PMPs: Where Certification, Experience and Proven Results Converge

Small business owner, Dan, has identified a strategic IT project that must be completed as soon as possible. The project’s successful implementation will position his company to meet certain strategic goals for the following year. However, Dan doesn’t have a certified project manager on staff and is concerned that he doesn’t have the time or resources to find one. Therefore, he has identified two internal candidates for the role of strategic project manager. 


Katie, a recent college graduate, is eager and motivated and gets along well with her colleagues. But Katie has never been part of a project team, let alone managed one. She has never interacted with executive level stakeholders. And she’s never scoped or sized a project or managed a project budget.  On the other hand, Jaylon has been with Dan’s company for 10 years. He manages a team of technical analysts. He is well known for his technical skills but not for his soft skills. And he sidesteps administrative tasks at every turn because, in his opinion, they are monotonous and unnecessary.   


Is Dan comfortable with putting this strategic project, and its potential impact on his business’s future, in the hands of Katie or Jaylon?  Would you be? 

In the early days of project management knowledge development, before professionals with credentials such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification were widely available, businesses looked to hard-working, well-meaning employees to lead their project efforts.  And businesses still do.  In the article, 4 Product Management Mistakes That Will Drive You Crazy, entrepreneur and angel investor Andrew Medal lists the number one mistake that small or start-up business owners often make, that is, picking project managers out of convenience and not based on skills or qualifications.

Today, however, a business can engage a skilled project management practitioner to provide oversight and produce results for the duration of a strategic project.  Henry Mintzbert, author and professor of Management Studies, contends that management is ‘a practice where art, science, and craft meet.’  This is true indeed in project management.  Day in and day out, certified project managers expertly juggle the many moving parts of their projects thanks to their command of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and their keen ability to tailor the PMBOK’s dynamic tools, techniques and outputs to suit each project they manage.

In the role of project manager, certified, experienced professionals constantly juggle multiple projects and responsibilities using a vast array of skills, including

  • Project Planning
  • Delegating
  • Budgeting
  • Monitoring
  • Scheduling
  • Collaborating
  • Connecting with Leaders
  • Assessing and Mitigating Risk
  • Managing Vendors and Procurement
  • Leading Teams
  • Negotiating
  • Motivating
  • Prioritizing
  • Managing Conflict


A PMP certification requires that candidates have extensive project management and leadership experience before applying to take the exam.  Applicants are also obliged to have appropriate academic credentials, to complete specific project management education, and to continue their education throughout their professional career.  Despite these rigorous requirements, the PMP designation is the most recognized and demanded certification within the project management field.

Using expert PMPs for project management not only impacts your business but also the way your clients view your business.  Your use of project management can…

  • Attract more clients.  Because PMPs reduce the risk on any given project, clients are setting PMP certification as a requirement for businesses they work with.
  • Prove your company’s dedication to meeting project goals, objectives and requirements.  Using project management professionals indicates to your client that your company can understand and meet complex project goals and satisfy detailed project requirements.
  • Demonstrate your company’s commitment to proven project management processes and quality deliverables. Clients will see the value that project management brings to their projects when your company meets deadlines and delivers quality products. Clients will be more likely to work with your business than companies that don’t use experienced PMPs.


Why put your strategic projects in jeopardy?  Reach out to the Project Management team at iSeek Solutions where certification, experience, and proven results converge to provide a level of project management that will position your business for strategic success.

Please visit our website to learn more about iSeek Solutions, check out our project management resources and read our case studies that provide insight into some of the challenges we helped our clients successfully overcome. Or contact us at

It’s Time to Reimagine How Work Gets Done.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the world basically shut down. Many businesses were forced to close their doors. Those whose employees could work from home started to do so right away. Companies were forced to quickly figure out how to communicate, collaborate, share documents, and manage teams virtually. Truthfully, many companies are still “figuring it out”.

As we learn to live and work in an ongoing COVID-19 environment, we’re still grappling with numerous challenges. For many companies, the biggest challenge is reimaging how work gets done – in-office, hybrid, or remote.

Surveys show that most employees want a permanently hybrid work environment – or at least more flexible workplaces. This is a shift that has been coming for some time – the pandemic simply accelerated it.

An article from Insperity, an HR Solutions consulting firm, provides insightful ideas and strategies on gaining and retaining success in a hybrid work environment. It’s a great read! If you’re grappling with how to reimage how work gets done in your company, I highly recommend it. Below are some of its key recommendations.

