Republished from our leader Gino Blefari (CEO of HomeServices of America): This week my travels find me in Nashville, TN involved in preparations and filming for the upcoming Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Sales Convention. As I reflect on this vibrant city, my thoughts gravitate towards one of history’s greatest leaders—Martin Luther King Jr. It’s a fitting moment to celebrate his enduring achievements and the timeless leadership lessons he left us.
Perseverance and Passion
Did you know that Martin Luther King Jr., the iconic public speaker, received a C in public speaking during college? His journey from a struggling student to a Nobel Peace Prize recipient is a testament to the power of persistence and passion. Over 11 years of civil activism, he covered 6 million miles and delivered 2,500 speeches, becoming one of the greatest orators in history.
The Blueprint of Life
King’s transformative speech at Barratt Junior High School, Philadelphia, PA in 1967 holds wisdom that resonates even today. He posed a fundamental question to the students: “What is your life’s blueprint?” This blueprint, he explained, should include two key elements.
- Belief in Your Own Worth: King urged the students to engrain a deep belief in their own dignity and worth. In a world that may attempt to diminish your significance, always remember that you count, you have worth, and your life holds ultimate significance.
- Determination for Excellence: Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, King emphasized the importance of striving for excellence in one’s life’s work. Whether you become a renowned figure or a street sweeper, approach your work with the determination to do it so well that the world recognizes your excellence.
Striving for Excellence
For King, the essence was not in the pursuit of fame or wealth but in excelling at whatever path life took. Whether sweeping streets or composing music, he encouraged individuals to approach their endeavors with the same dedication and passion as the great masters.
Architect of Your Greatness
In the final months of his life, King’s philosophy centered on becoming the best at whatever you do. By striving for excellence, you become the architect of your own greatness. In his parting words to the students in Philadelphia, he emphasized, “Be the best of whatever you are.”
So, What’s the Message?
As we honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, let’s carry forward the profound leadership lessons embedded in his life’s blueprint. Whether in the workplace, our industry, or our lives, let us champion diversity, equity, and inclusion. In becoming the architects of our own greatness, we not only pay homage to King’s legacy but also contribute to a more just and compassionate world. As King said to end his plea to the students in Philadelphia:
“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.” MLK, Jr.
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