The 4 Principles of Unity

 Posted by on 09/17/2012
Sep 172012
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Team Unity

Yesterday, I had the chance of helping a boot camp class at the Energy Lab in Redlands.  It was great meeting a group of positive people all wanting to be active and live a healthy lifestyle.

This first time this group came together in one area and it was their first time meeting me.  But there was still a strong sense of unity.

The most inspirational person there was a woman who had a knee replacement and also went through 6 hours of back surgery.  Here she was doing agility ladders, jumping on the spinning bike, doing step ups on the wall, going at it on the TRX Rip Trainer, and just working it.  Talk about no excuses.

Then there were two guys, who were friends, constantly pushing each other as well as themselves. No matter how tired they were, they would take a deep breath and get right back to work.

Jill, the owner of Energy Lab, also participated in the boot camp and continued being the motivator she is creating an atmosphere full of her own mana that influences many. Everyone in the class had such a positive attitude and really wanted to be there.  It was truly inspiring.

I did my usual reflection during the bike ride home after the class. I thought about what makes people work as one to create a strong team, community, or workplace?

As I pulled up to my gate, the word came to me – Lokahi


When the idea came to my mind, I quickly dove in to my notes from my Hawaiian leadership course, lessons from Pa Kui-a-holo, two books that I continuously read over and over: ‘Start with Why‘ and ‘The 5 Levels of Leadership‘, and an interview with Tony Dungy on Dave Ramsey’s Entreleadership Podcast.

I remember when I was young and Nana would speak about Lokahi.  She said “The most important thing for a happy family is Lokahi. Everyone needs balance.This is the sort of teachings I was raised on that I feel everyone can learn from and should never be forgotten.

The concept of Lokahi means – the unity and balance of all parts within the universe. I believe everything  and everyone has mana which in turn means everything and all things have a purpose.

Does your family have Lokahi? Or what about your team? Your workplace? The relationships you have? Your life?

I believe Lokahi should be part of everyone’s life because without Lokahi, you have no balance.  If you have no balance, then like my Uncle Anda would say, “Then you one flat tire.”

I’m still in search for unity in all aspects of my life but the first boot camp session allowed me to see Lokahi working at it’s best.  This brought me to the findings of the 4 principles of Lokahi from “Aunty Betty” Kawohiokalani Ellis-Jenkins at Papa Ola Lokahi.

  1. Laulima (working relationship) – For unity, cooperation is important.  Everyone must work together towards the same goal and for the same higher purpose.  A healthy working relationship allows for quality work to happen.  If only a few are working while others standby, there will be no harmony.  With no harmony comes frustration which then leads to the next principle.
  2. Alu like (working in harmony) – It is important to get along with the people you associate yourself with especially on a team.  Most teams spend the majority of their day together and it’s not fun being around people who don’t share the same purpose or goals as you.  This doesn’t mean that everyone has to agree with each other all the time but there should be a strong respect throughout the team.  Lastly, get rid of gossip.  Gossip is poison and it will make any team fall apart.
  3. Kuleana (your responsibility) – Within a team, everybody serves a purpose.  Without one part, the machine doesn’t work.  I’ve mentioned this many times.  I believe that everyone has a something to offer to a team, workplace, and even to the world.  Your kuleana is to make sure you hold yourself accountable and make sure you stick to what your kuleana is.  It’s like football, if one person misses their assignment the whole play crumbles.
  4. Hana kupono (working for a righteous cause) – In order to achieve a meaningful and fulfilling life,  I believe what ever it is you do should be to benefit others.  I agree with Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus that happiness comes from personal growth and contribution.  We feel great when we do something that makes us better, like exercise, and we feel awesome when we give back to others.  If you find yourself in a place where the cause you are working for isn’t known, then I strongly suggest you find one for yourself.  What can you bring to the team? What is your higher purpose within the team?

In the boot camp at the Energy Lab, I was amazed at the Lokahi. But it just shows the mana Energy Lab already has because it attracts the right people.  There were individuals from all different fitness levels, age, and experiences. They all came together in harmony and worked as one nucleus.  Everyone took care of their kuleana and motivated each other to live healthier.  By the end of the class everyone was dripping with sweat and exhausted but they all felt energized and full of mana because of the 4 Principles of Lokahi.

How’s Your Lokahi?

These principles can be implemented towards your workplace, team, family, and even among your friends.  It’s important to be part of a community that works toward a specific purpose.  Some of the greatest sports teams and companies out there weren’t successful because of talent, but mainly because they all believed in their goals, stuck with their responsibilities, and understood their purpose to achieve greatness.


Mahalo.  Aloha. A hui hou.






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