Monday, January 31, 2011

It's all in our approach.

Most of us are pretty smart when it comes to money and how we budget it.

If not, we have an attentive spouse that might do that for us.

The bigger challenge is how to manage our ATTITUDE.

When things are not going as well and we have all been there - panic seems to be the enemy of sound thinking.

We begin to forget to treat others with respect, we are less patient and empathetic.

To get back on track we need a positive ATTITUDE!

Our positive ATTITUDE will go a long way to establishing the momentum we need for success.

By maintaining a positive outlook we begin to treat opportunities without desperation and we will actually attract and pull others toward us.

No one wants to be near someone who is timid, resentful, or angry.  

We all prefer to be around people who exude confidence and have a positive ATTITUDE.

It is the same thing with relationships as it is in business…

Make it a great dia and an even better week!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lessons at the check-out counter.

I was standing in the grocery line yesterday evening.

There was an express lane - no self check but an express lane for customers paying in cash and with no more than twelve items.

Why twelve items ,who knows.

So there I stood - with a small basket of nine items in hand. I kept nonchalant count over the five people's baskets in front me to pass the time.

Out of the five customers ahead of me, one… a tall woman stepped up and put her nineteen items on the counter.


Not twelve not eleven…


I had to smile… maybe she couldn't read?

Maybe she couldn't count?

But I stood back and waited for the fireworks.

It wasn't long before when the woman right behind her complained loudly,"Dios mio! Porque hay tanta gente tan idiota!"

She exclaimed loudly, "Dear God, why are there so many idiots!"

Everyone around heard her and many others within earshot giggled.

A few others even laughed out loud, but not the tiny clerk.

She kept her professionalism and her poise. 

But then again she was also a good foot smaller than the tall, red haired, rotund customer.

The check out lady just gave a sigh and went on checking her out... all a long ignoring the chuckles that surrounded her.

The tall red haired lady with the 19 items seemed suddenly a foot smaller.

So she paid her bill and hurried  - no actually ran out the door. 

The lady who had yelled out the insult was still fuming and complaining to no one in particular around her.

Her face was now deep red and her veins in her neck were popped out.

She went on for what seemed forever -  her moment of irritation and frustration was now annoying the rest of us.

Everyone that is except the tall lady with the "illegal" bounty of nineteen items.

I am sure her aggravation had raised her blood pressure.

A child around eight years of age kept tugging at her sweater and saying,

"It's ok Abuelita, she is gone."

He kept looking at all of us and shrugged his little shoulders.

I have never been one to be quick to anger - and my patience and ability to handle frustrating situations, have a higher threshold.

I basically don't give or allow anyone the power to alter my positive spirit.

Our thoughts are very powerful.

Our thoughts can either fuel our emotions with positive or negative energy.

There are many teaching moments in life and even comic relief at your local neighborhood grocery counter.

Make it a great dia! 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Accountable thinking.

I ran across this quote, "Thinking well is wise; planning well, wiser; doing well is the wisest and best of all." 

It goes hand in hand with accountability, one of my basic tenants of leadership.  

Have you ever thought about holding your thoughts accountable?

You can and should!

Our outlook, our mood, our lives and every relationship are all affected by our thoughts. 

What do you think about?

In your spare time - between tasks or while doing house chores... 

Are your thoughts positive or constructive or negative and destructive? 

How often have you told yourself, "I am happy to be alive and grateful for all that I have?"

Our thoughts have an important force over our mood. 

How often have we allowed our thoughts to cause us to feel sad, angry or resentful?

Our thoughts are what fuel our mind and our emotions.

They allow us for better or worse, to be either UP or Down.

The great thing is that we can force ourselves to be MORE positive.

Next time "think" more "positive" thoughts when a negative thought sets in.

Send in reinforcements and overpower it with positive ones. 

Four things will quickly happen…

You’ll feel like smiling more,

You'll actually feel happier,

You'll have a sense that you are more fulfilled..

And you will have more self confidence.

The best part is that you'll find people being drawn to you.

People like to be around other people who are positive!

Its all about thinking uplifting and positive thoughts.

Think about the loved ones, the pets, places and things that bring a smile to you.

Think about how grateful you are to have each of those in your life!

Live - Love - Grow!

You possess everything you need to feel and be more positive!

Make it a great dia and a great weekend!  

Friday, January 28, 2011

Your inner voice.

They say we all have an inner voice.

I believe that we must all heed that voice.