If you’re a leader in a hybrid organization, you likely see both the benefits and the challenges. On one hand, you’re able to give your employees the flexibility they want, potentially enhancing overall productivity and increasing retention in a tight job market. On the other hand, you’re tasked with fostering sustainable communication, employee engagement, collaboration, and culture growth in an unmapped context.

To make your hybrid employee work environment a long-term success, you’ll need strategies for:

  • Making your team more cohesive
  • Leveling the playing field across remote, hybrid, and full-time office dwellers
  • Elevating the engagement and productivity of your team


Here are 10 tips you can use today to build a successful hybrid work environment.

1. Focus on the core: employee engagement

Proximity is not necessarily a requirement for creating a work environment with high employee engagement.

Focus on the core elements, ensuring your employees:

  • Have the tools and resources they need
  • Know what is expected of them
  • Feel that their opinions matter
  • Experience opportunities to learn and grow
  • Receive recognition regularly for doing good work


Granted, this is not easy work for managers under the best conditions, but it’s work that delivers results worthy of your efforts.

2. Do away with “top-down” communication

“Top-down” talk is history. C-suite leaders of today’s organizations are chief catalysts, connectors, and communicators. More than ever, dispersed employees need tangible threads to an organization’s direction, purpose, and values.

3. Acknowledge the human experience

Remember the first month we all started working from home? We collectively pulled back the big curtain on our life-beyond-work selves. In the months that followed, we navigated a myriad of challenges, from stress and overwhelm to homeschooling, financial pressure and health concerns – and we confirmed that we are human.

Hybrid work environments require leaders and colleagues to lead with empathy, listen and see the humanness in each other.

Organizations have added fresh benefits such as extended parental support, mental health resources, Peloton equipment and even “pawternity” leave for employees to spend time with a new family pet.

The best hybrid workplace leaders are finding authentic ways to show that they care about each employee’s human experience.

4. Create community

Social media has shown us that we can create strong community bonds across the miles when there are shared values and a palpable culture of belonging.

Empower your employees to create communities in your organization. Special interest groups (e.g., hikers, gardeners, kids’ coaches, DIY-ers, etc.) can create connectivity and camaraderie.

Take on a cause or two as an organization and empower your team to find ways to contribute that suit their talents, passions, and work mode. Connecting people to create good in the community (inside your organization or in your neighborhoods) benefits everyone.

5. Be mindful about time

Time is not replaceable. Now is the only currency you have. Be intentional about how you manage your time and how your team spends their time.

Carefully consider when your team should:

  • Collaborate
  • Buckle down to focus
  • Reflect
  • Recharge


Don’t bring everyone into the office just to have them sit in cubicles all day with their headphones on. Managers must be more proactive and efficient than ever to identify in which context work, creativity and collaboration are fostered.

6. See and use the whole playing field

Just like it’s easy to focus on the offense and top scorers in a football game, it may be easy to focus on the employees who are leading big projects or coming into the office every day.

Take time to acknowledge the contributions of all team members, near and far. Tell short success stories that demonstrate the connection and engagement of a broad array of team members. Seek out ideas from every corner of your organization. Check alignment with the big company scoreboard.

Connect talent to talent and watch productivity multiply.

7. Define outcomes and let your team deliver

Autonomy is the breakfast of champions.

A flexible work environment can spark innovative thinking and doing. New processes, better communication flows and more efficient use of resources are often the result of team empowerment.

Yes, some teams and individuals require more support and structure in fluid work environments. But resist a prescriptive solution. Flexibility fuels performance in a hybrid workplace.

8. Value people over desks

We are not where we were in the spring of 2020.

Many of us have hired new team members who don’t live within driving distance of the office. Other team members moved to far-flung locations during the pandemic and are no longer able to commute into the office. Teams that had a few remote workers are now comprised of more than 50% remote team members.

What brings us together is our culture. Culture was never about the desks, the fifteen-minute massage Fridays or the IPA on draft in the break room. Culture is about how we connect, how we communicate and how we see, trust, and treat each other. Culture can transcend time zones and miles.

Remember: It’s not about the office space. It’s about the people.

9. Up your meeting game

Reduce waste, and get rid of most of your meetings.

When you do have them, be intentional about how, why, and how long you sit in meetings. Schedule 25-minute meetings where 1-hour meetings used to live. Master the digital communication tools at your fingertips, and expect your team to do the same. Maximize face-to-face time by doing work that is truly done best in person.

Many companies are scheduling face-to-face business unit or company-wide meetings several times a year to leverage that premium connection time for the team.

