Recently I was walking to a room where I would be speaking to a group of people and hopefully leaving them with a few words of encouragement. The thought came to me that often we live our lives by our prepared notes, our standard answers and our well-rehearsed speeches that we give to others each day.
And then I remembered that years ago, in my early twenties, when I was immersed in the teachings, sermons, speeches and writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I came across an account of how the renowned gospel singer Mahalia Jackson had played a part in the famous I Have A Dream speech delivered in Washington, D.C.
Dr. King had prepared a speech approximately five minutes in length to be delivered on August 28, 1963.
During the course of the previous night Dr. King had written and re-written the speech, trying to find the exact words needed for this important occasion.
He began to address the 250,000 people gathered from his prepared text. A few sentences into the speech, he used the phrase, “I have a dream.”, which he had used before, but was not in the notes in front of him. There was a brief silence and Mahalia Jackson, seated fifty feet to the left of the podium said, “Tell them about the dream Martin. Tell them about the dream.”
Dr. King looked out over the large crowd, set his prepared notes to the side and delivered what is now considered one of the greatest speeches in history.
When I relayed this story to the group I was addressing, I asked them, “What prepared notes are you speaking from? What standard answers do you give over and over? And what well-rehearsed speech do you deliver every single day? Maybe it’s time to set your notes aside. Maybe it’s time for you express your own dream. Maybe it’s time for you to let out the thoughts and expressions that are within you, screaming to get out.”
For any of us…all of us, this is true.
Put aside the prepared notes for your life and speak of the dream that you have, that others need to hear.