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Obedience: the unsexy partner of Knowledge

Obedience: the unsexy partner of Knowledge

Dec 2015

Over the last year my blogs have been based on our family’s 6 month trip around Australia and the lessons learnt from that time. I have tried to translate knowledge into action to sustain the learnings gained. The implementation of this knowledge has been sporadic. However, even this application has provided success within my work and family, but perhaps not to its fullest. Can I do better?

We are the information generation, the most strategic, data and evidence driven society to date. Does this mean we will be the most successful? Is there a key to translating all this knowledge into measurable and enjoyable wins?

Can I suggest a forgotten word from our childhood holds the answer to this issue of implementation - OBEDIENCE? Just saying this word may bring back emotions such as guilt, shame, frustration, inferiority and boredom. Often the term is used with our kids when we want them to conform, to do what we want, to be quiet and ‘tow the line’. It does not seem to fit in a world of innovation, freedom, flexibility and responsiveness. Is obedience relevant for doing life today?

Obedience is defined as; ‘the act or practice of obeying: dutifully’. It is often linked with following an order from an authority.

Compare this to knowledge; ‘facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject’ or even wisdom; ‘the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting: insight’. Both knowledge and wisdom are highly valued in our society. I have found myself almost addicted to reading the next blog, listening to the next podcast, researching the next question.

But, do I put into action what I have learnt or discussed with someone smarter than me? The four blogs I have written encouraged us to; use stories more, put time into what is truly valuable, look for challenges and appreciate variety in situations and people. I can honestly say when I have been obedient to myself and implemented these lessons I have seen success. Measured by; a positive response to a presentation, a memorable interaction with my child, great feedback from an employee on my leadership. But, I have not been obedient to myself at all times - I still find myself seeking comfort rather than seeking those challenges, and so have not seen as much success as I could have.

As I sign off this year and consider the lessons I have learnt from our trip. I reflect on the fact that the reason we did this trip was not because of my research on the benefits of it, or my wisdom knowing it was the right path, but rather being obedient to undertake an action that I had promised myself and my family we would do.

A key to being obedient to myself was having Joseph Consulting provide me with mentoring to implement the knowledge I had. Call or go for a coffee with one of the Joseph Consulting team and let them assist you in finding success as you implement the wisdom and knowledge you have.


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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