Kayaking couple ride along the river at sunset

Why every leader needs patience and keen eyes

It’s safe to say that this New Year was a little different for everyone due to the ongoing pandemic and national restrictions.

But there was something else different about my New Year, because I met a man called Ekewaka.

I usually celebrate New Year with a traditional Japanese New Year’s feast called “Osechi”. I usually spend 2 full days on 12/30 and 12/31 to hand make delicious food. I invite friends and family, enjoy Osechi, and play traditional Japanese games like Karuta (card game) and Hanetsuki (wooden badminton).

This year, we decided to escape everything and go to Hawaii.

I hesitated to fly until the last minute. But my instinct told me we just had to do it.

We armed ourselves with double masks, face shields, shoe covers, and rain ponchos to keep our bodies covered throughout the 11-hour flight. It was THE MOST uncomfortable flight ever… but once we got our feet wet on Waikiki beach, it was all worth it.

One day, we decided to do an outrigger canoe ride. We were accompanied by a veteran captain, named Ekewaka. A native Hawaiian man, who had been riding canoes for almost 50 years.

The ocean that day was very calm, and we rowed the canoe out in the ocean, and sat still, drifting with gentle waves. As I was admiring the beauty of the ocean, Ekewaka turned to me and said:

“Ocean could be nice, ocean could be ruthless. You need patience, and keen eyes on the ocean.”

After 10 or 15 minutes passed. Ekewaka shouts out abruptly, “It’s coming. Get ready. Row!!”

I couldn’t see any wave coming, but we listened to our commander in chief and composed ourselves for what might be about to happen. Then several seconds later, a great big wave pushed and lifted our canoe, and moved us straight toward the beach.

“Now stop rowing! We are riding the waves!” Ekewaka exclaimed.

Our canoe kept going, and going, passing all the surfers. I couldn’t believe how invigorating it felt. It was the feeling I didn’t know I was longing for.

I can’t remember the last time I felt that way. It was so overdue.

Patience, and keen eyes.

Exactly as Ekewaka had said. That was all I needed.

Sometimes people come into your life to serve some sort of purpose, to teach you a lesson, or to help you figure out who you are or who you want to become. And sometimes things happen that may seem horrible, painful, and unfair at first, but in reflection you find that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realized your potential, strength, willpower, or heart.

This pandemic might have been one of these situations. We all went through a rough year in 2020 and it may still continue into 2021.

We just need patience, and keen eyes.

Only then will you feel invigorated and free at the right time.

I later learned that the name Ekewaka meant “guardian of prosperity”.

Here is a toast to prosperity in 2021.

Now I’ve told you my story. What’s yours?

If you would like to learn to tell your story with more power and persuasion in 2021, download my eBook “6C’s of Storytelling”. It’s a free New Year’s gift from me to you. Click below and download!

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