Ho‘omau: Our ‘Good Muscle Exercise’ of Persistence

Preface: The following will be my next column for a local in-print publication distributed here on the Big Island of Hawai‘i called The Paradise Post. Though some of it will sound familiar, I thought you might enjoy reading it as well, for it serves as a quick review of Ho‘omau, our value for the month of November at MWA Coaching.

You have likely heard it said that persistence is the defining quality between those who fail and those who succeed. I believe that to be true, and to take it a bit further, I believe that in tough times the adversity requiring our persistence can make us much smarter and stronger.

Adversity is something most of us are reacquainting ourselves with lately: Do the words ‘global recession’ sound familiar to you? Adversity can give us discomfort, or it can give us a kind of useful discontent. I choose the useful discontent, and therefore, this month I have chosen Ho‘omau as our value study. Ho‘omau is the Hawaiian value of persistence and perseverance, and if given a voice, this value would tell us, “Never give up.”

Our ability to persevere is like a muscle. Like any other muscle, we need to keep exercising our ability to persevere so it remains resilient, flexible and strong, and can serve us well when we need it most. And I think you’ll agree that this is a time we do need our values of persistence and perseverance to serve us well.

You will find that Ho‘omau is immediately applicable for you given the current state of affairs in the world, for it’s a value I think of as an ‘anchor in the storm.’ An anchor keeps a ship in place when its crew is not intentionally steering it, such as when they are at rest or play in a safe harbor, or when there needs to be added resistance in stormy seas. It is a great metaphor for our work and our lives as well. We have certain things which anchor us when we need them to; our relationships with friends and family are an example of an anchor.

The objective of value-alignment using Ho‘omau, is getting all which is good in our lives to be more pervasive and long lasting: When we Ho‘omau we sustain ourselves in the process. Persistence can be hard work, but doesn’t that reward of sustenance sound great, and worth the effort?

In my own personal striving within the business environment the last few years, Ho‘omau would be the single word that caused me to focus on what was most important and move forward with resolution, determination and confidence, for Ho‘omau encompasses all of these qualities. Ho‘omau will always be the value reminding me I can be bigger than my perceived adversity, for anything worth having is worth working for.

So if we make this personal, what are those things “worth working for?” The first things I think of are gifts that you already possess. They do not cost you a dime more than you have, but they do require your attention to them.

Here is my shortlist of five Ho‘omau targets; gifts we all have and can persist with practicing in the face of all and any adversity:

  1. Our personal values,
  2. Our innate talents and strengths,
  3. Our vision for a future of our own creation (‘Imi ola),
  4. Our passion with intentional work (Ho‘ohana), and
  5. Our role with enabling and supporting these for others who work in partnership with you, including those in our families.

Day after day, week after week, are these things “in play” for you? Do you Ho‘omau and persist, causing the good in your life to be long lasting?

Work on your persistence muscle! The Ho‘omau attitude is a confidence you have within you, that perseverance goes with positive expectancy. Persistence then, is not stubborn, but confident, steady, and sure-footed. Everything an anchor in a storm should be.