Today we are celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Had he lived, he’d be 88 years old.
This civil rights icon was inspirational to a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. For me, I’m inspired by how much he accomplished in his relatively short life. Dr. King was 39 years old when he was assassinated in Memphis, TN. Yet, 49 years later his legacy lives on.
I heard the most profound quote about legacy living while attending an MLK Day Breakfast on this past Friday. It was a comment made by our guest speaker, Dr. Bertice Berry. She said, “Your legacy isn’t what you leave when you die. Your legacy is what you leave when you walk out of the room.”
That was such a profound statement because it reminded me that we’re always making an imprint on the lives of others. Or at least, if we choose to, we always have the opportunity. It made me consider my impact. There are times I’m very conscious of the impact and influence I have. But this comment made me think differently. People aren’t just watching and paying attention to my life when I want them to. They are ALWAYS paying attention.
Even in those moments that I’m just going through my day. Whether I’m attending a community meeting, or I’m shopping in the grocery store, I always have the opportunity to leave my imprint. As an ambassador for Christ, this is especially important to me.
So, on this anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest people to ever live, I’m reflecting on what kind of impact I want to have on others. Maya Angelou once said that you don’t know what your legacy will be. Because you don’t really know who you’re impacting in the world, or how. I can’t really control that.
What I can do, is live with intention. I can be very deliberate in my actions, knowing that everything I do can potentially impact someone’s life. I also realize that can be simple. I may never spearhead a civil rights movement, or open a school for girls in Africa. But, I can be kind. I can be helpful to others. I can always strive for a spirit of excellence in all that I do.
Success for me is contributing to the progress and the advancement of others. I want to help people be better. I want to inspire people to be better.
From this day forward, I vow to be more mindful of the energy and life I bring to every room I occupy. More importantly, I want to leave every room better than I found it.
What about you? What are you going to do?