Value Verbing: Theme 2012 with your Aloha Spirit

In my Makahiki letter, I’d said that I love this time of year because it is Ka lā hiki ola (the dawning of a new day) at its most pervasive moment: We human beings collaborate in self-care, and in our Ho‘ohana intentions. The whole world seems to be in sync, as we collectively look back to assess what we’ve come to know. We corral our confidences and our strengths, and then we look forward, expectantly, and with hopeful optimism knowing those confidences and strengths are packable and adjustable: They’ll remain with us, and they’ll remain useful.

What’s not to love? Aloha January!

Well, in a word, the overwhelm, especially in January’s looking-forward progression. There is a lot to sort through and make decisions about, especially if you try to mix new learning into the batch — it’ll be new learning, and so you’re essentially mixing in batches of unknowns. You’re taking some chances, and turning your resolve into another experiment.

There are two trends I’m seeing, where people are trying to self-manage, get better organized, and habit-create more effectively: Word themes and inputs.

Inputs over Outputs

I’m liking the focus on inputs (your activities: what you actually do) over outputs (the end-result outcomes, like goals and objectives).

We have more control with inputs — as the value of ‘Imi ola reminds us, we create our own destiny with each action we personally take. There are several more variables which will contribute to the success or failure of outputs, and they often have to do with other people, whose decisions (and thus actions) are ultimately out of our control. If the only inputs we can effectively direct and control well are our own, we are wise to concentrate our efforts wherever ‘me, myself, and I’ comes into play.

We may want to include others, so corroboration is a good thing. Thus wouldn’t we be wiser to focus on it as an input? How do we collaborate with others? What are the confidences and strengths of our own behavior, and how will we remain humble and open-minded (Ha‘aha‘a, the value of humility) so we become even better, and continue to grow?

Word themes

There’s no doubt about it, words are powerful. To state your choices deliberately, and then commit to them can be highly effective — as long as you actually follow through.

The potential problem I am seeing people run into, is in the choice of words they begin with. Many are outputs: health, happiness, wealth. Others are quite broad and need more description: creativity, freedom, organization. Even a word like ‘focus’ is probably too general: What are you going to focus on, and why?

You may say, “It’s a theme, and I know what I mean.” As a coach I’d challenge you on that: Wring out the details and take a good look at them. Are you giving yourself too much wishy-washy wiggle room? Will it be easy for you to abort, and shift your focus day by day? There’s a lot of noise in our world to get distracted by”

You can probably guess where I’m going with this! We all need help with our follow-through, so get your values to help you. That’s actually what they do best.

Choose Values and Verbs as your Inputs and your Words

Roll credits: As we’ve learned from Managing with Aloha, the big deal about values is that they drive our behavior by taking good direction from our self-aware sources.

Your values are the pilot lights of your human goodness, and they start the best fire (energy!) in the actions you choose to take. They are the easiest actions to follow-through with, because they are about you. Your values will reveal you, they fit you, and they celebrate you.

Knowing your personal value-drivers is self-affirming in the most extraordinary way: You learn about yourself, and what’s important to you, and why. You expose your vitality.

Why do you want this learning about you? The more you know about the wonder you are, the closer you get to knowing what you’re meant to do or create: Your Ho‘ohana (intentional work and purpose-driving) will get naturally connected to the work of your legacy.

Reading tip: If MWA has sat on your shelf for a while, open it up to chapter 17 on Nānā i ke kumu for a good review — “Look to your source” for it’s a wonderful place to be.

So do Choose your Words. Speak them often.

Be decisive so you can begin well. Seize January with both hands and with your soul.

Do choose the inputs which are the actions and activities you’ll commit to practicing daily, and allow them to gain traction, and strengthen you with more confidence.

Just be sure your words (or clarifying phrases) are active verbs, and know which of your personal values they are connected to. Beware the wiggle room, and go for that best fit your values will give you.

Fortify your own life, and begin the day-by-day work on the legacy you are meant to give to our world.

We ho‘ohana kākou, and with aloha,

Learn more about value-alignment and value-mapping here: Value Your Month to Value Your Life

Book Jacket for Value Mapping

What do you know to be sure? Hō‘imi ola.

Aloha dear friends, Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou — Happy New Year.

Good endings help us create good beginnings

I sincerely hope that 2011 ended with ma‘alahi joy for you (contentment), as it did for me. I am flush with the lush generosity of Mahalo (an elemental gratitude) as I sit and write this for you.

