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3 Questions: Get Unstuck and Catalyze New Thoughts

April 19, 2012

Karen BuckleyWhen I get stuck, I use questions to catalyze new thoughts. Here are 3 of my Favorites:

1. What 3 things do you know know about yourself  (what you want, don’t want, and are interested in) that you did not know 6 months ago?

For instance I didn’t know that I love Goji berries (my new go to snack straight from the Himalayas) and I didn’t know the new definition of wisdom I just wrote and loved in my book draft.

2. What are two elements of your biggest boldest vision for your life in 5 years?

My biggest, boldest (told no one else yet) vision is that I’ve published multiple award-winning books. This is BOLD as I’ve published ebooks and been included in books but not a full hard cover book of my own – yet!

3. What is one self-limitation that you are ready to let go of? (could be a thought pattern, a way you behave, an agreement you’ve made with yourself that no longer fits)

I’m ready to let go of my comparative mind – the voice in me that says that’s less than mine, she’s more than me, etc. Done!

How about you? What can you discover when you spend a few minutes answering these?

Asking new questions can mean you get unstuck, reduce stress, and think new thoughts as you unlock your wisdom. Try applying these to work, home, and inner life.

How do they help you to develop your leadership? The more you know about yourself, the more access you have to your fullest expression of personal power.



Because I love seeing small business people succeed I’ve developed the Business Boost Seminar where you learn to place yourself and your business in the right level of business growth with just the right activities to boost you to the next level. The next one starts Thursday, 6/21.


Leadership Changes Emerge in Third Act of Life

April 16, 2012

Bev Scott

Guest blogger Bev Scott speaks to my own experience in today’s blog. Author, consultant, and seminar leader, Bev confronted fears of failure as she lost her old sense of self and then found many unexpected treasures in the third act of her life.

In the midst of my mid-life career, what I call my second act, I felt driven to work hard, lead my team to meet our performance goals, contribute as a leader in my profession and serve in leadership roles in my community.  My concept of leadership at that time involved participation, involvement, taking responsibility, speaking up and aligning my actions with my values.  As the first or only woman in many situations, I learned the delicate balance of addressing the unconscious affronts for women common then in mostly male organizations, as I also attempted to establish my credibility.   My leadership in those settings was often simply being present, listening, integrating ideas, facilitating discussions or interpreting what others were trying to say.  I avoided competition, confrontation and actions that would be interpreted as aggressive.  I came home exhausted often feeling that I had failed because of that avoidance—was that approach too feminine?

Yet, as time progressed, I did establish my credibility and others began to rely on my results oriented, get it done commitment, my initiative and my insight.  I realized that my leadership was a balance of the feminine intuition, presence, listening and facilitating with a goal directed commitment to get results which is often seen as a masculine approach.   I felt rewarded and recognized in this androgynous leadership in both my paid work and in my professional and community volunteer work.  However, when I retired from my career and my professional volunteer work, I felt in many ways that I was leaving “leadership” behind.  I no longer led a team, consulted with clients, or chaired the board of a professional organization.  I needed to explore who I was in this new stage of my life, which I refer to as my third act.  (I transferred my professional skills and experience to found a program of coaching and workshops called The 3rd Act.)

This new stage of life has been an inner journey not to dissimilar to my explorations of my identity earlier in my second act career.  I have come to realize that some of those exhausting days of feeling failure were trying because I was not only creating a career for myself and other women who would follow but it was also depleting because I was exploring who I wanted to be in those settings….finding acceptance externally and authenticity internally.

In my third act, I am much less concerned with finding external acceptance.  I am very focused on being present authentically, trusting my intuition, sharing my experience and perspective (when appropriate), and finding ways to contribute that engage my passion such as through my volunteer and my 3rd act work.  But, it took me awhile to get to this place of wisdom and peace.  At first, I wondered, “who am I, if I am not a consultant?” “What does it mean not to have a professional identity?”  Achievement has always been important to me, so I also asked, “What does success and achievement look like at this stage?”

