's ownership of their emotions and feelings. For example, a coach might say, "this is your table, and you get to decide how you want to feel about this situation."

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I am Sarah. And - This is My Table. I am an ICF-certified coach. My mission is to empower you to become confident to stand on top of your table in all aspects of your life and reclaim your power over yourself. Working together in a safe and high-flame coaching setup will enable you to make decisions aligned with your core values, passion, and mission. That alignment is critical to ensure you have no regrets for having responded differently in life.


I invite you to identify blocks and shift your energy. We will break the walls around your table so you can enjoy the view to the fullest. As an entrepreneur, a multinational executive and a lifestyle traveler, my eyes smile. I love life. I am on top of my table. I know my values, self-worth, and limits, and I invite people to improve their lives. Join me. Come sit at my table.

This Is My Table


Sarah

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