The textbooks discussed that each of us have three companions including: 1.) what you own; 2.) your good friends; and 3.) what you do, your work. How can you as a leader ensure that you balance the three companions in your life. Consider your role in your organization and discuss specific examples.

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Before answering this question, I'm going to suggest that it is meant to be personal, therefore I urge you to think about it for yourself and reflect your own experience in your answer. Likely, your instructor will not only be looking for this but is expecting you to think about how it specifically applies to you.

I have personally been in several leadership positions in my life, as a counselor, a teacher, and now a mother. Because I am currently staying home with my children, I will discuss the balance of the above companions in that role. For me, balancing what I own with my good friends and with my work (which we'll say is my children and my household) starts by setting my priorities. Because my work happens to be my family, I currently consider this companion of highest priority. My good friends come in second, and what I own is third.

A second step in balancing my companions is based on my priorities. As a leader, I can now make decisions with the consideration of how each of the above will be affected. Balance, in this case, does not necessarily mean that each companion will be treated equally in terms of time and focus. I fully understand the monetary sacrifice of choosing to stay at home rather than earn money in a career, therefore, I often sacrifice my third companion. I might not drive the best car nor wear a new pair of shoes each season. Likewise, I understand that because my work is my highest priority, I am going to have to put forth more effort to spend quality time with my good friends, and arrange my schedule accordingly.

That said, a third step in balancing my companions is the understanding that my priorities can and will change. Certainly there are seasons in every job, where one of the above requires more time and energy than the others. Understanding this fluctuation in my personal situation allows me to continue to keep my job as the highest priority now, knowing that one day this will allow me to make "what I own" a higher priority. Also, as I currently invest more time in my children while they are young, I am hoping to create in them a sense of independence that later affords me more time for "my good friends."

As you answer this question for yourself, I encourage you to apply similar steps. How would you rank your companions in order of priority? How does this order affect your leadership decisions? And finally, knowing that your priorities will change, what is your outlook on the future? Remember that effective leaders do not only consider the immediate consequences of an action, but the long term consequences as well. Understanding the balance of your companions must therefore be looked at through a short-term and long-term perspective.

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