What is the Difference Between Interacting and Participating?

Interact with Others is comprised of ways in which you can raise your visibility “one-to-one” with others. Unlike interaction, Participate with a Purpose is focused on “one-to-many” experiences with colleagues. Participating is comprised of activities where you raise your visibility when many of your colleagues are present.

Do you find the time to participate in activities where many of your colleagues are present? Are you known for never being around? Are you known for never being able to attend an activity sponsored by your organization or an industry affiliation group, for one reason or another? Do any of the following characteristics seem familiar to you when you think about participating with a purpose?

– You “no-show” for training classes, cancelling at the last minute because “something important” has come up.
– You claim that you can’t go to all-employee meetings because it is your busiest time of the ________ (week, month, quarter, year, decade, millennium).
– You always seem to have “important” meetings or conference calls scheduled during a company activity.
– You never attend an after-hours work activity as you always have to get home.

What is preventing you from participating in activities sponsored by your organization or industry affiliation group? Is your lack of participation a reflection of your mindset? Is it a mindset of just being too busy?

What is the Impact of Mindset on Participating with a Purpose?

The most dramatic symptom of our newly christened professional trauma stress disorder (PTSD) is the belief that “I can’t afford to be out of the office!” If you believe that this statement is true, “I can’t afford to be out of the office!” is at risk of becoming a mindset that hinders your ability to raise your visibility. Mindset is a habitual mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to a situation.

You may hate Bruce Willis and scowl anytime you see one of his movies advertised. You might love eating out for lunch and organize your schedule to ensure you make this happen. You may hate conflict and do everything you can to avoid a confrontation Whatever your mindset may be, it is at risk of pre-determining how you interpret and respond to a situation.

Once “I can’t afford to be out of the office!” becomes your mindset, it becomes your way of interpreting and responding to opportunities to participate in your organization and industry. You start to believe you cannot get out of your office or workstation. You start to accept that you do not need to participate in activities at your organization in order to be successful. You stop looking for opportunities to participate. Your visibility evaporates.

Greg Nicastro, the Executive Vice President of Development at Veracode, a leading cloud-based provider of application security, speaks passionately about the mindset of participating with a purpose. “You have so much traffic coming your way that you must be pragmatic about how you spend your time at work. You must actively shape your environment or you are at risk of your environment shaping you. A key way to be pragmatic with your time and positively shape your environment is to purposely participate in activities that help your clients and your business become very successful.”