DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

I Hope You Dance…I mean really dance!

Written by: on September 13, 2018

“Your future is determined by how you dance in the present”.[1]

It took me awhile to find the perfect dancing photo.  But I did!  This dancer is relaxed, swinging her hair, following the rhythm of the music without displaying perfect form and presentation.  In my mind she is having a blast. She’s taking a risk, and she’s not concerned with perfection.  She’s enjoying the moment.  This, too, is how I identify myself as a dancer.  Maybe I identify with her because I’m not skilled?  Or because I don’t care about every move and every arm extension?

When it comes to innovation, I’m not creative or artistic in the crafty kind of way (I don’t even have a Pinterest account), but I am a DREAMER and I love to imagine and design “systems”.  Metaphorically and visually, I connect types of dancers (personalities) to Tina Seelig’s narratives on creativity and innovation.

Have you ever considered the depth of imagination, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship (Seelig’s steps) required by a refugee?  Sheer courage is displayed from the tenacity to survive an oppressive environment to the capacity to make the escape.  Once displaced, survival requires imagination, creativity and innovation in the long-term refugee camp.  There are no guarantees…from the ability to communicate in a known language, to employment and income, to a private shelter for your family, to a resettlement country of choice. NO GUARANTEES.  Have you ever had to step out in that much faith?

I’m intrigued by a fairly new humanitarian initiative called bottom up innovation.  “We call this type of innovation, driven by affected communities themselves, ‘bottom-up innovation’, and we identify it as a critical but overlooked component of a broader phenomenon called ‘humanitarian innovation’.”  Refugee stakeholders are motivated to improve organizational efforts and responses to provide services.  However, stakeholders are notorious for getting so caught up in program development that they fail to recognize the talents and gifts of the displaced refugee. “This oversight disregards the capabilities and adaptive resourcefulness that people and communities affected by conflict and disaster often demonstrate.”[2]  According to the report Refugee Innovation Humanitarian – innovation that starts with communities, there are key elements to a “positive enabling environment” for bottom-up innovation which include a) a permissive environment with the right to work and freedom of movement; b) access to connectivity including the internet and telecommunications; c) access to education and skills training; d) good infrastructure and transportation links; e) access to banking and credit facilities; f) transnational networks.  Rather than focusing on providing a crisis response environment to refugees, we should consider providing a better enabling environment.  How would this look?  I’m not sure, but I have lots of thoughts spinning in my head (back to being that DREAMER).  I embrace the idea and plan to integrate this concept into my refugee resilience artifact.

So, back to dancing.  What’s your personal style (check out the descriptions below)?  Are you the poised, perfectionist dancer, or do you cut lose on the dance floor?  And how does your dancing style directly correlate to your ability to be a successful entrepreneur?  “It is important to keep in mind that your attitudes are impotent unless you develop behaviors that bring those thoughts to fruition; and your actions are doomed to fail unless they are paired with the proper mind-set.”[3]

I leave you with this thought…I hope you dance, I mean REALLY DANCE.

 Drivers, in all areas of life, are people who need to win. Results are vital to them. For some drivers, results can be all that matters. As a rule, they make good dancers because they are so assertive. They are  often driven to compete and work hard to improve their skill, often achieving great results in a short time. Surprisingly, they can ten lack expressiveness on the floor, even though their movement is usually strong and  dynamic.[4]







Expressive dancers are the most fun to watch on the dance floor . They a re outgoing and passionate about dancing. Like Drivers, they are assertive on the dance floor. They smile and have fun. Often they show immediate ability as dancers due to these qualities. Their joy of dance is infectious.[5]




Analytics can be great students. They listen intently and pay attention to every detail in their lessons. But the very things that make them great students get in the way of great dancing. They have a tendency to focus so much on all the minute details that they don’t let go and just dance. Every move is calculated. Every step they take goes through numerous mental filters and in this process, the dance itself can be lost. They may have a challenge expressing themselves because they are so busy thinking about the details.[6]




Amiables tend to be more people-oriented than task-oriented and care deeply about being appreciated. They may be quite artistic and can show incredible natural ability on the dance floor. They are cautious, taking time to build trust in their partners, but once that trust is there they can be  terrific dancers. They are technical, but only to a point. They will often make great strides in dance, but at later stages getting the fine details right in order to excel can be a challenge because it interferes with the personal connection side of dance.[7]






[1]        Seelig, Tina Lynn. Insight Out: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and into the World.


[3]       Seelig, Tina Lynn. Insight Out: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and into the World. 2015., pg185





About the Author


Jean Ollis

10 responses to “I Hope You Dance…I mean really dance!”

  1. Dave Watermulder says:

    I always look forward to reading your posts, because you bring things to “the real” every time. A really interesting perspective about tying refugee resettlement and the skills necessary to do it successfully with Seelig’s writing. I think it’s totally true for first generation refugees, and maybe even more so for their children. Sometimes, it seems like coming out of a crisis moment, someone can only be in “survival mode”, but the crazy things that people experience and come through on their way to a new life really do set them up for a future flourishing. It seems that often the “flourishing” really happens for future generations, more so than themselves. And that’s part of the amazing risk they take and gift they give. Thanks for this idea.

    • mm Jean Ollis says:

      Hi Dave! Thanks for your feedback – I do think we underestimate the power of resilience and challenges to build tenacity. I’m hoping my research also proves this to be true! See you soon!

  2. mm Kyle Chalko says:

    fun post. reminded me of when Anna and I took ball-room at community college together

  3. Awesome creative post Jean! I love the dancing metaphors and I really like the bottom-up innovation you presented and I think it will be excellent for your artifact with refugees. When it comes to dancers, I’m thinking I’m a cross between an Expressive and an Analytic. When it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship, I think my over-analyzing gets me stuck. Curious which dancer you are?

    • mm Jean Ollis says:

      Hi Jake! I aim to be an expressive but probably fall between several – especially amiable. Do you think the bottom up idea is relevant in our practice? And if so, do we tap into it enough with clients?

  4. mm Jay Forseth says:

    Hi Jean,

    You nailed the dancer picture! And I love it how you are connecting your Blog this week to your dissertation topic.

    You asked, so I think my personal dancing style is none of the above, but closest to “drivers”. Not because I went to two Nazarene colleges and they used to be against dance (grin), and not because I have ZERO dancing rhythm. I think mine is GOAL ORIENTED dancer. Yes I am driven, but not always to win, I simply want to challenge myself, improve regularly, and achieve measurable goals.

    Thanks for your post. It was fun!

    • mm Jean Ollis says:

      Hi Jay! Great reminder that the Nazarene tradition is definitely new to dancing :). Do you ever have the desire to be more of an expressive?

  5. mm Trisha Welstad says:

    Jean, this is a fun and insightful post. I really appreciate learning about the positive enabling environment and what that looks like. I do hope you run (dance!) with your idea and grow the ability for refugees to thrive through your artifact.

    I think I am an amiable dancer. People first, task second but enough task to get the job done well. 🙂

    • mm Jean Ollis says:

      I can totally relate to the amiable dancer. I love that term “positive enabling environment” and think it comes from such a strength perspective. Too bad this concept hasn’t been applied to most services. I really hope I can do it justice in my artifact. See you soon!

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