I've found that our spirit tends to always speak the truth.

We might at times feel incomplete or less whole.

Maybe our career successes ring hollow without the loving partner to share our success with.

Could it be we've forgotten to be more generous?

We have a deep longing to acquire that special friendship to nourish our life.

Our compulsive desire to have a more fit and fabulous body doesn’t mask the underlying anxiety and depression we're feeling.

Or are you called to travel to third world country to help save a life yet we somehow lack of desire to be loving and kind to our own families here at home.

At the very essence of who we are and our need to be fully engaged, and stimulated we take the easy road out and complain of boredom.

So why is it that we  can never be satisfied?


Maybe we haven't reached our full potential because we need to learn to walk within.

Until we recognize our inability to sit with who we really are to others..

To introspectively see what behavior needs changing.. 

To fully engage others and be engaging as well.

We must be committed to diligently work at changing our self-limiting behaviors and begin to resolve any key issues.

Otherwise we are setting artificial restrictions to our lives and our well being.

Begin listening to your spirit that may be desperately trying to communicate with you..

Because until you do, you may never feel the deep personal and or professional fulfillment you deserve.

Everyone deserves to be happier, more content and fulfilled.

I encourage you to begin actively seeking your inner truth.

Make it a great dia and an even better Friday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Babe Ruth feeling...

Have you ever felt as if every time at bat, you couldn't miss?

That you were doing a "Babe Ruth" and hitting a homerun each time at bat?

Lately I feel as I have hit several!

I feel incredibly fortunate.  

Blessed to have the opportunity to give back.

To be given more opportunities to make a difference.

Which leads me to discover that the more I do this, the more there is in LIFE to celebrate and be grateful for.

I recently began a new career with an American iconic company.

A company with a rich history and tradition that spans over 82 years.

So I've began writing the latest chapter of another rewarding experience.

I am returning to what I do best, which is to help people develop and grow.

Where my years of leading and managing can once again be used to coach, to mentor and champion a large group of very talented professionals.

Here's to your "Babe Ruth" day.

Make it a great dia!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Exercise in GRATITUDE.

It's going to be a beautiful Wednesday!

Some days we have to stop and quit taking for granted all of the positive and good things we enjoy in our lives.

To be able to appreciate life more fully we need gratitude to help us put things in their proper perspective.

Not just when things don’t go your way.

There are lessons in all of our experiences.

I've found that even the very difficult ones carry within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit.

In the face of adversity I tend to reflect and ask myself, “What am I supposed to be learning from this experience?"

"What is positive about this?”

“How can I benefit from this?”

A few years ago I read about a simple exercise to create GRATITUDE thinking.

You begin by imagining that  you no longer have some of the things that you have started to take for granted.

Your spouse, a Mother in law, your teenager, or kids, your home, maybe even your ability to see or ability to walk, or just about anyone and anything that brings you joy or comfort.

What a sad and devastating thought don't you think?

Next you begin to visualize having each one of these very things you lost all being returned to you.

Take a moment for each and tey and imagine each one of them.

Consider how grateful you would feel for each and every one now back in your life.

Life after all is about finding joy in the small things and the experiences we are given.

Too often we get moving so fast or things are going so well that we quit being grateful.

Yet if we don't allow ourselves to feel grateful for the smaller things in life, how will we ever be able to feel grateful when our bigger achievements?

Maybe you or a loved one graduating from college, finding the perfect job, getting a promotion, finally having a bigger emergency fund, or getting married, or having your first child come?


Make it a great dia!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When your job becomes a commodity.

We become so conditioned to the, "What's in it for me?" concept thinking.

Even day to day satisfaction has become the means to an end.

I am all for working hard and rewarding ourselves.

What I have a problem with the mindset of only doing those things for some distant benefit.

When we only do things to get an end result benefit, we end up devaluing the experience itself.

Even at work - when you start thinking that you are working solely for the paycheck and benefits, you devalue what you do each day.

You devalue your "work life" experience.

Unfortunately you also even begin to forget the excitement, challenge or love you may have had for it.

When you forget (or never had) the love for the very job that rewards you, that unique experience becomes a commodity.

It becomes something you are willing to take or leave, comparison shop or trade. 

Your attention will not be in the "Present" experience.

When we are focused on anything other then what is in front of us NOW, we devalue it and can't enjoy the experience that it brings and that we are living.

We miss the reward of our day to day accomplishments and successes.

Soon there are no binding ties to the joy, excitement, or the challenges.

