Celebrate work today!
Growing up in Hawai‘i meant it was an extra beach day (no school!) and a really ono barbecue grinds picnic day. As a kid, that was pretty much all I needed to know!
Hana ~ work
Ho‘o ~ make something happen
Ho‘ohana ~ make work happen as a Hawaiian value of living well
within our sense of place
Let’s explore this through some acronym fun that speaks to our Labor Day Aloha shall we?
WORK is a highly underrated word.
When work is good, it is really, really good.
You can belabor it, or have it be a labor of your love and Aloha. It’s completely up to you.
Ho‘ohana work is intentional work.
Your Ho‘ohana is the work you do on purpose, with passion, and with deliberate intentions, consistently seeking to match up your attentions to that intention. Ho‘ohana is your value-connected work. It might be your job, it might not. I think of Ho‘ohana work as connected to Aloha this way:
ALOHA is about you living with authenticity in a world populated with other people. We human beings were not meant to live alone; we thrive in each other’s company. Aloha celebrates everything that makes you YOU.
HO‘OHANA is about you making your living in our world in the way that gives you daily direction and intention. It leaves you with a feeling of personal fulfillment every day —not just when you have accomplished large goals.
I prefer this kind of LABOR;
L – Love your work and the job you do. If you don’t, find new work you will love (and co-workers you’ll love being with). Your life is too precious to squander away in mediocrity or boredom.
A – Accept the reality that work IS personal. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and be personal while doing your work. Other people will relate better to you that way.
B – Brand what you do with your personal signature. Stand up for your work. Be proud of it, and be proud of being associated with it. Kukupa‘u—have your enthusiasm shine through all the work you do.
O – ‘Ohana (your family) is connected to your work whether they want to be or not. Understand that, and make it a good thing. When you come home at the end of the workday bring only the good parts home with you.
R – Relationships at work are important. Welcome them. Invest in them. People first, tasks second—always. Friendships and teamwork can co-exist, and productively so (even when you compete).
Our DAYs will add up to our ethos—the characteristic spirit of the life we have;
D – Daily work must point toward your ‘Imi ola, your Desired Destiny. Otherwise you’re wasting your time, and you probably aren’t having too much fun. Fun is useful: It gives you more energy and it keeps you healthy.
A – Actions do speak louder than words. It’s true (…and you know what a big fan of words and language I am). Walk your talk. (Which by the way, is a cakewalk when you love your job—go to the top and read L again.)
Y – Everything starts and ends with You. Your work life is what YOU make it. Take responsibility for your work, and on this Labor Day, celebrate the wonderful fact that you have a choice in everything you do. (Yes you do: No victim mentality allowed in the self-leadership of Alaka‘i thinking).
We say “Be Aloha” because ALOHA makes everything even better;
A – Authenticity is very attractive when connected to Aloha: “Alo” on the outside, and “ha” coming from the inside. Pretending you’re something or someone you’re not is way too stressful, (and it annoys everyone else you work with). I’ll bet you’re pretty cool just the way you are.
L – Livelihood is a word we must all define on our own terms. Money is not evil, but it is the currency of our society, so define your terms in a way you can live well with, both physically and emotionally.
O – Optimism drives so much, and it’s magnetic. Be practiced in sharing a positive outlook and you will find it begins to influence everything you do, and all work which comes your way. Magically, it will also be the work you want.
H – Have Ho‘ohana be your Labor Day mantra, today and every day. Ho‘ohana is the Hawaiian value of intentional work, and if you have chosen to live and work in our Hawai‘i nei, you have chosen our sense of place (as defined by our cultural values) regardless of the blood type running through your veins.
A – Appreciate work because you can do it! Appreciate your health because it enables you to do the work of your Ho‘ohana. Appreciate others who work, because you need them as much as they need you. They make your life interesting, and worth the living of it.
Today, on a day where millions of Americans will celebrate Labor Day in a time-honored way by deliberately avoiding labor let’s be grateful for work in all its form and function. Think about it: Work creates the possibility of play!
If you will be playing today, do enjoy it thoroughly. However notice it thoroughly too: If not for the work that so many do so brilliantly, providing the possibility, would you be able to enjoy what you will savor today?
We Ho‘ohana Kākou, together, and within Aloha.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter:
Talking Story with the Ho‘ohana Community.
Preview the updates in Managing with Aloha, Second Edition, released Summer, 2016
Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawai‘i’s Universal Values to the Art of Business