We were able to get our entire family together for a week-long Christmas celebration — quite the feat as we now live in three different cities with an ocean and quintet of job scheduling between us. The best gift I received wasn’t wrapped in bright paper and tied up with ribbon (though those were quite fabulous too); it was that strong surge of confident optimism one gets from spending giving time in the arms of ‘Ohana — family, and those you care most about in your world. We didn’t talk about it with each other explicitly, but I know we all ended the week feeling that the coming year will be good to us, and good for us, and that we’ll be good for it too. It will be our Ho‘ohana intention no matter the path of our lives.

This weekend has been blissful in another way, with a welcome abundance of quiet spells filled well, mostly with reading. Having both Christmas and New Year’s Day and their eves on consecutive weekends is the very best blessing of a calendar’s turning, don’t you think?

One of my husband’s gifts this year was an iPad2, and guess who has been using it most? It wasn’t something I had coveted, for I’ve been quite happy with my digital arsenal as is (MacBook, iPhone and Kindle if you’re wondering), but once I had the iPad in my hands I just had to play with it, and experiment!

Sidebar” it used to be that we’d “take a digital holiday” and mean that we were taking a break from our email, our blogs, and the nascent dabbling we did in social media. Now however, our app-crazed advancements have given us ‘digital degrees’ in a whole rainbow of possibilities (and quirks). Observing how a single choice can so dramatically affect our lifestyle habits is quite the fascination for me. What will morph from toy to new learning, and maybe to obsession? What value is at play, and thus, can be better revealed?

Did you ever think of apps that way, that they can awaken those assorted, still untested bits of your sleeping spirit?

One personal example for me is the app Fooducate: I now scan every barcode on a new purchase before I decide to buy packaged foods. The value at play for me is surely Mālama, and taking care of my own health with each food choice, something vitally important to me. No one wants to die of course, and neither do I, but I am someone who wants the direct route when my time arrives: I’ll eagerly bypass any physical care-getting in my waning years which just prolongs the inevitable.

A New Year brings so many new choices! Does it bring you focus? Intention?

So far, the apps rule with my iPhone, and I’m finding that the iPad is fantastic for reading web-based publishing (I’m sticking with book reading on my Kindle), and I yearn for some of the bloggers who have called it quits and have moved on. However there are so many new writers to be discovered, and where I use the iPad most is within my Google Reader.

Thus my ‘blissful weekend.’ Despite the never-ceasing yay-nay debates on setting resolutions, I absolutely love reading those blog entries where writers of all persuasion reflect on their old year, and then pen their Ho‘ohana (best work) and ‘Imi ola (best life) intentions for the coming year. They inspire the Aloha yearnings in me too: I can’t help but do the same thing — think about what I valued most in the past year, and what I intend to value most in the year to come.

Are you doing something similar, and reflecting too? I hope so.

Rally your gratitude and let Mahalo fortify you too.

Nānā i ke kumu, and look to your source. Grab your quiet time, then refresh and rejuvenate.

Be deliberate, and make your choices as you know are best for you and your life.

Ho‘omau: Persist and persevere — be downright stubborn about making your life the best it can possibly be.

That possibility is your birthright as a human being. Quite wonderful.

My value for 2012 will be ‘Imi ola

I am still reading, still journaling as I do, and still sorting out my listing of intentions, editing them for best focus. This is a process I relish as the yearly gift it is, and I am taking my dear sweet time, savoring it.

What I have already decided, and can share with you on this early day in a shiny new year that is Ka lā hiki ola (the dawning of a new day, and the value of hope and promise) is this, an eagerness for me: My value-driver that will crown any and all lists I may make will be ‘Imi ola, “best possible life” in Managing with Aloha, the value that drives proactive mission, clear vision, and creative change.

What I know to be sure, is that 2012 is a year I want change — big change, and best-life change — and I’ll engineer it so it does happen.

I don’t want to imply any dissatisfaction with 2011, for I had a magnificent year, one that pleased me immensely. It served as a tasty bite of the bigger change that is possible for me, and so in 2012 I’m stepping it up and going for more with gusto!

I’ll share my progress with you as time goes by and things shift and take better shape, but for now, let’s focus on you.

What do you know to be sure? Hō‘imi ola.

Is there anything you know to be sure for you at the moment you read this? Seize that thought, and ask yourself what value is driving you being so sure. (Remember that the Managing with Aloha values are listed on the blog sidebar if you want to skim over them as reminders or triggers.)

