MLK Day: Become A Leader of Self

CoBiz Richmond
3 min readJan 17, 2022


This MLK Day, I ask that you tap into the MLK energy within you.

No, you do not need to be a leader of others. You just need to be a leader of self which in my eyes, simply means:

  • critically thinking about all things presented to you, no matter the source;
  • defining your values;
  • challenging the things that go against your values;
  • holding yourself accountable;
  • self-reflecting first before highlighting what others are not doing;
  • making sacrifices to achieve your goals; and
  • ultimately, working to be the best person you can be.

To be a leader of self means you accept the inherent duty that we all hold as human beings — a duty of stewardship:

  1. over the vessel we are blessed with (i.e. our bodies);
  2. over the seeds we bring into this world (our children);
  3. over the planet we inhabit (Mother Earth).

Today, are we great stewards of self, of our families, of our nation, of our planet? I don’t think so in my humble opinion.

Stewards do not pursue wealth at the expense of people, nature, and the planet. How can we prioritize money over societal wellness, over human beings, over family, over healthy development of our children? Such actions are not the doings of true stewards.

See, when you have a duty, you have to honor it.

MLK understood his duty because he was a leader of himself first before he became a leader of others.

He studied, challenged himself, and asked questions. As he evolved, his understanding of his duty prevented him from condoning what he learned/heard/experienced/witnessed concerning racism, capitalism, and the government’s intentional failure to take care of all its citizens equally — African Americans, Indigenous, Indians, poor, etc.

Instead, MLK chose to challenge what did not align with his duty. Was he absolutely fearless? No, he feared for his life and that of his family but that did not stop him. Was he a super human? No, he was just like you and me. He made a choice and that choice began with becoming a leader of self.

What choice will you make?

Today, there are things we see and hear that instinctively go against:

  1. our own wellness,
  2. our children’s wellness,
  3. our humanity,
  4. our values,
  5. our planet.

Why are we tolerating these things? I believe we are tolerating these things because our current culture does not promote or encourage people to be a leader of self; therefore, knowing one’s value, knowing one’s universal rights, thinking critically, being considerate, and challenging things are no longer normal. We are accepting things we should not accept that are touching our personal lives and our families.

See, we can not ethically hold our elected leaders accountable until we become accountable to self. Are we honoring our duty to self?

In my eyes, we have become sheep and follow shepherds who do not share our values.

That is not how the Creator intended it which is why MLK fought for himself and for others. He understood his duty. Please choose to be a source of light for yourself each day, which will then allow you to be a source of light for your family, which will then allow you to be a source of light for your community, your county, your state, your country, and our earth.

And to close, it is ironic that imperfect men and women attempt to tarnish MLK’s legacy for his alleged personal transgressions. Last time I checked, we are all fallible. MLK, as a man, was growing in his understanding of self and learning mastery of self. I choose to learn from him and from others so I can become a better leader of self, so I can become a better human being, so I become a better steward of my vessel and this planet I inhabit with others human beings.

Happy MLK Day!

Wesley Alexander | CEO | CoBiz Richmond, Inc.



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