We begin to go through the motions and do things, anything, just because we have to.

Life has never been a means to an end.

Although the “end” may include some nice-sounding “purpose”.

The truest meaning of LIFE is actually living LIFE to its fullest extent we can.

Life’s purpose is life itself.

In other words, life’s purpose is every moment of the "present" day.

It is a combination of everything you are doing and everything you are experiencing.

Start enjoying all of the day to day benefits and reward NOW!

Live - Love - Grow!

Make it a great dia!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Are you an octupus on skates?

Last night I was reading John C. Maxwell's book, “Talent is not Enough” on adaptive leadership.

I found something worth sharing about how "focus" and how it should always be our friend.

TALENT without FOCUS if you can imagine it ... is like an "octopus on roller skates".

Pretty ridiculous visual?

A bunch of arms flailing everywhere!

A whole lot of loud grunting and perspiration flying all around.

Yes, there may be a lot of movement, but the octupus isn't going anywhere.

Bottom line - your TALENT must have the proper FOCUS - in order to take you move you forward, and as fast as you decide.

Make it a great dia and a great week!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Humility is a good quality to have...

Sometimes it is ok to say, "I don't know." 

My Father told us that "The sun didn't rise each morning just to hear the roosters crow."

He was always praising the more humble.

Humility he would say "Helped us recognize who we were".

It reminded us of everything that we had received in life.

A humble person is grateful for their gifts and grateful with everyone he encounters.

Humility in many ways helps us to better recognize everything that we have received a long the journey we call LIFE.

The humble person accomplishes many great things... QUIETLY.

They are amiable, kind and cordial.

They are Generous.They make themselves available to others.

They are more giving... and always find ways to give of themselves.

Kind and gentle souls that share their LIFE with others.

They are more Tolerant, because they have at one time been shown forgiveness.

They live a simplicity... in all they do.

They can because they do not require or make superfluous exigencies.

They live with an open heart.

They can quickly uncover opportunities of need in their surroundings.

They GIVE because the more they give the more they get back.

Make it a humble dia!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Coming full circle.

I’ve had an abundance of time these past few months to spend with my family, and with myself, reflecting and feeling.

Time we needed to grieve and mourn - and especially time needed to heal.

And with each passing moment, I have come more and more into myself.

I have learned more about myself in these past few months than I ever did in all my years in the military or the medical missionary work in the rugged sierra Madres.

I spent many days and nights searching for answers to the senseless murders of Roberto and Rodolfo.

Time that allowed the tears and the laughter and never ending stream of emotions to flow. 

Death touched the depths of my soul and carved painful grooves in my heart.

Leaving bits of recoded emotion in my mind.

These past few months and the total of the experiences helped me once again reconcile who I am and what I want my life to mean.

I want to add that I have been blessed with enjoying lasting friendships.

Friendships that made the past several months much easier to bear. 

Honestly, I am more fortunate then any one person can feel.

My family and those that know me will attest that I care, love and feel deeply on many levels.

That I am given to reflection - and introspection.

I am open minded and speak with candor and honesty.

My life has also been blessed with a couple of long term friendships.

Friends of more than twenty five years.

One an ex-Foreign Legionnaire and the other a drug and alcohol counselor.

The kind of friends who are supportive even when I've made them crazy with my interests, views and questions.

Yet they have been the kind of friends that are open to discussing a different point of view on religion, politics, history, culture, music and anything in between.

And many of the so called un-speakables too.

True and unconditional friends that aren't afraid of calling me out, even as they hold my hand off of my high horse.

Warm, positive, compassionate, tolerant, warm, considerate, loving and witty friends.

The kind of friends that appreciate ones gifts and openly share their own.

Amigos that have showed me; that a circle of true, deep and meaningful friendships do exist and that I am worthy of them.

For them I am grateful. 

Make it a great dia!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Marginless time.

Lately we hear a lot about "margin."

The business definition of "Gross margin", (sales minus direct costs) is what is left over after costs associated directly with the sale of a product or service.

Reminded me of a book I read called, Margin: Restoring the Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives.

In it the author Dr. Swenson also discusses "margin."

Only he defines it as "the space between where we live and our actual limits."

It's basically the reserve we set aside for contingencies or any unexpected situations.

Too often we maintain very little, if any, margin in our lives.

Yet, there are consequences to a "marginless" lifestyle.

How do I restore the "margin" in my life?