Regardless of how you meet, be fully present. Say, “I see you,” with your voice, words, tone, and body language. Don’t multitask. Show up wholly, and show that team member 260 miles away that you care.

10. Be less supervisor, more coach in the hybrid work environment

Finally, we can rid the world of the term “supervisor.”

Whether your team members are in a cubicle eight feet away or in their home office 800 miles away, they need someone who clarifies direction, provides resources and offers recognition for doing great work.

In other words, be a coach who:

  • Helps team members be daily learners and stretch themselves to be their best today
  • Engages in two-way conversations that offer mutual benefit


When people see that you are invested in them and their growth, their trust, engagement, and productivity can soar – even while you’re sitting in the Houston office and they’re in their home office in Park City, Utah.

Summing it all up

Learning how to manage the new hybrid workplace requires a re-thinking of how work gets done, where and why. Mastering this shift can lead your team to greater productivity, stronger engagement, and a more satisfying experience.

iSeek Solutions is a boutique consulting firm, combining the latest technology and business practices with a personal touch that our clients appreciate. Our expert services, resources, know-how enable our clients to Align, Optimize, Empower, and Succeed.  To learn more about us, visit our website or contact us at

From Apathy to Action


  • a behavior that shows no interest or energy and shows that someone is unwilling to act, especially over something important


Mark Feldman is the Founder and Managing Director of Cause Consulting, a social impact strategy and communications firm dedicated to simultaneously strengthening business and impacting society.

When reading Mark’s article, several points resonated with me. They’re aligned with my position on corporate responsibility as it relates not only to their shareholders and employees, but also to the causes that are important to their employees, community, and other stakeholders. Below are excerpts from Mark’s article:

During uncertain and potentially polarizing times, people will look for comfort and alignment with their beliefs. Their voices around the social issues that are important to them will rise even louder as they get more inspired and passionate, especially if they are scared. We need to be prepared to answer what our companies and brands stand for.

In the face of the many complex challenges that lie ahead, it might be easier to passively observe and wait for the pendulum to shift back, but ultimately that means being left behind. The role of corporate America around social issues is too important – and the opportunity too great — for us not to take carefully considered, strategic action.

Having worked with executives who act boldly and make a difference, here is what I optimistically expect to see more of from companies in the future:

  • They will be open about sharing their purpose and values. If they haven’t yet developed them, this is the time to do some corporate soul-searching and define what the organization or brand stands for. For companies with strong corporate citizenship programs, I expect to see increased articulation of their values and purpose, and even greater communication around their social impact work.
  • They will cultivate deeper engagement with stakeholders. They’ll listen to people and the frustrations of those who feel “unheard” by leadership. Many companies already have channels for soliciting and acting on stakeholder feedback and incorporating what they learn into business decisions. Those that don’t will need to create them.
  • They will recognize that a deep understanding of social issues is critical to their ability to make a difference. They will be more focused and strategic. These businesses will be more effective and smarter about their corporate citizenship thanks to this expertise.
  • They will take leadership roles around issues that are most important and relevant to their employees, consumers, and other stakeholders. Building upon years of corporate responsibility innovation, companies will apply a broad combination of expertise, product, financial, and advocacy resources to drive social impact.


Our task this year is to look deep inside our companies and ourselves and ask what is truly important. We’ll need a point of view, a lens to make decisions, and at times, the guts to go outside our comfort zone and stand up for what we believe in. I hope we will all choose to capitalize on opportunities to both strengthen business and impact society.


  • the process of doing something, especially when dealing with a problem or difficulty


iSeek’s Business Health Check resource is designed to take the pulse of your organization. The Health Check is a customized assessment that analyzes areas such as

  • How is the business dealing with the external factors beyond its control? Like environment and social impacts, competition, customers, including owners/shareholders.
  • What do you want the future of the business to be about?
    Objectives, Strategies, Purpose and Values: What actions do you need to take to make this vision a reality? 


To learn more about iSeek Solutions, please visit our website or contact us at

From Vision to Reality

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”

-Joel A. Barker

At iSeek, we’ve been fortunate to partner with numerous great companies on impactful and innovative initiatives. Each initiative started as a vision and through the actions of many became a reality.

As a boutique consulting firm, we’re often looking forward for that next great opportunity. Today, I’d like to look backward at a few of the initiatives where iSeek played a major role in turning vision into reality.

City of Birmingham Police Department

The Birmingham Police Department’s world-class Real Time Crime Center utilizes technology and data driven intelligence to aid in prevention of crime and the apprehension of the offenders responsible. The technology provides immediate real time intelligence to responding officers and investigators on high risk calls for service which improves situational awareness and increases officer safety.

