Write an About Page, even if for a Readership of 1

You need not be a webmaster or blogger to have an About Page: Write one which is just for you.

I’ve been thinking about this lately, and of how it’s such a fabulous exercise of self-attuned and value-aligned thinking, because of three reasons:

  1. My online reading habits. Whenever I click somewhere new to me, an About Page is the first thing I look for. I want to know what people believe in, and what they happen to be working on currently as their Ho‘ohana. That information can be tough to find, and it shouldn’t be if the site or platform is the work of genuinely authentic people.
  2. It was time to update my own About Page here on Talking Story, and writing as a physical activity always delivers in some way. Thinking about something, and forcing yourself to write it down as you flesh it out, even if just to explain it to yourself, are two distinctly different activities, and they build on each other quite well.
  3. Writing my D5M Playbook has reminded me of how small jobs are, and how abundant ‘work’ is in comparison.

To sum it all up, you can write an About Page too (or elevator speech, or Ho‘ohana Statement), to grab hold of your own abundance, and get it into more focus — “it” being the work you find you gravitate toward most of all. That physical activity of writing about it, will often turn on another tap, releasing very attractive thoughts about what you GET to do, and still WANT to do, and probably can. The work you enjoy is what bubbles to the top, just like buttercream does in milk — and like spirit-spilling does, when we treat Aloha as a value.

Write a simple page about your Ho‘ohana work that’s more like a letter to your Aloha Spirit, saying “I know you’re there, and I still hear you guide me!” in wonderful self-affirmation.

Writing about the work you love doing is value-mapping Nānā i ke kumu (Managing with Aloha chapter/value 17): You “look to your source” to thereby know your own truth — that whole, beautiful truth about who you really are… sense of place, sense of work, sense of liberating life design for best well-being.

There’s never been a better time to reinvent ourselves.

We all know that the recessionary economy we’re still in has made earning a living a whole new ballgame. There are several struggles to overcome still, but let’s hō‘imi, and focus on the good ways we’ve been forced to make a change. We get to creatively reinvent ourselves in more liberating and individually-customized ways as we work within our means.

People are too big for jobs and always have been. We don’t fit into them completely enough, especially people like you, who have decided to explore being an Alaka‘i Manager.

‘Job’ will often pigeonhole us into somebody else’s preconceived notion about it, as documented on a ‘job description,’ a construct written for a business objective, and not for you individually as the unique packaging of the Aloha Spirit you are. So ignore the word, and any title you may have which is attached to it, because job is a too-small container for the wealth of working capacity you have — ignore the thought if you can, and focus on all the work activity you do instead.

Job is scarcity thinking — it’s a restrictive definition of sameness and uniformity.
Work is abundance thinking — it’s an activity-packed definition of individuality and possibility.

In my case for example, jobs like author, coach, business owner just don’t cut it; they’re far too general. I’m always trying to laser in to greater detail, and the marvelous result is that being more specific and descriptive doesn’t restrict me. My quirky qualifications actually help me see more possibility that I might have missed before, and I better understand my own niche and place in the world.

Bursting forth

We can’t be the life of every party, but we sure can rock the party we’re at.

I’ll be tweaking my Ho‘ohana descriptions forever, always exploring and experimenting, always revising and refining. I fall in and out of love with the words I choose to describe myself, and I love that talk story opportunity I get when people say, “You do what? Tell me what that means.” It’s part of the fun of it all. Work can lighten up, that’s for sure, and be more playful and inventive.

Wikipedia is a great place to discover how some of the people you may admire most had actually defied the conventions of traditional jobs and forged their own destiny. Here are a couple of examples:

Martin Luther King Jr. “was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. King is often presented as a heroic leader in the history of modern American liberalism.”

George Bernard Shaw
“was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. Nearly all his writings address prevailing social problems, but have a vein of comedy which makes their stark themes more palatable. Shaw examined education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege.

Shaw was most angered by what he perceived as the exploitation of the working class. An ardent socialist, Shaw wrote many brochures and speeches for the Fabian Society. He became an accomplished orator in the furtherance of its causes, which included gaining equal rights for men and women, alleviating abuses of the working class, rescinding private ownership of productive land, and promoting healthy lifestyles. ”

So tell us, what are you all about today?

