This week we took time to honor and remember the courage, bravery, service, and sacrifice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was undoubtedly a man of faith and vision who never stopped fighting for justice. His death marked the passing of one of the world’s most phenomenal leaders, but he didn’t die in vain. He left us with many valuable lessons, ones that not only help us through the journey of life but allow us to follow in his footsteps.
- Dare to dream and declare your dreams. As business owners, you should always be dreaming and dreaming big- just as MLK did! Once you figure out your dream, declare it to the world! Three years ago, I declared that I wanted Pure Romance to be a billion-dollar company, and although we aren’t there yet, that declaration pushes me to work harder each and every day. Is it always easy? Of course not! But, if you’re going to dream, you won’t do yourself any favors by dreaming small.
- Love is the most significant component in this world. Love trumps everything. While loving your neighbor is important, the most powerful type of love is self-love. If you don’t love yourself, you won’t feel or accept love from others. Learn to break down any boundaries and insecurities that you have about loving yourself. You deserve the love that you seek to give out.
- Persevere. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”- this is one of my favorite MLK quotes, and for a good reason. The ability to move forward is how we become the best version of ourselves. During the Civil Rights Movement, MLK had plenty of setbacks, but he kept going. He kept fighting for himself, his family, and his community. You should too.
- Invest in yourself. How do you invest in yourself? Is it by showing up every day and staying a student? Are you continually engaged and seeking to learn more? If you don’t invest time in bettering yourself and your skills, you’re not going to reach the dreams you declared for yourself. Dr. King invested in himself by continuing his education and earning a doctorate degree. His studies provided him with the wisdom he needed throughout the Civil Rights Movement. You will always be your best and most important investment.
- Serve others. As you serve others, you will see abundance come through in your life. By doing so, you will eventually see the fruits of your labor come to fruition. Selfless service for others shows that you value them and, in turn, they will value you.
- Forgive. Forgiveness can be challenging but is crucial. If you don’t practice forgiveness, you’ll harbor hatred, which won’t give you the fuel you want or need to succeed. When I started Living With Change (http://livingwithchange.org/), I had many friends who weren’t supportive. While this hurt my family and me, I had to learn how to forgive. My mom also says, “you can’t fix stupid, but you can educate them.” Next time you find yourself in a situation where it might be hard to forgive someone for their transgressions, try educating them and move on. Preventing hatred starts by learning to forgive quickly.
- Stand up for justice. As a business owner, you have a platform. When you see something unjust, speak up. Always stand up for what’s right, never put yourself on mute. Remember, others are watching and listening to you. How you handle unjust situations will set an example and tone for your team, family, friends, and customers. Above all, you’re on this earth to make it better than how you found it.
- Have faith. Believe that things will get better and the best is yet to come. You can’t live in fear and cower at injustices or inconveniences. Let your faith and optimism show in your thoughts, actions, and speech.
- Step out of your comfort zone. A comfort zone is a horrible place to live. Your comfort zone won’t get you the things you desire. Comfortability and success don’t lie in the same realm. Live uncomfortable until you get comfortable.
- All things are possible. Yes, you read that correctly- ALL things are possible. Whatever dreams you have can come true if you work for them. They might not come true tomorrow, next week, or even 5 years from now, but you can’t give up.. Have the faith that the best is yet to come, and your hard work will pay off.
Dr. King taught us that dreams are something that you must commit to without any evidence that they’ll come true. Scary, right? Wrong. Let your dreams serve as a resource for you- a resource of ideas and motivation that will help you figure out where you should focus your efforts. Be so motivated by your dreams that you wake up early to chase them and achieve them. You can find the greatness inside yourself, but you must soul search for it and put the time in to find it. And when you find yourself in a low moment, recognize that they’re a test to see whether you’ll bend or break. Push through these moments- your dreams are worth it.