Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Courage Way - Leading and Living with Integrity by Shelly L. Francis

Becoming a leader is like parenting. Sometimes it’s a surprise, other times it seems like you’ve been waiting for the opportunity forever. You are thrust into a whole new world, and there isn’t a day that goes by that you don’t wonder if you are “doing it right” or being an active parent. You look inside and out to learn how to be the best that you can while influencing your child.

Leadership leaves many of us feeling inadequate and looking over our shoulder wondering if we are “doing it the right way”. I’ve worked with servant leaders who lead from within with grace and humbleness and “leaders” who think yelling and threatening is leadership because people quickly respond and fall in line.

Ultimately what drives authentic leadership is courage. Courage will compel you to look deep inside yourself to bring out your best with integrity and it will drive you to impact those around you. Courage is more than just stepping up. It means living your life becoming “your best self and inviting others to do the same”. Need some courage? Shelly L. Francis’s new book The Courage Way – Leading and Living with Integrity will take you on an incredible journey.

Shelly Francis works at the non-profit Center for Courage & Renewal. The center has over 300 facilitators worldwide who aim to create “a more just, compassionate, and healthy world by nurturing personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it”. Shelly walks us down the path of showing us the courage way and forcing us to look deep inside to understand the work of being a leader and bringing out the courage to live the leadership ways. We need to ask ourselves “what would you do with more courage?” and act on it.

There are five key ingredients of the Courage Way:
  1. True self
  2. Trust
  3. Community
  4. Paradox
  5. Reflection

These elements enable us to become what we can be. Courage isn’t a singular “thing”. It can take many forms such as courage to answer your calling, the courage to choose wisely, the courage to stay or leave, or the courage to care for true self. Some courage is more natural for us to summon while others may be daunting. There is more to courage than just the discovery process. In order to flourish, we need to live in a Circle of Trust. What’s that? It’s a process to create and grow a safe space for both individuals and groups so that they can trust one another to develop growth, restoration, team building, and reconnect. Within this circle there are 11 touchstones.

Ultimately, Shelly emphasizes the need to take care of ourselves and regularly reflect. To be an active leader you need to trust in yourself and others. You need various forms of courage to develop people, build trust, and form a healthy community. With courage comes authentic and natural leadership that grows over time and only brings out more courage to step out of your comfort zone.

The Courage Way shares real-life stories of professionals who have made changes in their leadership because they have found inner courage and it has impacted both their lives and those around them. The Courage Way is a unique leadership book that will remove you from your comfort zone and force you to look at yourself with a fresh perspective that may bring out courage that you never realized you possessed. The question is, do you have the courage to look at leadership from a different angle and start living a life of integrity and authenticity?

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