Always remember that motivation is an inside job. When we honestly reflect on it, we often realize that self-motivation is the only kind that counts in the best work we do. That’s great news when you think of all that energetic, pure-talent possibility inside you, just waiting to come out to play.

I’d be honored to be your Reader #2 if you draft an About Page for the first time” I know many of you reading this, and you’re a very interesting bunch. If I wrote your About Page, it would be absolutely impossible for me to describe you in a single job title, or even in a single paragraph! So for heavens sake, don’t do that to yourself.

Stand tall, and stake your claim with what you believe in, and thus, what you work on (another way to describe Ho‘ohana in English :) In fact, do feel free to use the comment boxes to have others in our Ho‘ohana Community meet you. How would you describe your Ho‘ohana these days, your intention with the worthwhile work which makes your heart sing?

Here is the “About the Author” write-up now in the latest draft of my D5M Playbook in progress:

Rosa Say is a workplace culture coach who is determined to reinvent our workplaces value by value, and conversation by conversation, making our working communities healthier and more rewarding for us all. As founder of Say Leadership Coaching, Ho‘ohana Publishing, and Writing with Aloha, Rosa is hired as a speaker, teacher, and coach for her expertise in values-based business management, and as a change agent leading organizational culture design.

Rosa is known for her work leading the Managing with Aloha movement within Hawai‘i and internationally, a philosophy which draws from her 30-year career in the resort hospitality industry and her current business laboratories in writing and coaching for a variety of fields, including education, medicine, governance, and land development due to her specialty of Sense of Place acculturation. Her ‘Ohana in Business modeling initiatives are focused on enabling people to achieve self-sustenance as the shared Kuleana of thriving communities — in her most passionate vision, ‘public welfare systems’ become relics of the past because people no longer need the crutches.

Published in 2004 as the first of her books, Managing with Aloha is considered a classic values essay which describes how Hawaii’s Language of Intention and Sense of Place perception delivers a sensibility in work ethic which can be brought to the art of business universally. The book is widely used as an indispensable resource for managers, for Rosa is their most vocal advocate and champion when management is courageously redefined for developing people and their human-powered energies. Rosa publishes the popular Talking Story blog, and the ebooks she writes “on managing and leading as accessible verbs” are published to encourage the constant curiosity, questioning, and creative energies of her Ho‘ohana Community’s learning conversations there — please join us!

Rosa lives on the Big Island of Hawai‘i and travels frequently in her passion for speaking with audiences of managers seeking to bring the values of Aloha into their work practice. Learn more about her current projects at www.RosaSay.com.

Honey Collector

Red, White and Blue Values

Preface: This post was originally published in 2005, thus that dating in the comments brought forward with it, and I have freshened up the links it contains.

Happy 4th of July.

Hawaiian RWBWhen I was younger, this was a holiday that meant little more to me than an extra day off from school. I was just 5 years old when Hawaii became the 50th State, and as I grew up our islands were in somewhat of an identity crisis still, with some happy to be American, and others not. However everyone wanted to “just get along” (a pervading feeling which is overdue for a comeback) and so the 4th was a holiday that was celebrated more as time for the ‘ohana (family) with little mention of patriotism even though there might be some passionate thought about it.

From picnics and hot dogs… Your perspective can really change as you get older.

The 4th of July holiday has meant a little bit more to me with each passing year. Now, among other things, I remember having lived through Viet Nam, The Gulf War, continuous Hawaiian sovereignty movements, and the death of Martin Luther King.

As I reflect back on the meaning of the 4th of July this morning, I’m wondering what it will evolve to when I’m 70 or 80 (which I fully intend to live for!) This year, the fact that I personally know so many soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq does have much to do with my thoughts. Here’s a snippet from the last email I got from my brother Jeff, a Lt.Colonel with the Army in Iraq:

I had to laugh when you guys write about how hot it is in HI and AZ.   This place is hot 115-120 degrees and climbing, that is outside and not the oven temp.   100 degree days we consider as cool, add in the finest dust you can imagine and then add in the smell of sewage and you might get the picture.

