Preface: I must start by giving credit where credit is due ~ I copied my title from Matt Cheuvront because I loved it so much, to the point of jumping out of my chair when I first read it, yelling “Yes!” and smiling the biggest smile of super-charged energy and happiness. I will joyously grab my “with Aloha” alignment parallels from wherever they catch my notice and tug at my spirit, all part of my long-standing habit of running with it.
May I tug at you too? We Hō‘imi kākou, together.
What follows, are my own results with the self-coaching exercise I suggested to you back in November, using the 19 Values of Aloha: Looking back to Hō‘imi Forward. We go forward together.
As a bit of introduction, I’ve found myself emerging from Ho‘omaha 2014-2015 (my holiday biz work sabbatical) feeling tugged by a theme I wish to color 2015 with here on the blog: ALAKA‘I, the value of management and leadership, specifically as leading by merit of one’s good example.
To borrow from Gandhi, let’s be the change we wish to see in our world. Let’s BE in a highly visible way. Let’s be vital to the rest of the world, with Aloha.
I want to focus on the manager as a very unique individual and potentially great boss, one with that ‘profound sense of responsibility’ I had often talked about in my book, and one who has a circle of influence that is much larger and more encompassing than he or she readily imagines.
Several things have collided and blended, making me feel this tug. The Christmastide Project was a big influence on me this year, and our new affirmations were their willing accomplices. There were glorious wins and accomplishments begging me to start new ones.
And yet… the world is getting more complicated, and it could be said, more dangerous — more difficult to navigate with much confidence. We turn off the news because it’s too negative and depressing, and we prefer not to know over knowing well, genuinely believing ignorance can be our bliss, and choosing to dwell in our self-protective shells. There are too many young people hesitating to start families because they worry about the perilous world they dare to bring new lives into, or how the cost of living keeps escalating. There are too many in my own generation who say, “Goodness, I’m glad we’re not parenting children these days [or starting a new business, or applying for a job, or… ] it’s far too dicey a proposition.”
We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.
Those optimistic words, and the marvelous feelings that go with them, are what we who live, work, manage and lead with Aloha, can give. We can give it by demonstrating it, by speaking it, and by doing everything we can to create a more healthy, virtue-abundant sense of place within each place we touch — each place we grace with our Aloha Spirit.
So after sitting with, playing with, and sleeping on drafts of my Hō‘imi exercise in the weeks since I shared it with you, this is what I came up with. It’s my version of Ka lā hiki ola and Alaka‘i in a thematic 2015 value pairing wherein I fully recognize and embrace this certainty in life: Goals change, values are forever.
If you are new to the blog and our tribe, click back to Looking back to Hō‘imi Forward before you proceed: You will read about the objective of our exercise, and see the template that we started with.
2015, we embrace you wholeheartedly, with Aloha.
1. Aloha ~ Spilling one’s Aloha Spirit
I intend to keep talking story about ‘spirit-spilling’ — about my core belief that everything we need to be happy and successful is within our own spirit’s capacity. When we live with Aloha we spill it out in a sharing with others that is uniquely, and magnificently our own. Personal signature. Professional branding. Call it the spirit’s DNA — humanity is the most wondrous magic which exists, and my hope is that we cease to fear any part of it.
2. Ho‘ohana ~ Worthwhile Work of choice
I intend to bring this assertion back into our attentions: Jobs are too small for people. In our vocabulary, ‘work’ is a big word, a multi-faceted, all-encompassing word, and a generous word worth celebrating and worth dwelling in. We shine in work as the beautiful expression of whatever we choose to focus on and labor in, to produce the deliciously nourishing fruits of that labor. To ‘work hard’ is to Ho‘ohana in a highly intentional way, knowing how important our work is to us, and to others.
Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.
— Pablo Picasso
3. ‘Imi ola ~ Personal Vision in Professional Mission
I intend to keep talking about how exciting and promising vision can be, and how mesmerizing and fulfilling the mission to attain vision can be. We gain our ‘best possible life’ by creating it — we make our futures happen rather than standing still and letting some indiscriminate fate happen to us. We are assertive, we are confident, and we are courageous. Thus we choose vision and mission purposely as our trusty tools.
4. Ho‘omau ~ Tenacity, Persistence and Resilience
I intend to be stubborn in the best of ways: I intend to be tenacious, persistent, and resilient in our beliefs and our calling, our values and our virtues, for they are the ingredients of our character, and the building blocks of our workplace cultures. We will be stubborn about the goodness and grace of Aloha as our brand of perseverance.
