Silent Leader Series Mystery Leader: Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr is a great example of why the word “silent” in silent leadership does not mean we keep silent about things that matter. It is about the last three words in the following quote that one must have access to in order to fulfill one’s purpose in this world.
Martin Luther King Jr chose change for the greater good instead of himself. He was in my opinion, in love with people and with freedom. In a world where so many people increasingly connect money with success, we must not forget that people are a separate entity - a place of light and song, where my soul honors your soul in recognition that we are one. Success has nothing to do with this realization (unless that is indeed what you are seeking).
As so in understanding this, comes the need for great leadership by putting one’s mission first. One’s true purpose, once accessed and understood, should not be compromised for fame, money, or recognition. To stay true to your path is the most difficult thing to do (even though to be you should be the easiest thing to do).
Martin Luther King Jr had access to his purpose. He silenced the ego to fulfill a greater need. “Silent” not in the verbal sense, but in the access to his own purpose in this world. He managed to access a piece of himself that was unique, empathetic, and fearless. After all, to be silent to one’s real self, or in other words to not spend time accessing ‘you’ is the way to the path of isolation. So many of us miss ourselves - too busy for life itself we get caught-up in what everyone else is doing, or what everyone else has told us we should be doing. When we become apathetic to ourselves, we do so to others, too. We don’t see past our own little self concept when we are so much more. The key to actualizing ourselves lies in access to heartly things in this world. He certainly had this key.
He inspired and continues to inspire millions in this world who value freedom, equality, acceptance. He set the precedence on the ‘outer’ because he had great access to the ‘inner’. Whether through prayer or meditation, this kind of silence is uniquely yours to access.
To me, he has set the framework for where we all need to be in this world. A starting point that we are yet to fully realize: he set us on a path beyond labels; on a path of acceptance of each other and more importantly, ourselves. In the future, the world will not know what duality serves except perhaps that it will be an obsolete concept to understand pieces of history. And one day we will have finally understood that even our names have nothing to do with our real self unless you choose to believe it to be.
I chose to write about Martin Luther King Jr right after I revealed the first Silent Leader, Gandhi because he saw Gandhi's methods as the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change. And so do I and millions of others. He led peaceful demonstrations that will impact all human life forever. He stood for justice through his love for people.
We can all learn from his great example not by just listening and reading, but by practicing. By practicing, specifically empathy, to understand that everyone in this world is someone’s daughter or son, to view everyone as part of us. We must treat ourselves with acceptance, respect and accountability so that we can know how to treat each other. Dig deeper into self compassion and encourage each other every day to be the best person they can be. To tell each other that it’s alright to make mistakes and that we are not perfect so don’t strive for perfection - strive to learn as much as you can in this life with comparing to anyone else.
Why I consider him a “Silent Leader”
In this series, silence does not mean to remain silent. Silence is something that comes from your heart. It means you are at peace with all inside and outside. You have found the path to your self and the light to let it shine. In essence, silence is the catalyst to your inner voice - your purpose. Self Leadership is what it takes to drive this and that is a fundamental difference between Self Leadership, and Silent Leadership. Silence is like the roots of a giant tree. If you know how to access the roots, the tree can flourish. Martin Luther King Jr. knew his life purpose and he saw it through, with passion, above himself. A Silent Leader does not put his/her own interests in front of humanity and others.
In the office?
Using his leadership style, I also choose to value anything that uplifts people’s true self and I will be anything but silent to anything that doesn’t. As you work in your offices, or outside in the heat, when you see rules, procedures, poor behaviors, maltreatment, or anything that leads people on a path of loneliness, stress, and separation, don’t be afraid to speak-up and share each other’s pain in the form of a conversation, smile, or understanding gesture. Offer help and have no regrets about your choice. Choosing to do anything else is also a choice you will be responsible and accountable for until the day you leave this world. Therefore we must live our life, fearlessly. What I mean here is we can’t put our own ‘false’ sense of self ahead of our real self. If you’re not sure of your mission in this world, then may I suggest to start helping more and judging less; to respect and not expect. It is other people who will show you pieces of yourself… your own mission.
Transformation happens first on the inside
Any transformation can not come from working from the outside first. You can’t force an apple to look like a banana. You can convince an apple to be a banana and unfortunately that is probably what a majority of us actually believe we are (something we are not). Remove all the labels, or the names, all the things people have taught, go back to the time when you entered the world and that is the closest part of the real you to discover. On this mission, stay true and don’t let the forces around you discourage your purpose. It will take a monumental effort to be ‘you’ in this world and it is becoming ever more difficult, but we are ready.
As you live your life truly, so indeed inspiration comes as a by-product because it is not fame you seek, nor fortune, but the realization that we are all one. In this path of inner silence, comes hope, strength, compassion.
Martin Luther King Jr was without a doubt a transformational leader who continues to inspire me on the path of moving beyond duality and labels, onto a path of respect and not expect. He is Silent Leader Number 2 (not in any particular rank) in this series.