Motivation Monday: MLK Day—The Essence of Leadership

Happy Monday again to everybody and more importantly, Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to everyone. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most iconic leaders of the 20th Century and one of the greatest in American history. He set a great example for others to follow, led in a way that is second to none, and literally lived and died for his true passion in life. His leadership abilities were second to none and he left the impact and legacy of a lifetime—and one that I hope and pray holds up as time progresses.

On this Motivation Monday, I would like to write a special piece on the several lessons that MLK taught and lived. Not to mention—since this is a sports law blog—the movement of the National Basketball Association in honoring MLK through jerseys, starting line-ups, and so-forth, which is a great and cool idea—especially in Memphis with the Grizzlies.

Anyways, back to the Motivation Monday Post. Of all the lessons I like to think I learned from studying MLK, there is one in particular that stuck out to me. He led and lived his life with the true essence of leadership—servanthood. In order to truly be a good leader and positive influence on those around you, you must learn to serve your fellow man or woman. This is the true essence and heart of leadership. Being a servant brings you respect and breeds others to want to do the same. This type of leadership that was demonstrated by Dr. Martin Luther King is special—mainly because not everyone is willing to do it. A leader needs a servant’s heart, and MLK definitely served the people around him with a full heart.

Not only did MLK have a servant’s heart, but he served others out of love for his fellow man. His leadership wasn’t motivated by self-gain or self-promotion; rather, his influence as a leader was dependent upon his genuine depth of concern for others.

With that said, how is it relevant to a sports law/career blog? Well, I truly believe that if you want to be a success and have the ability to influence people in a way that will motivate change and allow for prosperity, you need to have leadership abilities and values much like those of Dr. King. He was a leader, not a boss. He served and fought for his cause with a passion that was unmatched and did so with a positive attitude right alongside the “common man.” He was not simply telling others to do things for him; he went out and did the work himself. He did what he loved to do—which was to strive to unite those around him in a time of great division and bring about equality.

This lesson can be used in your pursuit of a career and in your life. It is not simply for self-gain; rather, it is to have great character which reflects your personal values. Character goes a long way when it comes to your pursuit of a career. Your character is what allows you to make it through the tough times and to continue to fight forward until you have reached your goals and aspirations. It is also your character that will show through to employers and those that you encounter as you go along. If you have a servant’s heart and genuine concern for others, it will shine like a bright light and have a much more positive effect on your aspirations and on those around you.

With all of that said, be willing to serve and to have a genuine concern for others. This is a contagious characteristic to have and it reflects the best of your values.

Finally, to finish this post, there are some things I cannot say well enough on my own and it is simply better to see the actual words of MLK in order to be motivated. So below, I have listed some of my favorite MLK quotes. I hope that they inspire and motivate. Happy Motivation Monday and Happy MLK Day!

Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.

And one more—just because it is so iconic and takes place in the city where I am living—Memphis, Tennessee—the “Mountaintop Speech.” This is a true reflection of MLK’s character and is almost eerie, but it shows the passion, drive, and determination with which he lived his life. It also shows how far he was willing to go and how much he was willing to sacrifice to accomplish his dreams. Video is below:

 

Thank you for reading and God Bless!

–Dale Hutcherson

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