Stephen Whitton is a participant in Freedom Works UK’s ‘Life Works’ programme. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Over recent months I’ve been taking part in a coaching programme aimed at getting my thoughts, actions, aspirations and life to all line up. There have been downs and ups, but this week the group session helped me to make a major breakthrough – I realized, I’m a Pleb!
I’ve known and felt for some time and had many conversations with friends and family that we all seem to live our lives increasingly in fear – fear of the unknown, the future, the economy, retiring impoverished, becoming ill, global security, climate change, pace of technology, rough towns on a Friday night etc etc etc.
This fear element quite often manifests itself in our thoughts, beliefs, opinions and behaviours – and this can drive our decisions and actions – especially in our professional lives.
E.g. 1, fear of the unknown or running out of money keeps us in that boring job, because we fear the alternative.
E.g. 2, not making a difficult or radical decision in our comfy corporate role for fear of “putting our head above the parapet” – and getting it shot off!
I’ve been there, done both of them!
So, how does that make me a Pleb?
Well, the definition of a Pleb is an ordinary person, mainly from the lower classes. In no way am I intentionally being judgmental here, and it takes all sorts to make the world go round, but I did come from and was brought up by a family that had fairly low aspirations, just about practiced survival and didn’t take the opportunity to broaden their horizons. As such, life always seemed like a battle with money and holding down low paid work. Added to that, to a large extent, they actually looked unfavourably on people who were “successful” – a kind of inverted snobbery if you like. Unfortunately, with narrow horizons their viewpoints were also very fixed and fuelled by the kind of UK tabloid that persists in pulling down anyone who’s trying to better themselves – so, all in all, the ingredients were there for me to follow suit and in line with my own internal dialogue – not deserve to be successful.
I actually had a quite vocal Aunt say to me fairly recently, that “it’s ok having a nice house and a flash car – but don’t forget where you came from!” A friendly attempt to keep me grounded and humble – maybe! Or, an attempt at keeping me in the same family box as they’re in? Hmmm.
Now, along with trying to not be judgmental, I’m also really not blaming anyone else – least of all my parents – this is just about sharing the breakthrough I had in understanding what “hidden commitment” or internal tape I’ve been keeping that unconsciously is was holding me back.
So, the crux of this then. As I had this hidden commitment or internal dialogue playing away in the background going “you don’t deserve it” – what do I fear the most? Success! The fear of being successful beyond my known success has been holding me back. My inner Pleb – through the practice of Plebism, Pleberty or Plebology (or whatever) has been literally “in my way”!
How ridiculous – because in many ways I’m already very successful – a beautiful wife, two great kids (grown up now), a nice house, nice car, house abroad etc etc. But the big fear that’s been playing away in my mind – that’s caused indecision, bad decisions, fear of losing money, fear of running out of money, procrastination and lethargy – is the totally irrational fear of being a success!
What would the family (not my direct family) think if I was a multi-millionaire, had a yacht and drove a £150,000 car? Because after all, I’m just a Pleb and I don’t deserve it – right?
Well in that instance I’d help them – help them to understand not to make judgments or comparisons based on the choices you’ve made in life, whatever the intention. Understand that mine, as did their, parents did everything they knew how, to get you participating in life on this planet.
So, with that in mind, my breakthrough is this; I’m aware of my hidden commitment and the effects it’s had on me – but now it’s my time to exercise a moral obligation to be increasingly successful, because what I stand for is simple;
To help everyone to be the person they want to be!
What’s your internal, hidden commitment (mine was “I don’t deserve it)? What’s your inner voice saying to you as you read this – or as you move on to your next task? I wonder???????
The next step for me? To channel the energy of caring what other people think into greater empathy – as the ability to be empathic is one of the most powerful traits of being a leader!”
Stephen J. Whitton
International Conference Speaker, Presenter, Facilitator