Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The Human Imagination

Written by: on October 25, 2013

During my seminary years I worked as a trauma MRI tech at a University Hospital here in the States.  On one of my first days at work, my mentor which was assigned to me shared with me that one of the greatest assets in saving patients lives was our human imagination.  She was so right!  Over the next four years I found myself in repeated situations where creativity, intuition and thinking outside the box led to lives being saved.  Those around our trauma team would often validate the importance of the creative abilities of each team member and the need to stay fresh.  We were often reminded to get consistent breaks outside the unit, vary our roles on the team and make sure that we never worked more than a few days straight.  Our team leader was religious about it, always saying that if we didn’t mix things up, learn how to laugh, set small goals and just simply enjoy life, we wouldn’t have the imagination or pep we needed when the time came.  She we would often say, “You need a pep talk!”  In fact, this video by Kid President reminds me a great deal of her crazy pep talks.  Watch and enjoy!

This past week while reading “The Leadership Mystique: Leading Behavior in The Human Enterprise”, I was struck by the concept of anhedonia.  Anhedonia is defined as the inability to experience pleasure.  Many in job situations where work is tedious and non intermittent can experience a quasi-anhedonia.  This quasi-anhedonia is a milder form but when displayed by a team member or leader can have devastating effects on the organization.  Though linked to stage one of burnout characteristics, quasi-anhedonia is quickly treatable through minor work place alterations.  The following are three work place changes which emerged.

Caring for Dead Leaders Running

A Sense of Flow…  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says it this way, “We need to rediscover a sense of “flow”, a feeling comprised of exhilaration, concentration, and such total involvement in what we’re doing that we lose all sense of time.”  You know what he’s talking about.  Working in a way that you enjoy and are partakers in life.  We work hard, but we also laugh, dream, rest…  and then we work hard again.  And before we know it, the day is done!

Needing a Challenge… Challenge is absolutely essential because it forces all of us to learn.  If we work predominantly without challenge, merely managing our day, our senses become blurred.  Built into every human being is the hunger to create, explore and move beyond the mundane.  Organizations that help their employees through creating opportunities, fuel the souls of their workers.  The natural outflow then becomes a healthier worker, work environment and organization.

Needing Small Milestones…  We all need milestones.  Have you ever been on a long distance road trip and have lived and died by the green mile markers along the highway?  They give hope.  Without small accomplishments along any journey or even a work day, our work can become monotonous.   Within our flow we must set small goals, and once accomplishing those goals celebrate the win.  If we simply get locked into nonstop work, never celebrating, never pausing to taste what is good, we are in grave danger of dulling our senses and losing our human imagination.


Be careful you’re not becoming a dead leader running.  Ask yourself the question, “What can I do to regain a sense of excitement in my work?  How can I re-invent myself?  If human imagination is the most meaningful asset I have to offer an organization, how can I unleash my specific gifting within this imagination?”  Make sure if you need a pep talk, watch Kid President, and learn to dance!

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Richard Rhoads

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