With the combined efforts of iSeek’s Enterprise Project Management Group, the Birmingham Police Department’s Technical Lead, and the City’s Capital Projects project manager the Real Time Crime Center went live in October 2021. [read more]

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a world-class educational and research institution with an innovative Information Technology (IT) organization. UAB IT, as a technology enablement organization for the campus, endeavors to align itself with the needs of the students, faculty, and staff by developing and maintaining solutions that support the ever-changing environment with applications, tools, and access to technology.

UAB IT partnered with iSeek to design a customized shared governance framework that aligns people, process and technology to the University’s enterprise. [read more]

Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County

The legislative voting system at the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (a.k.a. “Metro”) supports 40 Council members and several Metro departments as they develop important legislation for more than 700,000 constituents. The system is required to perform the essential functions critical to running a Council meeting, tabulating, and recording Council votes, as well as controlling display monitors and microphones. When the system began experiencing audio and technical failures, the Clerk’s Metro Office recognized the need to evaluate their options. In addition to the technical failures, the legacy solution lacked important functional features, such as storing information and automating any part of the legislative process.

After an extensive search, Metro selected iSeek to coordinate the effort, locate vendors, and oversee the implementation process. “We needed a partner to help us properly identify, procure, and deploy a fully integrated solution,” said Shannon Hall, Metro Clerk. “It was clear that iSeek understood our vision, could serve as liaison to external vendors, and would help us put the new system in place successfully.”

Cleary, our iSeek team is very thankful to have played a part in these and many other foundational, as well as state-of-the-art initiatives. We’re proud of the measurable results we produce and the personalized service we provide. We’re confident our clients feel the same about our contributions.

Please visit our website and read our case studies to learn more about these and other impactful iSeek engagements. Then contact us at to assist you in taking your initiative from vision to reality.

First Quarter Checkup – Business Performance

It has been difficult to predict what the first quarter of the new year would bring for business owners, employees, and investors. COVID-19 has lingered, evolved, and has remained unpredictable over the past three years with minimal signs of letting up. The pandemic combined with supply chain issues and restrictions, The Great Resignation, and labor shortages higher prices across the board seem inevitable. The pandemic has accelerated several technology trends including health care innovation, sustainability, digital transformation, and remote/flexible work environments that drove many businesses into the digital era.

However, the most important question is – How is YOUR business performing so far – steady, growing, or stagnant? Organizations and business owners have learned during these challenging and pivotal times that to accelerate your business performance, an organization needs to understand the business’s current performance and future potential. Management guru Peter Drucker is often quoted as having said, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” and our iSeek Solutions team couldn’t agree more.

iSeek helps improve and accelerate your business by analyzing your year-to-date performance. We peel back the layers and review the health of your organization. Assessing health and performance early often will boost your business’ performance, resilience in such unprecedented times, and long-term growth.

Our free iBPA© – Business Performance Assessment provides an in-depth assessment of an organization’s addressable spend, organization alignment, and human capital. We discover cost savings, uncover revenue potential, increase operational effectiveness, and align vision, mission, and goals to enable winning outcomes.

Our iBHC© – Business Health Check diagnostic tool is used in associating and comparing your business purpose and desired objectives to actual outcomes.

As mentioned in our blog Early Detection may Save Your Life… and Your Business! a business health check, like a physical health exam, should be conducted regularly, no less than annually. A health check ensures the business is tracking towards its goals. It delivers insight into the overall performance of your business, uncovers opportunities for improvements, measures employee health and the end-user experience, and assesses the organization’s culture, engagement, and alignment. It’s an opportunity to make course corrections, mitigate or exploit risks or market changes or take advantage of new and innovative solutions.

Don’t wait until the next quarter or when your organization is sinking, make sure your business’ performance is on the right track as the first quarter of 2022 comes to a close.

Return to normalcy

“Return to normalcy” was United States presidential candidate Warren G. Harding’s campaign slogan for the election of 1920. He was considered a long shot at best, but turned the corner just weeks before the nominating convention when he said these words in a speech in Boston in May 1920:

America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration.”

The country was emerging from the devastation of World War I, which claimed 117,000 U.S. lives, and the Spanish flu pandemic, which claimed the lives of another 675,000 Americans (and an estimated 50 million around the globe).

As for Warren G. Harding, his was a case study in being careful what you wish for. A return to normalcy for him meant scandals and ill health. The 29th president caught the flu — not the Spanish flu, but a descendant — just two years into his term and never recovered. He died at 57 in August 1923.

