As we embark on this holiday in which we celebrate Nobel Peace Prize winner and father of the nonviolent civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I wanted to share a few thoughts expounding on Dr. King’s universal message of hope.

Hope conjures up feelings of expectation. A state of anticipation of things to come. Usually, when I’m in a mode of expectation, I ‘m drilling down for answers. I want to know: How? Who? What? When? Where? You may find yourself doing that same thing.

As Dr. King struggled to lead an entire nation through a crucial turning point in its history, one can only imagine the barrage of questions he proposed daily—not just to his followers but to himself as well. “Where Do We Go From Here,” was one such poignant question that became a book title of his as well.

What a powerful question—one that can be answered literally and quite easily when you have an end point, map and directions. However, when asked figuratively, that question can leave us scratching our heads and contemplating for a very long time.

As leader of my company, I’m often posing that same question to myself and to my team for a healthy dose of discussion and a fresh set of answers. Where do we go from here? There are many literal answers that I’ve come up with and my team members as well–some we even get around to putting into action.

Perhaps, though, in this moment of reflection, let’s answer this from the lens of Dr. King. His hopeful spirit and profound courage were embodied in that question as he asked it. The answer was demonstrated by his works on this earth and his legacy thereafter: “Up.” That’s it, one simple word.

Dr. King urged us all to RISE UP to a higher destiny. As stated in his book, he desired for this nation to reach a “higher plateau of compassion” and a “more noble expression of humanness.”

In our work environment, around our community and inside our homes, let us remain hopeful about where we are going and what we have to offer when we get there—whether today, tomorrow, this year or beyond. In doing so, we must follow in the footsteps of Dr. King as he declared that “our most fruitful course is to stand firm, move forward nonviolently, accept disappointment and cling to hope.”

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Day!

Bill “Clark” Kent, CEO

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