Some gentle coaching: Only do this with your positive thoughts. Replace any negativity with ‘on the bright side’ thinking, and steer every shred of your being toward optimism: Hō‘imi ola. (Use the 3 Secrets of Being Positive.)

Please know I do wish you blessings this year, and that they’ll magically rain down upon you with a delightful wonder. However the person who manages their life with Aloha knows those wishes are an added bonus, don’t you. You know that you can make life happen in the way you want it to, and that your values will always help you, guiding you toward your own Aloha vitality.

I am so happy to know we have found each other to share that slice of sureness. Thank you for reading, and giving me part of this, your own day for Ka lā hiki ola.

We ho‘ohana kākou. Much aloha to you,

From last year: Ignore the Resolution Bashers
Also in the archives: Be Proactive; Values by Choice as Your Habit

As shared on Work is not a job:

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” – T.S. Eliot

From In The Trenches, to #Occupy The World

The headline of our local paper’s Sunday edition was, “#Occupy The World: Wall Street Protests Go Global in Asia, Africa, Europe” and so the bold printing, coupled with the fact that he got a Sabbath’s leisurely day off, triggered the first time my working-in-the-trenches husband brought it up and into our conversation in any great detail. He was aware of the Occupy Wall Street protesting, but very off-handedly up to now, for he is more luddite in his habits, and prefers to keep it that way (he thought the # hashtag mark was a typo :).

However current affairs are hard to ignore when tipping points happen — the “hundreds of thousands” participating in the grassroots Occupy Wall Street protest is quite a movement. We both hope it can remain peaceful as passions continue to flare.

“In the trenches” has long meant “hands on”

Our conversation got me thinking about those I think of as “my peeps” too — in the trenches managers who do try to be aware of everything going on with “the big picture” and in “a global world” today, but who are much closer to having my husband’s habits than having mine. They are managers who I wish I could talk to on blogs, on Twitter, or on LinkedIn, but they aren’t there. They are managers who I wish I could reblog and tag on Tumblr as a better collection of our voices, but they aren’t there either. They are in their trenches, working by their Ho‘ohana, and managing with Aloha too, but in a more hands-on way than I do as a manager/ writer/ coach/ having the luxury of more knowledge work than physical work, and choosing virtual teams and tribes in addition to my geographic ones.

In reality though, ‘luxury’ is the wrong word. Each kind of work has its own pros and cons, its own pressure-cooker times, its own slow-down times. Each kind of work can be in the trenches. We are all Working in today’s ‘Knowledge Economy.’

Work happens wherever you are, and whenever you decide you’ll do it.

Work happens why you want it to, and why you need it to.

Work also happens in whatever you feel is your logical progression for it to happen. More often than not, it’s according to a personal hierarchy of needs (like Maslow articulated for us), but that’s my convenient point of reference, and my habitual one, and others may not think about it at all. They stay in their trenches, and they ho‘omau; they persist.

They concentrate on the work at hand. It’s the work of their own hand, and they concentrate on making it good. On making it both worthy (to the world) and worthwhile (to them).

You are the leader of your work

This is one of the up sides to Occupy Wall Street being a leaderless movement: Every single participant has a much greater freedom with defining what the best-case scenario of good followership is for them. Every single participant can be unencumbered, and can make a difference of some kind, so this very pervasive movement tips from frustration to worthy action.

When we consider work in larger context, it becomes easier to see how even protesting — the best single word I can think of for the Occupy Wall Street movement — can be a person’s chosen work too. I’d bet that every person who has chosen to letter a sign, march in one of the protests, or otherwise participate in one of the Occupy encampments, would say without hesitation, “I’m working in the trenches too.”

So when I think about all those “hundreds of thousands” participating in an ‘Occupy’ protest of some kind, my wish for them is the value alignment of Ho‘ohana I hope the work they have presently chosen gets streamlined and focused in a very personal way for them, where it becomes a very clear intention for worthwhile work. This is one of those crucible times, where people can more clearly discern their purpose or calling.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

The Occupy Wall Street movement represents an amazing amount of human energy. It deserves the significance of Ho‘ohana.

Related Reading in the archives: Following is NOT a Passive Activity.

‘Occupy the Tundra’: One woman’s lonely vigil in bush Alaska. Click on the photo for the story at the LA Times.