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!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


What forms a boundary for you? Is it your life experience? Perhaps things you did (or did not do) as a child? Do you have too much respect and reverence for the past? Have you become so comfortable with things the way they are that you feel no need to change? Might fear of the unknown keep you from travelling an unknown path or seeking a new direction? Are you holding yourself back from fully contributing to your world by immersing yourself in all you have – content with “what is” at the expense of “what could be?” Whatever reasons you may have – be they real or imagined – one must continue to learn and apply their knowledge in today’s world or they will begin to wither and die.  Waiting for life to come to us is no longer an option. We must constantly seek the outer limits of our self-imposed boundaries and work hard to reach beyond them if we are to grow. Should we choose not to grow, we become obstacles sitting idly in the way of others as they seek to move forward – roadblocks in the path of potential success.

How can we inject fresh perspective into the things we do and the way that we approach the future? How can we recognize that “what is” may not always be – that something different might be appropriate? Living within the past is like reaching for a comforter while sitting on the couch. Life would be much more fulfilling if you were to stand on the rooftop and reach for the stars!

Traditions should never become the destination you seek nor an excuse used to keep you from reaching beyond your present reality. Far too many individuals hide behind a sense of tradition rather than seeking new possibilities. Recognizing and valuing the past is a good thing. Holding so tightly on to the past, however – grasping it to the point that you cannot move forward – is a detriment to healthy living.

When one takes more pride in where they come from (be it national origin, gender, race or religion) than in where they are they become disconnected with reality. When one holds so tightly onto their past that there is little room left to create a new “present,” their expectations become more accommodating than assimilating. Rather than seeking new ways to utilize their gifts they tend to hold onto the old, becoming a millstone around society’s neck rather than an enhancer of its continued growth. When one expects more than they can ever wish to contribute – when they seek more than they are willing to give – when they ask for more than they are willing to share – they have stepped beyond the boundaries of tradition into the realm of entitlement. One must continually give in order to gain – knowing another will refill them through a reciprocal sharing – in order to expand their sense of past into a bright tomorrow.

There comes a time in all our lives that we must begin to stretch our sense of limitation. For some this may come in the form of exploding the walls surrounding them so that a fresh new start is inevitable. For others less willing to test new waters or travel upon unfamiliar roads, perhaps simply opening the windows and doors wide enough to escape the room that restricts them could lead to different perspectives as they begin the journey towards a new beginning.

We should not judge our lives by the number of “finishes” we experience but rather by the number of “starts” we initiate. We should not seek glory only in finishing the race for there are unlimited opportunities we find along the way. When a destination is our only reward it minimizes the growth we could have experienced as we move forward from one temporary resting place to another. Do not seek today as a destination for it is but a springboard to a new (and unknown) tomorrow. Learn from your past so you might gather strength and confidence within your present as you prepare to leap forward into a future holding unlimited possibilities.