I tell everyone imagine the hottest day ever in HI add 10 degrees then stand with a blower dryer on high hot in your face then throw dust in your face while in a outhouse and you got Iraq.   Don’t forget to wear long sleeves, boots and carry 40 pounds of junk around with you.   That’s hot, then take a cool shower (when you have one) and feel good for 2 minutes then walk back to your room (when you have one) to get sweaty and dirty by the time you reach there.   By the way do this everyday with no days off.   I can’t wait to come home for some rest.   It really is so bad, sometimes.   When you see smiling Iraqi people’s faces and the letters from people supporting us all that grumbling is forgotten.

I would like to thank all of you for your support to me, my family and my fellow brothers and sisters in arms.   I hope to see you soon.
~ Jeff

No matter what we may think of our involvement in Iraq, Jeff reminds us that this is a day to be thankful for where we live, and for the values that America strives to be true to. It is truly a day to understand the gift of freedom.

What are the values of the Red, White and Blue?

It will not surprise you that today, this year, and probably forevermore, I think of them in the language of Managing with Aloha this way: (If you are new to Talking Story and my values-based philosophy, take a look to blog right ~ the basic definitions for these values are noted there.)

First, Aloha: Think of unconditional love and acceptance for all who choose to live in America, and the sharing of our spirit. We are a country of blended ancestry, and to be American is to share our Aloha and our Ho‘okipa, the hospitality of completely unselfish giving. Give your love as your acceptance of our shared humanity.

Lōkahi: Harmony and unity. When I think of blended ancestry I also think of blended cultural values, and how we must always strive to value the differences between us. Strive for collaboration and synergy: cooperation and compromise cannot be good enough.

Therefore, Kākou: Togetherness and Inclusiveness, and the language of “we.” No burden will be too great if we shoulder it together. Together we are better, and we are stronger, and we can always Ho‘omau: persevere and cause the good in our lives to last.

Ha‘aha‘a: Humility, and the constant reminder that we are still a young country with much to learn. We must be humble, be more modest, and open our thoughts, understanding that there are lessons and new discoveries within the words and voices of others. Humility is not lowliness: I believe the Hawaiians were very wise in understanding that pride is indeed part of humility, choosing the same word for it.

‘Ike loa: To seek knowledge and wisdom. Always remember that the greatest knowledge is found in people. Use conversation, and practices like The Daily 5 Minutes to tap into that wealth.

‘Imi ola: We seek to live our best possible life. What do you feel is the mission statement of the United States? Is it the Constitution? The Bill of Rights? Both? Something else? A mission is a compelling vision of our future — in America, what is ours?

‘Ohana: The human circle of Aloha. That is what is possible for us, both daily and for all time. It can be our legacy.

KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u: The value of achievement and personal excellence. “Strive to reach the summit” for ‘Ohana is but one goal that is possible when you live in a country founded on freedom.

Mahalo: The value of living in thankfulness for the gifts you have — and in our country there are many. Freedom, and the freedom of choice are but two of them.

Mālama: To serve and honor, to protect and care for. As my brother Jeff tells it, this is what the soldiers of his battalion remind themselves of continuously, that they are our appointed stewards. In our own ways, we can mālama too; they need not be alone in what they do.

Therefore, Kuleana: One’s personal sense of responsibility. We each much define it for ourselves, and then seize it.

And Pono: Rightness and balance. Come to terms with what your personal Kuleana is. Commit to being accountable. Nānā i ke kumu: Look to your source, find your truth.

Ho‘ohanohano: Respect and honor the dignity of others, of all races, creed, color, gender, and   personal belief, even when different from our own. Be more than an American of honor, be a person of honor. Be Alaka‘i, and lead others with your own initiative and integrity.

And my personal mantra, Ho‘ohana: Working with passion, purpose, and intent. Because in America, in every truly free country in the world, we can. We get to, whenever we want to. We decide our own how-to.

Ka lā hiki ola: The dawning of a new day in America will always be the dawning of a free day, and another new day of abundant choices, abundant voices.

Enjoy your 4th of July knowing there is so, so much we can never take for granted.

Flag flying at the USS Utah Memorial

To learn more about these values, and the ways they can shape our behavior and thus, our humanity, I invite you to learn more about Managing with Aloha ~ mahalo.