I had to find comfort with a new sense of self, to recognize that I didn’t have to demonstrate my worth and to accept performance goals and achievement no longer mattered.  Achievement has become much more of a self-assessment of how I am doing at those activities that I have chosen because I want to do them.  And my leadership is not about what I do, but about who I am as I serve as a role model, elder, mentor and crone.

Joseph Campbell offered this perspective, “The call rings up the curtain, always on a mystery of transformation.  The familiar life horizon has been outgrown; the old concepts, ideals and emotional patterns no longer fit; the time for passing the threshold is at hand.”

Be sure to check out The 3rd Act workshop for women ready to launch the third part of their lives as well as Bev’s extensive experience in consulting and excellent book co-authored with my colleague Kim Barnes  “Consulting on the Inside: A practical guide for internal consultants.”

Blessings on your journey,

Karen and

Business Coaching: Filling a Sales Pipeline

April 4, 2012

Spring is a perfect time to reach out in new directions. Give this  “sales pipeline building” exercise a try. It really works!

Pipeline is the big funnel of contacts or possible customers or people who know you or people you’ve heard of. One of the basic ways to build  your business is to identify and “work” your pipeline list.  This works whichever stage of business you are in whether you are in Pre-Formulation or Momentum. (see Business Coaching Exercise #1 from January 3rd 2012)

Pull out a piece of paper, set a timer for 10 minutes and write. When you write down ideas at first just keep your pen to paper and keep writing – even if you write the same name 3 times. You are getting that part of your brain cooking without too much thought in this first round. Turn off the analyst and just say yes to each name. Then schedule another 10 minutes later today and do it again – adding names to each category. Do the same thing tomorrow. Ask a friend or colleague for more ideas.

Here are the steps:

1. Write down 5 family/friends who might know of people who could be customers

2. Write down 10 contacts (people you know outside of your family/friend circle who just might be interested in your services at some point.

3. Review your local newspaper for 3 names of people who might be in need of your services or nodes for more contacts (Chamber president, Bank manager, local florist)

4. Think outside the box, get random, and write down 2 names of people you’d love to work with or you’ve heard about but never considered it possible that they might want to work with you.

Next, (this takes some work at first but you’ll use it again and again) make a chart where you can track your pipeline on a big piece of paper, an excel spreadsheet, or a table using the following columns (modify as you need).

a. last name
b. first name
c. phone number
d. email
e. source (where did their name come from)
f. next step (e.g. send an email introducing myself)
g. status (i.e. on vacation, call after 4/15)
h. notes

Now chose 10 names from your list and put them in the table. Fill out all of the columns, paying particular attention to identifying your next step with a date when you will do it.

Now! The fun begins. (Really, it is lots more fun than wishing you were working more! )  Set aside some time. What works best for you – 10 minutes/day or 1 hour a week? Make those calls!! Send out an email and put a date when you will follow up. Think about a give-away or something you might send them that would perk their interest.

And make the calls. That’s the bottom line.

What to say? Keep it simple. Tell them who you are, what you love about your work, who you love to work with. Ask them if they are interested in learning more or who they suggest that you should talk to. Ask them for their advice. Everyone loves to be asked.

Sometimes you’ll feel like it’s tough. Sometimes you’ll be surprised at their receptivity. Sometimes their generosity will blow your mind.  It might feel like it’s hard to talk about yourself or that your confidence is getting wobbly in the midst of making those calls. Remember to use some of our tips and techniques like taking a breath before you pick up the phone (all the way in and out!) and focusing on the good – remembering other times when you are confident (as a mom? in the kitchen? on the job?).

Because I love seeing small business people succeed I’ve developed the Business Boost Seminar where you learn to place yourself and your business in the right level of business growth with just the right activities to boost you to the next level. The next one starts Thursday, 6/21.


3 Reasons to Focus on Wisdom

March 30, 2012



Open Center

  1. This is a critical time for humanity. Our collective wisdom is urgently needed and yet, it is not at the forefront of our economic  and political world or daily life
  2. Wisdom can be cultivated and developed in ourselves and in others and in organizations. Wisdom builds when we take time to understand and appreciate how we are wise.
  3. Leaders who develop an integrated wisdom improve their ability to envision and build sustainable business and a safer, more humane and just world.


