On Heroes, Leadership and Vision: MLK

Hero.

The word has become very loosely defined, in my opinion, to include athletes and entertainers that I respect for their passion, but should not be called heroes.

Maybe it’s because I’ve come to a crossroad in my life and a turning point in my career that the idea of leadership, vision, and my responsibility to my family, my hometown, my livelihood and my country have matured.

On this day, a day to celebrate a a hero, a leader, and a visionary, I’ve come to understand a little more about the context of Martin Luther King’s importance to our nation’s history.  I especially appreciate the lessons learned about the meaning of vision and leadership that was recently expressed so well by Michael Hyatt in his podcast, “8 Leadership Lessons from Martin Luther King Jr.” I highly recommend it to you.

As a starting point, I suggest you see and experience the passion and delivery of MLK’s “I have a dream” speech.  Please trust me that it’s worth the 17 minutes of your life.

And to put this great speech into perspective, I highly recommend that you listen to Michael Hyatt’s podcast.  I summarize here his take on this speech and how it exemplifies true leadership:

  • Insight 1: Great leaders do not sugar-coat reality.
  • Insight 2: Great leaders engage the heart.
  • Insight 3: Great leaders refuse to accept the status quo.
  • Insight 4: Great leaders create a sense of urgency.
  • Insight 5: Great leaders call people to act in accord with their highest values.
  • Insight 6: Great leaders refuse to settle.
  • Insight 7: Great leaders acknowledge the sacrifice of their followers.
  • Insight 8: Great leaders paint a vivid picture of a better tomorrow.

MLK’s speech, even if you’ve heard it before, is worth a(nother) listen. Michael Hyatt’s podcast is also worth a listen for its insight into  the qualities of true leadership and the importance of vision, integrity, and passion.

It should be said that MLK, like all of us, was human and not perfect.  I completely accept this fact.

Still, to me, he is a hero.

mlk

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