This is a critical time for humanity. Our collective mindfulness and wisdom are urgently needed and yet, not at the forefront of our thoughts, our economic and political world or our daily lives. Who might we be if we chose to listen for and act from our wisest self?
If I asked, “How did you develop your wisdom,” I might get a blank stare. Most likely you didn’t enroll in Developing Wisdom 101 in high school or college. Few popular TV shows or movies demonstrate the path to a wise life. Or perhaps, you would nod sagely, considering yourself a serious student of wisdom, able to quote the great teachings and wise leaders through the ages.
Either way, studies show that most of us want to be wiser in our daily lives for increases in performance, creativity, and intelligence.
Tears filled my eyes as I listened again to the girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes speak to the UN. Her name is Severn Cullis-Suzuki, and her speech was given at a U.N. assembly in Brazil when she was twelve years old.
That was in 1992. Sadly, her words are as relevant today as they were then.
One of my dearest friends is very wise. She sees the potential in me when my vision is shadowy. She uses the power of her gentleness, the strength of her love, and the clarity of her insight so that every one around her flourishes. She’s an absolute joy, with a lovely ability to discern what really matters.
While many men consider themselves wise, many women question whether they have wisdom.
“If there is anything the world needs, it is wisdom. Without it, I exaggerate not at all in saying that very soon, there may be no world, or at least none with humans populating it.” Putting our focus, vital energy and resources behind what our wise internal voice says can change the course of our lives, with one wise step and then another. Listening to this voice, we can discover our true priorities.
Listen. Open space to hear. What matters the most to you?
Why do children climb on chairs? And why do adults sit on them? Guest blogger Jennifer Kenny challenges our preconceived notions about the value of developing feminine wisdom in leadership and business.
“The prevailing thinking would tell us that children climb on chairs because they have not been trained to sit on them. However if you look carefully at how children interact with chairs you will notice that they climb on them, write on them, sit on them, play on them, ignore them and sit on the floor. It is only when they begin to distinguish chairs from other items that they begin to sit on them. A child sees a chair and they have no preconceived notion as to what a chair should be used for, so they climb on it, experiment with it, sit on it, they knock it over, they write on it, they ignore it, basically, they do whatever takes their fancy when it comes to engaging with the chair.
The interesting opportunity for us, is to look at how people engage with feminine wisdom. If they don’t know what it is, if the distinction of feminine wisdom, and the sub distinctions of feminine wisdom, don’t exist for them, then they simply, climb on it, sit on it, knock it over, write on it and ignore it, they use it for whatever purpose they think is appropriate – if they even see it in the first place. Remember children also sit on the floor quite happily and comfortably.
We are in a unique position, at this moment in history, to be able to distinguish and identify the facets of feminine wisdom and to bring forth those facets into the world in a way that they will be distinguished and in distinguishing them people will understand them, they will understand the value of them, they will understand how to engage with them, they will understand how to be able to pay for applied feminine wisdom and how to leverage feminine wisdom.
Karen Buckley has done truly foundational work in distinguishing the facets of feminine wisdom and working to bring those distinctions to a broader audience. She has distinguished nine facets of feminine wisdom and in so doing she has created the opportunity for all of us to enable humanity (masculine and feminine) understand what problems feminine wisdom can solve, what value feminine wisdom brings, why it is unique to the feminine (not just to women but to the feminine) and why that value can in turn add value for those around us and for those in our community.
Over the next few months you will see Karen articulate those distinctions in her blog and she will be publishing a book about those distinctions. She will also be looking to engage a broader audience in identifying understanding, valuing and appreciating, applied feminine wisdom and we will be working to create frameworks for bringing feminine wisdom to the world, in the same way masculine wisdom has been brought to the world.
The task ahead of us at the moment is to understand these distinctions ourselves, understand how each of us embodies one or more of the facets of feminine wisdom and help the rest of the world understand how to engage with feminine wisdom, what value it brings and how feminine wisdom can be instrumental in solving some of the enormous problems facing humanity today.
Editor’s note! Jennifer, I have the biggest smile ever with your fine acknowledgment above. I too am very excited to share the distinctions we are all building every day as we become the wise feminine leaders that we are meant to be.
