The Courage Way

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The Courage Way

Leading and Living with Integrity

The Center for Courage & Renewal, Shelly L. Francis, Natalie Hoyt


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The Courage Way

Leadership demands courage. You have to make good decisions while balancing inevitable tensions and knowing when to take risks. You need to keep your values in sight regardless of the pressures around you. At its core, leadership is a daily, ongoing practice, a journey toward becoming your best self and inviting others to do the same.

And that's where
The Courage Way comes in. It's a guide to leadership that shows how to access and draw upon courage in all that you do. It has its roots in the work of Parker J. Palmer, who in fifty years of teaching, speaking, and writing has explored the human spirit—what he has called “the inner landscape”—and its role in life and leadership.

Shelly Francis identifies key ingredients needed to cultivate courage, the most fundamental being trust—in ourselves and in each other. She describes how to build trust through the Center for Courage & Renewal's Circle of Trust approach, centered around eleven “touchstones,” poetic and practical operating guidelines for holding the meaningful conversations vital to trust building. Each chapter features true stories of how leaders have overcome challenges and strengthened their organizations through touchstones such as “Extend invitation, not demand”; “No fixing, saving, advising, or correcting”; and “When the going gets rough, turn to wonder.”

This graceful and inspiring book is a guide to courageous leadership and a journey of self-discovery. As Francis writes, “Courage is not only
in you—it is you. In your moments of courage, that's when you meet your true self.”


The Center for Courage & Renewal:
The Center for Courage & Renewal, a nonprofit founded in 1997 by Parker J. Palmer, aims to create a more just, compassionate, and healthy world by nurturing personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it. It has a network of nearly 300 facilitators worldwide. More than 5,000 people participate in Courage & Renewal programs and retreats each year.

Shelly L. Francis has been the marketing and communications director at the Center for Courage & Renewal since mid-2012. The common thread throughout her career has been bringing to light “best-kept secrets”—technology, services, resources, ideas—while bringing people together to facilitate collective impact and good work.