Harnessing Your Why — How To Make Your Business Create Money by James C. Tanner (An Excerpt) — In the midst of a brilliant sunshine on August 28th, in 1963, one of the greatest lessons in life began to play out, and most people failed to see it. As a quarter of a million people gathered near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, a lone man rose to the podium.
Two months earlier this man rose to a podium in Detroit and uttered four words that would change and define the course of history forever, and those four words were “I have a dream.”
In the two months which lay between Detroit and Washington, many of Martin Luther King’s team pleaded with him to not use the term “I have a dream” in his second speech. Some of his senior team members felt that the use of this term in Washington would be “hackneyed and trite”. The speech writing team quickly came up with an alternative phrase “normalcy never again” to replace the “I have a dream” phrase.
With the pressure of his team urging the use of the new phrase, Martin Luther King rose alone in his dogged determination to the podium in Washington DC, and began to speak. There, in front of a swelling crowd, international media coverage, and a staff who hung on baited breath waiting to hear the words “…normalcy never again…”, Martin Luther King raised his now iconic finger in the air and declared “I have a dream…”.
The Power of Your “WHY?”
Was it a mistake on the part of Martin Luther King to ignore the advice of his team and repeat a phrase which was thought by some to be hackneyed and trite?
Martin Luther King understood one thing better than any member of his team – he understood his WHY.
While some might sit back and use the phrase “dream”, Martin Luther King outwardly described his WHY as a dream, but inwardly it was the passion that drove him, at times beyond his own endurance levels, towards a goal. Martin Luther King understood the dynamic passion and power of moving forward in life holding your WHY holding it high like a standard for all to see. Martin Luther King was telling people how to vote, or to defy a government, he was sharing with the masses his vision of what could be one day, if men and women were willing to change. People follow a vision/visionary – they are driven by a dictator.
There is a power unlike any other in knowing and holding dear to one’s WHY.
Our “WHY” Carries Us To Greatness
Rachel was a typical high school student, who spent her typical school days laughing and joking around with her friends. Raised in a devotedly religious home, Rachel was grounded in the core beliefs of her Christian faith.
To most, it would have gone unnoticed that one day in school Rachel turned in an essay wherein she wrote her WHY, and those words simply stated, “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same.”
Her WHY was innocent enough, but as the paper containing those words fell upon the teachers desk, no one knew how dramatically Rachel’s WHY would be tested.
On that fateful day, April 20th, 1999, Rachel Scott’s life was snuffed out while attending her beloved High School along with 12 other students and one teacher. History still haunts society with the term “The Columbine Massacre”.
Rachel’s WHY was a passion that drove her, but to the rest of the world around her, it was merely a seed waiting to take hold and come to fruition. “I have this theory,” Rachel Scott said, “that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same.”
Today Rachel’s WHY has lived on as the inspiration behind Rachel’s Challenge, an American nationwide school outreach program for the prevention of teen violence, based largely on Rachel Scott’s life and writings.
A Selfless “WHY” Out-Lives Us
While many lessons in life can be gleaned from the lives of Martin Luther King and Rachel Scott, one important truth is clear, our WHY is not limited to our years, our ability, or our skill set. Our WHY has the ability to grow beyond us, beyond our walls, and beyond the day to day frustrations we experience as we seem to strive, just to make it to the next day. Our WHY is a window, to the greatness, the true potential that lays deep within each and every one of us.
When asked to name many of the great leaders throughout history, most of us will come up with a differing list of names, but each of us will discover a common theme buried deep within our lists – each leader named left our world a better place.
History tells us that great leaders are not remembered for the wealth they amass while on this earth, but for the positive impact he or she leaves on the lives of mankind. True legacies are never borne out of profit margins, but out of societal imprints left behind.
Harnessing Your Why — How To Make Your Business Create Money (An Excerpt) from Author James C. Tanner