I try and always focus on the actual use of my time.

I keep an eye on what and where I am spending my time.

A good way to determine how you are spending your time is to make an inventory and journal where you are spending it and how much time you are allocating for each activity.

You'll soon find that your calendar is constantly full.

You might also find that you are taking on more demands then you are able to adequately meet.

I determine what's most important and trim back on anything that isn't fulfilling my priorities.

Don't get me wrong - it's not about doing less but rather getting the right things done.

In order to de-stress my life, I also have made it a habit to allow just a bit more time to do the things I am planning on doing.

We all know that typically things take longer to complete than we anticipate they will.

This is one of the reasons that we have so little "time margin".

Same goes for my calendar, I purposely don't overload it.

I always leave ample time in reserve for what is important, or for any unexpected opportunity.

As Dr. Swenson writes in his book, "If we are to make the kind of impact in this world that we'd like, we need to move beyond "schedulability" to "availability!"

Especially making time for the important matters that can't be planned in advance. 

It's your "margin" what are you going to do with all that extra time?

Make it a great dia!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

If not now then when?

There is no better time to lead a more purpose driven life then now.

It doesn't have to be complicated.

It's all about pursuing a life based on our heart's desire with true passion.

With a determined purpose we are able to easily focus our time and energy on what has significance and is truly important.

Without purpose we are constantly changing direction.

We end up complicating our lives with aimless distractions.

By focusing on a few things that fulfill our purpose we begin to discover that there is more to life than just the here and now.

We begin to live differently, quietly making the changes that bring us a much more satisfied existence.

We are glad to show more deference to every relationship, our work, and even our every day circumstances.

We begin to feel more connected with those around us.

Our lives begin to feel fulfilled and much more satisfying.

When we begin to live a life of purpose, life suddenly has more meaning.

Make it a great dia!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You are your company's BEST Ambassador.

Many years ago I worked for a research lab and at our front desk was a petite, very witty lady (one that I am still friends with), I'll call Shirl.

She was and is an amazing woman; very funny, extremely outgoing, had a great attitude and was always enthusiastic.

She was an important member of our scientific staff of 160 colleagues.

Shirl also wore many hats; front desk receptionist, switch phone operator, security administrator as well as the "unofficial" counselor and positive attitude dispenser.

She also had a tremendous impact on every visitors' perception that entered our front doors.

This petite woman was our company's unofficial Ambassador and a "force multiplier" of good will.

Twenty-five years later I found a "Shirl" half way across the USA in Memphis, Tennessee.

I was there to meet with the Vice President of a Fortune 500 company.

As I entered their front doors I met a wonderful lady named Francis.

With genuine enthusiasm for her company and her responsibilities, Francis' positive energy was contagious.

Everyone that entered was greeted warmly and I was no exception.

She treated me like family and made my visit a uniquely memorable and positive experience.

Moreover she secretly "inoculated" me with a special serum that made me want to become part of their family.

Within minutes we were having a great conversation.

She knew the history of this company; not because she had paid attention when she read about it in some Employee manual, but because she had lived it.

Francis told me she had been happily working for this amazing company a total of 49 years!

Now that says something about a company and the laws of reciprocal loyalty.

Moreover, what better brand marketing then a genuine spokesperson and Ambassador.

In Life and in business first impressions are important and "Perception is King."

Perception starts the moment a visitor, or customer walks through your front doors or calls in and speaks to a member of your staff.

Can you imagine the marketing power a company could have, if every member of their staff tried to be more like Francis?

Whether at work or as you go about your personal life we all represent something.

You represent everything about ourselves, who we are, our upbringing, our culture as well as who you work for.

What can you do today to be your company's BEST Ambassador?

Make it a great dia!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Too often we think small.

Ever wonder how much more LIFE is there for you?

I believe that our lives come with an unlimited potential for success and possibilities.

Too often we think small.

We have to look beyond the limits of our perceived reach.

Everything is possible and all fruits are low bearing and attainable.

There is nothing that is holding you back except YOU. 

Don't leave anything on the table.

There is much more to our earthly existence that what we've accepted as our fair share.

But you have to make a conscious choice to pursue your dreams, your goals and make your vision of what you want in life, your reality.

There is so much more love, fulfillment and prosperity waiting for you.

You have to believe that you deserve every ounce of the happiness, spiritual harmony and fulfilled relationships possible.

All of which are patiently waiting your arrival.

Be passionate - LIVE - LOVE - GROW.