As a wise woman or man, what other reasons would you add?

Karen Buckley


Learn more about how to develop your wisdom and link it to your leadership at:

Learn more about my years of creating high performance teams at

Something Extraordinary is Happening

March 30, 2012
Something extraordinary is happening. All over the world myth is bursting through. Most of us were raised in print culture wherein principles of continuity, uniformity, and repeatability were elevated over the more organic principles of discontinuity, simultaneity, and multiple associations. Now the mythic flavor of the more ancient, organic perspective returns, and chaos theory becomes lauded as the way things work. We look for flow patterns rather than for linear cause-effect explanations. Resonance has become far more important than relevance, and nothing is truly hidden anymore.
How are people experiencing the nature of this new reality–the rising of the depth currents of all times, all cultures and all experiences? Its effects are felt in the fascination with myth, the seeking of spiritual experience, the revival of the knowings of indigenous people, the rising of a world music which incorporates and sustains the knowings of many regions, styles of clothing that mix and match continents on a single body, while artists everywhere are trying to make sense of it all with art that challenges the imagination, and brings new mind and new materials to bear on radically new circumstances. Clearly, we have all become “mything” links!  Jean Houston, Facebook post

What Jean describes is the basis of wise leadership today. Organizations spend more time and resources on the interfacing dynamics in-between than they do in the linear production of results. Yet, performance reviews and bonuses are still structured on the old model.

So is my own mind.  Some days it’s tough to trust the discontinuities, the flow as more vital than the continuous repeatable results.

How are you living your own unfolding? Can you give an A-rating to the flow of your resonance rather than mainly to the form of your production?

In celebration of our wisdom,


Step Four: Express

March 27, 2012



“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.” Robert J. Sternberg, Wisdom, Intelligence, and Creativity.

Express your wisdom in the way you speak and act every day.

Place your attention on living wisely. Set your focus, vital energy and resources behind what your internal wise voice says to you. Take one step and then another each day.

What matters the most to you? Make it a priority in your time plan.

Create the conditions for your wise self to flourish – do you need more inner reflection or great conversations? More time out of doors or more “cave time” in a quiet calm room? Give yourself what you need and your wisdom will grow.

This morning, I’ll watch the sun rise, expand into the early morning bird calls, clear off my desk (!) and tell my husband that I love him. Then, I’ll put a good chunk of time into creating my upcoming webinar on Next Octave Leadership. This material is compelling to me! I really care that it gets out.

How do you support your wisdom to flourish? What will your day include?



Join me this Thursday, 4:00pm PT/7:00pm ET as I interview Beth Greer, wise woman extraordinaire, HuffPost columnist, mom, activist, dynamic speaker and author to learn about exposure to toxins in our homes and how easy and wise it is to clear the air. Sign up here

Step Three: Develop

March 26, 2012

Opening to Wisdom




If I asked you how you developed your wisdom, I might get a blank stare. Most likely you didn’t enroll in Developing Wisdom 101 in high school and few popular TV shows or movies demonstrate the path to a wise life. Or perhaps you would nod sagely as a student of wisdom quoting profound books and wise teachers.

Either way, studies show that most of us want to be wiser. Leading researchers, like Robert J. Sternberg,  worked to identify the nature of wisdom and the circumstances leading to its development and expression. Sternberg links wisdom to increased high performance, creativity, and intelligence.

To develop wisdom we must first be able to recognize behavior as being either wise or unwise. In ordinary life, we judge things people do or statements they make as wise, average, unwise, or downright foolish.

Seldom a topic of conversation in most households, it’s up to us to develop the distinctions, skills, practices and partners that extend and support our wisdom.