Jennifer Kenny is Interim CIO of SRI International. Jennifer has an extensive background in management consulting, change initiation and the design of business processes and systems strategies for Fortune 500 companies, including starting her own consulting firm BizThink in 2007.
Because I love working with women to discover these distinctions for themselves I put together the Next Octave Leadership Webinar that starts this summer where we’ll talk about the source of personal power and increased effectiveness.
Warmest regards, Karen
I must admit. Many of my clients are my “favorite” – they inspire me to no end. I learn from them every day we work together. Over the past 3 years I’ve been privileged to work with Deb Hubsmith the founder and Director of the Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership as she tripled the size of her budget, staff, and the range of her work. Please join me in congratulating Deb, and The Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership, for receiving the Game Changer Award from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention this week.
Deb is passionate and strategic, smart and visionary, intuitive and precise on details, scrappy and wise. With an interactive leadership style Deb builds consensus up front and all along the way, shares power and information to avert a crisis before it happens. She is comfortable with ambiguity, watching issues unfold, ready to respond when the time is right. She keeps her focus on what matters, while scanning with broad spectrum vision. She pays attention to the texture of the workplace as she develops and inspires her nationally based staff. A communicator – her verbal agility and capacity to read subtle cues mean that she moves teams and causes through obstacles that seem insurmountable. A wise feminine leader!
Why is “safe routes” a critical issue? Think thriving self-reliant kids riding bikes and walking to school instead of being dependent on their parents to drive. Think liveable communities, less pollution, decreased obesity, and the kind of future we want to pass on to our children.
Deb Hubsmith, Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, first started her game changing efforts 15 years ago by working to improve bicycle and pedestrian routes to schools in Marin County, California. As awareness of childhood obesity grew, she took her local successes, passion and pioneering spirit to the national level and worked with Congress to create the federal Safe Routes to School program which is now established within the Departments of Transportation of all 50 states. More than 5 million children and 12,000 schools are already benefiting from more pedestrian and bicycle pathways as well as education programs.
Through her tireless efforts, Deb and The Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership ignited a national movement to make streets safer for kids to walk and bicycle to school and in daily life. Deb, her staff, and their more than 500 organizational partners, continue to show how Safe Routes to School can be a catalyst for bringing about system-wide built environment changes that increase physical activity and safety, building a healthier future for children and everyone.
Throughout developing a strategic plan that included input from almost a thousand stakeholders, evolving staffing structures, learning new leadership skills, strengthening teams, and strategic responses to complex changes, Deb is one of those clients motivated to make changes in herself and her organization. She turns on a dime when shown a better way to do something and is always ready to learn along with her talented Staff Director Team.
Thank you Deb for your fine work and dedication. It’s an honor to work with you.
Postscript - sadly Deb Hubsmith passed away in 2015 of acute myeloid leukemia. Her legacy lives on.
Learn more about the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and Deb Hubsmith’s legacy at http://www.saferoutespartnership.org
“The capabilities that made leaders successful in the past are unlikely to lead to success in the future. Leaders need to embrace new behaviors – but to do this they must first understand how the world has changed and how old ways can lead to business and personal obsolescence!” Annie McKee, Founder of Teleosleadership; Co-Author “Primal Leadership, “Resonant Leadership”
Upcoming Radio Interview on The AWE Factor – Advancing Women Everywhere: Leading the New Economy
April 24, 2012, 7:00am PT/10:00am ET Hosted by Carole Sacino
In this interview I share some just developed insights that really make a difference.
Like many of us, you may sense that the world is changing and that you, your team or organization has a bigger role to play.
A woman leader who becomes a Next Octave Leader values and utilizes the gifts and natural authority of feminine wisdom and power. With increased self-assurance she leverages her unique strengths and talents to be powerfully effective.
In this show I’ll share the top 7 ways a woman’s vision and values are critical in business. Through stories of women around the world, you will learn 4 steps to stabilize your WiseCore in any situation and succeed throughout the uncertainties of change.
What holds women back? Research shows doubt, lack of confidence. How do we get past these internal glass ceilings?
I’ll tell you about other women who incorporate feminine wisdom, even in tough work environments, to develop a leadership, organization and life full of courage, focus, and confidence.