Can you help me Articulate Aloha?

I just did a new post for the MWA Jumpstart Program, and in thinking about it a bit more, I would greatly appreciate some help from all of you in the Ho‘ohana Community when it comes to describing what you feel Aloha actually is.

I fully realize that it can be hard for new readers to get past the Hawaiian words I use: it’s my on-going challenge in writing online, especially for those who have not yet read Managing with Aloha. [Tip on that by the way, you can start with the manifesto first for a 28-page preview.]

However according to a mentor of mine, Peter Apo of NaHHA, the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, studies by linguists show that the two Hawaiian words most universally known, at least by the literate world, are Hawai‘i, the name of our state, and Aloha

So would you share with me what Aloha means for you? Not to give me any props on what you may have learned here, but for the benefit of those in the MWAJ program. I really think it would help them if they heard aloha articulated by someone besides me.

If you had to describe aloha to someone else, what would you say about it?

If you’d like to read it first, here’s the beginning of the MWA Jumpstart post I was referring to. However if you click away, do come back for I would truly appreciate your comments on this: What does aloha mean to you? How would you describe it?

From MWA Jumpstart:

When I coach managers and leaders who have made the commitment to manage with aloha, one of the first things I do is ask them to describe aloha for me the way they interpret it. When they use the word with the people they manage, their intention must be understood so that their expectations of aloha-filled performance are clear, in other words, there must be clarity in the workplace about their Language of Intention.

How can anyone take your cue if they aren’t sure what you mean? Read more here.

And in case you’re interested: Do you know what Hawai‘i means?

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  1. says

    It is a big relief to me that you do know how hard it is for me to understand you when you use Hawaiian terms. I thought it was just me. I would have given up long ago but I have read some of your writing where you didn’t use Hawaiian terms and it was awesome. I also stick with you because the other bloggers I like like you so much. And even though I often don’t understand you, I do understand that you are a serene and beautiful person and that your intentions toward me (one of the people in your audience) are very good ones, that you are on my side and trying to help me.

  2. says

    Thank you for your honesty Marianne, I do appreciate it! I have always had the realization about the Hawaiian being difficult for people not in Hawaii, and I have to balance that with the Hawaiian audience I do have who often tell me they want more of it: There are very few Hawaiian speakers in our islands, and there is a renaissance of sorts where we are trying to bring our language back to life- even if one word at a time. My Hawaiian readers use Talking Story to learn to use our culture’s words more often, with the managerial/ leadership intention of the MWA work philosophy.
    Thank you for sticking with me, and for being part of my Ho’ohana Community. I promise you I will continue to seek as much clarity as possible, for my goal is that you “occasionally-to-rarely” may not understand me, not often!

  3. says

    Rosa, aloha is universal love and the same in any language as I understand it. The feeling of caring for your fellow man/woman without looking for something in return. Of giving naturally. Of sharing. Of helping. Of being there, physically or in spirit. The bond that ties us all together.

  4. says

    Rosa – I liken aloha to be much like “servant leadership,” in that it’s tough to really tie down, but it’s a very good thing. Steve’s definition is pretty close to what I would say as well. To me, it’s the power of love, unconditional love. It’s living without expecting anything in return. It’s digging in and helping out without being asked, and not worry about anyone saying thanks.
    And yes, I think aloha also means hello and goodbye, at least to many, though I don’t believe that’s how you intended your book to be understood (Managing with Hello/Goodbye).

  5. says

    My definition today of Aloha, is much different than what it would have been eighteen months ago. The very first thought that comes to mind is unconditional love. This is what I have learned from you Rosa. Aloha begins your book and permeates every other value that follows.

  6. Rick Fuqua says

    While new to this community, I have reasoned in my mind that Aloha is a beautiful expression that can be defined as one person’s way of passing “all that is good” to another person. It is often used as a greeting or a salutation, but it seems to me that Aloha flows at all times through both words and actions. I interpret the “unconditional love” definition as another way to express “trusting sincerity” without prejudice or qualification. Aloha is a state of mind as much as anything else I can think of at this time.

  7. says

    Aloha Rosa:
    This is the impression of Aloha from a prairie person over 1500 miles to any ocean.
    To me it means: we meet, we greet, we enter each others lives even for a moment, we part, and we carry a part of that meeting with us the rest of our lives.

  8. says

    Thank you so much everyone, please keep your comments coming! This is a big help to me, and to the MWA Jumpstart participants who are charged with doing this as an exercise in their program.
    As you can imagine, I do have some thoughts, however I’ll share them later in a new post: for now I do not want to steer this conversation — you all have great insights to share, and whatever your answer is, it is the right one for you: mahalo plenty for your willingness to share here.

  9. says

    Gracious, Genuine Greetings

    How many times a day do you meet and greet someone?
    Is the hello you give to others a fleeting fake flippancy, or is it a gracious genuine greeting?
    How many times do those greetings you give or get mean something worthwhile? Have you ever stopp…

  10. says

    I Choose to speak of love with the intention of Aloha.

    Aloha is the Hawaiian value of love, and the word aloha gives you this wonderful opportunity to say you love the heart, mind, soul and good in a person for the gift they are to you, without the messy romantic

  11. says

    Being sociable through meaningful greetings

    Being sociable when youre just walking in a store to pick up some groceries, or stepping into an elevator to get to your floor in a hurry, can be tough. Youre only on your way, doing your own thing, after all. But youre also missin…

  12. says

    I Choose to tell someone I love their idea, and that they get such great ones.

    When you tell someone that you love their idea, you are giving them value and appreciation, two things that each and every one of us crave from time to time. Thanks to Rosa Say at Say Leadership Coaching for her

  13. says

    I Choose to tell someone I love the way they work, and that they’re good at it.

    This is terribly important, especially if you are in a management position at work. Letting people you work with know that you appreciate the way they work is very good for building rapport and relationships in the workplace. Today’s Daily

  14. says

    I Choose to tell someone I love their intuitive feelings about things, and that they are willing to speak their mind.

    Intuition, sometimes referred to as our sixth sense, is a very valuable tool. It can help us realize when we are in a situation that is not good for us or it can drive us to take action that is

  15. Anne says

    Rosa, to me Aloha is a complex concept that begins with “we share the breath of life”. Aloha is a spirit of unconditional acceptance that carries with it malama, caring for in a nurturing way. Love is not an adequate word for it in English. Aloha includes the fact that I recognize in you and in me the Spirit, the light that shines in each person. And, for me, it includes a passion for life in all its forms. Best, Anne