Thursday, April 4, 2019 REMEMBERING A KING: LEADERSHIP LEGACY By Rev. V. Jesse Smith What will be your leadership legacy? What do you want people to remember about your leadership? Is it your title? Your company? Your organization? Your royalties? What will be your leadership legacy? I define leadership as the ability to identify one�??s gift(s) to inspire, empower and influence one�??s life, community and society. By this definition, everyone is a leader and everyone has the ability to use their innate gift to inspire, empower and influence others. This is leadership defined at its best. Legacy, on the other hand, is the ability to leave something of a permanent nature to others which will serve as a lasting treasure that adds immense value to others for generations to come. Legacy can never be imitated or copyrighted. Legacy is pure, genuine and unique. It has no color, tradition or ritual. Legacy only seeks to leave value and principles to others�??the likes of which no monetary value could be equivalent. Fifty-one years ago, a legacy was left to us in the person of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was not his title, nor his position as pastor, nor him being a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Through his gift of leadership, he was able to inspire, empower and influence his life, community and society. His leadership legacy was not rooted in Afrocentricity, even though his leadership was borne out of the African American struggle for freedom. Dr. King�??s leadership legacy will be remembered for his character, integrity and service to others. In his final message before his untimely death, Dr. King eloquently laid out his leadership legacy to the world. In words etched in the memory chords of history, he stated with profound profundity �??If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don�??t want a long funeral...I don�??t want people to mention that I have 300 or 400 other awards...that�??s not important...What I want you to say is that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody�?�.I tried to serve humanity...all of the other shallow things will not matter�?��?� Decades after Dr. King�??s death, his leadership legacy has left a permanent imprint on American culture. As leaders, let our legacy be one of intentionality, discipline and honesty. Everything we do in life, we must do it with intentionality. This means accomplishing our goals with desired results. No longer do we do things in vain, but we do it intentionally with a purpose to achieve a desired result. As we do things with intentionality, this will require that we discipline ourselves in carrying out our dreams. When life gets hard, even sometimes overbearing, we must discipline ourselves to stay in the battle; stay in the fight, no matter how tough it gets. If it gets hard, then discipline yourself and do it hard. Finally, if your leadership legacy will mean anything, it will mean that in all that you do in life, you do it in a way that is honest, and done with integrity. People may remember your title, they may remember your position, but they will always remember your honesty and your integrity. Decades from now, what will your leadership legacy be?
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