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Different is good - really!

Different is good - really!

Aug 2015

This week as I have tried to negotiate the minefield of coaching people through conflict, I have been amazed at how differently people can see and respond to seemingly the same set of circumstances.

Why can’t we all just live harmoniously? Really, most of us have the same intentions. People don’t get up thinking they want to make life difficult for everyone else?

How do we handle this constant barrage of differing views, opinions, theories, perspectives, filters, frameworks and actually move forward in our work, relationships, families, and sporting teams?

I am reminded of a week on our trip where the contrasts in nature and life were more apparent than usual but somehow came together to create something uniquely beautiful.

Week 12 of our trip found us right in the centre of Australia. Being from the lush green pastures of Northern NSW and always living by the ocean my wife and I actually did not have huge expectations or desire to spend much time in the ‘Red Centre’. We figured we would make the most of having to get from the top to the bottom of the continent by ticking off a few icons that our country is known for.

Alice Springs brought the first of many contrasts. Coming out of the harsh and desolate desert a great range rises up seeming to block any forward progress, however a break in the mountains marks the gap in which a whole town has been created with an amazing mix of normal suburban streets, a cosmopolitan mall, indigenous artwork and industrial architecture side-by-side.

To the east and west of Alice Springs stretch the MacDonald Ranges. Travelling along these stark pinnacles of earth rising out of the flats you can almost imagine them being forced up as the earth’s plates come together. At regular points along their path a break in the range holds a small jewel of permanent water as the water table breaks through and people escape the heat (that can kill in a few hours) to soak in the water (that can cause hyperthermia). And attracted to these oases within a landscape seemly foreign to the existence of life is a concentration of animals, large and small, bush flowers and bush tucker that has supported the longest surviving culture on this planet.

Within a short day’s drive from Alice Springs are the monoliths of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and King’s Canyon and again the contrasts of sandy plains to the largest rock on earth, colours that change seemly by the minute, fly blown isolation and the absolute luxury of resorts is extreme.

And we loved every minute. At no time were we bored, each new walk or drive brought something new. Each interaction with people had a big story, a big character and a big lesson. The contrasts and diversity make the ‘outback’ uniquely diverse and absolutely beautiful and probably more so because we are not part of it.

Coming back to life now it helps to look from the outside at my relationships with wife and kids, the conflicts I am assisting with resolving and the people I am coaching. I can see the value of different learning styles and personalities, the contrasts of viewpoints and actions, and the beauty and uniqueness that is each life living in a world of diversity.

The Consultants at Joseph Consultant really enjoy working with people, workplaces and organisations to find clarity, value and direction within the diversity of life. Give them a call or email.


Rod Ellem


Rod Ellem is an Associate Director Physiotherapy with Queensland Health. Recently Rod spent 6 months of 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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