  1. Decide for yourself – what is wise behavior? What is unwise? In yourself and others – keep a journal – notice what you consider the defining difference.
  2. Look for wise people and invite them into conversation. Choose someone to be your wisdom partner at work and another in your personal life. Invite a partner who keenly listens and mirrors back to you the many ways you are wise. Hopefully they are open to you giving them the same gift in return.
  3. Gather a Wisdom Circle. (Mine is valuable to me! They help me remember how I am wise when I forget. We ask each other just the right questions to provoke more intelligence, broader perspectives, and insightful answers from the beautiful wise voice of our intuition.)
  4. Read a range of books, attend programs (taught by both women and men) to learn new paths to refine your access to and daily use of your wisdom.
  5. Discover daily personal and professional practices that work for you (there are many throughout this blog)  to strengthen, extend, and express your wisdom. Once you find them – do them. Sadly, the idea of the ideal does not equal results.
  6. Choose to trust your inner wisdom as complete, right, and beautiful. Ask, listen, and act. Develop your Wise Self.

Setting up your own wisdom development program would be advantageous to both physical and emotional well-being throughout your life. Discover for yourself your path and what it takes for your wisdom to flourish.

Wisdom incorporates 4 core human functions: Cognitive, Affective, Pragmatic, and Spirituality. Through self mastery into a personal maturity we can continue to develop wisdom and wise ways of acting and leading throughout our lives.

Blessings on your journey,


“Wisdom is a metacognitive style plus sagacity, knowing that one does not know everything, seeking the truth to the extent that it is knowable.” Robert J. Sternberg

Step Two – Value

March 25, 2012

My Wise Self seemed to be out to lunch. I walked my dog, hunting for a new point of view. With no idea of my angst, he was ecstatic. As he frolicked. I stewed. Irritated with the way I handled a difficult client communication, I wanted to clean up the relationship mess I’d made, but I couldn’t stop thinking how I was right and she was wrong.

My Reactive Self ruled for a few more minutes until I asked “what else is true?”

I had to admit my client was speaking from her truth. I just didn’t like it.

I asked again, “What else is true?” A new feeling rose in me, I felt afraid for her employee who suffered under her biting sarcasm.. “What else is true?” Her observation about a problem that stemmed from another team member. That part of what she said included a really useful insight.

Beginning to value her wisdom, I saw her in a different light. If wisdom is an expression of our inherent wholeness, I could let her be all of who she is – wise and unwise, insightful and challenging. Now I knew we could speak honestly and that I could share how much I care. Now I could ask her if she would like to hear a bit of my own wisdom about her style and the problems it causes.

Again, I learned that, wherever we direct our attention, that part of our awareness grows in size and weight until it becomes the biggest, most tangible, seemingly real point of view.  I had a choice to put my focus on “I was right” or on “she delivered her point in an unkind way.” The first unwise possibility led to all kinds of potentially nasty consequences. The second wiser option led to a possibility of new levels of working together.

It’s up to us to Value wisdom when we see it, feel it, and say it. Here is Step Two – highlighting a couple of ways that have been shown to work on the path to respecting and intensifying wisdom:

  1. Highlight what happens – what results from wise choices vs unwise choices? Assess: the value to you when a friend, spouse, or neighbor acts wisely. Why does it matter if they act out of a small fearful unwise reactionary self? Why does it matter when they speak from their broader clear-seeing Wise Self?
  2. Cherish the difference. Use your senses to evaluate what changes – how does it look, feel, or sound when you are wise?
  3. When you are blessed to work with a wise leader tell them how they make a different kind of difference.

Wisdom matters. invite your Wise Self to lunch. Appreciate the treasures revealed by wisdom – the nuggets of golden compassion, crystalline insight, or vast perspective and life changes. It’s available to all of us. Now.

“Wisdom is available to us all. Knowing this helps to cut through our habitual negative opinions about our selves as being somehow imperfect, or not of the same quality, capacity or potential as some great sage. We tend to feel that somehow their minds are intrinsically different, more powerful, more pure, more capable than our own.” Ajahn Amaro, Buddhist Monk

To Learn more about Step One go to:



What is possible?

If you are an entrepreneur or looking to advance your career, Business Boost 101 is a great next step.

Learn more about my consulting work at

Step One – Notice

March 24, 2012

A flowering tree opens, expands and grows with simple encouragement – water, light, mulch.  Keep it in the dark, or expect it to grow without attention and we get a weak spindly tree, bearing little fruit.

