As an author, and someone who genuinely feels she writes better than she talks, I loved the opportunity I was recently given, to present a keynote along with an essay my host published in a gift book given to all his conference participants.
Part 2, Keynote.
What usually happens, is that people will listen to me speak, and then decide if they want to read my writing afterwards, either here on the blog or by purchasing my book. This time, they could read my essay beforehand, one I had expressly written to complement the keynote I would be giving. So cool.
Each time I speak, I assume my presentation has to be stand alone and fully packaged; I assume no one in the audience has ever heard of Managing with Aloha, much less read my book, this blog, or our newsletter. I assume we are meeting each other for the first time, and I’m hoping they leave our conversation knowing me, knowing Managing with Aloha, and sensing exactly how they can own it themselves and then run with it— I want them to relate to values-centered living, and begin to ‘work’ their values as well: Ethos: Be true to your Values.
That’s a lot to ask of the 18-minute time slots you usually have for keynotes when you feel there is so much to say (thanks for setting that bar TED Talks.) A lot to ask, indeed: Managing with Aloha’s Learning Landscape: “Know well.”
Back to our Good Beginnings
I do think my Mea Ho‘okipa at Hawai‘i Life Real Estate Brokers went above and beyond in publishing their Worthbook of speaker essays, and consequently, it’s no surprise that the results of their Worthshop conferences are so long-lasting. They definitely make an impression (this is the 2nd Worthshop conference I have participated in.)
I share this posting here on our Ho‘ohana Community’s blog for 3 reasons: 2 as related coaching tips, and 1 in the spirit of sharing that will hopefully take all of us back to our good, “with Aloha” beginning places.
Coaching Tip 1.
Learning today is challenging. As a manager, you can help.
We are bombarded with so much in trying our best to live well daily, and then learning more “when can, can.” That is our ‘being an adult’ circa now reality.
Recognize and acknowledge that adult learning is challenging. Wise Alaka‘i Managers will make the workplace learning landscape as easy, and as habit-forming as possible. Don’t just set expectations of WHAT you want your team to learn, concentrate on HOW they do so as well. Focus on the reasonable yet effective ways you expect them to learn and retain your continuous education, and construct clear paths they can take in using what they learn. Embrace projects and experiments, and you will be creating fertile ground for new ideas to incubate on an ongoing basis.
Coaching Tip 2.
Making an impression with events (and capitalizing on your investment) need not be tough too.
You need not foray into publishing, there are other ways to get the bang for your buck.
First, don’t be satisfied with having your events (or meetings, or projects) exist in the vacuum of stand-alone events: bookend them. Couple them to a ‘happens before’ and ‘happens afterward’ that is thoughtfully considered, deliberately planned, and smartly executed.
Second, keep those bookends simple, and do not overly complicate them. Know how effective conversations can be. Start conversations before, so they can cook and simmer in your event or meeting, and have a wrap-up/stage-next conversation afterwards.
As David Ogilvy said, “If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.” Here are 2 posts to review on effective conversations:
Spirit of Sharing 3.
“Relate” was the overall theme of the Worthshop6 conference. Loved it!
Now that the Worthbook of essays given to all participants is out in the wild, i.e. in public domain, I can share my essay with you too. I wrote it for an audience professionally connected to the real estate industry, however I am sure you will relate to it as well, and remember Our Beautiful Basics of Aloha as your takeaway too.
To Relate with Aloha is what we all do. Here is my Worthbook essay.
Relate with Aloha
Whether a person hails from Hawai‘i or elsewhere, there is a universal germ cell in our humanity we can potentially relate to, person to person, human to human, with unconditional, and all-inclusive positive regard for each other.
It is an essence of every human being that we in Hawai‘i refer to as the Aloha Spirit.
Being Human, with Aloha
The inner spirit of Aloha resides in every single one of us, as ALO, our physical presence and demeanor, and HA, the breath of our life, breath representing our very DNA.
Another way to frame this, is that ALO is our signature and reputation, whereas HA is who we really are. When Alo and ha come together, as Aloha, they match up in perfect alignment, so we “live from the inside out” as our genuine selves.
When they teach us our values, our kūpuna, our elders, always start with HA. They will patiently explain that every time we inhale, to “catch our breath,” HA collects us, and gathers us up in an authentic readiness, complete with the innate good of humanity, for the “exhale of sharing ourselves with the world.”
Every single breath we take, we ‘catch’ and hold onto our innate goodness as human beings. 
We add to this our individual signatures of DNA representative of our ancestral wisdom and current learning; our intelligence, mentality and intention; our heart and our soulful spirit received within divinity—our mana, divine power and energy. 
Our Aloha Spirit then, is a powerful, energetic spirit graced with our biology, innate intuition, and our potential for relating to others in good intention. This spirit we collect, is an instantaneously renewed and sustained resource, one we fuel up with, in every single breath. Every single one.
