This week I had to say goodbye to a great job and a great team because my work contract has come to an end. What an amazing opportunity to work in the Knowledge Exchange (KE) Unit at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). I knew coming into the position that it would only be a temporary one, but I took the contract anyway, and the chance I was offered was a further step in a new career path to leave another behind – and I’m so very glad I took the chance. It’s said that if you can find a job you enjoy, it no longer feels like work. I say if you can find a team you enjoy, your colleagues no longer feel like colleagues and more like friends, and then your job no longer feels like work – no matter what that job may be.
After a few hugs, handshakes, a farewell lunch and some very touching greeting cards and emails (along with a potted plant – thanks Stephanie!) expressing how much my contribution and talents were appreciated as part of the KE team, and how much I would be missed, I was very moved and sad to be moving along. But I know our paths will cross again given our common interests in knowledge mobilization. And I know that I will have opportunities to stay in touch.
There are many people in the world who are much more comfortable preaching than they are practicing. There are many people in the world who are much more willing to complain than they are to take action. There are many people who don’t take chances to make change in life but constantly talk about making a difference – yet never do. There are many people who never share their knowledge because they’re too afraid or feel too “stupid” to do so.
We don’t have to be like that. Knowledge mobilization is about listening to a diversity of knowledge voices, taking action and making change.
As long as we’re aware of the need to maintain consistency between our words and our actions, between sharing our knowledge and being open to the knowledge of others, we have a very good chance of making our life – and that of everyone on this planet – something we want it to be. Our values, our beliefs, and our desire to sincerely share our knowledge to help our fellow human beings as best we can is what makes a difference. I believe when we are open to sharing knowledge and listening to a diversity of voices to connect our knowledge and create new knowledge for social benefit, we begin to make the world a better place – in whatever space we live or work in.
When we practice without preaching to others, when we share our knowledge with sincerity to make a difference, and truly give others a chance to do the same, people can sense our authenticity. They know that we’re being ourselves and not expecting them or ourselves to live up to some artificial expectations of “intelligence” or knowledge that we’ve created and built up, and they can relax around us, be comfortable with us, work well with us, learn from us – and we can learn from them. When we move our own lives and actions to a higher level in whatever job we have, when we are open to sharing knowledge no matter how “limited” we may think it is – then we don’t even need to preach to others – our very lives will be all the message that we want or need to send to others as moments of shared knowledge.
Our lives become what we make of them. They don’t just happen. We do have a choice.
Our knowledge is what we make of it. Knowledge needs to be shared. We all can make a difference.
I have to admit that my CAMH job got off to a bit of a rocky start and there were some embarrassing mistakes that were made. I admit that I had fears, frustrations, and my critical side saw fault in others. But I had a choice to move forward, learn from the mistakes – or continue to blame by negating, cutting down or criticizing. I chose to move forward and learn from the mistakes – and recognize the same in others, creating greater team building along the way because of this choice.
Fundamentally, that’s what knowledge mobilization is all about. Knowledge is always moving forward to learn from mistakes, continue to create knowledge exchange and not barriers, to collaborate as a team to seek the best evidence to improve and make our jobs, our work teams, our lives, our world a better place.
Thanks again for giving me that chance as part of the knowledge exchange team at CAMH. I am very grateful.