5. Kūlia i ka nu‘u ~ Striving in Adventurous Work
I intend to strive with you. We can merit from the striving even when we can’t quite articulate the accomplishment or achievement we aim for, until we have more experience within the doing. Let’s seek more adventure. It often helps to ‘Begin with the End in Mind,’ a coaching that has given us past success, but that foresight isn’t always necessary. Think about Ho‘ohana again: We ‘dwell in working’ within the striving, allowing our work to forge previously unseen pathways and uncover unexpected beauty. We pause on cliffs, summits and peaks when trailblazing simply to enjoy the view, and to see the wonder surrounding us.
6. Ho‘okipa ~ Being of Service in Aloha
I intend to be of service to others in whatever way I can, with Aloha. Equally important, I intend to notice it more, when I receive the service of Aloha from others. I do believe that a very big part of being the change we wish to see in the world, is taking the time to seek it out, notice it appreciatively and more proactively, coaxing it out of hiding. I intend to catch people when they do something right and anything good, to celebrate them, to congratulate them and cheer them on, and to thank them.
7. ‘Ohana ~ Good People surround us
Back in 2013, we started talking story about ‘Ohana as ‘rallying the tribe’ and the vocabulary stuck: I fully intend to be tribal — to dwell in our Ho‘ohana Community and ‘Ohana in Business as a very gregarious sense of place, and not solely as a business model. In ‘Ohana we find our sense of belonging, our sense of camaraderie, and our sense of wanting to share our service with others as Mea Ho‘okipa. We find constant, yet uplifting challenges to be our better selves for others.
A small group of thoughtful people could change the world.
Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead
8. Lōkahi ~ Standing up for individual role, Collaborating with strong teams
I intend to manage with Lōkahi. This one is strongly connected to a value pairing with Ho‘okipa, where we look for the strengths in others, allowing them to lead us with the merit of their good example. We become purposeful followers and conspirators within the team fabric of individual strengths, and we stand tall by strengthening the thread we ourselves represent, knowing others count on us.
9. Kākou ~ Speaking with Aloha in all communications
I intend to think twice before I speak (and sleep on whatever I write before I publish it!) so I can be absolutely certain I am speaking with Aloha, and from the sense of place Aloha is creating for us. I intend to focus on the inclusive coaching of Kākou, and on our Language of We. The tagline of Managing with Aloha cites the universal nature of our values, and practicing inclusive thinking helps us appreciate our universality, something so crucial in sharing Aloha, and speaking it.
10. Kuleana ~ Taking on responsibility, New readiness in accountability
I intend to play with edges, and seek the ‘adjacent possibility.’ When I reflect on “goals change, values are forever” I quickly recognize how much Kuleana has changed for me over the years in such great ways. It’s changed me. We tend to think of responsibility as quite restrictive in its focus, believing such concentration will help us own accountability more completely, but the truth of the matter is that choosing Kuleana for oneself enlarges capacity — it makes us bigger receptacles for whatever life can offer us.
“Adjacent possible” is an environmental condition we learned about in Steven Johnson’s book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation:
“The phrase captures both the limits and the creative potential of change and innovation… the adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself” — if you, as manager, are willing to take that leap into a better future, bringing your workplace with you.
“The strange and beautiful truth about the adjacent possible is that its boundaries grow as you explore them,” wrote Steven Johnson in the Wall Street Journal, “Each new combination opens up the possibility of other new combinations. Think of it as a house that magically expands with each door you open. You begin in a room with four doors, each leading to a new room that you haven’t visited yet. Once you open one of those doors and stroll into the room, three new doors appear, each leading to a brand new room that you couldn’t have reached from your original starting point. Keep opening new doors, and eventually you’ll have built a palace.”
Know this: Your path of adjacent possibles has led you to a unique moment in time, and it’s all yours for the taking.
11. ‘Ike loa ~ Lessons Learned, and the 2015 Study
Lessons-learned beg repetition, and our faithful practice if we wish to retain them. However I intend to have ‘Ike loa help me stay flexible — to bend with change, being open to changing our minds, yet bending without breaking, fortified by the sinewy strength and constancy of our values. When we choose change, we shift toward more value alignment. We can streamline in our Palena ‘ole way of unlimited capacity, embracing our adjacent possible. These are not opposing concepts, but harmonious ones.
12. Ha‘aha‘a ~ Humility opens us up, triggering Initiative
I intend to continue exploring how humility pairs with initiative. I had written my new essay on Ha‘aha‘a for our Ke Ola partnership as a bit of a challenge, and I think it is a good essay for us to periodically revisit as we look ahead to so many fresh starts in 2015: As I explain there, we can think of Ha‘aha‘a as an invited abundance. I intend to be a really good receiver of that abundance, more than I’ve ever been before.
