Today we commenmorate 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Many remember this inspiring leader in the human rights movement and his speech “I Have A Dream.”
What is your cause? What is your dream?
Martin Luther King Jr did more than dream. He transmitted it too…so that others could share it and spread it too. He began with the folks close to him, and his circle of influence grew and grew…to include me and you!
Let’s start turning our dreams for those closest to us into reality.
1. Dream for the Next Generation & Empower Youth to Dream Too
Learn from this great man to dream big and empower others to have a vision.
It’s OK to dream big even when the situation looks dire
“I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulation. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail … I say to you today, my friends, though, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream…” MLK Jr
You and I can limit ourselves.
We can allow ourselves to hope what is feasible – the Basic-Fix-Dream rather than THE GRAND-VISION.
We do this every day at work and in family.
We hope employees get the job done. They do…and 70% of them lack engagement in their work. Could we dare for a passion for contributing to their team and for excitement to grow?
When siblings fight, we hope for “no blood.” Can we envision them as co-builders of an amazing venture?
You may be familiar with these nine dots.
The exercise consists of passing through each of these dots once with four straight lines. No more, no less, no curves.
The clue? Get out of the square. In fact, there is no delimited zone. The nine dots are in the shape of a square and folks like you and I turn that into boundaries.
Dreaming means setting sights high…
…then following through with an action plan.
2. Powerful dreams tap into a common heritage, a larger-than-me mission
“It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the hue meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”
According to psychologist Dr. Alfred Adler, grandfather of Positive Psychology, a communal vision which benefits your community, be it family, neighborhood, friends, or more taps into our basic human needs of belonging and contribution which he describes as “Gemeinschaftsgefuehl .”
A community goal brings along with it a network of supporters.
It takes a team to reach the stars. Set a dream that motivates and engages all.
Co-dream. And co-labor (collaborate).
When you converse with your team members or even with your children, how often do you refer to the common goal? Find ways to include it in every day conversation.
At work: “Today was a good day! I helped solve a customer problem and it felt like ’empowering our customers through our technological and service excellence.'”
In family: “How will we talk so that we show we are a family and that we love each other?”
3. Live the vision
Walk the talk.
Be a dreamer whose actions speak louder than words.
The US constitution declared all men of equal value. And yet they were not treated as such.
Are you ambitious for your team or your child? What qualities do you dream for them?
- Respect of self and of others
- Love of excellence and effort
- Wise decision-making
- Curiosity and tolerance
Let the next generation witness it through your actions.
- Speak to the young interns and children with respect…even when they act without thinking
- Stick to your commitments, like when you say, ‘I’ll be there in 5 minutes.”
- Allow them to live the uncomfortable consequences of their own unwise decisions when the stakes are low. Misplacing a 10 cent coin is less painful than losing €1000.
- Listen actively to understand their perspective before jumping to conclusions
THAT is dreaming with credibility and conviction. Our example convinces our youth of the value of our hopes.
4. Dream with valor
Martin Luther King Jr ignites our fire when speaking of brotherhood, transformational peace-making, and character.
A dream worth living for is one worth dying for too.
Who do you want with you as you end your days here? What do you want said of you and for them to share with each other? NOW is the time to plant those seeds.
For me, I want the “F.U.N.” back in funeral. It’s because I celebrate life today that I hope folk will remember me with a smile GRIN in later years.
5. Clearly define success
“…little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”
A clear goal vitalizes both you and your co-dreamers.
Visualizing is a technique many leaders adapt to help them define their objectives.
A friend shared her experience at a career change workshop she attended. The facilitator invited participants to close their eyes and to think of their ideal (dream) job.
“Now visualize the office in which you are working.”
And they proceeded with another dream session.
“Describe your colleagues. Their age, what they are wearing, their facial expressions…”
Specifics make the dream more real…and realizable.
6. Seek strength for the LONG (loooooong) haul
“This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with… With this faith we will he able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will he free one day.”
In our quick win world, how can we prepare for valiant dreams that require sacrifice and persistence?
Performance experts assert that it’s not talent that keeps people from reaching their goals; it is lack of consistency which engenders lackadaisical results then discouragement and finally giving up.
In what will you place your faith? Where will you find your source of strength?
The question is not “if” you will require boosting and encouragement.
The issue is WHEN.
Martin Luther King Jr found his from the God of the Bible. It did not make him into a perfect person. It made him united with others AND able to take a stand alone, peaceful AND powerful, patient AND courageous.