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The Courage & Renewal Academy for Leaders


Patricia Thompson

on 11 March 2014

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Transcript of The Courage & Renewal Academy for Leaders

The Courage & Renewal
Academy for Leaders
Leaving Home
On Retreat
In the Circle
At the Table
Returning Home
We live, by and large, in a culture that
divorces contemplation from action …
Those who spring into action rarely find time
for contemplation, for standing still –
except on vacation when
they collapse from overwork.
Are you ready to stand still?
Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, and Michael Quinn Patten
Getting to Maybe: How the World is Changed
Three kinds of management experience
are known to be effective in developing leadership:
challenging assignments, significant bosses and hardships.
David Hurst
Crisis & Renewal: Meeting the Challenge of Organizational Change
The word professional originally meant someone who makes a ‘profession of faith’ in the midst of a disheartening world.
The notion of a new professional revives the root meaning of the word. This person can say:

“In the midst of the powerful force-field of institutional life,
where so much conspires to compromise the core values of my work,
I have found firm ground on which to stand
—the ground of personal and professional identity and integrity—
and from which I can call myself, my colleagues, and my profession
back to our true mission.”
Parker Palmer
A New Professional: The Aims of Education Revisited
Is it time to reflect on and learn
from your own experience?

Are you seeking firmer ground
upon which to stand as a leader in your field?
"The Academy is unique with a focus on renewal and the courage to build matters of the heart into the workplace.
A great process of self-reflection enabling us to strengthen
our cores, a process that is essential for good leadership.
A great place for solitude in community."
“A gentle yet deep exploration of personal and professional issues in a supportive, generous and fun community of leaders.”
“The rare safe space where, given time, one's inner wisdom can emerge, gain courage, and stake out old and new territory upon which to stand. The opportunity to see how common and similar the vulnerabilities of the human spirit are despite how skilled we have become at hiding those vulnerabilities - especially with our work and professional identities.”
“There is no step by step guide.
We are encouraged to listen to our inner teacher
while garnering the collective wisdom and experiences of those around us in fostering the courage to be the leaders we are.”
"The timing of the Academy coincided with a time where I had assumed the form of a comet. I was sailing way too fast and at risk of burning out. I entered with the awareness and goal of recreating balance and sustainable practice to my world. The Academy has offered the forum for me to plant my feet back on the ground, for the world and me to stop spinning.”
Founded in 1997 by Parker J. Palmer, the Center for Courage & Renewal offers personal and professional retreats and programs designed to explore vocational and life questions, offer renewal and encouragement, and deepen engagement in professional practice.
The Center is an educational non-profit and serves as the national office for a collaboration of 200 skilled facilitators who lead
Courage & Renewal programs in 30 states, Canada and Australia.
These programs have directly touched the lives of
more than 50,000 people.

The Center for Courage & Renewal admits participants of any race, color, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities and does not discriminate in administration of its programs, admissions policies, scholarships and/or financial assistance.
For individuals from diverse professions, fields and sectors who are ready to take the Courage & Renewal approach deeper into their lives and work.
We leave home and its familiar routines to explore what Parker Palmer calls the "tragic gap" -- the space between our reality and our vision for ourselves, our work and our world, the space between
what is and what could or should be.
The program features two, four-day retreats in a quiet, comfortable and beautiful natural setting. Up to 25 leaders come together from different professions, fields and sectors to create a unique learning community known as a Circle of Trust.
The Academy's Circle of Trust is created and held by a welcoming, highly skilled team of facilitators. They use evocative questions, silence, personal stories, and insights from poets, storytellers and various wisdom traditions to facilitate reflection. They convene conversations that turn participants inward for greater self-awareness before turning them outward
to engage questions about their leadership in the world.
Together, we listen deeply for the rhythms of the seasons and for the voice of our inner teacher.
The conversation continues in a more informal and relaxed way over meals and breaks -- indoors and outdoors.
Between the first and second retreats,
we form a Peer Learning Circle of five people.
This smaller circle meets for two hours via teleconference once a month for support in bringing new leadership practices
into our lives and workplaces.
A stronger sense of purpose and integrity

An expanded capacity to be fully present to others
in ways that affirm and heal

Increased skill in asking the honest, open questions that
help others uncover their own inner wisdom

Greater confidence to seek or create communities of support

Increased understanding, appreciation and respect for human differences, based in deeper awareness of the
identity and integrity of ourselves and others
Bonnie Campbell,
a nonprofit leader from Santa Barbara CA,
talks about the Academy's learning community
Parker Palmer on the Tragic Gap
Rob Meyer, a physican from Cambridge MA,
on the kind of conversation that happens in the Academy's Circle of Trust
Here's what the 2012 Academy alumni said ...
First, we all have an inner teacher whose guidance is more reliable than anything we can get from a doctrine, ideology, collective belief system, institution, or leader. Second, we all need other people to invite, amplify, and help us discern the inner teacher's voice
for at least three reasons:

The journey toward inner truth is too taxing to be made solo: lacking support, the solitary traveler soon becomes weary or fearful and is likely to quit the road.

The path is too deeply hidden to be traveled without company: finding our way involves clues that are subtle and sometimes misleading, requiring the kind of discernment
that can happen only in dialogue.

The destination is too daunting to be achieved alone: we need community to find the courage to venture into the alien lands to which the inner teacher may call us.
In the Academy, our experiences are turned into meaningful knowledge for action. Life is examined. We look to each other for big questions not easy answers.
This program is for leaders who seek what Aristotle called phronesis or practical wisdom.
The Academy grew out of work on the identity and integrity of educators and other professional groups over two decades. Every part of the program is voluntary and guided by a set of boundary markers to create a safe and trustworthy space
for inner work. It is based on six foundations.
I did not know I was on a search for passionate aliveness. I only knew I was lonely and lost and that something was drawing me deeper beneath the surface of my life
in search of meaning. There is a hunger in people to go to those deep depths; to know that our lives are sacred; that our hearts are truly capable of love.
It is a yearning to be all we can be.
A longing for what is real.

Anne Hillman
There is a place for you in the circle and for all you can be.
For registration information, go to http://www.CourageRenewal.org/leadership
No classrooms. No lectures. No flip charts. No grades.
We learn from leaving home, being on retreat, in a circle and at the table, and returning home again.
You can find more information about the
Courage & Renewal approach at
The Courage & Renewal Academy for Leaders
Why do we convene this kind of circle and conversation for leaders?
After the second retreat, we return home with greater capacity to hold the tensions within and around us having learned
how to stand firm in the tragic gap.
What do participants say they took away from their Academy experience?
Greater capacity to build the relational trust that
helps institutions pursue their missions

More courage to live and lead authentically

Renewed passion for their work or vocation

A deeper commitment to leadership and service to others
Parker Palmer
A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life
The Center for Courage & Renewal
1. Clarifying purpose and integrity through an ongoing inner journey
2. Applying deep listening and honest, open questions
3. Holding paradox and tensions in the face of complexity and uncertainty
4. Building trustworthy relationships in communities and organizations
5. Appreciating the value of “otherness”
6. Growth through seasons/cycles of personal,
professional and organizational change

The Courage & Renewal Academy for Leaders
Six Foundations

For more information, go to:
Full transcript