Our Ho‘ohana for October, 2006: Nalu it!

Aloha mai kākou, are you ready for October?

About a week ago, happily swept up within the learning energy of JJL ’06, some of us were not sure we would be:

“Rosa, can we please extend this month a few weeks? Everyone is putting on their best ‘Sunday go to meeting dialogue!’ and looooking gooood!”
Dave Rothacker

Dave was far from alone in feeling that way. As a result, the JJLNetwork was born at www.joyfuljubilantlearning.com because there was an undeniable excitement and learning momentum happening, and we all knew it.

There was something else which really helped; Several of us had enough capacity that we could “Nalu it.”

is the Hawaiian word for wave or surging surf, and the hapa-Hawaiian saying, to “Nalu it” means to “go with the flow.” In light of our learning experiences these past few weeks, I felt this was most appropriate as our ho‘ohana for October!

This month, we will ask ourselves:

  • As we ho‘ohana, and “work with purpose, passion, and full intention” have we freed up enough capacity in our lives so that we can “Nalu it” when a golden opportunity drops in our laps unexpectedly, just like the Joyful Jubilant Learning Network did?
  • Or, are we normally running on fumes? Is there enough fuel in our reserves, so that we can take enticing detours without worrying that we’ll run dry, and will have taken too great a risk?

There is a saying that has been appearing on my radar too often to ignore lately, and it goes like this; “You don’t know what it is you don’t know.”

Life is incredibly rich, and what the phrase suggests, is that you must be open to embracing possible enrichment when it appears within your reach. To “Nalu it” and go with the flow. To walk through doors which may open, you must have open capacity, and be able to take advantage of it.

I don’t have my copy of the book handy right now to look up an accurate excerpt for you, however I recall a part in Thomas L. Friedman’s The World is Flat where he talks about good fat and bad fat in a world going continually flatter. As an ex-foodie manager his analogy really hit home with me. In the perfect cut of beef, there is always a degree of fat marbling. From that fat a steak will cook with the best flavor, and be juicy. Without it, you may as well turn it into smoked jerky, for it will be dry and without the taste it could have promised to deliver on its own. Yes, that marbling is fat, but it’s good fat.

The analogy is a good one for many businesses in Hawaii to learn from right now. They are still running very, very lean, —they have been ever since the September 11th tragedy gave their owners the excuse to trim all fat out of their operations. Good fat, like the leadership development for succession planning as one example, has never been put back in the operation. Now, many are actually in a position where the economy is booming and they cannot take advantage of it. Business is to be had, and they are turning it away, or taking the very dangerous risk of treating it with such mediocrity they create ill-feelings with their customers and their staff.

They certainly cannot “Nalu it” when a business break-through comes their way.

“Can I Nalu it?” is a great question for personal productivity. Are you scheduled to the hilt, and keeping so many balls in the air that you come dangerously close to disappointing someone on a continual basis? If you are, I doubt you mālama, and take care of your own needs very well. If you’ve cut out all the good fat, I can guarantee you are disappointing your own spirit, for you haven’t enough room to get “in spirit,” and inspired with new learning.

Yes, it all comes back to learning, for learning is what inspires us, so we can inspire others. It is learning which best enables us to now “know what we didn’t know” before. Thus, as I Nalu it here with you on the October pages of Talking Story, ‘Ike loa, the Hawaiian value of learning, “to seek knowledge and wisdom” will continue to be our value for another month.

This is probably a valid question for many of us right now who have jumped into the Joyful Jubilant Learning Network too. “Can we nalu it well enough to sustain it?”

JJLN is meaningful, it is about our very identity as the Ho‘ohana Community, and we feel it is important. Risk aversion is real. Fear of failing is real.

We are committed to making JJLN happen, and in my mind, there has never been a better time for “Nalu it” to be our month’s ho‘ohana.

So choose where you’d like to best apply it, and ho‘ohana with me this month.

  • In your personal productivity and everyday living with aloha balance,
  • In your working, managing, or leading with aloha, and
  • In your own jumping into the JJLNetwork of the Ho‘ohana Community,

Can you Nalu it?

Let’s ho‘ohana together, and let’s talk story,


Related articles referenced:

Postscript: If you are new to Talking Story, Ho‘ohana „¢ is the monthly newsletter of Say Leadership Coaching, sent on the first weekday of each month to our email subscribers (You can learn more, and subscribe here). Talking Story is home to the Ho‘ohana „¢ online essay of each issue, and we explore more on the newsletter’s theme periodically through-out the rest of the month.


  1. says

    Working for a Mainland corporation (real estate developer) that is a newcomer to Hawai’i, I was pleased to discover that my employer considers learning “good fat”. Flew all 1500 of us sales executives from around the country to Las Vegas in August for 2 days of packed learning experience…handed each of us at the beginning a blank page to use in creating our action plan for integrating the learning into new habits when we arrived home. Friday I received an email blast announcing all the ways in which they are investing in continuing our learning curve to thrive in what other companies are bemoaning as a catastrophic environment. Winter and waves are arriving!

  2. says

    That is wonderful Beth, mahalo for sharing it with us. Your company made quite a statement with that investment in all of you, and I like hearing that they made it clear they expected a return from the investment too: In asking all of you for your lessons-learned and planned action steps, they treated all of you as business partners ”“ you all work ON the business, and not just “within” it.
    It will never be a “catastrophic environment” for all of you when continuous learning colors the character of your working discipline.