Do you remember the kids’ table at holiday gatherings with the family? Where perhaps too many people were crammed into too small a space so the kids were shoved to another table that felt like it wasn’t the important table to be at? That’s what inspired the idea I’m sharing with you today, the understanding of the 3 rooms we need to travel through to achieve success.

The 3 rooms fit into the journey of life, of business, and of achievement. They are a series of rooms, as I envision them, that we hopefully travel through as we learn more on our journey. Not everyone will actually leave the first room. And those who make it to the second room may not leave that room either. But my hope, for myself and all of you, is that we all make it to the third room.

I’ll share what each room feels like and the mindset of the people in that room. Entrepreneurs and business owners all go through every room. So the best advice I can give is to learn the lessons of each room and progress through to the next level of success. Room Three, a place of opportunity, collaboration, and conversation, is the pinnacle of the journey. What mentors can help get you there? And if you’re there, how can you bring others in? 

Key Moments

06:07 Room One, the Kid Table room

09:24 Room Two, the Room of Independence 

13:12 Room Three, the Mastermind Room 

  • Do you have a mentor or can you be a mentor?
  • Do you cling to the scarcity mindset, the belief that there’s not enough to go around?
  • Envision a place where people listen more than speak and collaborate willingly with each other


Contact Kari Lotzien | Be the Anchor: 



Kari Lotzien: [00:00:01] Welcome to Be The Anchor, the podcast. I’m your host, business and leadership coach Kari Lotzien. When the seas of life gets stormy, and they always will, it is not up to us to captain anyone else’s ship or to try to calm the waters of the ocean. It’s up to us to set our own destination for what we really want and to learn how to navigate those waves of life together while finding that place of security and stability with others. I call this being an anchor. If you are a dreamer, a visionary, an entrepreneur, whether you have an idea big or small, that you think might just make the world a little bit better, kinder, gentler place, you are in the right spot, my friend. We are going to talk about everything from big ideas to mindset and strategy and sometimes just how to get through the day. I don’t want you to miss an episode so be sure to follow and subscribe to the podcast so that we can stay connected and keep doing this journey of life together. Thanks so much.

Kari Lotzien: [00:01:11] Hello my friends. Welcome to the podcast. I’m your host, Kari Lotzien, business and leadership coach. Today I want to talk to you about an idea that I have shared with a ton of clients and friends in my life, and it’s just getting so much traction, so excited to talk to you about it. I grew up in a family that there was a lot of cousins and a lot of aunts and uncles, and for holidays we would gather at my grandparents house, which was this tiny little home, and we would pack all in there and it was just loud and noisy and chaotic and things got broken and kids were fighting. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:01:50] But it was some of my best memories from my childhood. Although we had a kid table. I don’t know if you grew up in one of those families that was really chaotic and we tried to squeeze a lot of people into a small space. Inevitably, we had this kid table, which all the kids were pushed off of the good table where the adults would sit and into the kid table, which was sometimes the coffee table, sometimes a card table, sometimes, you know, a random picnic table that was brought in from outside, dust it off and we didn’t… sometimes you’d stand, sometimes you’d sit if you didn’t have enough chairs. But I always felt that the kid table was the second rate table. Being one of the older cousins, I, you know, would have to look after the younger cousins, help them cut their food, help them, encourage them to eat. And I always would be watching that adult table and thinking that’s where the good stuff’s happening. That’s where I really need to be. What age do I need to be? What are the qualifications that I can finally move my butt out of this kid table to over where the good stuff’s happening? Now we can talk about how coming into adulthood is maybe not as exciting as it seems, and maybe the conversations over there were just really not as entertaining as I thought they were.

Kari Lotzien: [00:03:13] But this idea of a kid table and wanting so badly to be at the adult table, I’ve taken it and twisted it a little bit into life, business, where we want to go and who we want to go there with. As I’m coming into some middle years, let’s call them, of my life, one of the things that just keeps coming back to me is how absolutely grateful I am for the people that have become friends, that maybe started as clients, started as colleagues, or maybe even competition and how they’ve become some of the best people on this journey of life and how those relationships have changed over time. Because I come from a small community in rural Alberta, Canada, where I felt like my world was pretty small. I felt like my opportunities were pretty limited because what I could see was based on the people that I was around on a daily basis. I didn’t get to see people who were living big dreams, especially women. Most of the business owners in my community were men. They were very, very few of them.

