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!

Monday, April 22, 2013


Someone once gave me an “inspirational card” from the standard Successories gallery that spoke volumes. “The Courage of Integrity” defined two pillars of success – benchmarks that any of us could leverage as we make life-changing decisions and chart the road upon which we might wish to travel.

In all that we do we should recognize that “The highest courage (we can exhibit) is daring to be ourselves in the face of adversity.” How many times do we take the easy path rather than choosing the “road less traveled?” How often do we seek the path of least resistance rather than taking a stand for what is right – for what we know to be true – regardless of the personal cost? Being true to yourself by openly expressing your ideals and honestly revealing your beliefs to others – regardless of what they may think about you – is not always the easiest route to take BUT it almost always returns the greatest rewards.

Accepting the axiom that “There is never a wrong time to do the right thing” is the foundation upon which ongoing and sustainable success should be built. Individuals attempting to portray perfection in whatever they do or say spend much more time avoiding what is wrong than they do striving to accomplish what is right. Trying to do all the things necessary to be an exemplary leader (partner or friend) rather than simply leading (or living) by example often places roadblocks along life’s path that are very difficult to avoid. True success is more a measure of who one is while nobody else is looking – by the substance of our dreams and aspirations – than it is a testament to those things that we do in public in order to receive accolades or recognition.

We need not look far to find other motivational messages. Some would include the following:

• “We cannot lower the mountain so we must elevate ourselves.” This is sage wisdom for an individual seeking to climb the ladder of success. We cannot expect mountains to become molehills on their own – we must rise to the top of every challenge, continuously moving forward even though we may fall temporarily back, as we aspire to reach the pinnacle if we are to succeed.

• “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Many people find satisfaction in bringing the hopes and dreams of others to fruition. Others find such satisfaction hollow – preferring to realize their own dreams. If one never attempts to accomplish their individual dreams, he or she will never fail or be disappointed. (Rarely will a person having insignificant goals or setting low standards for their own performance ever be happy with their accomplishments,) If we do not establish a target – formalize a dream – we will never truly taste the success of our individual accomplishments.

• Some people see things and say “Why?” I dream things and say “Why not?” Those who know me well recognize this truth as one of my personal drivers. NEVER accept things as they are – always seek what could be. Asking others “why” they are doing something (or why they are choosing to do it in one particular way) defaults your boundaries to the limits they set in response to your question. Asking “why not” expands these boundaries to the limits established within your own mind – stretching the probable into the possible.

• Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction. Life is an ongoing series of events whose purpose is revealed only when we exhibit the courage to remain singularly strong in the face of adversity – when we make a conscious and intentional decision to do what is right rather than being concerned about avoiding what is wrong! We must always look ahead – take every step with purpose - as we keep our focus forward towards where we are going rather than focusing behind towards where we have been. Though one can never get lost if he or she does not know where they are going, they will never know if they have reached their destination until it has been purposefully (and publicly) expressed after being intentionally determined.

Much can be learned from our past…from building upon the blocks we were given in kindergarten as we move towards a future far more complicated and full of choices. More, however, can be gained if we identify our dreams and acknowledge their existence (then take intentional action to bring them to fruition) than will ever be accomplished by taking the easy road or accepting the first option available. We must simply believe in ourselves (and in those we hold dear around us) to move forward through life. We must accept nothing but our best – and expect the best from those around us – to experience sustainable and long-lasting success.