Today we take a holiday across our nation to honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
One of his celebrated quotes is, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.” There are many ways to interpret that quote to shape how we choose to lead our lives, run our businesses, and live authentically today.
What it Means to Drive Out the Dark with the Light
In its most popular interpretation, his quote means to do good even when faced with difficulty. We are meant to serve others and- as my own father taught me to do- leave this world better than we found it. It’s the only way to battle dark times, with good deeds and servant leadership, lighting the way for others.
Letting the light drive out darkness can also relate to showing respect through candor. Having hard conversations and being transparent. It means bringing truth and new developments to light and sharing our best information so we can come together and find solutions in the face of adversity. That’s what leads to growth.
Whether on a personal level, a professional level, or globally. The only way to see ourselves through to success is to face our issues head-on, listen to understand each other and be kind enough to tell it like it really is. Platitudes and hollow words only serve to push the problem aside, or onto somebody else, and they create a divide rather than bring people together.
True kindness is not just pretending everything’s okay and sweeping it under the rug. it’s to have uncomfortable conversations to improve the situation at hand. To speak and respect somebody enough to unleash the next level of growth.
The More People You Lift Up, The Further You Get
We are inundated with divisive rhetoric from the news, social media, and all angles, but I like to think much of Dr. King’s vision is still alive and well, and has shaped the way many leaders in business and beyond prioritize success.
In today’s landscape, a great business should be run like a brotherhood/sisterhood- as in the way military, sports, or a co-ed fraternity/sorority should function. Primarily because it promotes people of diverse and different backgrounds coming together for a common goal. That’s where the strength in business originates and grows.
Great teams don’t happen in business just because you work together in the same industry, department, or because your offices share a door. They happen in the way people are valued, how they are respected, how they come together to collaborate, and how they challenge each other to succeed. If one part of the team is not thriving, the whole team suffers. When we lift each other, everybody benefits. I think that’s the Dream in action.