Kari Lotzien: [00:04:33] And I had this kind of admiration, but not accessibility. I always felt like we were on completely different grounds. And as I’ve kind of been looking back and thinking, okay, how did this whole thing work out for me? How did I end up developing two different businesses? How did I end up continuing to want to push to go to that next level of success? What got me there from being this small town kid who didn’t have a lot of experience with entrepreneurs in my family or in my friend group. How did I get there? And so I want to share this with you because for me it’s exciting. And I think what it does and what I hope it does for you is it shows that this journey to success, whatever that means for you, whatever that definition is for you, is available no matter where you are right now, no matter if you are sitting in your little crappy one bedroom or maybe even not even a one bedroom, maybe a little studio apartment that is dirty and has nasty shag carpet, this is available to you too. It’s not about money. It’s not about handouts. It’s not about opportunities that are multigenerational. I think this is different and I’m so excited about it.

Kari Lotzien: [00:05:56] It starts with the kid table analogy, and now I want it to have really exciting titles for the rooms. What I’m going to talk to you about is three rooms. Room one. This is like the kid table room. I think this is where many of us start. This is where I started when I was a teenager, when I was a young adult. It was the idea that where your life goes is a direct correlation to what is offered to you. The reins are held by someone else. This room is noisy because what you’re going to hear is people complaining, complaining about their bosses who don’t see them, complaining about their parents who maybe didn’t give them the opportunity to go to university or they didn’t have the encouragement or the love or the support that they needed, that the government is unfair and that they just don’t get the opportunities. This is a place, this Room One, where we feel like life is happening to us and that we can only go so far because the fences were built by someone else. They were built by our family, our upbringing, where we live, who we’re related to, what jobs we’ve had. But there’s a constraint in this where we feel almost out of control of our own destination. Now, I can tell you there are people who live in this room for their entire lives. You know them. You know them. You get together and the conversation is just naturally about all of the hard things. And any time maybe you invite this person to reflect on what they could do or something that’s available to them or an opportunity, it’s often met with, You don’t understand, and the bulk of the conversation is helping you to understand how hard life is and how those opportunities of the people that are leading successful businesses that are on YouTube, that are taking control of their lives, aren’t available to me because ‘insert the multitude of reasons, slash excuses why that’s never going to happen’.

Kari Lotzien: [00:08:22] And the trick is that if we stay in this room too long, it can feed our sense of there’s a lack, that lack mindset. There’s no opportunities, things are hard, things are unfair. The good stuff is reserved for other people, but it’s not available to me. And there’s all different levels of this, right? So there’s a Room One and, you know, some people – I’m going to be very, very honest with you – grew up in really difficult situations where maybe they faced neglect or abuse or trauma. And I’m not saying, and I want to be cautious, that this is not about blaming that person and saying that you just need to get over it. It’s not like that at all. It’s saying, yes, this happened to me and that doesn’t mean that I’m going to stay here long term and not look for this next step.

Kari Lotzien: [00:09:21] The next room is the Room of Independence. And when I picture this room in my mind, I see this large room filled with cubicles and everyone is kind of huddled over their project, their computer, their papers, and they’re almost protecting it from everyone else. It’s a room in isolation, but yet everyone is kind of talking over each other, just trying to be heard. So as we move from that Room One where we’re blaming everyone else, where we feel that someone else built the fences, someone else has set the ceiling, Room Two is when we take responsibility and say, you know what, I think I can do it differently. I think that maybe this is available to me if I work hard, if I get the experience, if I get the knowledge, if I go to the school, if I take the course, if I do the thing, maybe I can take the reins back in my own life. It’s exciting. But it can also be a little bit lonely. This is when all of a sudden when you put your foot on the gas and you think, this is what I am driving towards, oftentimes those fences dissolve, the ceiling, you know, sets itself at a different level, and you can see opportunities that you didn’t see before, that you didn’t have experience directly in your hometown or in your family or in your small friend group. Now you’re starting to set your own destination and you’re saying, you know what, this is my vehicle of life and I’m driving it. I’m taking responsibility and this is what I want. And it’s different.