Like the tree, without mindful awareness, our wisdom languishes until it is nothing we can count on in tough times.We have an intuition of our wisdom, our inherent wholeness, yet we lose track of it. Angst, worry, insecurity follow until we forget who we really are.

When we are sick and tired of acting in unwise ways, repeating same-old foolish choices, we too often delude ourselves that someone else has the answer for us. Yet, our wisdom is already there – available to be cultivated, ready to be used.

4 simple, yet powerful, steps develop wisdom, the kind of inner knowing that gives us sensible solutions that last, intelligent choices, and a life that expresses who we truly are. Here is step 1 on the path.The Path to Wisdom

Step 1 –

  1. Notice when you are wise or when those around you are wise.
    1. Name it. Appreciating wisdom adds life to any conversation. Speak up and acknowledge wisdom to see someone else smile. We all love to be seen in our best self.
    2. Highlight wise choices in performance reviews or team meetings. Applaud your kids for the times when they are wise.
    3. Distinguish wisdom as an essential part of effective leadership. Point to unwise and wise decisions. Ask what makes the difference.

Many years ago, I had the honor of helping a partnership through a tough time. They were ready to split and lose over a decade of hard work building a successful insurance company. Why? They spent 99.99% of their time noticing when they and their partner were not wise, not OK, under par, inadequate. They made up stories in their minds about how and why their partner was a threat, taking what was rightfully theirs or diminishing them in public.

Asking them to highlight wisdom was like pulling teeth. It took months. Yet, once they got on a roll they both began to thrive. The previously withdrawn partner became expressive. She deeply cared!. The explosive partner recognized how essential her fire was to move the company in innovative directions.

We can choose to change the conversation in our lives! Notice when we are wise. Point to all the ways those around us are wise. It’s a much more satisfying way to live.

Step 2 tomorrow.



Next Thursday, 8/29, at 4:00 PDT, I’ll interview another remarkable woman. Beth Greer is fascinating! I’ve learned so much from her about how we can significantly improve our health – one room at a time. I hope you’ll join us. Sign up to receive the call in number or to receive the recording.

What Works in the Crap of Life?

March 19, 2012

I want to know how you access your wisdom even when the crap of life comes raining down, before the highly contentious meeting at 3:00pm today, after your colleague just dissed you in front of your boss, when your friend didn’t include you in the invitation list. What works then?

Grinding anger doesn’t promote wisdom, nor does fear. Denying hurt or other feelings doesn’t either. Neither does self righteousness or victimhood. Yet, each of these can catalyze an opening , a reminder to dig deeper for wisdom. Use the fire to ferret out the wisdom that lies below.

Isn’t wisdom caring?  Yes, but, pleasing others, acting nice in intolerable situations, and being non-threatening don’t cut it either in bringing wisdom to the fore. So what does?

Presence. We can all tap into the same multidimensional wisdom, the wisdom of our body, the wisdom of our mind, the wisdom of intuition, the wisdom of our senses when we are present, in this moment, in the here and now.

Wisdom is not something we can grasp and hold onto. It is pure Knowing, seeing things exactly as they are. It’s not a memory of something or our hope about what it might be. It is what is so and how it is so – right now. In this moment. Changing in the next moment. What is. Now.

Before speaking in the contentious meeting Martha clasps her hands together under the table to give herself a reminder to breathe into her WiseCore. Susan recalls unwise decisions in the past and visualizes expanding her feminine wisdom to include more possibilities than her momentary reaction can generate. Jeremy finds a clear quiet well inside and lets a new solution arise.

What works when you are ready to do or say something that might ultimately be unwise? What stops your flash of reaction and expands your possibilities of responses? What shifts your hurt? How do you become a wise leader, every day, even when the crap of life comes raining down?

I’ve developed 4 Steps that I use every day to strengthen my wisdom so it’s available in (almost) every situation. Over the next week I’ll tell you what works for me, when I lose it and what I do to re-find it, and how I’ve seen these applied. Love to know what works for you as well.

Celebrating your wisdom,