Friday, February 12, 2010

Hitchhiking with Aloha

It started while hitchhiking. Not the kind of hitchhiking where I am standing by the roadside, one hand in my jeans, the other stretching out my thumb up looking for a ride, any ride, as long as it is headed to Chicago for SOBCon!

No, it was hitchhiking through the blogosphere, clicking a link here, and a link there. Following a stream of conversation, a train of thought, a host of images, a world of wonderful learning. Sharing what I found and learned along the way.

And there she was, talking story. Her accent is so enchanting (though I did not know that then). We hadn't talked. I read, and read some more. She wrote, and wrote some more. I commented to add my two cents, here and there. She commented back. Sent an email. This was new. This was different. Miles away yet on the same wave length!

She had just published her book: Managing with Aloha. I clicked through, hitchhiked to, ordered a copy and read it cover to cover when it came in.

As I continued to visit, I found I wasn't the only visitor to talk story. She had a group of followers, growing in number as they too arrived, and became engaged in talking story. It was this thing called "aloha". One word with such a richness of meaning.

We did a good thing. We decided to surprise her. Actually Dave Rothacker, author of Rothacker Reviews, gets the credit for starting it. He had received a copy of Rosa's book directly from her. He signed it and sent it on. Rosa recalled with pleasure that the book began its journey

the first of thirty one trips to nineteen different states across the USA. In between were stops in Canada, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Those were the homes of the first thirty-four bloggers of the Ho‘ohana Community. Dave, with Stacy Brice of Virtualosophy as his very willing accomplice, had decided that a properly marked up MWA at the hands of the Ho‘ohana Community would be a good Christmas gift for me (Rosa). A private Google Group was started to track the book’s progress, password protected so that any ego-surfing I’d do wouldn’t allow me in, and the surprise would be kept intact.    

I did my part. Receiving it from Felix in Spain and sending it on to Yvonne in NY. It ultimately made its way to Hawaii where it was well received and treasured.

Rosa joined myself and a few others to explore Synergy across the miles. The group blog achieved synergy and we went our separate ways.

Rosa returned to Talking Story and amongst other efforts started a Joyful Jubilant Learning celebration in September 2006. The line up for that first month was

The energy and engagement during September carried the group forward into a new group blog, aptly named The Joyful Jubilant Learning blog. This group effort continued. Monthly themes were developed like 

  • March reserved for A Love Affair with Books (book reviews by members of the community) 
  • 7 Wonders of Learning (to celebrate 07/07/07) 
  • and Rapid Fire Learning (a quick recap of five things learned during the month)

However, all good things do come to an end. JJL was no different. The group blog closed up at the end of January 2010, coincidently with our 1000 post!

But this is not really an end.
This is a new beginning.
A commencement of the rest of our lives.

The Ho'ohana Community powered by Aloha is still strong.

It is strong because at the heart of it is Rosa Say.

Someone who without question walks the talk!

Someone who has shared her Hawaiian principles with us so that we can go forward and share Aloha!

Someone who someday I will hug in person.

We have hugged virtually many times. Rosa was with us in spirit when there was a small meetup of the Ho'ohana Community for SOBCon 2008. Terry Starbucker, Phil Gerbyshak, Joanna Young and I managed to all get here for the conference. 

Mahalo, Rosa!

So how has Rosa helped me? Let me count the ways:

Ho'ohanohano - is at the root of my work on Franklin Matters growing its reputation as a respected source of reliable local information on what matters in my home town of Franklin, MA.

'Imi ola - drives my writing on Steve's 2 Cents revealing the good experience in daily life and in particular developing the "job search notes" series to share the learning I have found or accumulated in my personal job search effort.

Ho'okipa - inspires my volunteer efforts to meet and greet folks at the Welcome/Registration desk for over a dozen unconferences since 2006.

Lokahi - is at the heart of my efforts to bring teamwork and collaboration to every group I am part of; together with the "power of we", we accomplish more.

Some of the other values of Managing with Aloha overlap with those mentioned here. I could go on but Ha'aha'a in particular, is holding me back. This shouldn't be about me. I will succeed when others have achieved their goals. That is what I am looking for. I learned that coaching my track and cross-country runners. All the preparation in the world, still required their execution at the time of their event. I needed to prepare them to handle themselves in the event no matter what occurred. Only when they achieved their personal best was I able to count that as a success.

So how can I help you?

Flickr photo credits:

The first two photos are from  by

The last two photos are my own.

This is my entry for the "Blog it, Earn it" SOBCon 2010 giveaway

#sobcon2010  #blogitearnit