Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day takes many forms for many people. I’d like to focus on his call to all of us to serve.
In his speech, “The Drum Major Instinct,” King said that if you want to be great, serve. Regardless of background, education and ethnicity we can all serve others and in so doing help ourselves and all of humankind.
You don’t have to look far to find ways to serve, nor do you need loads of skill or buckets of talent. Connecting with an established charity, church or other community groups can do enormous good and be gratifying for you, even if you work with them only occasionally throughout the year.
In every age group from premature newborns to senior citizens are people longing for conversation, a visit or a touch. Local and global groups can help you find people in one of these groups if you are drawn to serve one of them.
Once I read about a neighborhood that rallied around to help each other when someone was recovering from illness and needed a hot meal or were unable to drive and needed transportation to medical or other appointments.
When I was in the gift basket business, the owner of a customized cookie company recognizing that I was new to the business took time from working in her booth at the California Gift Show to sit me down and give me some great marketing advice. I will always appreciated her spontaneous and generous mentoring.
Regardless of what business you are in, part of your goal is to earn a living, but serving others must come first. Just as King filled a void when he spoke out for justice and freedom, so must you fill a void in the niche you serve and show flair and style in the life you live.
There are infinite ways to earn a living in this world. The career or business you choose must be the one that fills a need within others and brings deep satisfaction to you. Even when you are working on a job that is just a stop along the way to your ideal career, give your sincere effort and best service, not just for others, but for yourself as well.
When you help others you help yourself as well.
To serve, King points out, all you need is a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. Thankfully, these things are within everyone’s reach. To tap into them all you have to do is go within, believing that they are yours.
May Martin Luther King Jr. Day be a reminder to you to start your daily activities from your heart and soul, and carry out your interactions with your loved ones as well as your communications and exchanges with your job or your clients with integrity and joy.
(This is a reprint of an article I published for the last 2 years on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday.)