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Participate!

During the last year and a half, participation is down – participation in work events, in churches, in workplaces, in sports arenas, in event planning, and generally in life itself. Corporate America is offering sign-on bonuses at an alarming rate to attract those who currently aren’t participating in the market or severance pay for people who have been asked to no longer participate (who have been fired/downsized due to negative impacts from the COVID pandemic, mergers, etc).

When it comes to participation at work or at home, there are different mindsets based on different temperaments. Those who are outgoing and tend to participate in everything have most likely had a very difficult time while things have been limited or closed down, while those who tend to be introverts are even discovering their limit of loneliness.  Many people are looking to change their levels of participation and I would like to suggest that we find a level of balance and harmony as we do.

Zooming out from the current circumstances, there are generally two types of people – those who rarely, if ever, participate in anything… and then those who participate in absolutely everything. Very few people truly find the harmony of living a life on purpose, participating in things that matter, and not over-committing to things that are not in their sphere of influence or purpose.

Over the years, I’ve run into many unmotivated people who don’t care to participate in much of anything. Normally this person gives plenty of personal reasons why they’re not participating: I don’t have time… I don’t have the money… I have other priorities… No one I know is doing it… Someone will make fun of me… I may not succeed… I don’t have the talent… I honestly don’t care about this cause… I haven’t had my coffee yet…

To the people themselves, these are legitimate reasons to not participate. To those of us on the outside, they seem like excuses. But when it comes to the heart of the matter, does it really matter? Whether a reason or an excuse, the result is the same – non-participation. Orrin Woodward says, “For anyone who chooses not to participate in life, make sure you choose a really good excuse for yourself… because unless you change, you’ll be stuck with that excuse for life.” People who rarely participate in things seem, according to statistics, to also struggle with depression, loneliness, and an overall dissatisfaction with life. I would propose that although it’s easy to blame another person for some of these feelings, could it possibly be caused partially by a lack of participating in things that matter internally to you?

Then there’s the other side of the coin – people who participate in everything, no matter the cause. From my experience, there are two sub-categories here: people that genuinely love people and causes, and people who have a hard time saying “No”. In the first case, I would caution against becoming a “jack of all trades, master of none”, where one might overcommit to starting anything but rarely, if ever, finishing anything. Not only can that harm your reputation but over time, it can become overwhelming and can lead to burnout.

The second sub-group of people – my people – either don’t like saying “No” because they don’t want to let people down or haven’t quite learned the discipline of focus. Either way, the inability to say “No” can easily drain your joy because you don’t have the time to do what you truly love. We all have passions in our hearts that we would enjoy doing more of if we had enough time and/or money. The harsh truth is that if we are so busy doing what matters to others, we won’t have enough time to do what matters to us. We must learn to say “No” to the good, so we can have time and energy to say “Yes” to the best things.

Participation is wonderful, whether in the workplace or in lifestyle and events; taking part in causes we enjoy truly gives life meaning and should never be downplayed. But it’s also important that we carefully choose which causes are priorities to us and which ones are not worthy of our valuable time. Participate!

Here are just two examples where I feel participation and commitment are greatly warranted, and well worth my time.

  • According to the SBA, small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. They create 1.5 million jobs annually and account for 64% of new jobs created in the United States and drive U.S. innovation and competitiveness. This is a significant contribution; however, this overall share has declined gradually.

 

  • A report from UAB’s Collat School of Business states, when it comes to showing your support for small businesses, it’s important to do so, not just to help them gain revenue and stay operational… you’ll gain plenty of wonderful benefits as well.

 

  • Participate in the sustainability and growth of small businesses as they continue to serve as an engine of American innovation.

 

  • Nonprofit organizations play a vital role in building healthy communities by providing critical services that contribute to economic stability and mobility. Often these organizations understand better than anyone else their communities’ needs and the best ways to meet them. Strong, well-resourced nonprofits that are connected to the decision-making infrastructure in their communities can catalyze growth and opportunity. It’s clear that nonprofit resources continue to be strained due to the pandemic, including the cancellation and postponement of fundraising events, a decline in donations from corporations and individuals due to market upheaval, an absence of volunteers and increased demand for services. Volunteer! Donate! Participate in the economic stability and mobility provided by nonprofits!

 

iSeek Solutions is a small business that routinely supports and partners with other small businesses to meet our business objectives as well as assist us in meeting the objectives of our clients. We’re truly better together. Likewise, we’re passionate about supporting the communities where we live, work, and play. Be the change you want to see. Participate!

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April Marshall