13. Ho‘ohanohano ~ Distinctive behaviors in Dignity and Respect
These reflections on our 19 values of Aloha, stemmed from our “Looking back to Hō‘imi Forward.” In my looking back, I tried to simply recall our keeper words, those words that have worn certain values as their Sunday best suit of clothes. For Ho‘ohanohano a trio locked arms, very likely to our current value pairing with Ha‘aha‘a: Demeanor, behavior, distinction. I intend to embrace their usefulness. Dignity and respect should not be elusive concepts in any workplace.
14. Alaka‘i ~ Managing or Leading in All we Do
My intention is to color 2015 with Alaka‘i specifically as ‘leading by merit of one’s good example.’ Let’s BE the change we wish to see in our world. Let’s BE in a highly visible, and tangibly good way, bringing more hope and wonder into our circles of influence. Let’s be vital to the rest of the world, with our Aloha signatures stamped everywhere with a flourish. Let’s set the best possible example we can as managers and as leaders in all the work we do.
15. Mālama ~ Defining one’s Stewardship
After a decade of doing what I do, my reflections surrounding the 10th birthday of Managing with Aloha would consistently end in some variation of this question: What kind of steward of this philosophy for worthwhile work will you continue to be going forward? It’s been a question of intention for me, for sure, but also a gentle, encouraging proposition; an invitation to renew and reinvent. Think about the care-filled stewardship of Mālama in your own circle of influence: What kind of steward and champion do you intend to be?
16. Mahalo ~ Appreciation, Thankfulness, and Gratitude with Action
I intend to connect Mahalo with many more visible actions: On the one hand, we all can take the time to notice more, and say “thank you” more than we do. Combining all our senses, hands, head, heart and soul, we certainly can demonstrate Mahalo through more evident and meaningful actions. We can add so much to our words in what we do, and what we choose to give, having our actions speak volumes on our behalf.
17. Nānā i ke kumu ~ Sense of Place and Best Health
When we “look to our source,” sense of place and healthy well-being is prominent — as they should be. In looking back at our recent discussions here, I’ve recharged my intent to further develop our tribal ecosystem as connected to Sense of Place. In ‘seeing forward’ I think about the concept of Ma‘alahi — places of contentment at our sources, and their inherent ‘persuasion of calm.’ I know Hawaiian kaona can sound somewhat mystical, and this year we will make these concepts more practical.
18. Pono ~ Sense of Balance and Integration
I intend to work on my Pono muscle mass. I used to think that attaining balance was a fast track to everything Pono. Well, I’m less naïve about that with each passing day. Attaining the well-being of Pono in rightness and balance takes constant work and value intention, and you know what? That constancy in attention is a good thing. We achieve Pono in doing what it takes while we reach for it, and as we work on it. Pono is a muscle that must be continually exercised and strengthened — it’s exercise in being able to receive and deal with whatever adversity comes our way.
19. Ka lā hiki ola ~ Sense of Hope
I intend to keep reminding myself, and you can bet I’ll remind you too, that practicing the self-leadership in the value of Ka lā hiki ola, is our sense of hope — it’s what gets us out of bed each day, ready and willing, eager and excited about greeting the dawning of each brand new day. Many of those wake-up moments loom ahead of us in the dawns within 2015, and we’ll be poised to receive them with Aloha, and step into them, up close and personal.
20. This year, we add Hō‘imi ~ Looking forward with Positive Expectancy
Knowing that goals may change, but values are forever, I intend to keep this entire exercise foremost in our attentions! As 2014 drew to a close, I resisted penning another of those year-end recaps so many writers and bloggers will do, because I was weaving our own into this instead, our Hō‘imi going forward.
I intend…, I intend…, I intend…
I wrote these value-inspired paragraphs this way with deliberate purpose. Intention is an old favorite in our vocabulary because it begs for a constant influx of new energies, and Managing with Aloha is not a sitting still kind of endeavor!
On the one hand, I don’t want to bombard you with my missives, but I fully intend to continue with our affirmations for managing better as well — they help me be better too. I hope they are lighting small fires for you in the way they are doing so for me!
So now I must ask you: What do you intend in your Managing with Aloha practice? How did our exercise, Looking back to Hō‘imi Forward manifest its positive expectancy for you?
Please understand I share all of this with you to be clear on my intentions up front, for as a subscriber you have every right to know what you can expect here, but also to follow-up, to walk my talk, and give you an example of how the exercise I asked you to consider played out for me — I did it too, and I’m so glad I did!
We are going to have a very, very good year. I feel it, and I welcome it, with Aloha, and with you.
I know this was a long one, thank you for reading,