I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve been captivated by the coverage about Muhammad Ali – his life and legacy.
You see, as a little girl growing up, I remember seeing this brash and bold young Black man on television. He was loud and proud. All I knew were people who were polite and white. And quite frankly, he scared me.
He said he was the greatest, the fastest, the prettiest and wittiest.
He became a Muslim. He spoke out against racial injustice. He defied the draft, was found guilty of draft evasion and stripped of his boxing titles.
He spoke up about things people didn’t want to hear. And because of that, he scared us.
A successful appeal in the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1971. And after he won the title two more times, people started listening … The world was changing and his ideas didn’t seem so radical and scary anymore.
And just as people started to listen, Parkinson’s Disease stole from him the two things that made him famous: his rhetoric and his physical strength.
Yet at the same time, as his wife said: “he communicated with his heart, his eyes and his face. It was a message of love and peace.”
He was named a “Messenger of Peace” by the United Nations and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
And when a Harvard student yelled to Ali after a commencement speech: “Ali, give us a poem!” He paused, reflected, and returned to the podium to share the world’s shortest and perhaps one of his most profound poems:
My book, From Type A to Type T: How to Be a Transformational Leader in a Bottom-Line World, explains that Type T leaders are inclusive, empowering and look out for the good of the whole. Transformational leaders (“Type T”) are needed now more than ever, especially as politicians spew divisiveness, hatred and fear.
Muhammad Ali, a devout Muslim, epitomized the qualities of a “Type T” leader. Here are a few of Ali’s famous quotes that show what a true and great, transformational leader he was:
- Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
- My principles are more important than the money or my title.
- I wanted to use my fame and this face that everyone knows so well to help uplift and inspire people around the world.
- Don’t count the days; make the days count.
- He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
- It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
- If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it.
- What you’re thinking is what you’re becoming.
I ask you this:
What are you thinking? What are you becoming? Are you using your talents to uplift and inspire the people in your world?
What are you doing to make your days count?
Marty Stanley, CSP, is a national speaker, consultant and executive coach. She aspires to uplift and inspire people to have the courage to make personal and organizational changes that will make it a better world. firstname.lastname@example.org 816-695-5453
For more information on being a Type T leader, watch this 1 minute video.
Or order the book on How to Be a Transformational Leader in a Bottom-Line World.