The first time I went out on the ocean with the Alaka‘i Nalu, I was in seat five of their first and oldest canoe, the seat where the steersman in seat six could best keep an eye on me. The canoe was named Ka lā hiki ola, the dawning of a new day.
The kaona (hidden meaning) I now hold in that day’s memory, was that she represented my hope in all we would do together as an ‘OHANA, one bonded by our ALOHA and MĀLAMA for each other. When I climbed into that canoe, I was making a deliberate choice as to what I was going to give my attentions to. It sent a strong message to my Alaka‘i Nalu too, for up until that moment they’d expected, and received, a degree of managerial detachment from me, separating my world view from theirs. It would be the day that separation ceased to be, and thus, the day my managing results significantly improved.
That day figured prominently in my own search for PONO, and it would indeed be a turning point in my relationship with the Alaka‘i Nalu: They didn’t believe I could understand them completely until I had been out on the ocean with them.
They’d been right.
—adapted from the Ka lā hiki ola Epilogue in Managing with Aloha
As I’ve written of before, I’m not one who believes the effective manager must be able to do each task those they supervise and direct must do. Our goal as managers isn’t equal ability, it’s complete awareness so we can understand exactly what it is we need to manage. I will never be an expert paddler or great swimmer, yet the Alaka‘i Nalu were much wiser than I in realizing I needed some of their “Can do” confidence in the canoe for myself most of all. It wouldn’t be the first time I’d discover I had much to learn from my employees, nor the last!
Within KA LĀ HIKI OLA (literally; the dawning of a new day) is a little word that is immensely powerful: Hiki.
Hiki means ‘Can do.’
Hiki implies both possibility for lā, the day at hand, and ability, the ability to ho‘o, and make something happen.
Therefore, what KA LĀ HIKI OLA alludes to, is that you have the ability to do what it takes to make your life (ola) happen in the way it delivers best possibility to you.
Values are what we lay claim to: We own up to them because we believe in them deeply.
Thus, to lay claim to KA LĀ HIKI OLA as a value, is to say you deeply believe you can do whatever it takes to improve your life, your work, your future.
Put ho‘o, to make something happen, together with hiki, your confident knowledge in your own ‘Can do’ ability to get it done. Always ‘can,’ and never ‘won’t.’
Ho‘ohiki then, becomes the promise you make to yourself.
The promises we make to ourselves are powerful, for we don’t accept our own excuses. We ‘fess up’ to ourselves more readily than we do to anyone else.
Now think about that “dawning of a new day” we know KA LĀ HIKI OLA to literally mean:
“New” is always so tantalizing, isn’t it. Though some cynics who wax nostalgic will seek to temper our enthusiasm (ignore them!) we know that “new” means a fresh energy of some kind, carrying with it the hope and promise of some difference, and perhaps, an extraordinary difference.
New is innovative, new is bold.
In our attentions, new is rarely lowly or unimportant.
New is novel, new is contemporary; new is never tired or old-fashioned.
New is modern and new-fangled. New is up-to-the-minute. New is original.
No matter our age, no matter our circumstance, new can always be within us.
We can be tantalizing.
We can be fresh.
We can be innovative.
We can be bold.
We can be novel.
We can be contemporary.
We can be modern, up-to-the-minute and original.
We can, and we will, when that’s what we choose with HO‘OHANA intention.
Next time you open your journal, consider writing a Ho‘ohiki Statement of Intention for the KA LĀ HIKI OLA you lay claim to; the “dawning of the new day” you have the ability to create for yourself.
You can do it as a personal exercise, or you can do it together with your team. I have an example for my company, Say Leadership Coaching, that you can look at as an example: Ho‘ohiki: We Promise. It is something I have always publicly published as a public commitment to make good on my own word. You will notice that it is written as a collection of “we will” statements for me and those I consider to be my ‘Ohana in Business (Key 6).
If you wish to, use the comment boxes here to make your Ho‘ohiki a public commitment too, for you have the entire Ho‘ohana Community of Managing with Aloha practitioners and Alaka‘i Managers available to support you. If you have written statements like this before and can make suggestions for others, or share your own experience with them, please do.
We can also talk story here about the “New.” What will that be for you, or for your business or workplace? What kind of ability will you be drawing from to feather the nest you confidently create?
Mahalo, thank you for reading today, sharing your fresh energies here with me.
Read more about Ka lā hiki ola here: KA LĀ HIKI OLA