Kari Lotzien: [00:11:05] Now, I can tell you, I think it’s an important place to be. I think we have to step through this room where we start to take our power back. But if we stay here long term, we also feel like there’s not enough to go around. You know, when I said that, it’s like being in a cubicle where we protect our own ideas and we think that our own hustle and our own effort and learning all of the things is the path to success. This is the room that leads to burnout, because this is where we can be our own worst enemy, because we do all of the things. We don’t have that trust in others so we try to learn it all ourselves. We try to really lean in and think, okay, I need to learn it all. Do it all. Do all of the work to get the thing that I need next. It’s really based in hustle. And again, many of us, if this was the experience that we had in our lives, so maybe you did grow up in a family where there were entrepreneurs and maybe you’ve grown up in a space where you did get to see some people that were taking that next step, when we look back – and some of this, I think, is history related – what can happen is we are fed the belief that there is not enough to go around. That if we share our ideas that someone else will take them. That if we don’t keep our foot on the gas, if we don’t keep driving, that it’s going to dry up. That there’s not going to be enough. That when we’re rewarded and people say things like, oh my gosh, I don’t know how you do it, oh my goodness, you work so hard. There’s also accolades and a pride in being successful, but it can start to build and snowball on itself that we protect because we naturally don’t trust that there’s enough to go around. We don’t trust that there’s this next step.

Kari Lotzien: [00:13:12] The third room. When I imagine stepping into this room, what I picture is these really comfy chairs and the room is quite quiet. There’s not people talking over one another. Often there’s only one person talking. But they’re all seated together. No one’s trying to be seen. No one’s trying to be the center of attention. There are far more listeners in this room than there are speakers. I call this the Mastermind Room. This is the room of the people who have hustled. They’ve done the work. They’ve put in the the grind and the hustle. They’ve done all of that. And now they’ve come to a place where they know that there is enough to go around. They have taken the chance. They’ve reached out to other people to collaborate or say, Hey, I’ve got this new idea and I’m really excited about it, but I’d just really like to run it past you. And they’ve opened that door and they’ve released their ideas, their thoughts, their fears, all of it with someone else and what they got back in return was not someone stealing their ideas. It wasn’t competition. It wasn’t the scarcity. But it was this solid feedback of this is what I’ve done. This is what worked for me but I think things might be different now and here’s how I see it for you. And there’s this dialog that comes back and forth that you know these people are wise. They’re not loud, they are gentle. This room is much, much quieter. There’s more questions than answers in this room. These people are great listeners. They’re curious. And this is the room that I am consciously aiming to be in. And what I can tell you, this isn’t you get to a certain age and then you come through it and you move to the next room. I wish it was like that, it’s not. There are people who will live their entire lives in Room One blaming everyone else. There are people who will live their entire lives in Room Two feeling that there is not enough to go around and that they need to do it all and they need to push and grind and they can’t trust anyone else for fear that there’s not going to be enough.

Kari Lotzien: [00:15:39] Every time you step into a new room, there are less and less people there, I can tell you that for sure. And as you move through the rooms, every time you step into a new room, you will feel like an imposter. You’ll feel like you don’t belong there. You’ll feel like you haven’t done the work, that it doesn’t fit. I can tell you, this is normal. I have a really beautiful story. I’ve done the work. I had had my business at that point for about 18 years, and I had been invited to speak internationally. This was, I think, the second time that I had spoken internationally. And I was over the moon excited because my name and the description of what I was talking about was going to be in the same booklet as the people, the gurus that I had looked up to. And I felt so filled that someone was going to find out that I didn’t belong there, that my credentials were not of the same level or the same quality as these people who had gone before. And as I walked into the conference feeling my stomach was churning, I was feeling hot and cold and dizzy and constantly thinking, Oh my gosh, I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning when I need to speak and I’m going to be so sick. Like, you know when your nerves get so big that you feel like you’re most definitely coming down with an illness that is going to completely incapacitate you? That’s how I was feeling. And I was trying to overcome this with, you know, I’ll go to the the networking event at the beginning and I’ll chat with some people and I’ll smile at some people. But internally, I was completely a wreck. I did the workshop, I got through it. I dragged my sister along because she was this just one point of stability that I knew she would be gentle with me. She would look after me if something went sideways, she would support and help me. It was incredible to have her there. I got through it. I got beautiful feedback in my workshop and I remember someone coming back to me at the end and telling me that they were a researcher from Stanford and had been sitting in my audience. I almost passed out when they told me that because I thought, Oh my gosh, I’m so glad I did not know you were in here before because I wouldn’t have been able to talk.