We become who we are, when we breathe to create our spirit.
If they are to flourish and thrive, good people need the strength of good values.
As the kūpuna continue to teach, they explain that learning about values, accepting them, and standing up for them as our own, whether personal, professional, or community values, is really about making individual, conscious choices, and allowing our intelligence and emotional heart to kick in. We are good by nature, however we choose our behavior.
Altogether, those behavioral choices have to do with how authentic we are truly willing to be. Authenticity, is connecting our alo—our demeanor and presence seen and experienced by others—with our ha, which only wants to be sincere, genuine and real, and become that “exhale of sharing ourselves with the world.”
 In the Hawaiian way of thinking, people are born within goodness, and there is no such thing as a bad person, just bad behavior.
 A second assumption in the Hawaiian belief system, is that to be born, one must have received a measure of divinity from the gods upon birth—one’s mana.
Spirit and Empathy
Is spirit too touchy-feely for us?
For we rarely will speak of it tangibly or pragmatically, and when we do, we often confuse spirit with religious dogma, or with the supernatural, not our every-day natural state the kūpuna describe. Here are some definitions I was able to find:
spirit |ˈspirit| —noun
- the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul : we seek a harmony between body and spirit.
- such a part regarded as a person’s true self and as capable of surviving physical death or separation : a year after he left, his spirit is still present.
What we prefer to speak of, rather than spirit, is empathy:
empathy |ˈempəθē| —noun
- the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
When I found it, this definition surprised me, in that it dared to cite ‘feelings’ in such a matter-of-fact way. The most common definition of empathy, is given as “putting yourselves in the shoes of another person” assumedly to relate to them in circumstance:
- What if I were wealthy enough to afford what they can afford?
- Conversely, what if I were struggling to pay my rent too, and can’t really imagine paying a mortgage, or splurging on any luxuries?
- What if I had grown up land-locked, or with prairies far as the eye can see, and never spent a single day of my life at the beach, or on a volcanic mountain’s hiking trail?
- What if I’d been living the city life of an urbanite, walked everywhere or rode the subway, and never had to get a driver’s license?
- What if I had children, and was suddenly forced to think about the school they’d soon attend, the sports they might play, and the community values they’d be growing up in?
Empathy is a wonderful thing. Empathy does in fact, make great connections between people in business enterprise, where we seek to relate a potential customer’s most pressing need to the suitable context of our business offerings. We want to knock their socks off, and make their dreams come true, by delivering an exceptional product which ticks off all their boxes, and suits them perfectly. More than that, it delights them.
So yes, be empathetic. I am not proposing an either/or situation to you, insisting you choose spirit, and your Aloha Spirit, over empathy. Choose both.
Relate to others with your Aloha Spirit and your empathy, for it’s a winning combination.
One factor I really like about empathy, is that it acts a lever for our caring and compassion. To empathize with another, we have to care about them enough to do so. Another desirable factor in empathy, is that we elevate it and aspire for it; we seek to learn more about empathy, and practice it more than we do, so we become better people.
The human life is not a solo proposition.
Relate with Aloha
Have your mantra be, “I will Relate with Aloha” meaning you will relate to others in spirit, and with empathy. As French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin so perfectly phrased it;
“You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience.
You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.”
More often than not, to relate with empathy alone, is to relate for product’s sake, and for the suitability of the sale. To relate with empathy, is to get better at seeing how you are different, and to acknowledge your differences and work with them harmoniously. These are not a bad things, not at all. However they are not complete in the human transaction, the person to person experience.
To relate with Aloha, is to relate for people’s sake, and for the authenticity of shared spirit. To relate with the Aloha Spirit, is to experience how you are the same, in that you each share humanity, and a vulnerability working each and every day to realize individual mana, with its divine strength, power, and energy.
Relate with Aloha: Acknowledge and celebrate the gift of your Aloha Spirit. Relate to the Aloha Spirit in others, recognizing the humanity you share, and you will celebrate your gifts together.
After that, the product part, the service part—the empathy part—gets magically easier. Better yet, you will enjoy it immensely, for genuine authenticity has come out to play for both of you.
~ Rosa Say is a workplace culture coach, the founder of Say Leadership Coaching. Her seminal book, Managing with Aloha, was just released in the summer of 2016 as a Second Edition. Rosa lives on the Island of Hawai‘i with her ‘Ohana. Learn more about Rosa and the Managing with Aloha philosophy at RosaSay.com
Subscribe for our weekly newsletter:
Talking Story with the Ho‘ohana Community.
Not shy about promoting this, because it works!
Jumpstart: The Simplest and Best Managing with Aloha Toolkit there is.
Our value immersion study for the months of November and December:
‘IMI OLA: We are meant to be Seekers.