Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a transformational leader with tremendous mastery of the three acts of magic: APPEAR, DISAPPEAR, AND RESTORE. We still have a long way to go to reach the dream he shared with millions, but he did so much to advance that dream through his courageous acts of leadership. What can we learn from the transformational magic of Dr. King?
THE APPEARING ACT
A magician makes the rabbit appear not by conjuring it out of thin air, but by revealing it from behind where it is hidden from view. Making something appear is an act of revealing a deeper truth.
Dr. King made HOPE appear by connecting us to the deepest truth of humanity as expressed in our Declaration of Independence, “… that all men are created equal…” This was the basis of Dr. King’s crusade and the deep truth of it created hope in the hearts of millions.
Likewise, when you connect to the deeper purpose of your work and your company you gain access to hope – a tremendous source of energy that will enable you to make your dreams appear. One of the most powerful things a leader can do is cultivate hope. Hope is a powerful source of energy, perseverance, and innovation, yet many organizations and individuals suffer because they aren’t hopeful about the future.
What is the deepest truth about the work you do?
Is your work just a job that you have to do to make a living, or is it a way to make the world a better place? Does your company exist solely to make a profit or is it a place where people can realize their fullest potential and by offering products and services that make life better?
Inspiration and Words
Dr. King connected us to the deepest truth about our humanity by using two CREATIVE POWERS – the Powers of Inspiration and Words. He used these powers to move people to action and transform our nation.
The magician gets his or her source of energy from inspiration (Latin spirare – “breath of life”). Inspiration comes from getting a vivid image of what you want to make appear. When that image is so clear and compelling that it evokes joy and excitement, an immense flood of energy and focus is unlocked, enabling you to create your dream.
Once the image is clear you need to speak it to give it life. The magic word Abracadabra literally means, “What I speak is what I create.” Your words are outward expressions of your inner thoughts – and your thoughts determine your actions.
Dr. King was a master at harnessing the deepest truth about humanity in order to make equality APPEAR. He combined the Creative Powers of Inspiration and Words to turn hope into meaningful action. He did this continually and in a variety of expressions:
“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”
“(I have a dream that) little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”
Take note of how his words evoke clear images of a hopeful future.
APPLYING THE LESSONS OF DR. KING’S TRANSFORMATIONAL MAGIC
- Understand the deepest truth about how you want to make the world a better place.
- Work in a place where the organization’s purpose enables you to live out yours.
- Take five minutes each morning this week to write a paragraph that paints a clear picture of the world you are creating as a result of your work.
- Speak with others about the world you are creating through your work.
- First, complete the points for individuals listed above. You cannot lead an inspiring organization if you’re not inspired.
- When you speak about what your company does share how you are inspired. Create a vivid picture of the future that will inspire hope in people’s hearts.
The word prosperity has Greek roots – pro spera – meaning “toward hope”. True prosperity comes from nurturing hope. What do you do to nurture hope for yourself and others?