Kari Lotzien: [00:18:11] And guess what? They were kind. They gave me feedback. They told me how they resonated with some of the topics that I had brought up. And later that night, one of the women who I have looked up to for at least 20 years of my career, she was an absolute leader in the field, came over and just congratulated me on my presentation, and I said to her, I really want to be at the big kids table in this industry. I really want to know what do I need to do? What courses do I need to take? What do I need to study to be at that table? And she looked at me, gave me this really beautiful, unassuming smile, shrugged her shoulders and said, Oh, Kari, the seat is there. It is yours. You already have it. You just need to sit down. I still get emotional thinking about what that felt like in that moment of being welcomed into this room, feeling like not only did I get to sit at the adult table, but that there was a seat open for me and that my biggest resistance in occupying that space was my own. Oh, huge. This is where I think we need to be. We need to recognize that once you’ve done the work, reaching out and collaborating with other people will take you to a level of success that you can’t even dream of. It’s bigger than you. The peak of the hustle and the effort, it’s actually in the second room. The first and second room are so much harder because the pressure is on. The tension is there. But when you get to this third room and you recognize that you can do your part and that you are merely a piece of a beautiful puzzle, that you are one voice in an orchestra, and that when you find those other voices, when you find those other people that will support the bigger picture, it feels easy. It feels like you can just show up and do the thing that lights you up and other people will contribute to that and you will build on each other. You will encourage each other, you’ll challenge each other. You’ll push each other forward. And when you experience this level of acceptance and belonging, it is the most incredible feeling.

Kari Lotzien: [00:21:04] And I don’t say this in a way, because I think that when I was in that Room One, when I was sitting in my small community and I couldn’t see any other entrepreneurs, certainly not ones that were willing to speak with me and talk to me about their journey, I couldn’t at that point have said, Oh, I just need to get to Room Three. I had to go through the challenges of being in that independence and hustle and and push through. But then when it was time, when I was at that point where I just was thinking, I can’t do it like this anymore, I can’t take on any more of myself. That’s your invitation to move into Room Three. Who else do you need to connect with? Who do you need to reach out to? Who do you need to share your idea with? So that it becomes easy again. And often as we move into this collaborative place, this mastermind, we’re a little bit older. There’s more demands on our time, but this is the place where it starts to feel easy. And if you are in that place, if when you are listening to this podcast and you think, you know what, I am in Room Three, I have these amazing people in my life, keep your head up because there is an opportunity for you to be what that beautiful mentor was to me. You can reach out and let the person know, who’s still hustling and grinding and doing the work, let them know that you see them. Invite them into your group. Allow them to join your table, share your ideas, make them feel welcomed, and know that they’re not going to naturally maybe take their place at the table because they didn’t know that they had got it yet. They didn’t know that it was available to them. But if you’re already there, invite them in. It’s how you make that table stronger, how you get new voices, new ideas. It’s how the whole thing builds. But we have to do it together.

Kari Lotzien: [00:23:06] I am thrilled to share this this episode with you, and I hope that it’s been really helpful as you reflect on where you are in your own journey. And is it time for you to consider moving into the next room? There’s fewer people. It’s not as noisy. You’re going to feel uncomfortable. You’re not going to feel like you belong there. But it’s where the magic happens. Thank you so much for being here. If you love what you heard and you’re inspired to share, take a screenshot of the podcast and share it on your social media. Like and subscribe to the podcast, this is how we build community. As I’ve moved into this third room and I’m going to be honest, there’s times where I bounce back and I think I still need to do it all myself and I come back to Room Two, but as I move into Room Three, it’s really important for me that I build community. I believe that is the legacy that I want to leave in this world. I want to encourage more people to live their dreams no matter where they started, no matter what their story was at the beginning. Whatever story that started your journey, own it, love it, appreciate what it’s brought. Don’t get stuck there. Let’s build community together. Let’s encourage each other because this is the way that we go to the next place in really developing incredible, strong, supportive communities where we can all see what’s possible. Thanks so much. Chat soon.