Doing What We Say, Say What We Do.

Last week I was asked to speak to a collection of students and share my mano'o and 'ike loa of a leader. Hindsight can be a double edge sword; a tad too late for yesterdays and light years ahead of tomorrows. With hindsight everything is crystal clear and without distraction. I find myself reflecting on the would-ah, could-ah, should-ah.  Did they experience something that is relevant and impactful to their minds and our future.

The past describes a place in time where certain attributes make a significant mark on history.  When its authentic and courageous it stands for generations to come.


To Lead with Aloha

Scanning timelines of leaders, certain key characteristics float to the top. As a side note, I understand this could be a bit biased.  However for me, the traits resonate through the lenses of my past, present and vision for the future:

  • Honesty and being real is a big deal. Why? When I find those rare people who are honest and real, I want to stand by and support them. So much so, I consciously and unconsciously commit to a purpose significantly bigger and more important than I.
  • Two, Authenticity. This word has received more play in recent years but it's important.  I believe authenticity is honesty's conductor. Meaning one's authenticity comes alive when its rooted in honesty.
  • Three, Passion. Is there a singular purpose that drives you? What inspires you? Is there a thought, word, or action which focuses you'?
  • Four, Intention and Respect.  Is giving and receiving in the 'we' place?
  • Five, Courage. Can you stand alone if need be?
  • Six, Resilience. Never giving up even in the face of darkness, pain and depression.
  • Seven, Longevity. Can you and your commitment stand the test of time?
  • Eight. Compassion. Can you lead with your head and engage with your heart?


My family past and present are a people whose actions (not words) reveal our intentions.  By example we express our humility, our faith and our loyalty. Through time we learn and share via a "Wax on Wax off" or by "Example" practice. When our practice ignores our true self, or the acceptance of our authenticity, our purposeful intentions are lost in the deep blue sea.  If our practice excludes our courage to persevere, or disregards the honor of our journey. we fail to show up.  And, when we lose site of "WE" in our duty, or dismiss the just way of moving forward, we risk never living the magic of Aloha.  If our practice somehow forgets the 'doing', the habitual doing, living Aloha could slip through our fingers.


This is a Kealoha

However, when we have Kupuna, our ancestral family, to share practical as well as a deepened knowledge, we grow.  And when those same elders, help us digest experience and absorb wisdom, we move closer to doing what we say.  When we start traversing through the hidden meanings, we acquire a deeper sense or Kaona and  wisdom.  And it's at this stage where we pass not only what came before us but our own lessons, our own kaona to the next generation.  This is how my family moves through lives lived.  So much so, when someone looks at the body of work, could say, "This is a Kealoha".

Like physical markers, one's family-way-of-doing things is as much of an imprint as physical features. For example, if someone didn't know my name, knew my family and saw me, they would without a doubt say, "She's a Kealoha." The same is true for many family practices.

For the Kealoha Ohana, hundreds of thousands of hours were spent doing what we say and saying what we do. This simple phrase laid the ground to build trust. it aligned people and place to respect and trust, on those rare occasions when we spoke, our words.  Why?  Our actions never failed.  Understanding how and where we are tied to place and practice is the first chapter of fulfilling duty.  As we gain a deeper sense of what it means to be part of rather than just an observer, doing what we say and saying what we do is our kuleana.

It's my belief we have leaders who imprint their indelible mark with a simple stroke of the pen. People who embody honesty, authenticity, purpose, courage, respect, resilience, longevity and compassion. And then there are leaders who never make it to the history books but are as well-known and well-versed through the ancient practice of storytelling. It is these people who in their own family way do what they say and say what they do. Who are the quiet leaders that ensure their family practice, traditions are sung from generation to generation.

As I walk into each day, doing what I say and saying what I do, I'm able to live in the lives, the lives left behind to practice the Kealoha way.