Dr. King, President Obama, and You
Keith Major

Magical and intense—that is how I describe the night Barak Obama became our nation’s first African-American President.

I wept as he crossed the line from being a dream of our ancestors into a reality of our nation’s great, but sullied, history. I was stunned that a Black President was elected in my lifetime, but that night my thoughts were of my father and grandparents who did not live to see the day when “we” would be in the White House.

I vividly remembered watching the Eyes On The Prize documentary series as a child with my father. His narrative gave deeper meaning to a history just a generation away. Through him, I understood the grave injustice against Emmett Till. Whereas the world remembered Governor Wallace for his fight against desegregation, my father spoke of the tears his mother and grandmother shed over Wallace’s hate-filled stance at the University of Alabama.

My feelings during this past week’s inauguration were perhaps even more intense. As the television cameras panned the MLK monument, I was awed by the fact that President Obama was a fulfillment of Dr. King’s renowned dream. The possibility of his election and re-election were the reward King fought and ultimately died for in times that seemed hopeless.

On his journey to making history, President Obama certainly found strength and hope in Dr. King, as well as personal role models such as his grandparents. A powerhouse in her own right, First Lady Michelle Obama, often credits her noteworthy success and achievements to the work ethic and determination instilled by her parents and mentors. As we strive to impact the world and our community, it is essential that we identify, study and follow the examples of those who have gone before us.

Growing up, I easily found my role models in the wealth of my own genealogy. I was blessed to have parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles I respected. Though flawed, they were bold and courageous men and women.  They taught me to aspire for more and to never accept anyone else’s limits for my life. Even now, their examples still inspire me to persist against all odds.

Regardless of where we are in our life’s journey, we need role models to help us achieve our dreams. In fact, we must find several individuals who are, as one of my mentors Lisa Nichols says, “ten steps ahead” of us. Their wisdom, advice and example will stretch us beyond our comfort zones. As they look back over the paths they’ve walked, they can share insights to identify the pitfalls and blind spots we don’t readily see.

Choosing a role model doesn’t mean that we pretend to be someone else. We are drawn to our role models because they reflect an undeveloped quality or passion intrinsic in our natures. Once you find a role model, apply the disciplines and behaviors that have contributed to their influence and success to your own life.

You may not aspire to be a King or a president but whatever your dream, it can come true if you “imitate those who through faith and patience inherited the promise.” (Heb 6:12)

Live It! 
1. Select three significant goals that you would like to achieve within the next year, three and five years.
2. Identify two role models for each goal—one should be someone you know and the other can be a celebrity or thought leader. 
3. Study those individuals to learn the secrets of their success and begin to apply them to your own life.

Recently named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Felicia T. Scott is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who shares transformational truths that change lives. Follow her on Twitter for updates regarding her newly released seminar THRIVE! 7 Strategies for Extraordinary Living and more.

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