One of my goals in writing Managing with Aloha, was to help people think of value choices and value definitions in a fresher way, beyond being satisfied by statements like, “My values are about family, community and my faith” or, “I believe in truth and in justice, and in civic responsibility.” What about family, community and faith? Why truth, justice, and civic responsibility — what’s the big deal?
Don’t get me wrong; those are all good things and they can be noble pursuits. They’re just so politically correct; safe and sanitized. Sadly, they’re most often said as commonplace statements that are simultaneously unrealized, in that they are under-lived. They are generally lofty, yet barren of individual specifics. They aren’t emotional enough. They aren’t personal. They aren’t real.
I deliberately chose Ho‘ohana (worthwhile work) and ‘Imi ola (self-created purpose) as beginning chapters in Managing with Aloha because they aren’t familiar to most people in the way I’ve labeled them, and because the best way to newly learn about them is to strip away those safety nets and internalize them: Real life is messy, but in a good way! I wanted you, dear reader, to ask yourself, “ALOHA… HO‘OHANA… ‘IMI OLA… How are each of these values about me?” then “Why is that so?” and more importantly, “What more can they be for me?”
I wanted you to hō‘imi — to look for better and best.
Ask the ‘Imi ola questions of a courageous life.
The values of HO‘OHANA and ‘IMI OLA aren’t totally foreign though; thus I say, let’s talk story about them, and ‘newly learn’ them. These two values are about two things we constantly do: We work for our livelihood, and we live out our destiny, best way we can manage. We constantly do them even when our heart might not be in them, because they are what all people do as life meanders along… we get up each morning and plug in. We continue and hope for the best. To ‘manage with ALOHA’ is to get some spirit into that plug-in, and in-spirit/inspire it and self-motivate it.
Those questions I hope you ask? I ask them of myself too. I ask them repeatedly, knowing I probably haven’t reached my endgame yet, and many more moves remain to be made. The older I get, the greater my sense of urgency about asking them, yet oddly, the more patience I have in working through them. I rather like the thought that I’m a complex human being. So are you. Your complexity makes you interesting. It gives you a wealth of choices.
So choose. Test your choices. Try them out and experiment. A good life isn’t passive.
‘IMI OLA is both personal and professional.
Personally, ‘IMI OLA is the value of self-created, purpose-full living.
Professionally, ‘IMI OLA is the value of mission and vision. (Read more here to get our MWA mission/vision vocabulary distinctions: The Mission Driven Company.)
An individual mission statement is HO‘OHANA in writing; it’s the visionary work of livelihood aligned with personal purpose via the pathway of company mission. The stories I share with you in Managing with Aloha, are meant to help illustrate examples of how that happens.
‘IMI OLA translates to seek (‘imi) life (ola) and it is the value which celebrates individuality and worth. We don’t seek THE right answer, we seek OUR right answer. When we’re successful in finding it —something which happens bit by bit, piece by piece, until the whole puzzle emerges— we discover it was the right answer for us after all! And our answers are seldom singular or absolute; we may have several good, right-for-me answers over the course of our lifetimes, each one another interesting puzzle. We seek them to reveal them, or to proactively create them, so we can eventually have them, and share their highly personal (and emotional, and real) expression with others.
Julia Cameron, play writer, director, and author of The Artist’s Way, points out that “any act of creativity is an act of faith” and there’s a virtuous circle there: “As you strengthen your faith, it strengthens your ability to create.”
Faith however, can’t be wholly satisfied if reduced to an intellectual exercise (which most politically correct statements are wont to do). You’ve got to make your answers come alive somehow — you’ve got to make them real through your own creative applications, and you’ve got to strengthen your faith so you’ll keep at it.
How do you strengthen your faith?
Figuring it out, would be a very worthwhile goal to work on this month of May!
I believe Cameron is right about this: “As you strengthen your faith, it strengthens your ability to create.” Your faith in your own abilities, will strengthen through ‘IMI OLA when you do create their possibilities for your own life; we each create our own potential — if you don’t do it, who will?
Julia Cameron chooses prayer and spiritual reading choices to strengthen her faith for the creativity required as a writer: Ernest Holmes is a favorite author she’ll turn to. I find that reading inspires me as well; the right choices will fill me with self-confidence and readiness too: I read stories I can see parts of me in, and I push myself toward where “I can see this happening for me too.”
In the MWA workplace, we use the value immersion and project steering of VYMTVYL which we talked about last time, because we know they push us toward action, and a lot of it.
I encourage you to make this your goal this month of May: Figure out how you strengthen your faith in your ability to create your own life.
The 24 days which remain as I publish this entry is plenty enough time: Examine your past experiences to identify what usually gave you hope, and spurred you to real action beyond just intellectually thinking about it. Duplicate those triggers, and keep pulling on them!
This is the perfect season: May eagerly springing into summer… Bright and vibrant. Varied puzzle pieces. It’s okay that they’re still a bit unorganized… the year’s still young. Messy perhaps, but good. Emotional, personal, real. Courageous. All the ways ‘IMI OLA is all about a very interesting you.
More from Managing with Aloha, chapter 3:
As an actionable value, ‘Imi ola causes us to ask ourselves that eternal question on the meaning of life —not life as we know it on planet Earth, but our own life. It recognizes that we are all unique, individually blessed with a complex pattern of DNA; it understands that there is no one else like us on the face of the Earth. Therefore our answer to this question is an answer unique to us as well; only we alone can answer it truthfully and completely, and have it be the right answer, our right answer. Best of all we are completely free to answer the question the way we want it to turn out: We have the individual power to create our own destiny instead of just letting it happen to us come what may.
This is our wonderful gift as human beings: We have the power and freedom to design and create the destiny we choose. We can seek life in its highest possible form for us. In many ways I think of ‘Imi ola as an incredible acknowledgement, for in its generosity it assumes that we deserve the very best that life can offer us, and that we are worthy. We are capable of great things.