Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 87 years old this year. In his short but inspiring life he left an incredible legacy on our nation and people.
I’m a believer that the values we honor in ourselves are often found in our heroes or people we admire.
MLK is one of those people for me.
While not a perfect man, he did embody 5 core values that I cherish and try to live by everyday. The impact of living these values can be large or small, but in all cases, I know living by them will make a difference.
Martin Luther King led a bigger life to create a greater world and I believe it’s within each of us to do the same. His courage, vision, compassion, integrity and inspiration changed history.
As I challenge myself daily, I challenge you to embody these values and lead a bigger life.
#1 – Courage
MLK consistently displayed incredible courage throughout his life. In the face of overwhelming difficulty and threats, he led. Through non-violence he marched through areas full of racial hatred and bigotry. His courage enabled him to face the difficulty and dangers inherent in his quest to establish a more equal and peaceful world.
His bravery in the face of ever-present violence to his person is an example for leaders to aspire.
His determination to stand up with those oppressed and less fortunate is an inspiration to me everyday.
#2 – Vision
MLK’s vision for a more just world resonates years after his passing and was forever embodied on August 28, 1963 when he delivered “I Have a Dream” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. He created a vivid, passionate and beautiful vision for a future where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
It still sends chills down my spine to hear and read these words.
The value of creating a powerful vision for a future is what allows great leaders to move beyond insurmountable odds to their destiny.
#3 – Compassion
MLK’s deep compassion for those disadvantaged by society was a driving force for his work and legacy. His incredible service in the civil rights movement and for the poor all showed a man who cared deeply. MLK was a man who displayed great sympathy and empathy for those less fortunate and lived his life to alleviate the suffering of others.
Having compassion for others is a hallmark of great leadership. Compassion is more than displaying emotional intelligence; it’s showing a true caring from your heart that goes beyond words.
As MLK displayed, a leader with great compassion can truly change the world.
#4 – Integrity
Up until the day of his assassination on April 4th 1968, MLK led his life with integrity and displayed a consistency in his principles, values and actions, which every leader should strive for. He never backed down from what he believed.
Through great struggles and great success, MLK lead himself first by embodying and living integrity.
#5 – Inspiration
MLK’s powerful oratory inspired and motivated thousands all over the country to stand up and push for equality and justice. He had a unique ability to move not only the emotions of people but also their intellect to take action.
Every leader needs to read and listen to his speeches to feel the energy and passion he delivered to inspire and change a nation.
Embodying the core value of inspiration will give your vision a voice to impact change.
Lead for a legacy
The values, which Martin Luther King embodied, enabled him to inspire a nation to change and left a massive impact on humanity. It’s my belief you should strive to live by these values and embody them in your core being.
You can lead a bigger life to create a greater world with courage, having a vision, being compassionate, living with integrity and inspiring those around you.
Martin Luther King Jr. led his life without fear and changed the world and so can you.
Image courtesy: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com