Pedestals Are For Pushing Over

I recently posted on LinkedIn an inspiring video of the late Rik Mayall receiving his honorary Doctorate. In his speech, he talks to the largely student audience about his Five Mantras for life –

The first of these is ‘All Men Are Equal’. He goes on to say that ‘no-one can ever be your genuine superior’. This struck a significant chord with me. In our Communication, Presentation and Public Speaking coaching, I talk about how to make an emotional connection with your audience and go on to share my 12 top tips about how to achieve this. One of these I refer to as ‘Pedestals Are For Pushing Over’.

The pedestal is a metaphor. This is the idea that you should never put anyone on a pedestal and that if you find yourself doing so, push them off! This is because no-one is better than you. They may have more experience or skills, but this does not make them superior in any way.

Too often, in my experience, I have been coaching someone only to discover that they have been held back significantly in their development either because of someone’s action or something that was said to them many years previously. The result of this, which may happen very early in someone’s career, can often have significant and lasting repercussions.

Recently, I finished reading First Man In by Ant Middleton. At the end of Lesson 1, he says ‘Don’t let anyone else define who you are. People always make rapid judgements about what sort of person you are from their first impressions and sometimes these will be negative. It’s so easy to take that on-board and simply fall into the mould that other people put you in. Have the strength to realise what’s happening and ensure that you define yourself. Meet that negativity with positivity, every single time’. Well said Ant.

Do not allow yourself to be patronised or intimidated by anyone. Take pride in who you are; be yourself and remember that no-one else has your unique experience, skills and personal qualities. All women and men are equal.

So Rik, you were so much more than just a funny man. Thank you for sharing your Mantras with the world. I am proud to pass on your message.