Martin Luther King Jr. and Leadership

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke

I’m so glad Martin Luther King Jr. was willing to stand up and do something. His courage and willingness to lead has impacted a countless number of people. If his life has taught me anything, it’s that leadership always comes with a price to pay.

To be honest, until a year or two ago, it wasn’t often that I thought about the cost of being a leader. For me, leadership was often about finding the next great book to read, connecting with an endless amount of people, going to conferences to learn about leadership, and building something that I find great joy in.

However, I am finding that as one grows as a leader: The bigger the dream they have, the higher price they will have to pay. Big dreams, big prices. Small dreams, small prices. There is a huge cost to becoming a leader. There is a cost for standing up for what you believe in. There is a cost in anything worth doing.

But leadership also provides a leader with a unique opportunity. An opportunity to change the world. An opportunity to make the world a better place. That is what makes being a leader worth any price that one has to pay.

The price Martin Luther King Jr. paid, was his life. However, I bet if you could ask him if he would do it all over again if he knew what would happen, he wouldn’t hesitate. His dream was that important to him. He was willing to pay whatever price it would cost him to see his dream to come to pass.

John Maxwell says that, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Anything good or bad that has happened in our world was the result of someone making a courageous decision to lead and pay whatever price they needed to pay to see their dream come to pass.

That is why it’s so important that we’re helping grow Godly leaders who will go into every arena of life: the church, government, education, business, fitness, and any other arena that influences people. Whoever leads in those arenas, will control the direction of the world!

Thoughts for two types of leaders:

If you’re a seasoned leader, keep standing up for what is right. Keep paying the price. You are the leaders of today, and we (the next generation of leaders), are watching you. We’re watching how you lead. We are watching you sacrifice. We are watching you take hits. We are seeing what true leadership costs people.

What you do on a daily basis matters. It’s impacting not only the next generation, but generations to come. Please keep paying the price.

If you’re a young leader, we need to do everything we can to prepare to lead tomorrow. We are the next generation of leaders in this world. We’re going to face problems that have never been faced before, and it is going to take courage to lead and to conquer these problems. It’s going to require tremendous amount of sacrifice and the price will be high, but it will be worth it, because we will have the opportunity to change the world forever.

Leadership comes with a high price. People are depending on us (the leaders) to pay it.

Let’s not let them down. Choose to Dream. Choose to Lead. Choose to stand up for what is right. Choose to pay the price.


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Here are two of Martin Luther Kings’ most famous speeches. Watch them:

What are your big takeaways from these speeches?

What do they teach you about leadership?

What do they teach you about standing up for what you believe?

What do they teach you about the price needed to pay to lead and see a vision come to pass?

What do they teach you about standing true to your convictions?



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