Millennial Leadership Lessons From MLK, Jr.
Growth, Truth and Authority (Leadership). These are the words I'm choosing to live by in 2017.
I started to think about this post towards the end of 2017, when I was in the middle of kikospeaks planning for the new year. There are so many dimensions to Martin Luther King, Jr.; and as wonderful as it is to have a day off from work, school, etc., how many of us have actually studied his life? Can name more than a few of his iconic speeches? And most importantly, how many of us actually put in practice his life-long messages? Let's take a look at a few of lessons King was passionate about and how could help us on our journey:
Do not waver. Stay committed to the process.
Sometimes in life, things don't happen as quickly as we would like them to -- or, the order in which things happen is not what we're expecting. I'm not a person who likes to rush things, and I certainly don't like spending time around people with a "hurry up" mindset. Dr. King was a visionary well beyond his years; this level of leadership requires a certain level of patience and planning. Dr. King's stance on political activism, in a non-violent way, made him a natural leader and an inspirational figure. He led a social movement of equality during a time when he wasn't supported by most, probably hated by more than a few, but he did not waver, no matter how bad the circumstances became.
When your back is against the wall, do you fold or do you stay committed?
Create a vision, plan then execute.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a highly-organized person that does not plan, plan, plan. It takes discipline and dedication to see your plans through. We can all want to better and accomplish more than we did in the previous year, but what are we actually doing to see to it happening? How much of an impact is your vision making if you don't verbalize it and organize accordingly? King was a great organizer -- he was a master at bringing people together that shared the same passion, if not more, for equality. Do you have a vision for your life? Strategy? Tactics to execute? A vision with no plans is childish. We're too close to 30 to not have plans for our lives!
We've got to stop celebrating things that are supposed to be done. There is no victory for exhibiting common sense -- the victory comes when a mission is fully complete. For Dr. King, it was always about the greater cause, not about how much he would shine or be recognized. In order to reach your goals, sometimes you have to minimize yourself and care more about the larger group. This is most evident with Millennials who may have growing families already; you have to sacrifice doing for yourself to provide for the fam sometimes. All of this is ok, putting your family first helps propel them!
Choose a supportive spouse.
Mrs. King was one of the most influential leaders of her time -- and she did so standing alongside (not in front of or behind) her husband until his untimely death. Not only was she a leading participant in the American Civil Rights Movement, but she also traveled throughout the world speaking out on behalf of racial and economic justice, women’s and children’s rights, gay and lesbian dignity, religious freedom, the needs of the poor and homeless, full-employment, health care, educational opportunities, nuclear disarmament and environmental justice. She lent her support to pro-democracy movements world-wide and consulted with many world leaders, including Corazon Aquino, Kenneth Kaunda and Nelson Mandela.
Michelle Obama is a close comparison to Coretta Scott King. A spouse who shares the vision and dedication of your life's work is critical to your success. Know why? Because that spouse is either going to lift you up or tear you down. Trust me, you want the former...
"The ringing testimony of the Christian faith is that God is able."