Dr. King’s Inspiration – Greatness at Work

Sections of this topic

    As we celebrate the MLK holiday this week, I want to focus on one of King’s messages that apply to businesses and work.

         Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.- Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968)
    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    One of my favorite quotes of Dr. King is: ‘Anyone can be great because everyone can serve.’ That quote is the basis for my first book, “Path for Greatness: Work as Spiritual Service.”

    Reflecting on King’s message, how are we called to be great at work? When he talks of greatness he’s not speaking of exceptional performance, heroic deeds, or extraordinary talent. King wrote that even if you are a small shrub on the side of the road, be the best little shrub you can be.

    No, King is referring to the kind of greatness that comes from bringing your best self to work, day in and day out.

    Any work can be spiritual when we show up as our best selves and offer our work as loving service. Are you working with integrity, compassion, understanding, kindness, respecting others, etc.?

    Greatness comes when you could take the easy way out, cut corners, blame someone else for a problem, inflate an expense, or intentionally mislead someone one- but you don’t.

    Greatness often requires courage. Courage to stand up for your customer, or perhaps stand up for your colleague when peer pressure or politics require otherwise.

    Greatness happens when you could go along with others who aren’t doing the right thing, but instead speak your truth.

    Are you showing up today with courage, compassion, understanding, kindness?

    Are you respecting yourself to speak your truth? Are you respecting your customers or co-workers by listening deeply to what they need?

    I describe in my book “Path for Greatness” ways to be great in the way that King meant. As you align your gifts, passion, and higher purpose in loving service, your greatness comes through.

    First, you need to nurture your spiritual soil so that you stay spiritually grounded despite what goes on around you at work. By tending to your spiritual soil, you’re able to offer your gifts and passion in loving service.

    If your spiritual soil, your solid ground, isn’t tended to, you’ll feel depleted or out of balance. Or worse yet, you’ll forget to bring your best self to work. You’ll act without integrity, compassion, respect for others etc.

    Look for the ways you are called to be great this week.

    • Are you tending to your spiritual soil?
    • Are you bringing your best self to work?
    • Are you offering your gifts in loving service?

    May you find inspiration from the words of Dr. King. No matter what work you do, your greatness can shine through.

    Go be Great. The world needs you.

    “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

    Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)


    Linda J. Ferguson, Ph.D. is a Job and Life Coach. Linda offers guidance and fresh perspectives to help you be successful at work and live in balance. Visit www.lindajferguson.com/coaching/ for more information.

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