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Challenge brings more joy than comfort

Challenge brings more joy than comfort

Jan 2015

In the middle of a hectic day at work with people coming to me with multiple issues I find I just want to take the easy path, have less conflict, receive less complaints and have people just get on with it! I am reminded in this moment of a similar week on our trip.

We woke to a beautiful day camped alongside a small river and 10 foot salt water was sunning itself on the bank. Should my four small children and I take pictures from the safety of the caravan or get as close as we can to see our first wild croc?

Week 4 of the trip finds us in tropical North Queensland enjoying the great country hospitality of Ingham, staying at a cattle station just outside the town. A visit to Wallaman Falls (the highest drop falls in Australia at 268m) gave us another opportunity to choose to take a challenge. The view from the top was impressive but the kids have been loving family challenges and were all keen to tackle the 4 km walk to the bottom and back. It was a surprisingly steep, rocky walk and they did great (our youngest did get carried most of the way). My wife held off on the bribe of ice cream for dessert till 500m from the end when my son said his legs wouldn’t work. Not surprisingly he got a spurt of energy.

Next day we headed to the local beach where the challenge for the day was climbing a coconut tree (a small one) chasing our wild coconut. After 20 minutes and multiple falls out of the tree we all cheered as we passed around our coconut. The result has been that at every coconut tree now the kids automatically find random items and start throwing them at the tree or try to scale it to get another coconut. We hope it is the love of the challenge and not that we don’t feed them enough.

The last two days have been in the Mission Beach area. We love it here; the kids have swum a couple of times a day. There are great views of the Islands (Dunk Island is 4km off the beach) and the rainforest really does meet the beach here. We spent the afternoon alone in a coconut tree lined cove and playing on a rope swing over a small creek that wound its way straight into the blue bay. The kids are thriving on anything that stretches them a bit physically and again our youngest gets in with the older ones well.

After a month of travelling we have found we are moving from seeking to find rest and comfort and have really enjoyed setting and achieving small and large challenges. We are all learning that we are made to meet and conquer challenges; there is greater joy in succeeding in a challenge than in achieving comfort.

Back at work I realise I need to keep leading myself and my team to face challenges and obstacles rather than seeking the easy path. The potential rewards are improved processes, service quality, productivity, relationship (hopefully) and a greater sense of joy in overcoming rather than settling for being comfortable.

If you would like assistance in getting clarity is the midst of adversity, strategic leadership to set achievable challenges or coaching to succeeding in overcoming obstacles for yourself and your team contact Joseph Consulting.


Rod Ellem


Rod Ellem is an Associate Director Physiotherapy with Queensland Health. Recently Rod spent 6 months traveling around Australia with his young family (wife and 4 kids), leaving the pressures of Clinical and Leadership roles behind. This opportunity has given him a chance to think clearly without all the ‘noise’ of life. Each week of the trip he distilled his experience into one lesson that form the basis of these blogs. These lessons and insights can be applied to all areas of business/career/family.


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