Fast forward to March 2022. We’re all exhausted from the impacts and challenges of COVID pandemic. And we frequently say that we want to “return to normal.” But do we really? Ask yourself these questions from the Times News, February 24, 2022, Print Edition:

Do we really want to return to normal in politics where politicians are more concerned with getting reelected than doing what is best for the country (which is its people) regardless of the political consequences?

Do we really want to return to normal work where people (are required to) commute every morning from home to office and commute back every night from office to home?

Do we really want to return to a normal healthcare system where many people do not have adequate health care, and where too many have no health care?

Do we really want to return to normal where we give up what we have discovered that is useful, that makes our lives easier?

  • Like Zoom, which allows us to participate in events whenever we cannot be there physically, as when visiting distant relatives, traveling on business, or enjoying a vacation.
  • Like ordering food from our favorite restaurants and grocery stores through their apps and then picking it up at a time convenient for us, or having it delivered to our homes.
  • Like the option of remote learning when weather or personal circumstances prohibit our children from physically being in school.

The pandemic shed light on issues that were either typically sidestepped or accepted with little resistance. Like mental health, wealth inequality, underpaid work, racial injustice and equity, and lack of diversity. Will returning to normal life mean sweeping these hard conversations back under the rug?

Truthfully, it’s way past time we stop using the term “return to normal” because we cannot. We can only live in today’s normal and work to make the societal changes necessary so that tomorrow’s normal is what we want it to be.

GRIT: How Determined Are You?

Have you ever undertaken a task that suddenly becomes overwhelming to you? Did you momentarily feel the urge to quit? Was the impulse to quit quickly replaced by a greater urge to keep going and finish what you started?

That something in you that refuses to allow you to be a quitter, regardless of the adversity and the length of time it takes to complete a task, can be referred to as determination or willpower, also known as GRIT.

How gritty are you? How determined are you to be successful or how badly do you want your business to succeed? Are you willing to do everything required to cross the finish line, reach your goals, and achieve your highest potential?

As we have continued to persevere through the COVID-19 pandemic the past 3 years, it’s safe to say we all possess a certain level of grit and endurance.

Angela Lee Duckworth, psychologist, author, and the world’s leading expert on ‘grit’, took an interest in grit and began studying it while teaching math to her seventh graders. Through her observations of her students, she realized IQ was not the only factor separating successful students from those who struggled, and that grit—holding steadfast to a goal through time—was highly predictive of success. (“You’re no genius”: Her father’s shutdowns made Angela Duckworth a world expert on grit.)

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” – Angela Duckworth.

In her research, Duckworth analyzes short and long-term effects of grit on people’s performance in school, at work, and in personal relationships. She wrote and published her research in Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, a New York Times bestseller documenting how grit predicts long-term success in nearly every realm of life. Duckworth also explained her theory in her informative and viral TED Talk.

According to Forbes there are 5 Characteristics of Grit — How Many Do You Have?

  1. Courage: Your ability to manage fear of failure is imperative and a predicator of success.
  2. Conscientiousness: Achievement Oriented vs. Dependable:  Conscientiousness in this context means, careful and painstaking; meticulous. In a study, educator L.M. Hough distinguished achievement from the dependability aspects of conscientiousness. He discovered that achievement orientated traits predicted job proficiency and educational success far better than dependability. A self-controlled person who may never step out of line may fail to reach the same heights as their more impulsive friends. Therefore, it is important to commit to go for the gold rather than just show up for practice.
  3. Long-Term Goals and Endurance: Follow Through: The context and framework in which to find the meaning and value of your long-term efforts helps cultivate drive, sustainability, passion, courage, stamina…grit.
  4. Resilience: Optimism, Confidence, and Creativity: Optimism + Confidence + Creativity = Resilience = Hardiness = (+/-) Grit. So, while a key component of grit is resilience, resilience is the powering mechanism that draws your head up, moves you forward, and helps you persevere despite whatever obstacles you face along the way. In other words, gritty people believe, “everything will be alright in the end, and if it is not alright, it is not the end.”
  5. Excellence vs. Perfection: In general, gritty people don’t seek perfection, but instead strive for excellence. Excellence allows for disappointment and prioritizes progress over perfection.


If you are still unsure if you possess this unique personality trait, answer 10 quick questions from Duckworth’s Grit Scale to receive a score that reflects how passionate and persevering – gritty you see yourself to be.

