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Martin Luther King Jr. On Facing His Fear

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where he delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream,” speech during the Aug. 28, 1963, march on Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Wikimedia


By Kris Deichler, Associate Partner, Lighthouse International

How do we face our fears or deal with feelings of inadequacy, especially when we are put in a position of responsibility? You can look at a legendary leader like Martin Luther King Jr, listen to his impassioned speeches and think that he was immune to such feelings. However, in a BBC interview from 1961, King explained that these feelings were very real for him too...

When we have a tough challenge to face, or are given a position of responsibility, we can all find ourselves having to face fears and worries that we won't be able to do what we need to do, no one is immune to this. However, when we are clear about WHY we are doing something - when we give it meaning and purpose and we remind ourselves of that - it can give us the courage and motivation to continue on our journey.

In Dr. King’s case, knowing that what he was doing mattered so much to so many millions of people, helped him put his fears aside. It was also the habit of constant self-examination and willingness to look at himself objectively that kept him in touch with the reality of the situation.

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