Alaka’i is pronounced [ah la ka ee].
Alaka’i is the Hawaiian value of leadership and guidance. At its best, an integral alaka’i leads by example and lives the values and principles they teach. We all have an alaka’i spirit within us, and it can take the form of being a parent, teacher, coach, manager, activist, spokesperson, government leader, and more. There are many areas in which we can help guide others, and the role of an alaka’i is an important one for the continual evolution of humanity.
The word can be broken down into “Ala” which means to rise up or come forward, and “ka’i” which means to lead, direct, lift up and carry. The essence of this is that leaders rise to the occasion and come forward to lead, lift, and carry others forward with the principles, visions, and values they espouse and live.
The alaka’i we hope for are those who strive to be of service to others, become their best self in the process, and lead by example. We hope for alaka’i that are full of purpose and have a dedication to lift others and help them rise to be their own best self, family, community, organization, or society. We also hope for humility in our alaka’i, not striving for notoriety, fame, or popularity. When we have gracious, humble, purposeful leaders, we come together to do great and beneficial things.
Alaka’i is one of the fundamental aspects of Hawaiian culture, which places a strong value on courageous and committed leaders. Being an alaka’i involves dedication, perseverance, and commitment alongside compassion and a collaborative spirit.
Throughout history, alaka’i have carried Hawaiians through many challenging and changing times. King Kamehameha is one of the most well-known leaders of the past who has made a lasting impact. He was the great chief who united the Hawaiian islands under one rulership during great cultural change. He is revered for his strength, foresight, and diplomatic nature. He is an example of leadership that includes vision, determination, collaboration, trust, respect, and resolve. And his leadership continues to inspire many to this day.
In more current times, alaka’i have ensured the traditions and values of the culture survive. The alaka’i have been preserving wisdom and passing it down. These alaka’i, and those that came before them, have infused great spirit into the larger culture, and Hawaiians continue to be steadfast in sustaining their values, customs, and historical traditions. As a proud people, many aspire to find their own alaka’i spirit and to live their lives and fulfill their kuleana [ku le ana] (responsibility) with dignity, dedication, and respect for their ohana [o ha na] (family/community) and ‘āina [eye na] (land).
To cultivate our alaka’i spirit, we need to have respect. Respect for our elders, for our ohana, our ‘āina, for our creator, and ourselves. When we have respect, we have honor, and we have compassion, which naturally leads us to want to serve others. Each day you can remind yourself to live with respect, the kind of respect you hope to receive from another.
It takes courage to rise up and lead, not just in significant ways, but in small ways every day. We are living in a time where we all need the courage to face the unknown. There is much possibility in change, but it takes courage to bring our visions for the future through, and it takes a firm resolve to keep focused and offer support to those around us. Each day, we have an opportunity to wake up and meet the morning with our courage or with our anxiety and fear. If we can find the light of courage in ourselves, we lead by example. Leading by example may uplift those around us who need a bit of inspiration to find their courage to meet this ever-evolving world.
Generosity grows abundance, and abundance moves us out of scarcity and fear and into our power and creativity. A good leader is a generous leader. They are generous with their time, their energy, and their effort as they guide others. These traits inspire those they guide to give their best and usually a win/win circumstance with more creative outcomes from all involved. The next time you find yourself in a leadership position, ask how you can be more generous to help create a positive result.
A compassionate leader has an understanding of those they guide and shows empathy through words and actions. They seek influence, not authority, and they don’t demand; they encourage. A compassionate leader leads with hope and inspiration, which brings out the best in those they guide. They acknowledge and support people’s insights, efforts, skills, and talents, which brings out the passion, enthusiasm, and commitment from those they serve.
ALOHA – The guiding force for living in an honorable, thoughtful, healthy way.
Spread love, grace, kindness, humility, and compassion.
‘IMI OLA – To “seek our best life.” Our purpose in life is to seek its highest form.
The value of mission and vision.
MAHALO – “Thank you”, as a way of living.
Live in thankfulness for the richness that makes life so precious.
‘OHANA – Those who are family, and those you choose to call your family.
As a value, ‘Ohana is a human circle of complete Aloha.
HŌ‘IMI – The value of positive mindset and looking for the better and best with hope.
HO‘OKIPA – The value of hospitality, a hospitality of complete giving.
Welcome guests and strangers with your spirit of Aloha.
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