The fourteenth and last principle I mention here, is one that I have applied in Samoa from the start. For some reason I really love and understand the idea of Walking the Land as much as any other principle! It applies to both physical land and conceptual territory.
In the bible, yes the bible again(!) God spoke to many of his warriors and saints about the importance of walking the land. Leaders would be sent out and would go outwards themselves from their current situation into some new territory. As far as they went, was as far as they conquered and progressed for their people.
No one gained territory beyond that which they walked. You don’t find people saying “Oh I own that land over there!” pointing into the distance and the future and dreaming about it. We do find people however who engaged with the enemy, or who conquered land through a variety of means. Sometimes it came easily. Other times it required a fight.
[Pic: Tauiliili (Tau for short) walking the land. A man who just loves the trees and nature! Samoans mostly love their land and will die fighting for it. Tau loves the trees and wants to develop eco-tours. We have offered to help him.]
Likewise here in Samoa as we push into new areas with new ideas, marketing concepts, business initiatives and so on. We have to DO it. We have to ENGAGE and sometimes this gets messy and requires getting our hands dirty, but hey, nothing great was ever achieved by sitting around and talking!
Samoa has refined that art, I can tell you!
Being on the physical land gives us a much greater understanding and feel for what we are doing and where we are going. There is a big difference between looking at a mountain and saying “Wow! How cool would that be to build eco-units, and to push a road through to the top”, and actually climbing the mountain and shivering in the cool of the height, sitting in the clouds, looking at the country-wide views, hearing the rain in the distance approaching like a rumbling approaching truck as it comes toward you dropping its pellets of water progressively on the tree-tops.
These are unforgettable experiences that can only come from walking the land. I understand the mountain now. I have seen our host and guide show us where he would love to build his home and his resort. I see the passion in his eyes and the commitment for the old man to walk there and back.
I came down from the mountain totally exhausted. My knees gave out well before I reached the top, and the boys had to virtually carry me down the last three quarters of the way but I walked the land. As a result I understand, and I believe that one day, when the time is right, and the legal stuff is all completed, we will be working with this landowner to develop eco-units in the bush, up on the mountain and help him do a miracle in a magic place.
I’ve been into many villages and seen many attractions, resorts and people. There is something quite special about saying to someone “Let’s go and see it right away!” and watching the excitement that comes from people eager to show a Palagi their land, their family and their culture. And for me it all helps me understand their life, when I actually walk up to or into or through their pride and joy.
It gives me a much better handle on how things work, and what the people think and feel and experience, certainly much more than the authorities that sit there in an office in Government House all day and talk about it, which they surely do!
In the last few days we’ve been working with the government to secure land for our SWAP HQ. On two of the properties we looked at I walked the land. This is the rainy season and the ground is a bog in places. Walking around in a lavava (man-skirt) with jandals, mud, mosquitos, humidity, ula (those necklace things that Samoans love and love to see you wear) and all in a white shirt uniform is a real challenge! But I walked the land, and as a result I can report to our team and say that this area could be used for this, and that area is more suitable for that, and I have an understanding of the lay of the land. It helps in good decision-making. Sure, I could send a scout around to do it, but I did it, so I know. I’ve experienced it.
It also works with non-physical advances, in areas of marketing and so on. Buying a Domain Name is a step of faith, walking out into an area that has yet to be touched. Taking an idea and saying, “There! We now own that Domain Name, and THAT will be a future brand/idea or marketing tool!” One day hopefully soon, those things will come to pass, but there’s a big difference between talking about it and putting money on the table and doing it!
I’ve seen some marketing ideas presented all pretty-like on paper with the idea generators not even securing the domain name. I’ve actually checked on some of these domain names. This is my line of business. I could easily buy the domain names for $8.00 USD each and snap up their ideas to stop them in their tracks. I won’t but apart from the unprofessionalism of not checking domain names before putting a proposal forward, these guys simply have not “walked the land”, figuratively speaking. It’s all just talk and hot air.
On the other hand we have over eighty (yes, that’s 80!) domain names relating to Samoa. We are serious and will eventually be a major force in marketing in Samoa as a result.
That’s walking the land.
Of course it will take time and effort and money and a good team to achieve, but I’ve walked the land and the rest will surely happen as a result.
There is another factor that comes into this for me personally, and it is my faith. When I walk the four corners (literally), I slip a little prayer to the Father and give it all to him. I might pray something as simple as, “Well Lord inside these four corners, I pray that You will be able to do the great and wonderful things that You want to happen. I’ll do the best I can but I trust that You will be able to do what You want with the people and events on this land!”
Samoa says that it is a very “spiritual” place. We always hear that “Samoa is founded upon God” from officials and leaders here. Personally I have some major misgivings about the attitudes, activities and teaching of the churches here, but in my own little way, I can easily extend my faith to believe that when I walk the land, God blesses it.
My bible tells me that he likes it when we exercise faith. Walking the land can do way more than just exercise the legs. It can even exercise our faith!
It’s been nice chatting again!
- Barter – exchange – collaborative commerce – whatever you want to call it, the principle we are working with is that of exchanging and sharing the assets of two parties, for the benefit of both.
- It’s not about money. It’s about people; sharing a vision and building relationships.
- Use what we have in our hands (exercising faith), as instructed to do (obedience).
- We wish to use only the best available to us.
- Our Take Nothing Home policy means that we eliminate excessive personal gain.
- It is more blessed to give than to receive.
- We encourage a Cross-Cultural Partnership, blending the best of two cultures.
- We aim for Financial Equivalence whereby we attempt to level the playing field financially.
- We offer strong leadership through a clear vision.
- Our values are based on the Judeo-Christian value system.
- We aim to work smarter, not harder.
- We should empower others.
- Do the right thing, work hard and have faith!
- Walk the land.
The Fourteen Principles:
- 1. What’s yours is mine
- 2. Vision > relationships > money
- 3. Use what you have
- 4. Use only the Best
- 5. Take Nothing Home
- 6. Giver’s Gain
- 7. Cross Cultural Partnership
- 8. Financial Equivalence
- 9. Everyone loves a winner
- 10. A biblical value-base
- 11. Work Smarter, Not Harder
- 12. We should empower others
- 13. Do The Right Thing
- 14. Walk the land