The Employers' Association

The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.

TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


We need others in our lives to challenge, validate and support our direction, decisions and aspirations. While most of us are able to move forward through much of life on our own, we can find encouragement to keep moving when we might prefer to rest if others are walking beside us along the way. Before we can expect others to accept us, however – to care enough about us to invest their time in making us better – we must first accept ourselves as we are THEN accept others as they are rather than as we think they could (or should) be.

The first step in this acceptance is to discover our own potential – fully accepting and assimilating the beauty of that reality into every aspect of our lives – before we could hope to have another see value or worth in us. We must identify our individual strengths and weaknesses, realizing the role that each plays both in our development AND to our detriment, then apply the positives while addressing and correcting the negatives.

When one looks for weaknesses, assigns fault, or emphasizes failure they tend to focus more on what “was not done” than on celebrating success. They often attempt to change behavior by identifying deficiencies that need altering (thereby becoming important as the identifier of another’s problems) rather than by encouraging the “cloning” of healthy behaviors they choose to exhibit themselves.

People acknowledging only their strengths often enter relationships to “fix” those around them – never fully exposing themselves to the scrutiny that true friendship brings. Those that limit themselves by accepting shortcomings as ceilings rather than floors often seek friendships that mask their deficiencies by making themselves feel “much better” than their friends.

Conversely, some people set low expectations to avoid ever being disappointed should they fail. What kind of a meaningful relationship could develop from the premise that what “is” will never change – that wherever a relationship began is as far as it will ever go? A relationship serves no valuable purpose if the melding of beliefs, values, ideals and accomplishments advances one individual more that it enhances the other – or the group to which each may belong. If one can benefit from the input of another, think how much could be accomplished when several come together to openly share thoughts and ideas without fear of reprisal as they seek to advance the interests of the whole.

Dreams are the destinations found at the end of the roads we choose to follow. If we set no expectations – fearing the pain of failure more than we anticipate the rewards of success – we survive but will rarely thrive. Those using failure as a springboard towards implementing a solution are more likely to succeed. In order to assimilate dreams into daily relationships we must ALWAYS believe that the “light at the end of a tunnel” is a door opening to opportunity not yet realized rather than a train heading towards you on a collision course.

Relationships are the foundation upon which life’s accomplishments are constructed. A relationship becomes successful when “we” becomes a given rather than “me” being the rule. While one man (or woman) may think he (or she) is an island, they will not experience all life has to offer until accepting the fact that others matter – that to live we must share life – and that we are only as strong individually as is the group of close friends we have around us. We lose much that life has to offer when we focus only upon where we want to go with no consideration of how to get there OR with whom we wish to travel. If we merely acknowledge our deficiencies as bumps in the road that disrupt or delay the accomplishment of dreams – without allowing them to forever detour our progress or derail our momentum – we will inevitably find a way to make anything happen.