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Finding Balance

January 3, 2013

I think there is a song with the lyrics, “Have you ever loved somebody too much?” and I feel like that I have been living some version of this truth in regards to my role as an undergraduate instructor in the leadership minor.  While this role is part of my assistantship as a doctoral student, I am not sure I’ve ever invested as much as I have into a professional endeavor before my time in the leadership minor.  On the positive side… I am 100% confident in my career path to become an academic, on the less than positive side, I have become increasingly aware of how much I willing to sacrifice work-life-balance for something I love.

Work-life-balance is also very hard to strive towards when you receive positive affirmation for not being balanced.  Specifically, this past fall, I had the opportunity to coach a team of undergraduates in a case competition at the International Leadership Association Conference.

After winning the ILA Case Competition

After winning the ILA Case Competition

This conference is the premier professional gathering for the leadership field and winning this competition reinforced that putting 120 hours of preparation in two weeks was well worth it – not so much because of the win – but rather, because of the impact it has had on our leadership minor students’ lives.  One student has said that it was the most influential experience of their college career and another student has decided that they want to pursue a graduate degree in leadership.

As the Social Innovation Challenge draws near at USD, I am finding this same energy is required to coach our undergraduate teams.  I am also holding the same expectation that the level of work required and process of collaboration needed, will foster a similar influential experience for our students.  I am feeling a huge sense of responsibility and recognizing how much of what I am learning about leadership in my program is needed in my role as an instructor.  It requires understanding vision, motivating others throughout the process, challenging ideas, and attending to the needs of both yourself and others.  It is not enough to teach leadership, you have to live it and within leadership there is love.  This has left me considering the following thought:  So while love can leave us blind, how do we lead from love and with love without being blind and losing oneself in it?

To learn more about the Department of Leadership Studies’ Leadership Minor, follow the link>>

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