After receiving your Grit Scale score that reflects your level of determination, contact us at iSeek Solutions. We’d love to hear from you! Grit is a consistent attitude about seeking, striving, discovering, and never yielding. Wherever you land on the Grit Scale allow it to be a starting point and a catalyst for you to develop and foster your grittiness.

iSeek Solutions is happy to assist you and/or your business/organization with the process of seeking, striving, discovering, and never yielding. Let’s connect and collaborate!

Contact us directly at, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog or follow us on LinkedIn.

Just Do It

For most of us, we hear or see the phrase “Just Do It” and we think of the Nike logo with the Swoosh. Some of us might think of Shia LaBeouf’s extremely loud motivational speech from June 2015. If you haven’t seen the video, watch it here:

Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States, said it this way, “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.

Clearly the world needs hope and purpose as do many of us, so now is the time to “Just Do It”. What’s your “it”? What are you putting off that you “might” regret later? Here are 50 considerations from an article by the author of Time Management Ninja.

  • Doing the #1 task on your to-do list.
  • Making that phone call.
  • Getting the car maintenance done.
  • Fixing something that is out of order.
  • Going to the doctor.
  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Pursuing your dreams.
  • Reading a book.
  • Spending time with someone you care about.
  • Going for a walk.
  • Going to see the person you need to talk to.
  • Telling the truth.
  • Confronting something from your past.
  • Doing something for your future.
  • Saving money.
  • Learning something new.
  • Traveling someplace you have never been.
  • Doing something you have never done.
  • Talking to someone you don’t know but want to.
  • Starting a new habit.
  • Stopping a bad habit.
  • Cleaning up your desk.
  • Donating something to charity.
  • Writing in your journal.
  • Answering that email.
  • Getting your degree.
  • Working on your resume.
  • Finding a new job.
  • Doing something that you are passionate about.
  • Putting yourself first.
  • Getting a life… yours.
  • Facing a fear.
  • Starting your hobby.
  • Losing weight.
  • Taking time off from work.
  • Helping someone who needs it.
  • Appreciating your family.
  • Setting goals for yourself.
  • Testing and stretching your limits.
  • Eating a healthy meal.
  • Enjoying some quiet time.
  • Going to see a friend.
  • Emptying the garage.
  • Taking the dog for a walk.
  • Playing with your kids.
  • Taking your spouse on a date.
  • Doing something on your bucket list.
  • Standing up for yourself.
  • Telling someone you love them.

So, what’s your “it”? Whatever it is, Just Do It!

Silver Linings

The year 2021, much like 2020, is another for the history books. Future historians will tell stories of tumultuous times. We’ve all heard the dire statistics and felt the pangs, some more than others. And though it seems cliche to admit, there is still a silver lining. Perhaps, American writer Laura Ingalls Wilder said it best, “There is good in everything, if only we look for it”.

Consider COVID’s positive impact on workplace culture. In a survey conducted by Erica Pimentel, a PhD candidate, workers suggest that what it means to behave “professionally” has changed, and that the pandemic has made clear the necessity of being able to bring one’s authentic self to work.

The survey also suggests that work from home, at least part-time, is here to stay, and will likely have a lasting impact on how work is conducted. While some research suggests that remote work can be isolating, it also makes the competing priorities that workers are juggling very visible. This has the potential to unite workers with the feeling that they are in this struggle of balancing work and personal responsibilities together.

Working from home provides a bird’s eye view into the personal lives of our colleagues, clients and even our bosses. With every Zoom call, we find ourselves being allowed into the private spaces of our co-workers in unprecedented ways.

Whether it’s kids or pets that are popping up onscreen, remote work has caused a relaxation in the traditional rules of professional presentation and resulted in a virtual workplace that is not only more flexible, but also more humane.

Additionally, research suggests that rather than detracting from how one is perceived professionally, these glimpses into co-workers’ personal lives can improve workplace interactions.

Seeing a colleague’s cat or meeting their child on-screen provides a sense of community that people used to get at work and are now desperately craving. These on-camera interactions allow workers to reconnect or get to know one another in a new way.

They also enable employees to see their colleagues as human beings with competing priorities, and they consequently become more flexible and understanding as work and personal lives overlap. This may mean being more tolerant of a missed deadline or more understanding of an unconventional work schedule.

Tom Spiggle, a Forbes contributor, says, “Perhaps a greater acceptance of remote work will be the new normal for many jobs. This in turn could enhance the work-life balance and make it easier for individuals to raise a family while also achieving their professional aspirations.”

That would indeed be a silver lining!


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!