Make it a great dia!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Today is more than a US federal holiday...

"Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. I believe in this method because I think it is the only way to reestablish a broken community."

"It is the method which seeks to implement the just law by appealing to the conscience of the great decent majority who through blindness, fear, pride, and irrationality have allowed their consciences to sleep."

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy. We have seen many changes take place in America because of Martin Luther King. Ronald Regan in 1986 signed a law establishing the third January as a national holiday, Martin Luther King Day.

He was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. During a time when black people did not have the rights which they have today. He experienced his first racial discrimination encounter as a child, when his long time white neighbors refused to let him play with their boys.
He wrote later about a time that he and his father were asked to move to the back of a shoe store to be fitted for shoes. He rmembered  leaving without buying anything.

On another occasion he and his black schoolteacher are ordered to give up their seats to white passengers during a lengthy bus ride. When they didn't move right away, the driver started cursing them, King later recalled.

He said that he almost decided heed the driver, but that his teacher pointed out that they had to obey the law. So they stood in the aisle the whole 90 miles to Atlanta.

While attending Oglethorpe Elementary School, Miss Lemon, his teacher taught him to be independent. She taught him if there was an injustice, he could rebel, but still keep his dignity and find quiet ways to resist. She inspired her students to learn about black history and take pride in their heritage.

He went on to attend Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta. On one occasion he and his teacher were riding on a bus. When the bus filled up with people, the driver asked them to stand up and let two white people have their seats. It was the law. Martin saw the injustice of it, and he never forgot that incident.

At 15 years of age he entered Morehouse College. He became assistant minister of the Ebenezer Baptist church where his father was minister. The following year he graduated from college. He was only 19 years old.

He then attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. While at Crozer he studied the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, a man who brought about changes in India through "passive resistance". Martin saw this method of non-violent resistance as the answer to the unfair treatment blacks received in America.

He went on to Boston University to work on his Ph.D.. It was there that he met Coretta Scott who would become his wife. They would eventually have four children; two boys and two girls. After he graduated from Boston University he became the minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

In Montgomery blacks and whites were segregated, they attend different schools and sat in separate sections on buses. Many times blacks would be forced to stand on a bus even though there were empty seats at the front of the bus or what was the "white" section of the bus. It was on December 1, 1955 that a lady by the name of Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus.

The police were called and she was arrested. Parks' act of defiance became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement and Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including boycott leader Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to launch him to national prominence in the civil rights movement.

They organized a boycott of the bus system. Refusing to ride the buses until they received fair treatment. The newspapers heard of the plan and wrote an article which helped in getting the word out.

The boycott lasted for more than a year and people walked, rode bicycles, and rode in car pools to get to work. The Supreme Court would ruke in December of 1956 that bus segregation was unlawful.

By 1957 Dr. King established the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and he became its president.

The Jim Crow laws that said blacks were to be denied certain rights began to be challenged in many cities in America. Black students across the country began to stage "sit-ins" at lunch counters.

Up until this time they had been forbidden food service at eating places. The "freedom riders" began riding buses from state to state and doing "sit-ins" at lunch counters and "white" waiting rooms. Peaceful marches continued to be organized and thousands were arrested because they were taking part. On August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King and other leaders led a march into Washington D.C. Over 250,000 people marched from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial.

It was here Dr. King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" message. He said, "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

Here is more on that speech; "I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells.

Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.

You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true.

So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles,

Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Hw was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway in 1964. At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.

Dr. King was jailed 30 times for his resistance. He conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was awarded five honorary degrees, was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963, was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was assassinated by James Earl Ray.

The US Congress votes to allow an annual national holiday in King's honour on the third Monday of every January. The first King holiday was observed in 1986.

King was just 39 years old at the time of his assassination. He had done much to convince white Americans of the need for civil reform and had given his African-American constituency an eloquent and authoritative voice.

His adherence to the principles of nonviolence and noncooperation advocated by Mahatma Gandhi were not popular with all African-Americans but they enabled King to retain the moral high ground in the battle for equality.

Certainly the institutional impediments to equality have been removed but even today terrible hate crimes are still being committed. There is much more to do.

We should think first about serving others in order to find our purpose, rather than focused on the potential for reward or punishment. This is another one of my favorite quotes from King:

"If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"

Today I remember and embrace the legacy of Dr. King, for it exemplifies values of hope and peaceful co-existence between people of all diverse backgrounds.

GO out and be of service... Make it a great dia!